My name is Sriram. On the blog page you’ll find my thoughts about disruption and how business models get reinvented by new developments and their application to create new ways of doing business.
I’ve done a lot of things that were industry-first or, in some cases, industry-changing. For instance, setting up one of the first media independent agencies in India way back in 1995, when it was a concept that was just taking hold globally. I then went to Hong Kong to break out the media business within MacManus group (better known as the holding company for D’Arcy, Masius, Benton and Bowles) and set up Mediavest in Greater China. China, in 1998, wasn’t seen as the fast growing, dominant player in the global economy that it is now, so moving there and setting up a media independent was an unusual move.
My media agency career took me to Singapore and eventually to a role as APAC CEO for Starcom Mediavest Group, but when media agencies became an established way of doing business I quit to pursue something new and exciting.
Over the next 10 years I spent my time in startups in Singapore and Greater China – some that I owned, some that I was an investor/shareholder and employee in and eventually, some that I consulted to. Key amongst these was eBUS – a cloud based SAAS startup focusing on changing how advertising gets delivered to media and disrupting a large part of the post production business for creative agencies and other downstream players. eBUS was acquired by IMD, a company in the advertising logistics business in the UK who was expanding to have a global presence. Over my time there we expanded into South East Asia, I then setup a China business where we connected over 200 broadcasters to our platform and won our initial dozen large clients. After the sale to IMD I continued as a consultant to them for another 6 months as they acquired and absorbed a local (non-tech) competitor into the business.
I also was an advisor to a gamified engagement platform called Advocacy and briefly stepped in as a temporary China CEO for a few months when there was a management transition. After this I was Chief Operating Officer at a programmatic and big-data mobile company called Vpon, based in Taiwan with a business across Asia. My key achievements there were creating a focus and structure for the business which had expanded into too many areas from tech development/SAAS to an ad network and also a performance marketing agency. We divested the SAAS business, drove the ad network into more of a cash cow mode to fund expansion of the performance marketing business.
Apart from these, I started my start-up adventures with an ambitious venture called Promeoh – we set out to disrupt the retail advertising model for big retailers by providing a searchable online database of sales promotions for consumers in Singapore. While that start-up failed, the lessons I learned from that failure stay with me to this day and have proved a very valuable “second MBA” (although at many times the cost of the first one).
In recent years I’ve focused on helping clients as a consultant – first working at a consultancy called Ebiquity for 3 years and from October 2020, being a co-founder at a new consultancy called Searchlight. Searchlight helps brands that are starting out in China to make good strategic decisions around their business model and marketing mix. Unlike other consultancies that deliver a strategy recommendation and leave, we work with the client teams to co-create strategy while training them in marketing capability, following which we continue to offer executional guidance and help with selecting partners and managing them.
Apart from work related interests, I’m a keen musician (guitar, vocals and songwriting) who’s been in several bands including founding one called Bandwidth, which is still going strong in Singapore long after I left. I’m also a private pilot who’s flown a lot of long solo VFR trips all over South East Asia in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. As an Indian living in China for many years. I speak Mandarin and Hindi equally fluently (possibly my Mandarin is a bit ahead now, to tell the truth) and am contemplating learning Spanish now as another international language.
If you’d like to discuss science and technology (or science fiction), disruption, transformation or anything related to adapting to the digital ecosystem, feel free to reach out to me via linked in or email.