This is Moe Abdou. I am with the dynamite Shama Kabani. I don’t know if I should just call you a progressive entrepreneur, and amazing author of the book The Zen of Social Media Marketing and more importantly just an all around very cool person. Shama, it’s really awesome to talk with you.
Thank you so much. I’m blushing right now. I’m flattered. Thank you for having me.
I want to start by knowing the Zen of Shama Kabani. What keeps you so quietly inspired doing some really cool stuff the way you’re doing it?
That’s a good question. I’ll do my best to answer it. In my company and with just everything that sI have been doing as an author and a CEO and what not, it really took defining my position. As the company grows, as you do different things, it’s very important to figure out where you fit in to the bigger picture. You start out wearing a lot of hats but then you give a lot of hats away.
I have come realize that my position really within the company as an author, as a blogger, as someone in the media is as a value creator. I think of myself as a chief value officer if you will. I only have one job which is figure out how do we add value to our clients, how do we add value to our audience, how do we add value for readers, how do I add value for my employees and my internal staff and my internal team. That’s my job, is to come up with ways to create more value.
Shama, take me back to 2007. You’re finishing school. You’re thinking about the next chapter of your life. This whole craze of social media is really starting to emerge big time in the world. Tell me what your mindset was at that time and what sparked the launch of the business?
In 2007, I am a lowly Graduate student – awfully naïve graduate student, really sort of buying into the philosophy of most, at least, U.S. universities. You graduate, you get a job and you go forth into the world. My mentality is, let’s get a job. Let’s see who wants to hire.
I am very excited about social networking at this time, about social media in general. Twitter has just come to the forefront. I’ve gone to a conference where literally there are now 3000 users. You put that in the perspective of like 70 million now on Twitter.
I’m excited at that point seeing that there is so much that this field holds. I of course start going to consulting companies and applying for positions hoping that my background in social media and my thinking will match theirs. Unfortunately, it did not.
In 2007, I did about 18 interviews and 18 rejections. The main reason I got was, “Web 2 point what?” We have very conservative clients. They’re not going to be into this. All the reasons you can think of.
Really it was a matter of lots of doors closing and you have to crawl through something to get out. So I was thinking, why not start my own thing? I really did believe in social media. I really felt like that’s where the future was.