Friday, April 17, 2009

Experts in the Industry: Shiv Singh (74 of 45)

Today, we get to meet one of my favorite people in the social media space, Shiv Singh. In addition to being a new daddy (congratulations), Shiv is also the global VP of social media for Razorfish. In case that wasn't enough to do, he's also an active blogger and twitter enthusiast.

I've actually known Shiv for a few years now as he was kind enough to come and speak at some of the events for Shared Insights (now part of IIR USA) on portal technology. Since then, I've bumped into Shiv at other events like Office 2.0 and try and keep in touch with him semi-regularly on Twitter and e-mail. Given how long he's been involved in Web 2.0 and social media and the level of clients he gets to talk to on an ongoing basis, why wouldn't I want to stay in contact with such a bright guy?

With that said, let's hear from Shiv:

How did you get into the world of online community, social media or social marketing?
Got into the world of online community originally through my experiences on The Well back in 1995 and 1996. This led me to starting an online community for my high school alma mater (which interestingly has the reputation of being one of the four most powerful alumni networks in the world according to The Economist Magazine). From there one thing led to another and at Razorfish (where I’ve been 10 years) I’ve advised clients in community building and social media on both sides of the firewall – getting employees to collaborate and communicate with each other and on the consumer side building customer communities and helping brands market on social networks and across the social influence marketing landscape.

If you had $10 million to invest in one company and one company only based on their use of "social," which company would it be and why?
If I could invest in one company and only one company, it would be Ning. I think they’re doing an incredible job, have the right philosophies (open standards, cross-integration, letting a thousand flowers blossom philosophy) and have made their platform simple and accessible. There’s so much more that they could be doing though and I think $10million would help them a lot and serve to deliver the kind of value that companies and individuals want but aren’t getting from any other platform.

Which business leader, politician or public figure do you most respect?
There’s no shortage of business leaders and public figures that I learn from everyday. I suppose I’m currently watching Malcolm Gladwell, Duncan Watts, Seth Godin and Tom Peters a lot. I’m drawing inspiration and practical insights from them these days. They’re sharp, pithy and are basing their insights either in rigorous research or in deep experience. I suppose in another month it’ll be a different set of people. That’s how it is for me.

And yes, there’s a fifth person too – the anonymous crowds which makes its voice heard often. The meta influence of the crowds is definitely influencing and inspiring me in different ways.

Would you join a toothpaste community? Why?
No. Sorry, but I belong to more than enough communities and I’m simply not passionate about toothpaste. I need to nurture the relationships in my existing communities or leave some of them.

Freeform – here's where you can riff on anyone or anything – good or bad. Or just share a pearl of wisdom.
It’s great to see the social space finally growing up but there’s more maturing that needs to happen. Marketers and businesses are still struggling how to take advantage of social media in a measurable, ROI driven business centric sense. I think we will all benefit if there was a little less hyperbole. Nevertheless, social and social influence marketing is transformative and I believe the best is yet to come.

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