Thursday, December 10, 2009

Kiruba Shankar, a salesman in denial

Kiruba Shankar, a salesman in denial
The story of all humans

Kiruba Shankar, heads the Indian Chapter of Wikimedia. He will tell you that Wikipedia is not for profit, instead people who work at Wiki don't work for money at all, but because they feel good. Like all salesmen and marketers he is adept at hiding his true intentions, which is self-preservation by touting one's species as essential and indispensable.

Now you open a Wikipage and on top you will see in bold, "Wikipedia has always been there for you. Will you be there for her. Make your donation now." Or else it will vanquish, is the caveat in Jimmy Wales' open letter, co-founder of Wikimedia.

In 2007-08, it asked for six million dollars in "donation." In the 2007-08 annual report of Wikimedia that it didn't need that much to maintain its servers. However $170,000 were to be diverted as raise in Executive Director Sue Gardner and Deputy Director Erik Moller's salaries. So much for selflessness.

Now it is asking for seven million dollars, how much will be invested for the community and how much will be absorbed to hike the paychecks of the Wikimedia staff, is anyone's guess. The latest report should give us some figures.

He affirms his techniques - having an email@your own name domain or embedding your website in your email signature. He will go to great lengths to convince you about the necessity of internet and point out the "magical" about his work. "When people come at the bar camp, they magically self-organize themselves. These are unconferences," he speaks with tinkling eyes. He is responsible for a new euphemism for speaker i.e. "discussion-initiator."

He thinks blogs are more transient than websites and therefore get better ranked by Google. They will be more visible in search engines than websites. One of the lessons, he cites to have learnt from the Wikipedia experience is that when you trust people they are well-behaved. I think that when people are trusted they obey because they want to live up to expectations. Humans honor themselves when others see their worth. Kiruba appreciates this human trait and encourages the entrepreneurs to tap in this slavish human and exploit him.

"Google is obsessed with adding value to its products and therefore it makes huge profits out of its products," he admits the worldliness of Google, whose Knol is competing Wikipedia.

Kiruba is the founder of the Knowledge Foundation, Director of Business Blogging and co-founder of F5ive technologies, a website-developing company.

Like all the salesmen, he also feels the need of illusions and masks. Thus, with his retro look he has replicated the contemporary morality of hip. His Tedxchennai conference was sold out, but he will not affirm the drive for wealth, alas his drive is "feeling good."


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