One of the luxuries young, early-stage startups cannot afford is specialisation. Everyone – founders to interns – just “roll up their sleeves” and do whatever it takes. Everyone is a generalist, not because they want to. But because they must be.
The Ken was one such startup till not so long ago. A lean, talented, and hungry team focused on just one product and one geography – India.
But as we expand into new geographies and formats, we must invest in newer specialists too. Our newest hires are specialists. In mentoring, guiding and managing. And in design.
Ranju Sarkar joins us in Delhi as newsroom editor. Ranju joins us from Business Standard, where he spent the last 12 years, most recently handling pages on startups and investors for the business daily. He has 26 years of experience in business journalism.
I’ll let Seema, our Editor, explain why we brought Ranju on board.
The Ken is a modern digital publication, distributing journalism as a product, but at the core it does good, ol’ (magazine) journalism. So, it wasn’t surprising when we gravitated towards Ranju.
While he may like to look at himself as someone “who started journalism in the pre-internet age when writers maintained a docket for each company or business group they covered”, his role at The Ken is only a shade different. To ensure that writers are on top of their beats; maintain a virtual docket, as it were.
In his various roles in these years, Ranju has done it all—edited, reported, written, hustled, produced pages with a distributed team. Once his editor wanted him to travel to Bangladesh to report on how its garment industry was sending Indian companies running for cover. “The editor was pleasantly surprised when I was able to pull off a page-one story by just speaking to four top garment makers in India. ‘You did the story sitting here’, he said,” recalls Ranju.
As The Ken’s newsroom grows, all his resourcefulness is going to come in handy.
Our second specialist is Sharath Ravishankar, a visual designer. Sharath joins us in Bangalore. He graduated last year from the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, where he specialised in animation and film design.
He’s a talented and multi-faceted designer who’s written and directed animated short films on topics ranging from politics to urban isolation. His website features many of the wonderful and lively illustrations, animations, videos and visualisations he’s created.
When not working, Sharath likes to watch PC build videos, ranting on the internet and making fanart.
At The Ken, he will join our lead designer Prajakta in using visualisations to tell better business stories.
While India remains the bedrock for our reporting, storytelling and growth, we have also started expanding into Southeast Asia. I’m thrilled to add Benjamin Cher to that team in Singapore. Here’s Jon on what Ben brings to the table.
Singapore is the lynchpin of Southeast Asia. Sure, a population of just five million means its domestic market is tiny in comparison to every other country in the region. But Singapore remains the focal point for investors, multinational companies and the region’s most powerful startups.
Ben joins us from The Edge Singapore, where he spent the last 2.5 years covering a range of beats including technology, startups and business. Prior to that, Ben had stints with Digital News Asia and The Drum. He graduated from the University of Melbourne, Australia with a BA in communication and media studies in 2013.
Outside of work, Ben enjoys playing video games and finding obscure facts such as how Coca Cola used to be green (ed:🤷🏾♂️). Keeping up with their (cute) dog Scruffy also keeps Ben and his wife occupied.
You can follow Ben on Twitter via @benjcher; congratulations, pitches and photos from fellow dog lovers and more can be sent to ben at the-ken.com.
I’m excited to add Ben in Singapore to a team that spans much of the region with Nadine (Indonesia), Kay (Malaysia) and Jum (the Philippines), while I am in Thailand. That local presence allows us to get right into the stories that matter for technology and business in Southeast Asia.
We are still keeping an eye out for potential recruits. If you’re a reporter who is passionate about telling deep stories about Southeast Asia, please get in touch with me – jon at the-ken.com.
Building a successful journalism business is a delicate and gradual journey. We must get the right balance of stories, product and business model at each step of the way. The magic ingredient to combining all of these are people. Great, ambitious, talented people. That’s what Ranju, Sharath and Ben represent.
We’re looking to hire for more roles, too. More details on our careers page.