Get full access to one story every week, and to summaries of all other stories. Just create a free account

Six months ago, back in August, Sanjana sent us a cold email.

She sent the email to an address which we use for receiving pitches from contributors and feedback from subscribers. We receive dozens of emails every day there—sometimes hundreds.

Sanjana sent a pitch, too—not for a story, but why she wanted to work with us at The Ken.

The email worked. It caught my colleague Durga’s attention, who after a brief interaction with her, forwarded it to me. Sanjana and I had a Zoom call where I told her truthfully that we weren’t sure if we wanted to hire someone for the role she had in mind. Sanjana also expressed a desire to write for us, so I suggested she contribute to our daily newsletter, Beyond The First Order, while we figured things out internally.

We never expected her to follow through, but she did—not once, but twice.

Sometime later, she sent us a 40-something slide deck titled ‘Why we aren’t 10X what we are today’, which she’d created over several weekends. The thing that caught my attention about her presentation wasn’t the detailed roadmap on how The Ken could grow to 250,000 subscribers, or the graphs, backed by a market study, or the thinking—all of which were fantastic. Instead, it was the title—‘How we can get to 10X what we are today’.

Not ‘How The Ken can get to 10X what it is today’. But how we can get to 10X what we are today.

After multiple rounds of interviews that stretched for months, Sanjana Ramachandran finally joined us this week as marketing manager at The Ken—for a role that didn’t exist on our career page until she convinced us with her passion, proficiency and persistence. Going forward, as we enter our fifth year of existence, Sanjana will drive growth using multiple user acquisition strategies, define our brand and positioning, and own the subscriber communication, community, engagement and retention.

What makes Sanjana perfect to helm all things marketing at The Ken is that she exhibits the same qualities that got us to where we are today. The Ken is a collection of writers, editors, marketers, product managers, engineers and designers who share a deep, unabiding passion for what they love to do, and work hard to get better every day. Subscribers have recognised and rewarded us for this persistence—that’s how we’ve gone from one subscriber to another, purely by word of mouth, across India, and now, Southeast Asia.

There’s no other way to do this. There are no shortcuts.

Sanjana didn’t reach out to us through common B-school connections, or via LinkedIn, or introductions through acquaintances. She went old school, wrote an email, and sent it to the most generic inbox we had, confident that her pitch—which spoke deeply about her passion, ambition and desire to do what she loved doing the most—would convince us. Then she backed her talk with action until we couldn’t ignore her anymore.

Passion. Proficiency. Persistence.

And no shortcuts.

Sanjana graduated in Electronics engineering from BITS Pilani, and worked as a Software Development Engineer at Amazon before deciding to do her MBA from IIM Calcutta. She joins us as a Senior Brand Manager from P&G—where she managed some of the biggest consumer brands in the world.

You can say hello to Sanjana at sanjana at the-ken dot com. Or find her on Twitter at @ramachandranesk where she occasionally puts up humorous videos which I can honestly describe as…niche content.

Write to her. Follow her. Say hello.

Oh, by the way, we are still hiring for a Growth Marketer, so do apply here.

Lead Image : Jon Tyson on Unsplash


Praveen Krishnan

Praveen has over 9 years of experience in product management. Prior to The Ken, he was the Director of Product at InMobi. He holds an MBA from IIM, Bengaluru and an engineering degree in Electronics & Communications from NIT, Tiruchirappalli.

View Full Profile