Ken Herron is a cool hunter…. He believes writing is our single most powerful marketing tool and through his digital business, he is empowering people to communicate.
What’s your story?
I’m a cool hunter. I use technology to develop emotional connections between brands and their customers around the world, with new ideas, strategies and tools. Recruited out of graduate school by global mega-corporation AT&T, I did nothing but write my first few years. What’s funny is how it’s come full circle. We now live in a business world where it’s essential to be able to effectively engage business and consumer customers online, at scale, using words, images and videos to engage, educate and even entertain. Writing is arguably the single most important skill we have today as marketers.
What excites you most about your industry?
Change brings opportunity. The pace of change in technology, specifically in the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial/Ambient Intelligence (AI) spaces, has never been faster and the result is that the opportunities have never been greater. It’s exhilarating to realise none of the tools I now use and rely on, on a daily basis existed five years ago. And it’s terrifying to realize a good number of them did not exist 90 days ago.
What’s your connection to Asia?
Like many people who grew up in the Northern California Bay Area, it started in San Francisco. Chinatown. Japantown. The celebrations. The food. The people. I was very lucky. My kindergarten class didn’t have two students from the same country. My best friend Jay Jay’s parents had moved from India and I still remember the smells of the cooking and the colors of his father’s turban and his mother’s saris. Was it any surprise that I ended up, years later going to International Business school?
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
While it’s a patently unfair question, I will confess to loving Singapore. There’s such a different business energy and we’re seeing such forward-thinking — and government-supported — innovations in energy, transportation, healthcare, communications and other areas that will not only impact Asia, but the world for generations to come.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
The best advice I’ve received came from two different professors at university, who said the same thing in different ways. My speech professor told us the most important skills we could learn in school were writing and speaking. The ability to do both well — on demand — only increases in importance over time. And my astronomy professor told us that (despite his love for astronomy), his course wasn’t about learning his textbook (yes, he wrote it), but learning how to learn from any textbook. Together, their advice was the importance of how to both understand and be understood.
Who inspires you?
I write. I speak. I teach. I coach and I consult. So the people who inspire me every day are the people who I, in turn, support, motivate, and occasionally poke, to take full advantage of the incredible capabilities made available to us by new technologies — not just to increase revenues and decrease costs, but to achieve their vision and truly change the world.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
What have I learned recently that blew me away? I admit that I’m still trying to get my head around a 10,000 character tweet (https://twitter.com/KenHerron/status/684842258877685760)!
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
If I had a “do-over,” I would learn more languages in school. Yes, taking calculus looked good on the transcript; but in hindsight, taking Chinese would have been much more useful and definitely more fun!
How do you unwind?
I am very fortunate to live someplace warm and sunny. Simply going outside is a wonderful way to unwind.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Any postcard-picture beach…with high-speed WiFi!
Everyone in business should read this book:
While the marketer in me is tempted to recommend my own book, I recommend Scott Adams’ “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life.”
Shameless plug for your business:
Singapore’s Unified Inbox (http://unifiedinbox.com) has solutions for the Internet of Things (http://unificationengine.com), social media publishing (http://outbox.pro) and unified communications analytics (http://mediaflow.ac). We are creating cognitive solutions for automotive and other industries (http://talkdrivepost.com); social wearables for children, seniors and animals (http://teletimesinternational.com/documents/2016/TT_March16.pdf#page=53); and Artificial/Ambient Intelligence (AI) Messaging products for businesses and consumers (http://techseen.com/2016/03/16/unified-inbox-kimera-partner-bring-artificial-intelligence-messaging-devices/). Unified Inbox’s global solutions empower people and businesses to simply communicate.
How can people connect with you?
I encourage people to connect with me on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/kenherron.
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>
Connect with Callum here:
Get his free ‘Asia Snapshot’ report from www.callumlaing.com