Thanks for supporting the ‘Book Launch’ in Colombo

Just got back, after what seems like a whirlwind book launch.

ParkStreetMews_5I’ve had to use the quote marks around ‘book launch’ because it was not originally planned that way. A series of events, coordinated by some of my friends at the last moment was beyond my expectations.

Those who made this happen included:


While I got to talk of some of the most timely topics covered in the book — Transparency, for instance– I got to meet some very smart people changing the game of marketing, media and communications.

Social Media, which has been on the back burner for many in Sri Lanka (some say it still is, but that’s a debatable point) is being embedded in so many places it was hard to keep up. More on this in a post, later.

If you are interested, check for video clips at, and #ChatRepublic hashtag on Twitter.

Microphones or Hash Tags?

Last evening, at the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing event for Chat Republic, we tried to get the audience to chime in.

Some of the areas covered by the panel, which included representatives from a Leading Ad Agency, a Telco, a Research company, a Digital Media company and a Multi-Media publisher were topics that were outside the comfort zone of marketers. We did have some good questions, especially from someone who represented a startup digital shop, and those that came via Twitter.

But it makes me wonder about what compels someone in the audience to not pick up a microphone and ask a question, but instead do it in 140 characters. There is no right answer. It could be that for Gen Y, a hash tag is a more ‘authentic’ way to ask a question, since it is also in a public space. (We requested the use of the hash tag #ChatRepublic). Or are mics, sort of passe? Too much a left over from old media?

I tried to make my keynote less of a lecture and more as a conversation. In fact, on impulse –believe me, it wasn’t planned — I decided to step down from the stage as I tried to make the point of how social media, just like in education today, is all about getting off our soap boxes: Getting the sage off the stage.

In the end, I would have liked more tough questions. I am sure the panel would have liked to hear contrarian view points. The most contrarian one actually came from the least expected source – the moderator, Nimal Gunewardena.