In 2006, University of Texas student, Shama Kabani was writing her thesis on Twitter. At a time when Twitter had a meager 2000 members, Shama was already envisioning and embracing the way that social media would change our landscape on nearly every level. Jump ahead 500 million registered users and welcome to the present day. I think we can all agree that this is a woman who epitomizes the term “Early Adopter.”
Shama used her vision and appreciation of social media to become the social media belle of the south, founding Marketing Zen Group in Dallas in 2009 after graduating from the University of Texas. And then she hit the ground running building her international, multimedia brand. Shama put a meager $1500 dollars into her global web-marketing agency, and within a year she was turning around six-figure revenues.
How did she do it?
Shama dove into social media just as it was busting at the seams for brands and corporations worldwide. She focused on showing clients how to better market their business online. Listening closely to her clients, though, Shama soon realized that what companies really wanted was a firm who could implement ideas for them, and guide them in the build out of websites and search engine optimization. Her loud listening skills proved successful, as that pivot in strategy led to nearly 400% revenue growth within the year
Marketing Zen is predicted to be a multi-million dollar company by 2014. Shama’s ability to monetize her ideas stems from new age thinking: virtual teams. Marketing Zen experiences very little overhead, with the majority of the team and key employees working remote.
Shama has leveraged her success as the founder and CEO of Marketing Zen to become what FastCompany.com has referred to as the “master millennial of the universe.” She is the bestselling author of The Zen of Social Media (2010). Touted as Top 25 Under 25 Entrepreneurs in America by BusinessWeek, Shama is now an international speaker. She also serves as an expert source for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Additionally, she is taking her social media guru-ness to the big (little) screen with her web TV show: Shama.Tv.
Shama attributes her success to keeping a curious mind, telling SPAN magazine, “School should teach you how to learn, but it is your responsibility to make learning a lifelong pursuit-especially when it comes to a field as young as social media and the digital world. The careers that exist today didn’t exist five years ago. And we have no idea what will come about in the next 10 to 15 years…” Amen to that.
As a product of Dallas myself, I’m proud to see Shama putting the south on the map within the technological space. She is proof that innovation can happen anywhere if you stay ahead of the curve. With little more than a sharp brain, a keyboard and a webcam, you have the ability to build a platform and become an expert in the field that you are most passionate about. So, what are you waiting for?