Interview with ADON KUMAR: The last few days as the President of Wine-Searcher
12×75.com would like to thank you for taking the time out to be interviewed. Before I ask you anything, I think it’s worth noting that you are stepping down as President of the company on the 30th September 2011, and you are currently serving your last week.
12×75: I think it may be best to start at the end here. Why are you leaving your current role and where are you off to next ?
I have enjoyed leading Wine-Searcher as its President for the last 4.5 years. It is my personal goal to move on to new opportunities and challenges every 5 years and that time has now come. I want to slow down and spend more time with my family and get involved in a number of new projects. These include eLearning, new startups and other ventures in the internet world. I have an academic and teaching qualifications in Applied Linguistics and will also do some teaching.
12×75: Describe to us what Wine-Searcher was like when you joined in 2007 ?
Wine-Searcher was a smaller company with less than 10 staff in 2007. I am proud to have been part of growing the company to a staff of 31 now and seeing its revenue and wine database grow considerably. In 2007, there were less wine search engines and social media was just beginning to make an impact. Bricks and mortar wine merchants were beginning to embrace online selling with more confidence.
12×75: Given that you have an IT background, how would you say this has helped evolve Wine-Searcher into the company it is today?
I spent over 20 years in the corporate IT world before I joined Wine-Searcher. That IT background gave me the confidence to help Wine-Searcher exploit aggressively and innovatively the potential of information technology for competitive advantage, especially in the world of wine and the Internet.
12×75: Wine-Searcher has been referred to quite often as the “google of the wine world” — how would you describe wine searcher ?
Independent provider of wine prices and information.
12×75: As a result of Wine-Searcher’s popularity, more and more competitor websites seem to be popping up. What are your thoughts on this, and why is it you think that Wine-Searcher is a cut above the rest?
Wine-Searcher does NOT clip the ticket. Listing is free, merchants are not charged any commission on sales. Users have free access to our wine database of nearly 5 million wine offers and 29,000 wine stores. We provide wine prices and wine content for the user to make informed choices, be they a wine novice, a connoisseur or a collector. Our model and independence is hard to beat. With the largest online database of wines why would anyone want to go anywhere else?
12×75: What will be your fondest memories of Wine Searcher?
Meeting great wine people all around the world via online and at the wine and technology conferences I spoke at over the last 4 years. Not to forget some great wines I was privileged to taste with wine gurus such as Jeannie Cho Lee, Bob Campbell and meeting wine stalwarts such as Jancis Robinson MW, Eric Levine (CellarTracker), Paul Mabray (Vintank) and many others including my competitors. My visit to Bordeaux, Vienna, Hong Kong and Napa are fabulous memories I will cherish. I was instrumental in introducing social media to Wine-Searcher and started their Facebook page over 2 years ago. I was its administrator and moderator until recently and enjoyed interacting with thousands of fans all around the world. This page now has over 90,000 fans!
12×75: In your opinion, other than 12×75.com, who couldn’t the world of wine live without?
12×75: You own and operate other websites as well as do a little bit of farming, tell our readers a little more about your interests outside of the wine world.
As a migrant, I have a passion for helping my fellow migrants who are struggling to settle or find the right jobs. So I teach English on a part time basis, speak at various migrant and employment seminars. As a Justice of the Peace I serve the community at large by witnessing and signing legal documents. My wife and I live on a 10 acre farm where we have 240 chestnut trees, 4 beef cattle and a dog. I enjoy doing all the farming work without any servants. I use the chainsaw, build fences, look after the cattle and have the calluses to prove it. I enjoy writing and dabbling with technology. So I am about to launch an innovative eLearning website that would automatically connect teachers and learners anywhere in the world and enable them to meet face to face via video conferencing technologies for one-on- one or group classes. I also have a passion for social media and eModerate other people’s websites especially their Facebook and Twitter channels. This is a service I can offer for other clients.
12×75: As someone who trades regularly in both Bordeaux and Burgundy stock, I found the new information that Wine-Searcher provides very helpful. Its graphs, scores and even maturity dates have stopped me reaching for my Parker book every 30 seconds. What other new surprises does Wine-Searcher intend to offer?
Wine-Searcher has more than prices on our site. You will see more useful content pages now and in the future. The wine buyer no longer needs to go to multiple sites for information. You only need to stop at Wine-Searcher.
12×75: Given that the Rugby World Cup is in New Zealand at the moment, what’s the atmosphere like there and who do you think is going to win?
The atmosphere is electric and the stadia are packed with local and international fans. Spring is in the air in New Zealand and the wine is also flowing. So far the All Blacks have won every match and will claim the Rugby World Cup.
12×75.com are very humbled by the fact that Adon agreed to do this interview in his final week at work. Neither Adon nor Wine-Searcher need any introduction. As a client, and a user of the site I truly think it has become an invaluable tool in the industry. Adon, we wish you the very best in your ventures. Thank you !!! – The Editor