Feb. 22, 2004
Letter of Reference
Re: Rajiv Pant
From: Ken Doctor, VP/Content Services, Knight Ridder Digital
Few people elicit great enthusiasm from reference writers. In my now-30-year-career in journalism, I can count those on just several hands. Rajiv Pant, happily, is one of those.
HR professionals, or baseball managers, would tell you that Rajiv has a full set of tools. He’s already deployed those tools well, as a pioneer, an innovator, a survivor and a very good human being.
I first met Rajiv at some online conference somewhere about six years ago. He immediately impresses, with his intelligence, his enthusiasm and his natural courtesy. These are traits that I found to be consistent and growing, as we first worked long-distance, he in Philadelphia and I in San Jose, for the then-nascent Knight Ridder online operations.
In a field in which many ‘techies’ could quickly overwhelm the non-techies with jargon, or make the simplest problem an unbelievable complexity, Rajiv stood out. He combines a techie’s love of how things work, with an entrepreneur’s love of how they could work. Importantly, he’s a collaborator by instinct as well, helping others — whether colleagues in the hierarchy, subordinates or superiors — bring their ideas to life, describing options to bringing those ideas to fruition.
I believe his resume speaks for itself, in the breadth of projects he’s taken on and led, from Philadelphia’s publishing and entertainment systems to Knight Ridder’s own digital publishing solutions. What further stands out in my mind is that in the midst of such accomplishments, he knows how to make time for the ideas of others, or for such projects as creating a prototypical KR toolbar on the weekend, for ‘fun.’
It’s hard to figure out or suggest a career path for him. His expertise, already extends both to core print publishing operations and to digital ones. Importantly, my work on the digital side (after 20+ in print) has taught me that it is the marriage of such systems that is the future of publishing. The courtship has begun, and it hasn’t been pretty. It will continue for years, and Rajiv’s experience positions him well for the many challenges involved. Further, he would bring more purely ‘digital’ companies the accumulated experience of those experienced in the content world.
At the same time, I hope that Rajiv’s natural leadership skills are nurtured as well. He works well with people and I believe he’ll be able to lead larger and more complex teams as he takes on further challenges.
I can give the rarest reference — hire him, before someone else does — and offer any further view you may require.
(Published with permission)