Entrepreneur Samir Saluja Launches New Company: Ahrian LLC

We caught up with Samir Saluja, who we’ve covered before when he started DeriveOne about his new venture, Ahrian LLC.

Marketing Darwinism:  Tell us about Ahrian, your new firm.

Samir:  Thanks Paul.  Ahrian is a boutique consulting firm that will take on a limited number of deep customer partnerships this year.  We work on audience development, innovation and innovation processes, channel empowerment, and market development.  Underpinning these concepts is data, research, and technology.  I’m as excited about Ahrian as I have been about anything else professionally.

Marketing Darwinism: Ahrian – great name.  Tell us more.

Samir:  Well, I must admit, Ahrian is the name of my son.  Just as he’s the light of my full life, this company is the light of my work life.

Marketing Darwinism: You were at Microsoft for a long time.  How does your experience there inflect your work at Ahrian?

Samir:  At Microsoft, I was surrounded by really driven, smart people who thought about speed and scale.  When I co-founded DeriveOne, we wanted to combine speed and scale with actionable insights for companies that were seeking outside help to validate hypotheses and understand their customers, and then with our Project Simile joint venture we have been applying recent advances in machine learning to help customers measure metaphor resonance for brand and communication strategies. With Ahrian, I am synthesizing all my past experience- even my experience in International Trade, to bring to bear the entire panoply of services to my customers.

Marketing Darwinism: You openly say that you aren’t seeking any and all customers, just the right ones.  In fact you call these customer partnerships.  Please walk us through that logic.

Samir:  Deep relationships are partnerships and the only way to truly serve customers is my discovering, exploring, and building together.  I do not want to add only a thin-layer of value but to be considered a real team member, just with a different email address.  Without that depth, you miss context and nuance and without complexity and attending to nuance, you cannot create lasting products and solutions.  Ahrian is my ode to that concept.

Marketing Darwinism: Are you focusing on particular verticals?

Samir:  Yes and no.  We do a lot of work with technology companies and with their ecosystem.  We also work with Fintech and other adjacent areas.  We do so from the vantage point of data-driven growth combined with wisdom and experience.  Ahrian is a prescriptive company but never is it implied that we know better, only that we have an alternative point of view that should be considered.  That has resonated very well in these sectors and will hopefully elsewhere as well.

Marketing Darwinism: What are you most excited about?

Samir:  Building a true boutique firm.  A McKinsey of sorts without the baggage and overhead.

Second, I want to be friends with all my customer partners.  It’s not worth doing if you can’t enjoy your time with people.  If the pandemic has taught us anything it is that life is short, and all solutions start with investing time in people that inspire and fulfill you personally and professionally.

Written by Paul Dunay
Paul Dunay is an award-winning B2B marketing expert with more than 20 years’ success in generating demand and creating awareness for leading technology, consumer products, financial services and professional services organizations. Paul is the global vice president of marketing for Maxymiser a leading web optimization firm, and author of four “Dummies” books: Facebook Marketing for Dummies (Wiley 2009), Social Media and the Contact Center for Dummies (Wiley Custom Publishing 2010), Facebook Advertising for Dummies (Wiley 2010) and Facebook Marketing for Dummies 2nd Edition (Wiley 2011). His unique approach to marketing has led to recognition of Paul as a BtoB Magazine Top 25 B2B Marketer of the Year for 2010 and 2009 and winner of the DemandGen Award for Utilizing Marketing Automation to Fuel Corporate Growth in 2008. He is also a finalist for the last six years in a row in the Marketing Excellence Awards competition of the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA), and is a 2010 and 2005 gold award winner in Driving Demand. Buzz Marketing for Technology, Paul’s blog, has been recognized as a Top 20 Marketing Blog for 2009 and 2008, a Top Blog to Watch for 2009 and 2008, and an Advertising Age Power 150 blog in the “Daily Ranking of Marketing Blogs.” Paul has shared his marketing thought leadership as a featured speaker for the American Marketing Association, BtoB Magazine, CMO Club, MarketingProfs, Marketing Sherpa, Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), and ITSMA. He has appeared on Fox News, and his articles have been featured in BusinessWeek, The New York Times, BtoB Magazine, MarketingProfs and MarketingSherpa. Paul holds an Executive Certificate in Strategy and Innovation from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Computer Science from Ithaca College.