VLAB Chair, Vivek Kumar, known for his positivity and ready-to-change-the-world mindset, was recently interviewed by VLAB blogger, Michelle McIntyre. Vivek had a lot to say about the application of artificial intelligence, why VLAB works, his early days with the organization, and whom he admires the most and why.

1. Silicon Valley is a special place partially because it’s such a diverse mix of people. Where are you from and how do you think that affects your leadership or work style?
I am from Jamshedpur, India which is close to Calcutta. Growing up in a developing country gives you a perspective about how fortunate we are to be in the Silicon Valley. Here we can share ideas and learn from them. My roots also keep me humble.

2. Where does your positive attitude come from?
I sincerely buy into volunteerism and have a servant-leadership mentality. If you bring like minded people together and have this attitude you can do some wonderful things.

3. What is your day job?
I’m a senior manager at Equinix (VLAB note: not be confused with Equifax.) I deal with digital technology and marketing and manage a team based in the U.S., India and Singapore.

4. How did you learn about VLAB? What year did you start volunteering and what was your first event like?
I learned about VLAB when I was looking for entrepreneur organization in the Bay Area. It was around 2003. One of my first VLAB events was about Google and ways it was innovating. At the time the company was IPOing.

5. What do you like most about VLAB?
The team and the people! We are like-minded, willing to come together for actionable discovery and learning.

6. What VLAB panel experience surprised you the most?
What surprised me most about VLAB is how we can make an impact beyond Silicon Valley. For example, we get comments from Africa on our YouTube channel.

7. Who is your hero and dream VLAB panelist?
I don’t have one hero but I like people who are spiritual and honest. For example, I like Warren Buffett and the Dalai Lama. I’d love to host Facebook Leader Sheryl Sandberg for a VLAB Fireside Chat. I heard she has a very good work and life balance. I would love to hear the whole activism, family, work, and leadership story.

8. Artificial intelligence (AI) seems to have made a huge impact on business the past couple of years. Why do you think that is?
Here’s how artificial intelligence is impacting my day job. After initial AI use cases work in enterprise, we’ll develop a bigger plan. We’ll use machine learning to gather insight into buying habits through the data. We’re also exploring two other things: how to use AI in email marketing to increase our open rate and how to use it to increase data center efficiency. In fact, we’re testing a virtual reality headset now.



This story was written by VLAB Blogger Michelle McIntyre, @FromMichelle on Twitter.