Kudos Series – 3: A requiem for Cressoft, and tipped hats to PSEB

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The Pakistan Software Export Board grew into a mature professional organization under the leadership of Dr. Aamir Matin. A quick thank you from the nation to the former MD (who is now heading up Cisco Pakistan).

Recently, however, Mr Yusuf Hussain took helm of the organization, and I couldn’t feel more comfortable in the choice.

Mr. Hussain is the former head of Cressoft, one of the highlights of the Glory Days of the Pakistani IT Industry 1.0.

Although I was not in Pakistan at that time, everything I have heard about Cressoft tells me that it was perhaps the one company in the history of IT companies in Pakistan that was getting it right. Unfortunately, it collapsed in the dot bust.

As an example of the quality of the leadership from Cressoft: When Cressoft collapsed, the leadership all created their own companies which are now Streaming Networks, Care, (and perhaps also LMKR and Netsol? Someone correct me here) — all of which are strong companies in their own merits.

As another example, every average engineer that got out of the Cressoft experience is still considered one of the most valuable managers at any company they are working for. The most important value seen in those engineers is that ‘they understand business operations’.

Cressoft is still the only company that I have heard of in PK (not counting CDF) that actually had the following (these are just the basics, but you’d be surprised how many companies do not do these):

  • Constant recruitment of fresh graduates regardless of demand — and the placement of the recruits into a training boot camp to shape them into final professionals by the time demand ramps up
  • 6 months extensive training on well-planned training tracks within the company — with intensive training on culture, ethics and professionalism
  • An appraisal process that was fair and considered employee ambition and potential in addition to achievements.
  • Project Lifecycles that were created as gated pipelines — strictly disallowing the project to move into another stage until all “advancement criteria” were met
  • High-level research, and design work on Computer Architecture (processor design), Embedded Systems, Video Alogirthms etc. outsourced to a team of about 600 engineers.

I have been evangelising similar internal environments for a good while now. So, why can’t the rest of the firms just learn from Cressoft? Is it a case of ‘ lack of vision in management’ ? Tell me your thoughts.

I can already see some positive changes on PSEB — the most useful one being the bulletin. It is always great to see good corporate social responsibility, and most appreciated when seeing it from the facilitator to the IT industry.

Welcome, Mr. Hussain. Good luck, and looking forward to another good leadership term at PSEB

Facebook comments:


  • Please! Please! Please! Didn’t you learn the right way…. everyone is an asshole until and unless proven otherwise. :)

  • There is no link of LMKR management toEx- Cressoft managenet. Mr.Atif khan Shabana khan,Tayyab Malik,Rolf, James and Aftab were not related to above mentioned It company.Cheers http://www.lmkr.com

  • Thanks for the correction

  • Muhammad Asif Razzaque

    I have known Dr. Amir Matin for the last 5 years. I have infact worked as a junior team member. I did meet him a month back at his simple and functional CISCO Country Manager room. Always there to guide and consolidate thoughts for minds-in-the-making.

    I have infact experienced the positive impact of his leadership at PSEB while setting up Pakistan’s 7th Private Sector STP namely Bahria Town Complex, The Mall, Lahore. The entire process from documentation to implementation was smooth swift and by the book.

    He is a man that every aspiring entrepreneur and leader can look upto and gain some practical value.

  • Cressoft was good, had friends working there, few settled in US now. I am not sure how active PSEB is, in promoting and exporting Pakistan’s IT Talent abroad. I mean doing exhibitions or taking few “businessmen” on trip is not enough. PSEB has to take initiatives like training courses, support in product (and services) development, quality management and pulling work from abroad etc.

  • Asif Mateen

    I know this is a bit off-topic, however, our software industry image really needs to be improved. We need to do something to do some positive marketing of the entire industry. I recently came across this article:


    I think you guys can really do something to rebuff comments like these about Pakistani industry.

  • Asif,

    Aren’t we already doing that? More people come to Green & White from abroad than the article you linked to, and when they do come, they see (hopefully) smart people writing insightful articles.

    Our articles have already been highlighted on ComputerWorld, InBabble magazine, TechDirt’s Insight Community and more. Whenever we do this, our brand (“Green & White”) goes with it, and hence a promotion of the strength of the industry.

    From the people who have visited us on Green & White (Dave Wolf from theperfectCEM, Hugh and Steve from Microsoft, Geoffrey James from BNet), all have been impressed with the vibrant community of commenters, participants, authors discussing issues that relate to their own IT industry in a positive way.

    You’re right though – we will keep on doing this, but can do this with your constant participation! Keep reading,


  • Well, your comments about Cressoft might be applicable to the initial days of the company. I joined the company in 2001; worked there for 9 months and left before its Karachi office closed down (in 2003).

    I can list down numerous mistakes of the high-ups in the organization including center managers and Vice Presidents.

    CresSoft collapsed more so of its own mistakes and less so due to dot com bust.

  • My company is also founded by one of the cressoft graudates, and from the leadership style we have here, i can only imagine what kind of a place cressoft was.

    yes, it did make mistakes and went down, but the structure they back then was far far ahead of it’s time.

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