Green & White gets a new look… whats next for this community?

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After maybe a year and half we got around to some of the gnw updates that have been long long due.

Here is whats new:

  • A new look – the header image just nails everything we stand for with coffee sessions, I think
  • Much better search – we integrated Google into the site
  • The author of each post should be clearer now – so hopefully no more attacking me for someone else’s post okay?
  • (finally) The sidebar shows all the authors and contributors of Green & White, along with a count of their posts – you can also only read their specific posts by clicking on them
  • Discover, connect and talk to other twitter users who visit green & white – remember to sign in to the sidebar widget so other people can find you
  • Twitter replies to blog post are also integrated with the post comments – haven’t tested this though
  • And yes… more visible ads – hey, if you have advertisers like AT&T, Microsoft and Semantic willing to buy adspace here, its hard to say no!

Let us know what you think of the new look, really, as well as things you still want to see in terms of features. The site may feel bulky and slow right now because some backend maintenance needs to be done.

So, what does this update mean in terms of regularly seeing stuff from Green & White? Read on…

So, what’s next for Green & White?

To be honest, I’m waiting to find the right void to fill. I think part of the reason Green & White is where it is in terms of its loyal followers is because I’ve always looked out for where there’s a gap that we can contribute to with our efforts.

Green & White was the first to objectively and regularly cover extensive news about the IT industry – back when we started no one was talking about it at all (read the About page which still has the original text). That journey made us the first IDG-supported publication in this region – and its good to see that with that example now there’s a dozen or so professional blogs about the local industry and that the number’s growing. The only void left there is objectivity, but I hope the rest of the bloggers will get more responsible on that.

We were the first to seriously, openly and publicly recognize some of the major issues prevalent in the industry as a way of sparking discussion on how to solve those challenges. Its something that I’ve gotten a lot of personal attacks for doing too – a lot of people here would rather sit in glass and ivory towers pretending that there is nothing wrong with the industry… they’d attack anyone who tries to talk about the unethical things that do infact occur or the trainwreck that they might be heading towards. The decision to want to discuss wrongdoings and challenges has made me see incredible backlash from just about everyone – companies have actually gone to the extent of hiring goons to make several online personas and do personal attacks against me (two companies did this). Despite all the slander, resistance, whining and complaining, my conscious is clear for doing so – SOMEONE needs to talk about the things that arent going so well and SOME OTHER people should be open enough to collaboratively find solutions rather than continuously play politics around each other. That was the original vision for Green & White and while I dont think we achieved it, atleast we were the first to demonstrate that open, spirited discussions CAN create results that are greater than the sum of their parts. My conscious is clear, but the onus is on people’s ability to "work" with each other without constantly dumping on a wave of negativity, slander and pessimism that’s going to fill that void.

We were also I believe the first to openly, in a public online platform, seriously address the need to create and promote and entrepreneurship culture. Starting with Obaid’s initial work at Wixd, we made a firm resolve to find, support and promote entrepreneurs fighting all odds here. And I think even to this day we’ve found more startups from the trenches and the field than anyone else trying to do the same. Now, its good to see that entrepreneurship culture is in full swing and several bodies like TIE, MITCEF, TAN, PASHA, and others are organizing support structures around entrepreneurship. Obviously its pompous to say that we started it, and yes much of it might have happened without us as well (except for the discovery of new startups, which NO ONE is able to do properly still) but I certainly believe that when the scales of time are opened and judgement must be passed, there is probably something we did that counts as a positive contribution to the support of entrepreneurs. My conscious is clear… the void that I see is left in entrepreneurship culture has to do with quality, and that can only be filled with the entrepreneurs themselves coming out of their safety nets and taking on bigger and more ambitious problems.

And while it might be debatable to some – I’ll say this straight up: that I set the founding vision for Startup Insiders – perhaps the most loved IT event series in the past few years. From September 2007 when we committed on GnW that we’d support entrepreneurs to Dec 2007 we planned out the model, its brand, laid the foundation for the grassroots movement that it became, and worked with Ali Raza from Mulazamat to give it a bit more shape. Then in January 08 I sought out PASHA and got them interested in partnering up with us on the project. Whether or not anyone now wants to recognize me as a founder of the Startup Insiders series is left to the people currently overseeing the event, but me and my team knows the contribution of Green & White in its foundation.

I was also the first to leave support for Startup Insiders the moment I thought I was moving away from being a true support initiative and towards something else, but my conscious is still clear, and I think that void of encouraging and supporting new entrepreneurs to get going is also well on its way to being fulfilled because of all the different organizations involved, especially Dr. Zahir, Mr. Azhar Rizvi and Jehan Ara.

 

So the way of things (and rightly so) is always that once a gap is identified and someone is digging around it to fill it in, other people join in too, and eventually these gaps fill up really quickly.

Which comes back to what I think Green & White can do next. See one of the myths that I should clear up is that for me GnW isnt a part of my business. We’re doing some fantastic work at CDF Software that I’m also very proud of, even though a lot of it isnt out in the open yet. But the truth is that despite the ads you’ll see running on this site, a person can easily easily make 6 times the revenue (compared to the ads) in other business lines that require an equal amount of effort…. and make no mistake, Green & White requires a looooooot of effort. Like Sohaib Athar (ReallyVirtual) correctly said here, we HAVE been doing a lot of work to create original content… starting from finding the news outside of press releases, hunting sources, cross-examining them, fact-checking them, and writing, editing and scheduling them (and since our posts were for the local market, dealing with the headache and backlash and whining and politics that inevitably follows)

So why would our team want to put in the effort if there’s a greater opportunity elsewhere? Quite simply for the same reason that the entire community of readers, commenters, guest blog writers (all of whom are senior people in busy companies) find the time to participate…. that doing this together gives us the chance to truly do something remarkable.

I think Green & White is a platform that can enable anyone to use it to change the world – to find gaps which need to be addressed, to build momentum, attention and discussion around them until enough people are working on it that it is resolved.

It doesnt matter if I’m in the thick of this or not – gnw is already grown beyond me and has been embraced by people who (still) email me 2-3 times a week requesting to guest-blog here, or asking to talk about new initiatives or ideas for projects they’d like to work with GnW on.

Its humbling, but it also means that our mission is to find the next big void to fill, and that that is only something that we as a community will have to figure out together.

 

I mean look, I still have in front of me 5 breaking news and 4 undiscovered startups who’ve requested coverage. I’ve been waiting to see if this stuff is going to be covered elsewhere but so far no one’s covered it. So if I wanted we could all continue down this path of finding, sourcing and breaking news…. but if the reader community doesnt want that, then perhaps there really isnt a gap there after all.

 

So what do we do next? Is green & white and its set of values still needed today; is there something worthwhile and important enough to spurn intelligent discussion or thought analysis on? This is something you have to tell me.

 

I’ll be fine if its not needed – like I said my conscious is clear. I’ve had the incredible opportunity of living through some amazing moments in this journey – from this person who was actually overwhelmed in the first startup insiders session when we met them, to the amount of good wishes that a LOT of you have given me many times, to every blog comment that said "Great post!" and "Thank you for this post!" that made my day, to finding a person with all the answers I was looking for just in the moment of big despair.

:) My conscious is clear – EVERYTHING in this journey… the highs, the lows, the arguments and debates, despair and laughter, hypocrisy and sincerity, hope and awe…. EVERYTHING thats happened so far has been completely worth the opportunity of living through it and earning the respect and trust of even a single person out there.

And I’m sure everything that is going to happen on Green & White next will be worth it too – but lets just come together and share ideas on what is worthwhile enough for this remarkable community to do next.

 

Thank you to everyone who’s made this community possible, especially the authors and contributors (see their list on the right sidebar!)

 

Oh, and do let me know what you think of the new look.

Facebook comments:

19 Comments

  • Middle aligned?

  • Osama! I’m still digesting the big post, but on the UI – dude I miss the old one, it had that Paki feeling to it. This theme is purely out for the adsense junkies.

  • Good to see this alive and kicking, let me know what i can do to keep it ticking

  • >> Is green & white and its set of values still needed today?

    BIG YES! Actually I miss regular updates in G&W. There was a time when there were more frequent updates on G&W.

  • I agree with @Salman. I am missing ‘Green’ of Pakistan in new design.

  • Thanks for the comments guys – yea the Paki colors were nice….

    … anyone want to help us make a killer header image that we can use to showcase our ‘green’ again?

  • Hi,

    N nice try, more professional looking now. But yes can add green a bit with this white to taste the paki green as well as reflect the name Green & White. Also need to distingush some section from each other to make them eye catching at first time.

    Also give some more width to central bar with ‘Top Today’ and ‘Poll’ in it, perhaps can shrink the right most bar a little.

    Regards

  • Congratulations Osama and team!

    The change of scenery was much needed – I never quite liked the old design but the content was great and that kept me coming – which is what’s most important!

    The new look is refreshing and more readable which was obviously one of your objectives. A few tiny suggestions, some of which have been highlighted in comments above:

    1. A little more reading width would help, text and ads seem horizontally cramped at the moment at least on Chrome which is what I’m using.

    2. Center aligned, sort of like Techcrunch would also help the eye focus more easily. I see myself straining to start from the left of the page which is a bit uncomfortable.

    3. The ad right above the headline is extremely distracting (it’s doing it’s job well!) and the widgets at the top right of the page are not well aligned and also distracting. I’m not down with the correct techie lingo but aligning the various sections of the page should make the text easier to view, I think.

    5. I like Trebuchet (is that what you’re using) but TechCrunch type Veranda (I think that’s what they use) might look good as well. Maybe I’m biased but I like reading TechCrunch (it’s green and white too!).

    Essentially the page needs to be balanced but I’m sure that will happen over the coming weeks, insha Allah.

    Finally I big THANK YOU for keeping this going. I thoroughly enjoy this blog and it’s especially good to have you back on the front page – GnW is not the same without you Osama.

  • Welcome back. I had no idea that I had 50 posts here :)

    Its Friday evening so I’ll revisit and add more comments. Will leave you with this:
    http://telecompk.net/2009/02/27/checklist-for-aspiring-entrepreneurs/

  • Thank you Mahmood – really appreciate it

  • The new look is clean and up-to-date. Well done!

    In particular, the new dark black font on the high contrast white or light blue backgrounds (it is light blue, isn’t it? or pink? gray? am I even close? argh…) is easy to read for us colorblind people.

    OA, your personal optimism and can-do attitude are an inspiration. You and the rest of the GnW team are a national asset.

  • I am almost convinced that your conscious is clear. Perhaps if you said it one more time, it’d have completely convinced me :-)

  • Anthony – gosh

    Urouge – its clear!

  • Great post! I like the new look, it’s nice and refreshing. Really appreciate the time and effort you guys put into GnW!!

  • great comment dude, I think you are right

  • I’m impressed by the new look, I thought that GnW lost its spirits somewhere last December but its good to see that GnW is reviving back to fuller and better form.
    I like the changes made here and the header is superb. Whoever made the header is pretty creative.

  • I like the new look it is refreshing and easier to read. Thanks for the changes.

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