Baby Steps for Setting up Your Own Business

A lot of times, I hear or am part of a conversation that carries great advice or instills inspiration. This keeps me coming and writing something for this blog. Following is an advice someone, who has been successful (after a few attempts), was giving to a young entrepreneur who is just starting off. (both of them are in the IT profession and, of course, both of them are in Pakistan thus the 50k figure makes sense here).

Let me share it with you (unedited)

1. If you are making 50,000 PKR / month from you job, make sure that you cover this bare-minimum from your venture. If you can’t achieve this, go and do a a stable job, and shout at your HR Manager, Finance Manager and CEO :)

2. Once you have your basic “Rozi Roti” set, think of making something big. For initial 1-2 years, if you can make 3x of your current salary, you are safe so making around 1800 to 2000 $ a month is a good target.

3. Start with services and then slowly move towards products. Less aggressive :) but make sure you survive through product development life-cycle

OR

Agressive route is to worry about funds for 1 year, and then fully indulge in your own product but make sure you earn / get profitable after 1 year ( till you can breath without a stable job ).

Thoughts, Comments?

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20 Comments

  • I will have to disagree with the 50k analogy and I think it is exactly what is discouraging the youth of Pakistan from stepping into the entrepreneur domain.
    If your are expecting you will get same,2x or 3x of your current pay in your first 6-12 months then it’s a long shot and will eventually lead you to be become frustrated after 6-8 months and get back to your job.
    You should put aside 2-2.5 years when you leave the job. Don’t think about money and try your best. You need to be patient and persistent and in most cases you will be well off after 2 yrs then your job. So don’t let your 50k job be any hurdle in taking the initial step.
    There are numerous examples of startups right here in Pakistan who started slow but they persisted and after 2-3 years they really came into there own.

  • @Azeem : I think we need to understand the categorization done by author: In short he created 2 categories
    1. Those who need 50 K Cash : They are ones’, who contribute to their family income and cant take risk.
    I agree for them remaining cash flow positing and keep generating required cash inflow is important to stay peaceful and focus on work.

    2. Those who dont need 50 K cash and can sustain longer :- Those people should go and try working on products and there are numerous examples of these people. I guess mostly enterprenuers belong to similar category.

    However, the guide we all are looking for is : who have to generate 50 K cash to support their families .

  • I think starting startups is overrated. People should stick to their jobs and make a good and comfortable living for themselves and their families :)

    Beside products don’t have too much future in near term in Pakistan. No exit opportunities, no VC, and no infrastructure for monetization except too small to be interesting. For services, just keep in your existing company and its a much better bet than getting into hassles of getting projects, haggling over 15-20$/hr or bidding like crazy over the numerous project portals. A 9-6 or sometimes 8 job is fine for 99% of us.

  • @Ali Ammar:
    I don’t believe you understand what a startup is. What you are referring to is service outsourcing which is a defined business model and unless you’re innovating, you’re not doing a startup.

    Secondly, you couldn’t be far from the truth. Startups are not over-rated we *direly* need them right now. We need entrepreneurship to bring about better change in Pakistan. Ambitious guys and girls that can go with a business idea and change the huge problems Pakistan has. The bigger our problems, the larger the returns from our solutions.

    I’d like to comment on the actual post but I don’t really understand the advice given here :)

  • Wow, so many old readers commenting on this one :) good to see.
    @Nash, advice is for some one who started his own shop after leaving the job and immediatly started throwing out ideas around, so the advice is basically first make sure the bases are covered before you venture into pursuing your idea otherwise the pressure from family mounts and you end up leaving it half way

  • @Ali Ammar:- Lets review the stat. Please get head count of bigger companies in 2007 and in 2010. You would at max see a slight increase. Get number of graduates each year from universities like FAST , LUMS , UET , PUCIT, PICS , NUST etc – You would see a clear mis-match. In my opinion the IT sector survived because of startups, and new venture creation.

    Also review profiles of CEO’s in Pakistan. Most are expatriates or wealthy individuals. In my humble opinion, both are crazy about short term gains and lack the vision to desire to create a cutting edge technology company from Pakistan. Most companies are back office, and hence never get the required media hype required for uplifting countries image.

    Furthermore, Jobs are not bad either because startups also need employees. However, we have to understand that someone needs to do startup as well. Its a need, and someone amongst us need to fulfill the need.

    @Nash : The advice , in my understanding is
    1. You cannot innovate unless you have cash flow issues settled up
    2. Use services for surviving and drive your growth through products

  • Few things which would make this advice more acceptable maybe.

    Last few days I have met individuals with following issues (all three are founding members of their own startup. and these are real cases I am not making any one of them up.

    Case 1. A student fresh out of college did not go to a job and worked on an idea, he has a good momentum with some bright future, how ever he is not making equal money as his batch fellows are (he is working from home for 2 years), which results in an immense pressure from Family and Friends as to him being a failure, which means that besides having to deal with the startup pain his moral takes a beating on daily bases. He is surviving but for how long we don’t know.

    Case 2. Another student fresh out of college was in a startup with friends, they launched a couple of products (think facebook/iphone product), but gave up due to family pressure and left his partners for a regular job at a multinational firm.

    Case 3. An experienced individual left his job with about 1 year of cash reserves he saved for expense of his family (this one was married and had worked for some 5 years). worked with a partner on product ran out of cash and as the product was nearing launch since he could not provide a comfortable life for family out of pressure and guilt of making them suffer left his partner high and dry and went back to corporate job. Result the product was not launched.

    So the fire in the belly keeps you going for initial months but what we have around us effects us a lot, to shield your self from it you need to at least be making enough to show success to our family and friends from a monitory perspective other wise it wears you down ultimately.

    So the advice is spot on if you have responsibility or have a family and friends who do not understand the startup risks and rewards (I guess it applies to most of us).

  • Some very well argued points by Qazi… I think fresh graduates should go for a job initially for 1-2 years to look into market and see how things and professional environment works.Its better u join a startup and see how it grows..it helps u learn on how to establish and grow…and when after 1-2 years you have enough experience and confidence in your own abilities is the perfect time to start something of your own.

    @Ali Ammar : Yes you have to bid like crazy in start,work extremely hard and take a lot of pressure but the benefits u reap few years down the road are much greater…as we say in Punjabi “Jina Gur Pao ge Una Mitha Hoye Ga”(More sugar u add,more sweet it will become):P.

    Startups are backbone of IT Industry and may be one day some revolutionary idea like Google or Facebook may emerge from these startup.

  • Hmm … looks like I achieved my goal of starting a discussion for a change :)

    So let me answer:

    1. @Abdul Azeem Khan: bidding like crazy is a 0 sum game. You first need to get projects (“any” projects) so you bid low, because you bid low you can hardly meet the cashflow, because you have cashflow issues you need to bid more (to build up scale) and to get more project you bid low or even lower! So you get stuck in a cycle where you are constantly running after projects, meeting deadlines and at the end of the day you think – I am working harder than my peers but making less! WHY? And then you tell yourself, “I have bright future infront of me because it feels so exciting and I have so many product ideas!”

    Sadly, statistically speaking, most guys just end up wasting time.

    2. The article’s basic point is that you need to have investment before you start. Remember, money begets money. If you have no money to start with, it’s gonna be a hard hard hard fight and we dont need to romanticize it – our IT industry is pretty short of good people so instead of starting your failed-future-startup just make your existing company more successful.

    3. @Shahzad, sadly the long term view for Pakistan is a bit tricky these days. We all love our country but let’s be realistic. i) no one is investing in local tech startups, ii) the local tech startups except those that are in services or doing products for international market, are struggling (except a rare few) iii) the infrastructure for monetization of products is missing which is both an opportunity and a hurdle but for most startups the chances of success are slim.

    4. @Nash, bhai startup is not about “innovation”, it’s about a new business that is just starting up. If business models do not exist, then why start new businesses? Just to prove something to yourself and others? Call yourself “enterpreneooor”? You guys are probably doing good for yourself but I doubt it’s “that” good even despite your best efforts compared to your traditional business lines. Okay fine – you are thinking “looooong” term – best of luck with that! 😉

    Sorry guys – i still think this entire startup bit is overrated, imported from Silicon Valley and does not fit into our ground realities. Stick to the companies that are successful, help them become mega success and then when you have loads of savings then take a plunge into your innovative ideas.

  • @Shahzad, regarding who needs 50k to support their families – depends on the standard of living. Let me give you a break up for myself in lahore for a family of 3:

    1. Rent: 25k
    2. Car petrol/gas: 8k
    3. Kid (3 year old) kindergarden: 5k
    4. Grocery: 7k
    5. Electricity, gas and other bills: 10k (and it keeps increasing)

    Total: 50k+ .. no clothes + toys included.

    So i think even 50k is too less.

  • Here are my opinions:

    @Qazi: I believe if you have hard responsibilities like being the bread-earner of your family or having other dependants; you shouldn’t do a startup in Pakistan. Period. Doing a startup is a *luxury* for those who have the *means*. That means people who are on the peak of the pyramid; kids from say LUMS, GIKI etc who have enough family support that even if they make 0 in the first 2-3 years, it won’t be a problem. Having wealthy family & friends is also a critical part of your very first seed.

    A startup is all about risks. If you need the nice, soft, comfy safety of a job. Please keep away. If you are too weak to stand up to pressure from friends and family, please stay away. If you care more about what your friends are earning, please, for the love of God, stay away from startups. Startups are very high pressure and if you can’t even convince your family you will never be able to convince customers. Don’t fool yourself, you are not an entrepreneur.

    And don’t expect to be “rich” by just doing a job; unless you’re one of the top 100 in Pakistan and that you will be after 12-20 years. Nothing wrong or bad with that but people who do startups have much higher ambition. They are game changers, people who move the world. Not the 9-5er.

    So, I don’t think the “50k” idea is good because it is very easy for one month not to have 50k. What then? If you cannot adapt to uncertainty, you can’t do this.

    @Ali Ammar: You’re wrong: A startup is *only* about innovation. It is *not* about a new business starting up. Starting a petrol pump is *not* innovation. Starting a khokha is *not* innovation. They might be first time business for the new owner but definitely not startups.

    There is only *one* goal for a startup and that is to find a profitable, scalable & repeatable business model for your innovation. Read that last line again: find a profitable, scalable & repeatable business model for your innovation. That is it. You are confusing the notion of “freelancing” or even perhaps “outsourcing” with doing a startup. These are very different. None of these are startups.

    Anyone can be a freelancer or a software outsourcer; these are now well-established business models and there is no innovation here. There are thousands of freelancers and outsourcers online on any project bidding site to the extent that it has now become a commodity. Gaining customers in freelancing or outsourcing is about differentiation (how are you better than your counterparts), price & credibility.

    Saying that “startups are over-rated” is misguided and naive especially when you do not understand what a startup actually is. Every new innovative entity is a startup and when a startup becomes successful it then becomes a business. Every large company today started as one. If we all thought like you, there would be no companies and we would be the blind, leading the blind.

  • Interesting and passionate comments Nash – but they are just that. :) I like your passion for being innovative and changing the world but unfortunately it’s mostly motivational rhetoric – typical bookish motivational stuff for entrepreneurs. I don’t like to engage in rhetoric (though sometimes out of pure fun I may :) ) so I’ll try to explain this to you with some factual data (you won’t understand though because you are living your dream right now 😛 and it’s most for others):

    1. A startup is not about innovation. It’s about finding a business model and making a comfortable living. If a job gets you a better living thats what you do, if your own idea gets you richer, you do that. As I said above, the only sustainable lower risk ventures are services which don’t scale much in Pakistan unless you have someone in your “source” markets.

    2. Heard of Sofizar? Kind of one of the most celebrated startups around? Does it have “innovative” model? Building niche affiliate portals is innovative? It’s more like being really kick ass SEO/PPC specialists than creating some disruptive technology or a new innovative business model. Look around in Silicon valley, there are rarely “new” business models, its mostly about solving existing problems in a way that can marketed and sold easily. Services like outsourcing, petrol pumps, retail outlets are all also “start”+”ups”. Just because you feel good about a “new product” you have created, doesn’t mean others who work their asses off to win projects and meet their cashflows and try to achieve their dreams are any less of enterpreneurs. However, the point is not that – the point is that there is usually no point starting a new “TECH” start-up in Pakistan whether you are rich or not unless ofcourse you meet one of the following criteria:

    a. you have acccess to funds and you can travel abroad to see what’s been done around the world first hand – reading techcrunch is not the best alternative.

    b. you have access to creating business models where you can either expect to create revenue streams OR expect to be bought OR expect to have other sources of revenues.

    Lastly, (disclaimer: to create more controversy here:)) I would like to know how much “more” successful are you compared to techlogix, sofizar (they say their grew revenues from $1 Million – $ 25 Million in a few years, I really wanna find out how though because the traffic rankings on Alexa don’t really show that) and others (DeviceAnywhere / MobileComplete) etc. I guess pringit makes at MAXIMUM Rs. 0.5 – 1.0 Million per month? To me thats not really worth the effort for 2 years? I mean yeah you changed the world or may – in future – but really worth it?

    May be Qazi can put some light to the product he was working on with Osama – the award winning document management system. I saw this post again on jehanara about the first sale. As far as I can see – it couldn’t do too well.

    So why misguide the youngsters and create an impression of a highly romantic world where you are weak if you don’t listen to valid advices from friends, where if your parents ask you to be responsible and stand on your feet you say they don’t understand and it’s okay to sit in your dirty basement room and work on the silly projects that make no sense (please this is NOT silicon valley, investors are not going to come and this is not the hotbed of startups!).

    My basic point: let’s NOT import enterpreneurship from Silicon Valley. We have unique challenges and need to be clear in the head. I rememeber the startupinsider in Lahore where one of the guys said that people here complain a lot – just start your startup and find solution. Easy for him to say starting from MIT or where-ever they did their masters – setting up a less cost center office in Pakistan to work on business from US is indeed easy – but when you don’t have electricity and you need to invest in UPS / Generators just to be able to work, it’s not that rosy.

    So I say, if you are in a successful firm, stick there – don’t quit. If pringit is successful, mazadaar is successful etc. the engineers should not leave and start their own startups – unless they have good enough reasons. Don’t just quit jobs because it’s cool to do so – our industry is already suffering because of this dilemma 😛

  • @Ali Ammar: I am hesitant to answer you because your comments are borderline trolling but I will because you may geneuainly be naive. I’m not here to “have fun”, I’m hear to learn & to teach. If you’re not here for these same reasons, do let me know, I will stop engaging you.

    Not only do you not understand what a startup is, you don’t understand what a “Business Model” is as well. I’ve explained what a startup is in my above comment (read it again, will you?). A “Business Model” is 1. What are you selling, 2. Who are you selling it to, 3. How do you reach them, 4. How much will they pay, 5. What key resources/tasks are needed, 6. What key partnerships are needed 7. What is the cost.

    A Business Model for a petrol pump is very clearly defined: sell fuel to motorized transporters. Anyone with a automotive/motorcycle can come to you and buy fuel from you. This is no rocket science. This is a business not a startup. Nothing wrong with this. It’s needed and it is important. But it is not a startup. Don’t kid yourself.

    In order for you to be a startup some of the following must apply: 1. You don’t know who your customers are going to be, 2. You don’t know what they are going to pay, 3. You don’t know how your product is going to reshape itself (in response to customer feedback).

    So, a petrolpump, a retail store is NOT a startup. Just because there is the word “start” in it, does not imply so. You obviously misunderstand this key point. But even if I was to assume “your” definition of a startup that “any new business is a startup” then your own conclusion “startups are over-rated” is highly naive and downright stupid (again, I’m talking about your comments and not you, the person, we don’t know who you are).

    Secondly and very disturbingly, you completely miss why an entrepreneur does a startup. You think it is for a “comfortable” living and “more money”. These are terrible perceptions. Employees and founders in a startup work for 80+ hours per week (compared to 40 in a 9-5 job), the pressure in inhuman, the possibility of failure is tremendously high, the possibility of the funds drying up is very real. This is in sharp contrast to a regular job where you have job security (unless your bank/company/school goes out of business). If you want a “comfortable living” please keep your job, this is *not* for you.

    Secondly, every entrepreneur wants money but that is never their *main* objective. Money is a by-product of success. Read that again: Money is a by-product of success. Focus on making your company successful and money will follow. You completely misunderstand why entrepreneurs create companies.

    I am not familiar with Sofizar’s history but even they’ve done quite some innovative stuff. Anything that has not been done before is innovative. There have been thousands of types of cars made. But if you created a flying car, that would be new. Or if you made a dirt cheap car for the very low-income group like Tata Nano, that would be innovation. If you create a bank for the very poor (like Akhuwat, Garameen Bank) you are innovating. In most of these cases you are providing a product/service which did not exist for them.

    You then go about ranting and going personal and asking me about how much does my company make. You see “Ali Ammar”, we don’t even know if that is your real name or who are you. Before you even ask anyone who they are, you could have the decency of linking to your profile like I have done. If you can’t, then please don’t ask anyone else about who they are or what they do.

    Lastly, among all the senseless things you have said, saying that Pringit does not have enough traffic/users based on Alexa rankings shows just how bad you are at all this. Pring, 7111, Chopaal, SMSGupShup do not make money from the Internet, we make it from SMS and our Internet traffic is less than 1% of our SMS usage. If I were to tell you how many SMS we did only per day it would blow you f*@king mind :)

    I’d like to add there is nothing wrong with doing a job,or starting a business and doing a startup. But each requires a certain personality type. In order for you to decide what you want to do in life you need to be clear on what each possibility is, what does it takes and can you do it?

    I hope this makes things clear. Thanks!

  • @Nash, thanks for the reply. It did feel like I was trolling but I thought I’d do that anyway because honestly (and I have said this over and over again) I am sick and tired of romanticizing the “innovative” startup “ideas”. You have your own definitions of startups but that doesn’t mean they are right (just like my own). We are basically arguing on our own philosophies and definitions and our basic arguments are:

    1. What is startup? A new non-existing business “idea” or any business that is starting up?

    2. Do we need more enterpreneurs – primarily “tech” enterpreneurs?

    I think these are genuine questions as lots of young guys are always asking this themselves: what should they do with their life?

    Btw I know your business model, I know it’s based on SMSs and my estimate was based on that. Something like:

    Total sms: 33 million a month
    Per sms cost: 5 paisa
    Your share 60% (though it’s usually other way around ie 40%)
    So total revenue: 1.6mil, you get 1.0 mil.

    So it won’t really blow my F*ing mind away even if it was 10% or so more than this. That wasn’t the point. The point was that 1mil a month isn’t an amazing business (given exit opportunities are minimum). The traffic rankings argument was for Sofizar properties e.g. ticketnest, because thats mostly online sales. If they get 30.000 uniques a month and 1% is conversion rate (average) then they have 300 orders a month ie. $60k revenue a month. Usual percentage commission is 10-15% but i’d say they get 20-30% so their revenue 18k so annual revenue $216,000. If they get 3.mill a month (ie 10 times) the revenue would be ten times i.e 2.Milion (of course there is a margin of ±20%). May be they have 10 properties and all do 3 million a month i.e 30million across properties and all have average order size of $200 – then the revenue can be $20 Million. Anyway .. hey.. I am just doing the math and wondering 😉

    And so coming back to my point: Even with great “success stories” (which are far and few) there are no real opportunities. This is my real honest opinion on the topic.

    I know it hurts when I question your core beliefs about what you are doing and why – but we are all educated and this is what we should be debating on. Are we going in the right direction? When we have a shortage of good engineers do we need to promote such senseless romanticization? Only in our industry we have average 20-30% annual increment – otherwise developers just switch – do we need that? Yes we need more job creation: however I believe that stable existing companies would grow further and create more job opportunities. What do we need 10,000 companies with 5 employees or 10 companies with 5.000 employees each? Do we need to win over some medals on trying to create new “business models” so that we can tell ourselves “oh well we tried but failed. We were too early for the market”. Or “We tried but there was so much bureaucracy” etc.

    I believe these are all genuine questions and it’s important for people like you to come out and share your opinions minus the rhetoric. Of course no one needs to share their revenue etc. I am talking out loud, just speculating and questioning the hype around this. Also because I know a lot of companies that struggle with their success because of lack of workforce or exponentially increasing costs (to retain the workforce).

    So call me a troll but could you please answer my questions too? A bit more analytically and with less of rhetoric.

    PS: I am Ali Ammar, live in Isb and currently traveling 😉 My personal profile is nothing interesting to link to so unless you have a rishta for me I don’t think it’s interesting for the discussion we are having :)

  • Btw now that we are discussing:

    As per Jan 2009: Total SMS traffic in Pakistan 700Million
    If you do 33Million a month that would make it almost 400Mill meaning more than 50% of the entire Pakistani SMS traffic!

    As I am a numbers guy, I’d say if you are doing REALLY well you should be 10% of Pakistani SMS traffic, meaniing around 70 million a year, meaninng 6 million a month.

    Based on that around 300k per month total revenue (probably less and probably depends on networks too), and 60% of this is Rs 180k.

    May be it’s not a 5 paisa SMS it’s 1 Rs SMS … then it would be 6mil a month revenue and 3.6Million of revenue per month for you. That would be GREAT ! :) But is it really that? :) Do people pay 1 Rupee per SMS they receive AND send (received SMSs are FREE and most traffic is for received SMSs).. hmmm..

    Sorry if you don’t like me discussing the business model in public.. it’s for the benefit of the all of us .. we are wondering.

  • @Ali Ammar: this is my last comment, I do not feed trolls, this is an exception to my own rule.

    1. I do not in anyway romanticize startups. If you read my comments, I made it very clear that startups are terribly hard and I have given a very long list of dis-qualifiers. I also made it very clear that *most* people shouldn’t touch startups with a 10-foot pole. I don’t know why you think I’m even close to romanticizing startups. I’m scaring people away.

    2. The definition of “startup” is not mine. A startup is a well-defined business entity and has been the subject of research of many business schools. You can google startups and you will get thousands of blogs and articles on the mechanics of startups. You however have come up with your own personal and highly flawed definition of a startup which I have not heard before. Please take a moment and google to educate yourself. Because you do not even understand the very meaning of a startup, you will confuse yourself or anybody else seeking advice. You are doing everyone and yourself a disservice with your ignorance. Again, like I said, use Google, educate yourself.

    3. Like the many things you do not obviously understand, saying that there are “no real opportunities” in Pakistan is perhaps the worst conclusion I have read till date. The bigger the problem, the more the returns. If you can solve the massive problems plaguing Pakistan, you would earn greatly. Akhuwat and GrameenPhone are just two very cool examples. But pretending that there is no opportunity is just a bad conclusion.

    4. People should work at large companies. Almost every large company was a startup at one stage. If we stayed away from startups, there would be no large companies. Also, a healthy economy requires a mix of both mature and young businesses. Startups and businesses are not mutually exclusive.

    5. About our business model: It is irrelevant to the debate but I’ll humour you. You don’t know about our business model, considering what you know about everything else so far, this does not surprise me. Your research is at best shoddy and terrible at best (sorry!). There are 9+ Billion SMS sent per month (http://www.pta.gov.pk/media/tqr_dec_09_1.pdf) the figures you’ve just conjured up are very small. I will not go into specifics but we do many times your “33M SMS” per week.

    Because you have said you are a troll, I will now not feed you anymore :)

  • Like I said before, I like your passion however:

    A startup company or startup is a company with a limited operating history. These companies, generally newly created, are in a phase of development and research for markets. The term became popular internationally during the dot-com bubble when a great number of dot-com companies were founded. A high tech startup company is a startup company specialized in a high tech industry.

    … since you don’t believe me.. this is from Wikiepedia that you seem to believe more 😉 So “startup is a form of a company” that’s just “starting up”. Your definitions are cute but wrong.

    You are indeed romanticizing. If you use tone like:

    “If you need the nice, soft, comfy safety of a job. Please keep away..”

    This is romanticizing.. basically saying Tu shaheen hai basaray kar paharoon ki chatanoon par… in fact you are romanticizing it “text-book” style.

    If you are doing multiples of 33Mil, firstly congrats – respect to you. However, I suggest your engineering team to STICK with you and not think about their own startups based on your success. You seem to miss the point I was saying – we do not need to experiment with startups as our successful companies need more human resources and we need not promote startup culture like Silicon valley (but I guess you don’t really want to understand what I am really trying to say because you want to live in your own bubble. Fine by me :))

    Regarding opportunities in Pakistan, I am talking specifically in terms of technology business. Of course Pakistan can be a hot bed of Microfinance (just like Bangladesh) but that’s a different topic. Pakistan is already a hot bed for loan sharks – that doesn’t mean there are opportunities.

    I am not really a troll – I have valid points and you seem to be blind to any other opinion other than your own. Guess that’s okay, as it happens to all successful people.

    Have a good weekend.. :)

  • Wow !!
    Once every time i get asked how much do you earn from Green and White, and my answer usually is not satisfying for critics since the amount is in single figures :D, and the next question is why don’t you spend time to blog about some thing which gets more adsense dollars and my half convincing answer is that the community i get to talk to is priceless, and this thread proves exactly that I was not wrong.

    @Ali Ammar and @Nash thanks you made my monday livable. here are my thoughts.

    @Ali Ammar, there are a lot of people like Nash the ultimate dreamers people who romanticize, and some where deep inside I feel it’s one of these stay hungry for a year or two and make some thing disruptive , which will change our way of thinking, we honestly don’t have such a success story to tell, and if you take my word for it there are a lot of people working on that idea for whom it is the innovation which drives their passion. It is one of these people who will literally revolutionize our industry one proper success is what we need, to tell our younger generation this is the way to do it. They seem crazy but they will be one of the real success, We have had few chances with iScrybe, Orgoo and even Cricket Revolution but for one reason or other they have yet to become a real run away success story.
    Also I am with Nash regarding limited opportunities, we have here a lot of them they are different from a typical western ones but they are their for any one to pick up. Also i believe we need to celebrate failures as well that is one thing we have not been doing, which is exactly why people are scared to go Kamikaze on their idea, they are afraid of failure.

    @Nash, I do respect you dreams and hope you prove to be the success I am desperately hunting around for, how ever I disagree with you on the account that you are limiting to a select public who should do the next disruptive thing, what is wrong with some one saving through services and then giving himself to the idea he believes in(because he did not have the cash to start in) ? it at the most puts a 2 year gap in when he starts, but gives him surety of longer run?
    However as Imran Sayed said (In his recent talk at LUMS) based on his experience very very few people succeed in this. Since service is the bread earner and will always take toll from the product side. To have a real innovative product you need to go in a cave and work,tirelessly without distractions.
    This is a real pitfal of what is mentioned above in the post, but again its not impossible.
    But we need to have the culture of people coming out and trying this out failing at innovation but atleast having an environment where innovation can happen. Things have changes alot in last 10 years or so at that time you needed to have contacts abroad to do services now you don’t need that, in that time making a product was impossible, because you could not market, sell it without significant investment, now appstores have made it possible, we do need innovation even if its in an iPhone game.

    So it just two schools of thought which will co-exist.

  • Also Fahd From amana had sent me this through email i believe it should be here in the comments thread as well

    “I have this in by inventory of tweets that I release from time to time:

    entrepreneurs in poor countries have difficulty doing the next big thing, so they go ahead and do the next small business

    I have never inspired myself with entrepreneurship for the sake of small business and I will not discount it, small business is the way to start for any entrepreneur… what is missing and what I work towards is producing game changers out of poor conditions… a game changer by today’s metrics touches tens of millions of people and turns over hundreds of millions of dollars…”

  • This has been a very interesting discussion. I am planning to work with the startup scene in PK.

    There are opportunities out there for the stubborn and totally insane!

    In the mean time take a look at this:

    https://www-304.ibm.com/isv/startup

    http://www.meetup.com/minibar/

    http://www.techhub.com/

    Looking forward to having fun!

    All best thoughts,

    JR

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