Early V-Day Love

In Pakistan there is a big debate every year over whether we should celebrate Valentine’s Day or not. The debauch liberals are all in favor. The enlightened moderate ones (ah Musharraf … you made the term famous) say sure, but only with your spouses. The flag-bearers of our morality, the ones who have sworn to save their brethren from hell-fire are strictly against. Either way, here is 2014′s V-Day just a few days away. And this brings me to my new love.

Basecamp is a co-working space in … wait for it … PESHAWAR! Yeah ok so 2 weird things there. The name, Basecamp, itself. Isn’t that an online project management website? Then second even CRAZIER thing. It’s in Peshawar!!! Isn’t that the crazy city at the Afghan border hit by the worse strain of terrorism of any urban area in Pakistan?

Hang on. Let me get to each separately before I get sidetracked and this post never sees the light of day like so many others.

I asked Muhammad Uzair, cofounder of Basecamp, some very tough questions over our Facebook chat.

Q1. Dude, why Basecamp? Why not “Khyber Goes Cool” or something?

A. “We are Basecamp Pakistan, they are/were 37 Signals. Basecamp is your temporary stay with us before your big startup summit, your next big mountain to scale.”

Q2. Peshawar? Seriously? Are you crazy?

A. “Yes we are are we needed a space to get the rest of the crazies together. At first we were meeting at Cafe’s, organising events in Universities, and brain storming at friend’s drawing rooms. So it made perfect sense to combine all three and get a co-working space of our own.”

Uzair, that was cheesy but OK I will accept.

Happy peeps? The Digital League is also one of the very first of the “crazies” that has made this place home. Got a couple of kids sitting there handling social media and web dev for clients. As a “thank you”, Basecamp gave TDL (and all other registrants) free swag. Check this out and be jaylus.

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I think it’s really cool. It doesn’t matter what you think … at least not on my blog. *grin

OK two more photos so you know how cool it is. All Google-like grunge-garage look (you can’t see the ceiling – that’s where the garage look comes in).

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Oh, yeah, asked one last very important question after which the lazy co-founder refused to answer any more.

Q3. What are the perks of working at Basecamp?

A. “We give you a starter kit to just get you started, and then there’s everything Basecamp offers. Top talent of the region to work with, weekly talks that range from cutting edge research in biology to trends in digital marketing, an acceleration/incubation program is also just around the corner by one of our partners. Not to forget access to world class mentors (and investors!).”

So this February 14th, Basecamp is my Valentine. *what a sad life. I know*

Uhh whatever!

You know how sometimes you read something and you feel better for it though if someone asked you to explain it you’d prolly draw a blank? That’s how I feel with Hardy, Arundhati Roy & Jon Elia. Don’t understand most of it & neither do I try. You can’t understand a sunrise or rain or love – you just know it makes you feel better, happier.

People been telling me I need to read biz books. Books on entrepreneurship, life lessons, making money. I tried. I swear I did. It was interesting. But only for like the first 20 pages. These books are too practical. I feel like they sap the “human” right out of me. No disrespect intended. That’s just me. How does learning to make money enrich your soul? If your soul is empty, unnourished, boring, how do you live? Does the money, fame, success matter? I mean 4 years ago just being called an entrepreneur made me giggle. Today, deserved or not, I am pretty famous. But does it make me happy the way quietly helping some young woman to a tiny online task made me when I started? That gratification, personal satisfaction, it’s almost gone now that I have to go around blowing my own trumpet telling the world how awesome I am having helped xyz number of people.

I have a headache & nausea. I think I need specs. If the doc prescribes them I will get those round kinds Harry Potter wears.

This post is making no sense but I feel good.

Ok byeeeeee

Bliss

Ashoka ChangemakersEntered Women’s Digital League to the Ashoka Changemakers “Women Powering Work” competition. Today on a Twitter chat arranged by Ashoka I found out WDL had been selected as an Early Entry Prize winner

Shortest, happiest, most exciting real-life fairy tale ever.  

Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

P.S. Am also selected as a “Thought Leader” for the topic. Thank you. 

 

A short one … hopefully

Am soooo addicted to Pinterest. It’s so much fun. Found such gems … like this one. 

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I mean seriously … who comes up with this genius? 

Been thinking a lot about pricing. How do people price stuff? Is it the product? The raw material used in it? It’s value? Or … ? I mean I want to have hard rates for various services TDL offers but then again … how do I put a price on it? 

And then I stumbled upon a handbag made by a Pakistani designer. Beautiful stuff. But it came with a Rs 20k ($200) tag. I mean it was gorgeous, no doubt, but I can find something similar or can have something similar made for much less. Me being me tweeted out to the designer guy and asked how he priced it. Happens it’s a one-of-it’s-kind bag. No 2 designs are same. So the price tag is for how unique his product is. 

So I guess Apple prices it’s products on …. *thinking* ……………. *thinking some more* ………………. maybe people’s stupidity? We want expensive stuff because it seems so out of reach and if its remotely nice (Yo Apple fans, before you throw a brick at me, I LOVE my iPhone) people will buy it. Could that be it? Coz it’s not unique. It has LOADS of competitors and pretty good ones too. It doesn’t do anything that a much cheaper Android can’t do. So why the price tag? Is it coz they assemble it in California? But it’s made in China. It’s like offering a special price for Ikea furniture to customers in Pakistan because hey, it’s gonna be assembled here. *headscratch 

Think about it and please explain it to me in layman’s language. 

OK byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Journey to Excellence

Dear All, You know I don’t post anything but the deepest, most profound technology and startup news, gossip, whining. But I do like keeping it fresh. Give my own spin on everything. When Sajjad Saab sent me this article, I just had to publish it. You may think, “Gardening? On a startup blog?” Yes, dudes and dudettes. Every person needs something to unwind. A hobby. A pass time. Something that keeps stress at bay. Kirmani Saab being as big a name as he is in the local IT scene has a passion for gardening that he uses to not only show his creative side but it also keeps him sane through the daily challenges of running a biz. So read on my pretties.

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Spring is the perfect time to rejoice and enjoy the beauty of nature; it is the time when beautiful flowers blossom and beautify the whole world around them with their delicate feel.”

With this feel in mind, I showcased an exquisite arrangement of flowers at my Spring Garden in DHA Lahore. Antirrhinum, Petunia, Verbena, Pansy, Gazania, Tulip, Dimorphotheca Calendula, Cineraria were some of the flower varieties lined up in an array of colorful settings. As the panel of judges for the Spring Flower Competition 2013 entered into this garden, one of them quipped “this certainly is much better than what we saw here last year” while another one commented “it’s always a great pleasure to visit your garden”.

My humble efforts spanning over last the 6 months paid off when my garden was rated as the best garden in DHA Lahore while INFOGISTIC office also got recognized as the Best Trend Setting Commercial Office in DHA.

We the tech-entrepreneurs always wonder if there is also a life away from offices and gadgets. With fresh colors and amazing flowers, nature brings to us a magnificent state of bliss and comfort. The scent, the colors, the budding and blossoming new life refreshes one’s mind.

Apparently, developing software and raising flowers appears to be two different areas, but when gelled together, it makes the environment 100% green and eco-friendly. From the award of Best Start-up Company by P@SHA to the Best Garden in DHA Lahore, the journey has been truly enriching for me and for my entire team who are putting their best efforts to create a world class facility.

Though primarily a tech-entrepreneur, I have a passion for gardening that I pursue this in my spare time. Gardening is not about planting flowers only; it teaches us that in order to excel and be good custodians of green environment, we need to learn patience and to take the right steps in the right order at the right time. Just like human beings, the plants also respond positively to the love, warmth and care we accord to them. Having intimate knowledge of your landscape is imperative; as seeding a beautiful plant in the wrong part of your garden lets you down when it enigmatically does not perform well. One must know if a plant likes sun or shade, part sun or part shade, dry soil, wet soil, or something in between.

Finally, no matter who you are, what you do, if you are contented and satisfied from the inside, only then life shines and blossoms through you. I hope you enjoy some of the shots published here and the rest you can catch up on my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/spring.gardening or  @SpringGarden_ on Twitter.

About the Author

entrepreneurship in pakistanSajjad Kirmani is the Founder and CEO of INFOGISTIC (www.infogistic.com), an emerging IT company that focuses on providing information security, enterprise portals  and banking solutions to its customer across Pakistan and Middle East. INFOGISTIC was rated as the best Start up Company by P@SHA in 2012.

Sajjad holds a Master´s degree in Computer Sciences from University of London along with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from IBA. He is the President of IBA Alumni Association and has been the Vice President of Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA).

He showed us that age, gender or professional career cannot stop anyone from expressing oneself. Being an integral part of Software Industry, he introduces everyone to his Paradise.

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WDL (TDL?) Needs a Favor

Hey peeps, it’s me again. I KNOW … HOW ANNOYING, RIGHT? 3 posts in a week are just too much. Blech. But I need a favor *grin

Remember the heartbreak I suffered at GIST? Remember this and this? How it came right down to me and the super amazing Rumaisa Mohani of eAid project and she won and I went around Mall of Dubai crying bitter tears? Oh.Em.Gee … just talking about is making my eyes well up again. *sob

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So … there is a way you can make this poor, heartbroken woman happy again and it’s quite simple.

GIST has started a photo contest on Facebook. Anyone can enter a photo and the one with most votes win. I have entered too NOT merely for the chance to win an Apple product though that’s quite a good motive in itself but because I really want this somehow. It’s silly … I know. But I can’t help it. Pathetic, right? But to make me shut up once and for all won’t you pretty please go and vote for me here: https://apps.facebook.com/photosvr/contests/18/images/7171

Yeah, that “strong” woman standing up there is asking you to cast a vote for her. :D Show me some love. Take a sec. And don’t forget to share on your social media. Gimme a shout out on FB, Twitter, whachamahaveit. Leave me a comment on the photo after voting.

Erm … this is getting worse with ever word I add so … OK … I am outta here.

OK BYeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

 

 

Yammer Gets Hammered

OK that was lame. But considering what Microsoft did to Skype I am worried about Yammer. Yeah, so the CEO is a happy guy coz he got $1.2 billion in cash nonetheless but if he is gonna stay on as the top management guy he may go downhill. And $1.2 billion – HOLY SMOKES! All I need for WDL is $50k. Sighhh … 

ImageYeah, the weather is great in Dubai. Saw a few familiar faces so am breathing easier. Met my online friend from YPO who was also a Network Administrator around the same time I was. Taught her how to wear eye-makeup – it was hilarious. :D I should keep a separate blog maybe for the super duper crazy fun things I do sometimes. OK , a LOT of times. :D And I saw penguins. Verdict? I am in love. They are the cutest things ever especially out of water. 

Yeah, so goodbye Yammer. You will be missed. I really liked your name – there was a zing to it. 

$1.2 billion …. GOSH! Wow! 

OK Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

P.S. In case you are NOT a geek and somehow on my blog, I am talking about the recent acquisition of Yammer by Microsoft