Pipelines and Funnels – Dammit!

Someone I revere asked me recently; “Do you honestly believe WDL can work?” Without batting an eyelid I said, “Yes!”

Ask me what my business pipeline is and I will give you a goofy grin and say, “I don’t know”. Ask me what my sale funnel is and I’ll giggle nervously and tell you I ain’t got a clue. But there is no doubt in my mind that WDL is meant to be.

Many a days I am tempted to get myself a job. Am offered good ones. Great salaries. Here is the problem. I know if I take up any of those offers I’ll make a bunch of money but I’ll never ever be happy. Now, I am no fool. Being as stubborn as I am has been a great asset in running WDL. Despite the mockery and the cruel jokes I’ve been slowly moving along. However, I am not a fool. I promised myself I would give 5 years to WDL and try make it work. I have absolutely no doubt that it is a very practical idea that can actually change the lives of many in Pakistan. But at the same time I also know sometimes you are meant to be the architect and not the mason. If I am unable to scale it up, I’ll just get it out of my system knowing I tried REALLY hard. There will be no nagging guilt telling me I quit and chickened out.

Its not easy being a woman in a very male dominated industry. Making it on your own without any connections or biz background is hard. Putting up with jeering comments about trying to be “saintly” is horrid. Being asked what you have been doing for last 3 years is hard. You can’t go to everyone and say, “Hey, I know I am where most women in the industry start from. But its’ taken me an incredible amount of sacrifice and resilience to be here where I am now and I am proud of it.” Maybe someone, some day will come and take it to the next level. I am happy I’ve got the ball rolling. Am happy I have a “case study” at least in WDL for others.

I have absolutely no clue how to run a business, I have admitted time and time again. Yes, I know crazy stuff like the infographic below:


But when it comes to serious stuff, I am just a literature student who somehow finds herself doing tech. All I know is this is what I am meant to do. Dunno where it will lead. Just know the journey is completely worth it.

And no, we don’t know where it will lead. We just know there’s something much bigger than any of us here. ~ Steve Jobs



2 thoughts on “Pipelines and Funnels – Dammit!

  1. Hello Maria,
    Being following you for sometime.. 🙂 in a good way not stalking.. Two reasons you are pushtoon and a startup owner..

    I myself worked literally 24 hours round the clock and there were days i worked for 72 hours with only 4-5 hours of sleep. Spending nights at the office became a routine.

    I always used to delude myself with the same steve jobs,, mark zuckerburg kind of stuff 🙂 i even made this and plastered this in front of my desk on a panaflex http://thecusite.com/sites/default/files/zuck.jpg

    I remember how I used to blab all the time to my co workers and employees about col sanders, star bucks guy, Amitabh bachan & all others.. Who struggled like anything and ultimately achieved the fame and money and all..

    Heck I was so taken by this delusion that I dropped out of university following the footsteps of all the gods of I.T World.

    BUT after two years with only assets left worth 200,000 and only 35,000 cash. It means that those 2 years were completely wasted.. These were my golden early 20’s 22 & 23.. and I wasted all that energy and devotion over ODesk & outsourcing world.

    I was killing the wishes and aspirations of my parents & siblings every day. Telling them “haan haan next week ”.. My father being in the bureaucracy always use to tell me that it’s a grave mistake & I should join a 17 grade ki naukri in a govt organization. Not much of work hassle and perks, incentives will be beyond your imagination.

    I.T startups do work in Pakistan. The success stories that I have gone through. There were just two reasons behind their smooth sailing. It was either the availability of modest capital or a team of few brilliants who were working on just one project. Their direction and aim was the same.
    there is just one way to succeed in Pakistan when it comes to I.T start-ups. You need to surround yourself with few but liked minded people (because not all have access to that “modest” capital). Who share the same areas of expertise and interests. There should also be complete synchronization in thought and action. So that your interests and objectives are the same. This way there would be no clash of personalities & interests.

    I’ve kissed goodbye my startup adventure. It was a simple waste of time with a lot of humiliation at the end. My relatives were buying cars or shifted to cozy adobes in Hayatabad or even worse settling in dubai, Malaysia or U.S . And all I had was stories of Steve Jobs, Zuckerburg, Gates and Michael Dell to tell myself or come home all tired and shit and when siblings would want to go shopping or just outing I had to peek inside my father’s pocket #uttershame..

    So you want to give it 5 years fine. BUT 5 years is like half a decade. DO something that works. Giving up doesn’t means you are weak, it means you are strong enough to let things go !!!!!!

    I am going to U.S … In Pakistan there are too much distractions Bijli, law and order, extremism & BS every where. There is fight everywhere and this mental fight wears you out,,, so where do you get the time to concentrate on any potent activity.

    These fashionistats and self-styled bloggers and twitteratis are all self employed socialites. Who create these start up bubbles around them because that is their breathing space. They’ve contacts, money & time to waste on such stuff. YOU know WHO I am talking about 🙂

    At least its not my cup of tea. Best of Luck with your next 2 years. I hope you remember this when you get your moment of clarity


  2. Dear Altaf,
    Thank you so much for dropping by and leaving such a thoughtful comment. I know very well about “harmless stalking” as I am very guilty of it myself. 🙂
    So far as your startup adventure is concerned I know it’s hard. Very few startups actually see the light of day. I am sorry you had such a bad experience. In my case the reason why its different is coz I actually enjoy what I do. Also, I am a married woman which means hubbie supports the fam. Let’s say I’ve the luxury of experimenting and spending 5 blissful (very tough) years trying to set up a model for women in Pakistan to work from home. It’s not a “I wanna get rich and famous” venture – but its incredibly gratifying. I wake up at 6 AM and drive across town in a cab in the blistering heat and never question my decision. Jobs and all are extremely inspiring and motivating. I am not trying to be the next Jobs. But yes, that guy did have a very steady head on those shoulders.

    I have the immense good fortune of having some of the best ppl in the industry as my mentors and guides. People who haven’t made it on the basis of family or money but sheer hard work. More than anyone its them that inspire me. For me, I am not leaving here. I embrace the challenges and thrive on them. Power outages are an adventure – I mean who in the world can claim to run a 24/7/365 IT biz with only 12 hrs of electricity? *grin

    All the best to you in whatever you do. 🙂


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