Bookmarking Desi Innovators & Ventures

You still can

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry August 29th, 2010

One of my mentors and colleagues still regrets about certain startups that he should have done a decade ago. He had resources, registered some really good domains back in 90’s and got the portals developed but didn’t launch or market them. Today some people are doing the same business and earning really good money. Recently the following inspirational animated video from Adcom was released to which we both agreed completely.

Pakistan at the moment needs real walk persons instead of real talk ones. Don’t get carried away when gurus advise you that you don’t have a business model or a proper plan, and that there are giants against whom you can’t survive. Just believe in yourself and your idea or product. If its really good, you can eventually make 100 business models out of it. Give it your 110% and Insha’Allah you’ll succeed. If you fail, try again. One day you will.

Don’t wait. Somebody else might have the same idea. Go and grab the opportunity NOW. Even if you’ll let it go due to failure someday, at least you won’t regret that you never tried.

 

TEDxLahore Reviews

by Farwa Mahmood August 25th, 2010

We wrote an article about TEDxLahore last month. Some of our editors and authors attended the event as well. A personal feedback by one of our editors Rafaeel Akbar with the title “How “I” saw this year’s TEDxLahore” is available at his personal blog. Moreover other featured reviews are available on the following links.

TEDxLahore Team will upload all the talks on 31st August 2010. Those who couldn’t attend the event should definitely take out some time to listen the “Ideas Worth Sharing.”

 

Innovation occurs in periods of adversity

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry August 24th, 2010

One fifth of the country has been affected by the recent floods in Pakistan and 20 million people need our support. Apart from individuals, I am thankful to all the organizations that I am associated with who stood by my side and are doing whatever they can.

The first question that came to our mind was “What is the immediate need of the victims that we have to address?”  The obvious answer was food and water. There is water everywhere but none safe to drink. Outbreaks of cholera are common in large floods and arranging safe drinking water to many millions of people is of extreme importance. Hence we decided to look out for water solutions as it is not possible to deliver mineral water everywhere.

Last year I saw the following  talk amongst the TEDGlobal 2009 videos where Engineer Michael Pritchard introduced his revolutionary product “Life Saver Bottle”.

I was still wondering that how can we use the same idea here that we received an email from Mr. Azhar Mateen who told us about a similar system that they have developed in Pakistan. Instead of bottle, it is more of a manual filtration plant. The plant is capable to treat the flood water directly and its capacity is more than 1000 liters per hour. Since electricity is not available in the affected areas, the system is capable to run without electricity. He further told us that they are donating 10 plants  for free and can provide us similar system on no profit no loss basis for only PKR 250,000 whereas such a system would cost much more if we’ll try to import it. The company behind the project is Tauseef Water owned by Mr.Tauseef Anjum of Tauseef Enterprises Ltd.

The following video is the live demo of the working system.

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Moreover, a friend emailed me the following poster which showed steps of making a good sand water filter. Additional details about this can be downloaded from here.

I somewhat felt really happy that people are coming up with amazing ideas to help out their fellow countrymen. Burt Rutan once said that “Innovation occurs in periods of adversity”. I would request all readers to step up and come out with such innovative solutions & initiatives that can be used to help our brothers and sisters. Since we have to rebuild these areas, smart relief efforts and superior infrastructural & residential planning is the need of the hour.

In the waters of the devastation hitting Pakistan lies a chance to reinvent our condition by washing away the regrets of the last 63 years and laying the foundations of a new temple. But only if we have the courage and vision to think on these lines.

 

TEDxLahore: Collective Genius – 31st July 2010

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry July 26th, 2010

It was late 2005 when I started promoting entrepreneurship, social media and startups amongst the techies in Lahore. I came up with a name called “Technology Entrepreneurs Den (TED)” for our meetups but little did I know that there was already a global phenomenon known as TED. I got to know about it when few people asked me if I am coming up with a local TED event. I had to drop down the name but at least it introduced me to the wonderful TED Platform and since then I have listened around 80-90 phenomenal TED Talks.

TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences — the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Oxford UK each summer — TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Project and Open TV Project, the inspiring TEDx program and the annual TED Prize.

The TED Conference, held annually in Long Beach, is still the heart of TED. More than a thousand people now attend — indeed, the event sells out a year in advance — and the content has expanded to include science, business, the arts and the global issues facing our world. Over four days, 50 speakers each take an 18-minute slot, and there are many shorter pieces of content, including music, performance and comedy. There are no breakout groups. Everyone shares the same experience. It shouldn’t work, but it does. It works because all of knowledge is connected. Every so often it makes sense to emerge from the trenches we dig for a living, and ascend to a 30,000-foot view, where we see, to our astonishment, an intricately interconnected whole.

Last year in July, when Asim Fayaz told me that a license has been acquired, I was overjoyed that finally we would have a platform to share ideas and reach out to masses. Asim did invite me to earlier events at LUMS and Kinnaird which were held on July 25 2009 and February 23 2010 respectively but few professional commitments didn’t let me join both the events. On May 22, 2010, I got an email from Asim for the third event. I decided the very day that this time over I’ll definitely register for TEDxLahore and make it to the event. (more…)

 

SeenReport and Jaroka Tele-Healthcare, winners of mBillionth Award 2010

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry July 24th, 2010

 

Winners - mBillionth Awards 2010

It was Jehan and Rabia Garib’s twitter feed that led me to register my product for the mBillionth Award 2010. When I registered, I knew that we’ll be rejected in even short listing as we couldn’t find an appropriate category to nominate our product. Moreover our application was unlaunched and running in private alpha amongst our own company employees. We thought that by the time jury will judge our entry, we will launch the public alpha. But if you are in a telecom business where operators have an upper hand, launching your service independently becomes a herculean task. I don’t know which place did we end up in Grand Jury held in Colombo last month but I am happy that we were at least shortlisted for jury.

The m-Billionth Award South Asia 2010 was the first of its kind in the region recognizing and felicitating mobile innovations, applications and content services delivery. It was arranged to honour excellence in mobile communications across South Asia spread over 10 core categories. The m-Billionth Award is designed as an annual South Asia’s leading mobile content’s award platform towards larger regional Mobile Congress in media and policy advocacy. The platform was created with the help of DIT and Digital Empowerment Foundation who have come together to create a regional platform and had support of partners like mint newspaper, VAS companies like IMImobile, OnMobile, One97 and the umbrella organization such as IAMAI (Internet & Mobile Association of India). Pakistan Software House Association (P@SHA) was the Country Partner, Bytesforall , the Strategic Partner and CIO Pakistan, the Media Partner from our side. (more…)

 

Economic Times – The Power of Ideas

by Rafaeel Akbar Chaudhry July 14th, 2010

I have been approached by few of my Indian friends since last year seeking advice to startup a business or do a joint Indo-Pak venture with them. Considering the relations between the country and money exchange issues, I have been quite careful.

Recently, one of my friends told me about the Power of Ideas organized every year in India. The promotional video (below) just blew me away and refreshed memories of initial struggling time I had while starting my first venture.

The Power of Ideas is the intellectual property of The Economic Times, India’s leading financial daily. In a unique three-way public-private-academic partnership, The Economic Times has joined hands with the Department of Science and Technology (Government of India) and the Indian Institute of Ahmedabad’s CIIE (Center for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship) to create a formidable force that can champion the cause of entrepreneurial culture in India. It leverages on the Government’s remit to encourage innovation and IIM-A’s demonstrated experience in mentoring and incubating start-ups. (more…)

 

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