TIECONPK 2010 Photo by Kamal Subhani
Ok, before you move forward, just want to make clear that it is not a writeup of the event. I am just talking about things which either inspired or bothered me at the event.
First of all, it was really ironic to see a government ‘chairperson’ as the chief guest for an event which is all about a ‘change’ in the current system, so to make sure that they never get to that chair again. But, since, it’s the government, and she was already being made a part of it, so we had to bear with her in the shape of one hour delay, typical of a Pakistani marriage, waiting for the bride to come from the parlor and everyone else desperately looking at the door, here she comes, here she comes. So the 8:30am event actually started on 9:45 am.
It started with recitation of the Holy Quran. After that Monis as President TIE Pakistan, inaugurated the event formally.
Honorable Mr Razaaq Dawood said that “entrepreneurship is not a trip it is a journey”. Well, I can relate to that definition but don’t you think all of the journeys end some where while entrepreneurship never ends? Or we may call it a ‘never ending journey’ to be more accurate? In my last 5 years being an entrepreneur myself, what I have realized is that entrepreneurship is a ‘disease’ with no known cure. Once the bug bits you, you are doomed for rest of your life to live with it, giving you a ‘lifestyle’ incomprehensible by 9to5 crowd and your family. This ‘lifystyle’ is very selfish and at times can cost you irrecoverable damages on your relationships. And did I mention that like every other disease, it has a toll on your health and on your wealth as well. With external pressures of adopting a normal lifestyle, it’s virus can some time gets into its hibernation mode but it never dies down as long as you are alive and can come back with even greater force by attending such an event or by just sharing some dialogues with another victim.
I was very distressed after listening to Mr. Razaq Dawood’s final comments regarding stage 3 of entrepreneurship where you have already lived to your dreams and achieved whatever you ever wanted to and yet there comes another journey of maintaining that successes within the family generations, something an aspiring wanna be like me can never think of. It was nice to know how one feels when you are up above the hill, having done that already but at the same time it was very disturbing to know that there is no rest, no peace on the other side. I started to think that may be the 9to5 crowd is better than us, not having to sacrifice so much and at peace at the end with the satisfaction that they were able to keep the balance between their work and life. But then again, I realized that once you have it in your blood, there is no escaping from it. There would be no satisfaction at the other end if you have not lived your dreams in the first place.
Then came along Mr. Amjad Saquib of Akhuwat, and only then I got introduced to an entirely new meanings of entrepreneurship. It is not about being selfish in pursuit of your dreams, its about taking care of your family. It is not about doing something extraordinary but doing something purposefully. It is not about winning, it is about surviving the tides. I congratulate you Mr. Saquib of playing a very important role for the change we desperately need and I salute you for being a real change agent of our society.
Like many other people I was eager to see what looks like to be our last hope for a change, Mr. Imran Khan of Pakistan Tehreek Insaf. But he was invited for being the Vice Chancellor of NAMAL University and was going to share his experience of establishing yet another of his legacy in the education sector as well. He came is his usual attire of Shalwar Qamees (really loved that). I hope once you get to chair the Government you keep on presenting the real Paksitani inside you with same appearance (and attitude) every where you go. In QA session, things got politically heated as one lady raised a question about the lack of team on behalf of PTI. Which Imrak Khan responded that “do you want to see same faces or need new ones” which takes time and that he is having a team who were there with him from the very start. (But very sorry to say, that I disagree with you here, in my city, some of the key posts of PTI are being given to people who have a history of corruption and lotaism in their family. And it was a nice blow to people like me to become less interested in PTI activities and raised a question in my mind that the change you always speak of is going to be a Top-to-bottom type of thing or from ground-to-up? Like do you think that a right kind of person at top can really make the difference? Even if he is surrounded by the same useless money hungry lot? In such a case, would not dictatorship be more appropriate as it comes with absolute power? And if you don’t believe in above then can you please explain why we can see some opportunistic shady characters as title bearers in your team?
Secondly, I raised a question but somehow the language barrier did not let me put it in the most suitable manner. So here it is again. Is there anyway we could bring this change without any involvement of government or without looking at them for any help? As if it was their priority, they would have been doing it in the first place. So do you think that these private social entrepreneurship initiatives by private sector are enough to bring the change we all very desperately need? And do these initiatives have the power to change the faces in politics at some point with sincere and honest leadership?
(Sorry to say but really disappointed on behalf of management that Imran Khan should have been given the QA time right after his speech as the very next person came had such a slow pace that he finished a 15 minute speech in almost an hour.)
Rest of the speakers had great stories to tell about their respective journeys and had lots of wisdom in their speeches.
I also met a few wonderful entrepreneurs there who was just bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, with limited resources but lots of energy to realize their dreams. One such guy is Farhan Riaz with his award winning, internationally acclaimed product Max99. I wish him all the best.
It would not be fair to not talk about Mr. Kamran Rizvi, know he does not care much, but as he was the only person who kept on waking people up time to time with his nice jolly wits. I only wish him to be moderating complete show and it would have been a much better experience for everyone.
This went on like that till the end where we finally had the Top3 of 25 brilliant case-studies from Pakistan as one of the management guy later put it very appropriately that “We have saved the best for last”. Among them, Mr. Kashif ul Haq from Corvit systems, opened some new horizons to understand success for other newly turned entrepreneurs. He explained my favorite quote on success that “it is how beneficial you have become on a social level and how happy you are on a personal level.”, saying success has two sides, on one side it is the measurement by the external elements about your achievements and on the other side it is about the level of satisfaction you have received from your ventures and amount of happiness you drive out of it.
So TIECON2010 PK was concluded for me with this understanding of success in my mind that if everyday, you wake up with a smile at morning, greet your family on your side, look forward to come to your office eagerly, meet your colleagues with a happy heart, face the daily challenges with a candid attitude, recharge your energies in friend’s company at evening, and prepare yourself to embark on yet another day in the comfort of your home at night with your family still on your side, know that you have succeeded in this never ending journey of entrepreneurship.
I encountered a few people after the event saying it was a dull, boring, long day, food quality was not good (as only they were there for it.), moderator was too serious to keep the crowd involved till the end and only a few handful of speakers were able to inspire, well, some of the arguments are quite valid and I agree that the event could have been a blast but hey see on the brighter side. See the ‘Half” which is ‘Full’. At the end of the day, there were so many new ideas born, so much energy being induced in some of the young entrepreneurs there and so many revivals of the dreams that makes every second spent on the event worth it. So hats off to the TIE Lahore Chapter for arranging such a wonderful event. I hope they will learn from their mistakes and it only will get better in the future.
Photo Courtesy Kamal Subhani