Monday, January 26, 2015
Monday, January 12, 2015
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
To Achieve Greatness In The Digital World, Respect Intellectual Property & Innovate, Or Be Irrelevant! - IMRAN™
The article (Tech In Pakistan 2014) in the reputable Pakistan newspaper, Dawn, makes good points lamenting the mind numbingly stupid, and self-destructive, policies and factors that make for such “tepid performance” in Pakistan. The author, Y. Brohi, points how one does not need an army of people to launch a startup. My personal experience proved that, indeed, even one person can start a revolution or entire industries for others to build on.
In the end of the 80s and early 1990s, I was fortunate and blessed to pioneer and launch Internet email service in Pakistan right from my home in Gulberg-III, Lahore, while I was studying for my MBA at Columbia University Graduate School of Business in New York City. Together we, my partner & friend Ashar Nisar and I, were able to launch the .PK ccTLD, literally putting Pakistan on the brave new digital world’s map.
I later also had the opportunity to make another, less known but also important, humble contribution to Pakistan’s economic progress, by bringing and launching global credit cards in Pakistan, starting with issuing the first MasterCard license to a Pakistani bank in the early 90s. The availability of credit to the middle class can be a major driver to drive economic activity and the creation of products, services and related jobs.
Both of those industries were launched with no government funding (actually, we succeeded despite resistance and other tactics of the authorities of that time that I will not mention), and without venture capital, which at that time was near impossible to get in Pakistan.
My reason for writing this is not to boast on past achievements but to exhort the dynamic and hard working Pakistani entrepreneurs to learn from what the article says and what my experience shows.
You, one person, can start anything you want. There is nothing stopping the next secure identity and privacy solution to be created in Pakistan. There is no reason that artificial intelligence or secure cloud computing methods cannot be pioneered by Pakistanis.
If there is one thing that I have been frustrated by, and feel is a core reason for Pakistanis not creating world changing new things, is the disregard for intellectual property rights and concepts. From people ripping DVD movies to kids ripping games without payment, to the shameless way so-called respectable newspapers (excluding Dawn) steal and reprint others’ creative output, theft of intellectual property is commonplace, and almost something people boast about.
How then can people think in terms of creating intellectual property if they are themselves busy stealing someone else's? That attitude is embedded in our culture and needs to be addressed. Without that, all the creative capabilities of Pakistanis will continue to be wasted on copying or reverse engineering others’ work, not creating brave new IP to change the world.
I would love to see that topic get discussed at a national level. There are few nations that have so much creative entrepreneurial talent than Pakistan, as I have seen in my ~30 years of traveling the world.
Let us find ways to stimulate that and channel that and guide that for the greater good of the creators and the nation. That is why, in speaking to groups of Pakistani entrepreneurs and technology professionals, I say, “To Achieve Greatness In The Digital World, Respect Intellectual Property And Innovate With Your Own, Or Be Irrelevant!”
Monday, November 24, 2014
I have been an Apple user for 30+ years, and a Mac bigot since 1984. Even though my day job is at Microsoft and I use Windows laptops, Surface, Windows Phone Lumia, my personal life's work is invested (and sort of locked) in the Apple ecosystem.
Even my MS colleagues know, I would often be the only guy at an airport with a PowerBook laptop in a sea of Windows machines, which I was no fan of. But the decline in innovation and quality at Apple has been shocking. I’ve had MacBook laptops that had manufacturing defects that Apple hid and then stopped patching after warranty. I had to replace my iPhone 4S (a great device) three times because of static noise issues.
I cannot even buy an external fingerprint reader for Mac OS that would work while I have it built in my PC laptops. I have no touch on the latest Apple MacOS devices. The gorgeous near perfect keyboards of previous MacBook Pros now have been replaced by plastic types that even PC users match or exceed.
iOS and its boring icons are still brain dead and have not evolved since iPhone started. I barely have to life my WindowsPhone screen and still can see who emailed me, what the weather changed to, what the latest news are, what someone said on FaceBook, see my photos rotate, ALL on the home screen without touching the phone. Yes, the Apple ecosystem still has a million more apps but after my initial craze which led me to have 1100+ apps on iOS, I have been aggressively deleting apps since only a handful are actually used. Of those about 80% are available to me on WindowsPhone too.
My latest iPhone 6 Plus has a lousy 8MP camera while my year+ old Windows Phone Lumia 1020 has 43MP that runs rings around it. But worse of all is the sheer number of painful experiences I have had and seen people report on Apple's own boards is mind boggling.
I used to complain about Windows control-alt-delete but with Windows 8 and now Windows 10 coming plus Windows Phone and super cool Live Tiles the user experience is far more innovative than Apple’s. Samsung users tell me even on hardware that company is beating Apple in new features. But the latest shocking defect in Apple hit me today.
You know how Bluetooth connects different vendors products for 15 years but can you believe Apple's latest MacBook Pro & iPhone 6+ fail to connect to each other even with latest Yosemite and iOS 8.1.1 !
In the old days all media did was predict Apple's death and I would argue against it. Now I see Apple non-stop defect laden launches but hardly any media express outrage or show coverage over it. I am not hating on Apple because someone at MS wants me to. After all, as I said, I have been invested in the Apple ecosystem and even my most used Mac apps are from Microsoft, including Outlook, Office/Word/PowerPoint/Excel and especially OneNote.
It is a pretty incredible switch of roles that I did not have any mail loss, data loss, issues moving from Windows 7 to Windows 8 and even Windows 10 Preview but I lost days of effort to resolving about a dozen separate known bugs and defects in upgrading the MacBook Pro to Yosemite and the iOS devices to iOS 8. That is definitely not how the yesterday’s gold standard of user experience and quality, Apple, worked. Is anyone a clear winner in that user experience war. Not right away. But at least today Apple’s clear lead in that area is gone.
That is why the next personal devices I am lusting for are not Apple gadgets but the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, an Xbox One and a Microsoft Band. Hint, hint, if you really love me, and of course you do :-) , Christmas is around the corner. Just kidding!
What do you think?
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Berliner Dom DOMinating Berlin Sky - IMRAN™ on Flickr.
I love Berlin, Germany, and every time I am in Berlin since my first visit 27 years ago, I always enjoy visiting the Lustgarten area and seeing this imposing structure of the Berliner Dom.
I was able to take this awesome composite photo by combining a few photos taken with my Windows Phone Lumia 1020 and photmerging them in Photoshop. It is amazing how much detail can be see if you view the 55 MB 11000x7800 pixel image on a giant screen.
© 2014 IMRAN
Wednesday, November 05, 2014
Monday, October 20, 2014
The Islamic call to prayer, Azaan, recorded during my Umrah during Hajj season, on Friday (Juma) at night prayer (Isha) time. I was able to say all 5 prayers in Mecca on this Friday. A blessed experience that remains with me for a lifetime.