My views on outsourcing talent sites

I have been observing Microtask websites for around four years. I have seen how rapidly things are changing. Big talent sites have much to loose as they are big. There is a joy of remaining small. It makes your company have a better control on what is going on and what is to be done. The costs are less. The people are more talented and hard working.

This all is providing much more opportunities for small companies to come and play the bigger game. Did someone every thought, a small microtask website would soon take an Alexa rank of 130, changing the way world works? It all happened in some years, in front of my eyes, how this microtask website got more traction than bigger players in the game. The point was, the found the gap.

As Seth Godin says,
"A great idea  can wipe you out."

They understood the pattern better than their competitors. oDesk, Freelancer, PeoplePerHour were all websites that were bigger players but there is an issue with being big. The bigger you become, the harder it is it innovate.

So again, here is the Alexa ranks of these websites today,

  • Fiverr - Alexa rank, 130
  • Odesk - Alexa rank, 412
  • Freelancer - Alexa rank, 453
  • PeoplePerHour - Alexa rank, 1873
Observe the difference. The smaller the site is, the easily they innovate. The more they can go further and get a good Alexa. All boils down to simple facts,
  1.  Remain small
  2.  Find the right gap
  3.  Keep innovating

Todoist - A Great Chrome Extension

I always wanted to a Chrome extension which could help me remember things(I forget a lot and my work suffers because of it.) I decided to find a Chrome extension to use which could help me do the task well.

I am now using Todoist these days. It is the best Chrome extension that I have found. It is excellent. I am loving it. I can add tasks, add due dates to it, get notifications and email too.

Here is the link.

My ultimate cheat sheet for being a young entrepreneur

After four and a half years of being in startup mode, finding ways to make money online, finding experts and talking to them, I am finally in a position to write this down today. I am not putting my own point of view in it. I am just adding the advises I collected in these years.

Let's begin with Jimmy Wales, CEO of Wikipedia.

"I think one of the most important pieces of advice I can give young people is that you should try to arrange your life in such a fashion that you minimize your consumption expenses as much as is practical so that you take on as little debt as possible.


If you want to do something interesting with your life, you will need a certain degree of financial independence, by which I mean, the ability to make choices without thinking about the immediate money involved.

Let's say you start your first job and immediately make various spending choices to spend all or most of your paycheck, going into debt to do it.  A popular way to do this is to buy a car and rent a nice apartment.  Now, 6 months later when your boss is a jerk and you wish to change jobs, you've got a big problem.

Consumption spending (as opposed to investment spending) is mostly not required by income.  In some cases (need to see clients, etc.) you'll need to have some consumption spending of course (nice clothes for business).  I'm not talking about that - that's a business expense.  Keep it under control of course, but that's not my point.

For those who see things better with numbers attached, consider it this way.  Suppose you want to have enough money to be able to take 1 year off from working, and you want to maintain your lifestyle during that year.  How does adjusting your consumption requirements help with that?  Assume you start with zero savings.  Assume for simplicity that you can find safe investments to match the inflation rate... although that's pretty optimistic!

If you spend 5% less than you earn, then it will take you 20 years to save up one year's salary.  That's never going to work because in 20 years time your life will change completely, you'll probably get married and have children.  And who wants to wait 20 years to take a year off to pursue a dream?

If you spend 50% less than you earn, then it will only take you two years.  Much better.

But look!  There's a mistake in the above reasoning, and this is the thing I want you to notice.  You aren't trying to save up "one years salary" but rather trying to save up "one year's expenses".

So if you spend 5% less than you earn, then it will only take you 19 years to get that year of freedom.  (Because you only need to save 95% of your salary!)

And if you spend 50% less than you earn, then it will only take you 1 year (not 2!) to get that year of freedom, because your expenses are lower.

Reducing your mental expectations of what you need to spend to be happy therefore has two beneficial effects: you end up saving more money, and that saved money ends up lasting longer.
Now for most of the young people who will be reading this, the ultimate goal will not be to accept a reduced lifestyle forever.  But if you really want to hit it big, this technique gives you the time you need to give it a shot."

Now, from Faisal Khan (confession here: I asked this question anonymously ;) ),

"I have lots and lots to tell, I really need to jot this down somewhere...

  • Seek mentorship (you'd be lost without it and the advice gained is simply priceless)
  • Avoid negative people (serious, they just boil everyday to bring you down)
  • Learn from your mistakes, the art is not to repeat them again (easier said than done)
  • There is NO SHAME in failing. We all fail. However, the silly society is not hell bent to stigmatize people or organizations who fail.
  • Create your own environment - this is so so important. Most startups and entrepreneurs I have seen are sitting with their laptops on a sofa, that environment is simply not conducive to yield a positive result. Invest in a good office, furniture and surroundings that make you wanna work and be up beat and positive. Many would term this silly, but not I. Is there a reason you get so inspired by the office environments in the US starts ups, it is because it fosters a happy work place, you get you be amongst people (and things) that just generally make you productive, creative and above all, positive about the whole aspect.
  • Balance life. Not everything is about work.
  • Visit as many trade shows and/or conferences related to your vertical. If you are say a person who makes really great furniture would Sunday Bazaar be the best place to meet like minded people? Certainly not! Go to venue or event which attracts people from your industry. Networking is the key. You would be surprised as to how much you learn.
  • I cannot stress how important grooming is. Please, for the love of professionalism, invest in good clothes and upkeep. This may sound like a materialistic thing, but it is not. We tend to judge people first as to how they look.
  • Never stop learning. Set aside some time in your schedule to learn and update yourself.
  • Learn to communicate effectively. Enough with the "u" and "ur" in the emails. Electrons are damn cheap to send across so stop texting like a 16 year old! This also applies as to how you speak and present.
  • Set goals. Make sure they are achievable, measurable and rewardable.
  • Don't be afraid to experiment. It is usually how most of your creative juices get flowing and you will stumble upon other great ideas, hacks, breakthroughs, etc.
  • Always hire the best!
  • Quality over Quantity. Get out of the China syndrome.
  • Build value vertically.
  • Whatever you strive to do, improve on it. There is no reason why you cannot be the best.
  • Do not let people tell you that your ideas will not work. If you inherently believe in it still after what many people have advised you professionally, then just go for it.
  • Don't follow money. Believe me when I say this, money comes easily when talent and great productivity combines.

Be the person on the left below:"

From Salim Ghauri, CEO of NetSol.

"Success is nothing but achievement of your milestones. No success comes in short period. Take example of graduation. You can’t get your final degree until you have done metric and then Fsc. If someone think that they can get a degree with going through metric and Fsc they are living in wonderland. To become successful one has to go through many milestones. Quick success is like trying to keep a pencil stand for long time. Yes you can make pencil stand but little movement or wind will bring it down.
Slow and study growth is like building a pyramid which has a broader base. "

The Five Stages of Grief

We all fail at doing something, making something happen or meeting some expectation, then we follow, the five stages of grief. The five stages of grief are as follows,

1. Denial and Isolation

We leave our social lives, our friends and family. We stop being happy.

2. Anger

We try to hit the person who made us angry.

3. Bargaining

We start finding people to blame.

4. Depression

We start to get depressed.

5. Acceptance

We finally accept the truth.

NED University Alumni that have made NED University proud in Silicon Valley

Just doing a research on my university alumni in Silicon Valley. I have made a list of such people. The ordering does not matter.

Muhammad Raghib Hussain

Co-founded Cavium Networks (NASDAQ:CAVM) and currently serves as Vice President of Software Engineering, and CTO. Prior to Cavium Networks, Raghib has held senior technical roles in several startups and large organizations including Cisco Systems. At Cavium, Raghib is the key architect of Nitrox and OCTEON product family. Both Nitrox and OCTEON are industry leading processors for Security and Network Services processing. Raghib earned a BS in Computer Systems from NED University, and a MS in Computer Engineering from San Jose State University. Raghib has presented at several major communication and networking conferences and has 19 pending or issued patents in the field of networking and security.

Farid Durrani

Farid Durrani (ME 1973) is secretary of NED Alumni Association Silicon Valley and is a member of Convention 2007 steering committee. His area of focus is LCD (Liquid Crystal Displays) and LCOS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) displays. He holds MSME and MBA degrees and is one of the founders of American Custom Solutions. They have been providing solution based services in the area of operation management for small start ups in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Prior to founding ACS, Inc, He was Sr. VP Operations and member board of directors at MicroDisplay Corporation. He was also Director of Operations at Sharp Microelectronics Technology and was a member board of directors of CREWC (Columbia River Education and Workforce Council), a state and industry sponsored non profit organization, to promote better high school education in Clark County, WA. At sharp Farid has complete P&L responsibility and was instrumental in growing LCD business from LCD business from $<30M per year to $100M per year.

Rehan Jalil

Rehan Jalil is the President and CEO of WiChorus and serves on its board of directors. WiChorus is a pioneer in enabling scalable, intelligent and multimedia-efficient WiMAX & 4G networks. WiChours is backed by Silicon Valley’s top-tier VCs like Redpoint, Accel and Mayfield, with US$25 million in funding. Prior to WiChorus, he was the Chief Architect of WiMAX for Aperto Networks and extensively contributed in the architecture and design of three generations of broadband wireless and WiMAX equipment and silicon. Previously, he held senior technical and management positions at Siemens and Sun. He has over 15 patents pending related to advanced techniques in wireless optimizations and holds BEEE from NED and MSEE from Purdue.

And lastly, who can forget him, the most tafreeh person in the valley whom I personally like very much. I have never met him but I seriously love this person for his humour.

Ashraf Habibullah

Ashraf Habibullah received his M.S. (1970) degree in Civil (Structural) Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and B.S. (1969) degree in Civil Engineering from the NED University of Engineering and Technology, Pakistan. From 1975 to the present, he has served as Founder, President, and CEO of Computers & Structures, Inc. (CSI). He is a registered civil and structural engineer in California.

I got in contact with Jimmy Wales, CEO of Wikipedia!

Whoa! Got in contact with Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia. He is so smart! He replied me back!

How much money does it need to start a dot com company like Facebook, Quora, LinkedIn etc?

This question came into my mind some months back when I thought of doing a high tech startup in Pakistan. Having a Computer Systems background I knew how costly the hardware to main such sites were so I thought it would take a lot of money to do it.

I then went to ask other people's opinion on it. David S Rose, a serial entrepreneur who is the owner of Gust too answered my question as follows,

"You can easily start a dotcom company with no money at all. In fact, the large majority of Internet-based companies get started without any outside capital.

It is important to remember that none of today's giants started out as giants. They started off small and grew (including raising capital) as more and more people used their product.
To see how Facebook started in a dorm room, watch the film The Social Network."

With this I understood how Facebook evolved from a dorm room idea to a product and then became the second largest visited website on the internet today.

Whoa! I won the NED University CISE website competition!

Whoa! I won the competition! The new website of NED University of Engineering and Technology is developed by me. It got selected in a website competition held in the university.
Computer Information And Systems Engineering

I interviewed Mr.Salim Ghauri, CEO of NetSol Technologies Inc

Mr. Salim Ghauri (also known as "The Bill Gates of Pakistan") is well known figure in the world. Because of his entrepreneurial vision he has made it to Forbes.

Fahad Uddin: What inspired you to come back to Pakistan and start a company?

Salim Ghauri: I was in Australia from 1986 to 1995. Left Australia to establish a IT servicing company in Lahore. Which will compete in global market. I believe Pakistan IT talent is as good as any other country.

Fahad Uddin: What were the difficulties you faced in the initial years of NetSol as it was indeed a revolution to create an IT company in Pakistan at that time?

Salim Ghauri: NetSol faced difficulties like any other new founded company. Pakistan is one of the most friendly country for establishing a new company. It is always a challenge for a new company to convince customers to give it their mission critical business.  NetSol was very lucky to get its first break very early in its inception.  With its first international client in its fifth month of founding is nothing but pure luck.

Fahad Uddin: What made NetSol team decide that they would trade at NASDAQ? Do people buy Pakistani originated company’s shares?

Salim Ghauri: NASDAQ is the world largest technology stock exchange. For a Pakistani origin company it is prestigious to trade. NetSol shares are traded in public. Share holders care about the performance of a company and not its origin.

Fahad Uddin: I have been following the shares of NetSol. There is a huge peak in 2000 and then a sudden fall. If you do not mind, would you like to share about it?

Salim Ghauri: 2000 were the early years of NetSol. Only four years in making. In 2001 markets went down for technology sectors companies. NetSol also lost its valuation.

Fahad Uddin: You are also known as “The Bill Gates of Pakistan”.  You have made it to Forbes too. How does it feel?

Salim Ghauri: To be compared to Bill Gates is a great honor. Its very kind of some people to call me that. I believe it will not put me equal to Bill Gates but it encourages new comers that in Pakistan hard work is recognized.

Fahad Uddin: Who has been your inspiration in business?

Salim Ghauri: My father was a entrepreneur all his life. Successfully establishing a business with little money in his pocket. I am proud of my fathers success in his life and I always wanted to be like him.

Fahad Uddin: Even after studying outside Pakistan, you are a very desi Pakistani. What is the secret?

Salim Ghauri: I was born in Bahawalpur. A small city in Punjab.  Early schooling in Lahore. That makes me very desi.  We are always recognized by our roots and I am very proud to be a Pakistani and desi.

Fahad Uddin: Have you ever faced a failure? How do you take failure in life?

Salim Ghauri: I have faced many failures. In fact in my life I have seen more failures and few success. My today is because of those failures. Simple rule in my life Never never never giveup.

Fahad Uddin: Even after so many achievements, you are very down to earth and like to share your feelings directly with people. Many people get arrogant after achievements and try to show themselves as someone very different from others and do not give time to others. What makes you so different?

Salim Ghauri: I have a saying,
"When things are tough hold your head high…When things are good keep your head down. Allah does not like arrogance. It’s a pleasure to give back to people what was given to me by Allah as a gift."

Fahad Uddin: Youngsters keep searching for some secret to success or some shortcut to become successful. What would you like to advice such students?

Salim Ghauri: Success is nothing but achievement of your milestones. No success comes in short period. Take example of graduation. You can’t get your final degree until you have done metric and then Fsc. If someone think that they can get a degree with going through metric and Fsc they are living in wonderland. To become successful one has to go through many milestones. Quick success is like trying to keep a pencil stand for long time. Yes you can make pencil stand but little movement or wind will bring it down.
Slow and study growth is like building a pyramid which has a broader base. 

I will be trying introversion for a month

I tried extroversion this semester and it was a good experience. Now I would be trying introversion from today for atleast a month. Introversion is cool. Introverts are thinkers that think out of the box. To get new ideas I thought it would be good to try introversion.