Connect with your city …
One of the best things about my job is the number of innovative young people I meet who are extremely passionate and excited about what they are doing.
So when Shahjahan Chaudhary messaged me on Facebook to ask if I could stop by his office on Khayaban-e-Ittehad – dropping a hint that he had developed a new application and wanted to show it to me – there was only one answer I could come up with. We fixed up a time to meet the next day but unfortunately it was not to be.
I got there at 3:30 pm as agreed to find that, thanks to KESC, the elevator was not working. The office is on the third floor. Considering that Boat has made me climb up 5 flights quite often, you would think this should have been child’s play for me. Well, I have had inflammation in my knee for weeks and my doctor has told me to try and avoid going up or down the stairs if i want it to get better. Hence the mission had to be aborted that day. I was disappointed. Had been looking forward to seeing what this bright young man had come up with.
Anyway, I only had to wait another 24 hours because Sha decided he would come over to our office with his iBook. So that’s the background! Now for the meat of the story.
Sha is not new to entrepreneurship. How many of you have been receiving HomeXpress for the past 4 years? Yes yes the publication that is full of ads of special deals available in Karachi or Lahore – very much like those that many of us have seen in other countries, except that the local HomeXpress is printed on 135 gsm art paper. The initiative was started by Shahjahan and has turned into a very lucrative business for him. The new business is actually an offshoot of the current one.
The sign up page of the new venture, Offstreet Workshop, tells you to connect with your city. Of course at the moment you need an invitation to get into the Beta site. Let me know if you want one. I can issue invitations now 🙂 Inner circle and all that jazz. Lucky haan?
So what is Offstreet Workshop? The best way to find out is to go visit the site. The tagline should tell you something though. It says “Connect with your city”. What it basically does, in very simplistic terms, is it provides coupons of various deals that are available in your city – from shoes to restaurants to boutiques to electronics. All you do is print out the coupon and avail yourself of the deal. Hopefully this can be converted sometime into codes that can be sent to mobiles or something like that so that we don’t have to end up destroying too many trees.
I don’t remember exactly how many stores Sha told me had registered with him in every city – if I am not wrong he said 100 or so in Karachi so far, and a large number in other cities too. The website is not restricted to any city or country. The reach is already multi-city but will be expanded over time to as many cities in the world as possible.
There is a space for products too – divided by category and searchable every which way. Offstreet workshop is also providing webstores for the companies that register their deals online.
The site is still in beta. They are planning to add Events/Restaurants/Cafes in each city so that if you happen to be travelling you can plan to go see a play or movie or attend a seminar, exhibition, talk or concert or simply have a nice meal. The main idea is that you connect with your city, avail of great deals and find out what’s available in terms of products or activities.
I am sure they would love to hear from potential users regarding what else they would want to see on this site. Write to them through their website or put down your comments here and i will forward it to them.
Good luck guys. Keep us in the loop so we know how the project is going.
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