The Chairman of P@SHA on the set of ITLoW
Imran Zia appears to be a quiet unassuming sort, and so he is, until you say something that whets his interest. That is when you realize that he knows a lot about all sorts of things – whether it be entrepreneurship, product development, policy making, human interaction, energy and power, agriculture and God knows what else. He has an anecdote to explain almost everything.
I was fortunate enough to travel from Lahore to Islamabad with him once, and it was truly an illuminating experience. We discussed technology but we also discussed people power, the energy crisis and rural development. At the end of the journey, my mind was full of new ideas of the possibilities for innovation all around us, and the enormous potential that exists here.
In this episode of “In the Line of Wire”, Imran talks with me about the ICT-policy-in-the -making. He also discusses the current status of the Pakistan IT industry and where he thinks we are headed. The role of P@SHA and the government is very clear in his mind and he makes some suggestions that he believes will put Pakistan on the road to economic success.
But before we get into all that, how about a little bit of background information? Imran is the current Chairman of P@SHA and the CEO of Vahzay Limited. He is also Adjunct Assistant Professor at FAST NUCES Lahore.
He has an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, USA; an MS in Computer Engineering from Cornell University, USA; and a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from UET Lahore.
Imran has over 15 years of working experience in the hi-tech industry in the US. He has held senior managerial positions in sales, consulting, product management and product development at Oracle, Altera and other hi-tech companies. At Oracle he was recognized for his contribution to the sales and consulting teams and was nominated to Club Excellence on two separate occasions; an award was given to the top 10% performers in Oracle sales and consulting.
Imran is a serial entrepreneur who has started software companies both in the US and in Pakistan. His areas of interests are financial analysis, entrepreneurial ventures, corporate governance and economic and policy analysis. His passion for entrepreneurship dates back to his business studies at Chicago GSB where his team won the prestigious annual New Venture Challenge.
Imran believes that entrepreneurship is a disease and that once you catch it, you are stuck with it for life. His wife thinks of entrepreneurs as “damaged goods” … hmmm. His take on entrepreneurship is that kids, or even grown-ups, should not become entrepreneurs to make money. That should not be their primary motivation. They should want to become entrepreneurs because it is a passion, it is what they live and breathe, because through something they develop, they will create value for millions of people – something that will have great impact. It should make a difference in the overall scheme of things. If they can accomplish that, people will buy the product and the money will eventually come. There is no hurry, he says.
Let’s go watch Imran Zia and see what more he has to say.
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