Murad and Mannan from Tintash on ITLoW

July 11, 2009 at 9:36 am 7 comments

Murad AkhterIt was a Wednesday evening in Lahore and I was meeting Murad Akhter, CEO of Tintash, for the first time. I must admit I was quite curious about this chap because several people had asked if I had ever met Murad – some of them are people I greatly respect.

First impressions and instinct are very important to me. As Mannan Amin, CMO of Tintash, who was holding onto dozens of glasses of Slush that he had brought for everyone to counter the heat that day, introduced me to Murad , I looked up at him, saw him smile, and knew right away that he was someone I would like talking to and hanging out with. And I was right. Of course the fact that he had worked for five years at my favourite company Apple Computer Inc. had nothing to do with it.😉

As we traveled up in the elevator hoping that the electricity would not be turned off by PEPCO/WAPDA, the Tintash co-founders chatted and joked with each other and with me – it was as if we had known each other for a long time. I learnt a little about their background and must admit I was impressed.

Mannan Amin

Murad Akhter has over seven years experience in product management and software development in Silicon Valley’s high-tech industry. Prior to Tintash, he worked at Apple Computer on flagship products such as the company’s first line of 64-bit systems as well as its transition from PowerPC chips to Intel’s multi-core processors. He later worked on jukebox and VOIP applications for the Ultra-Mobile PC platform at Microsoft before starting Tintash in 2007. Murad graduated from Stanford University with an MS and BS in Computer Science. He had gone to school in Lahore at Aitchison.

Mannan Amin has a Masters in Management Science with a specialization in Innovations, Viral Marketing, and Entrepreneurship from Stanford. He feels very proud and fortunate to be amongst the very few who have been part of key courses at the newly founded d.school, school of cross disciplinary innovation, at Stanford. As part of these courses Mannan got a chance to do projects for the top management at Facebook, Firefox, GlobalGiving, JetBlue and Fidelity Investments. Earlier Mannan was at LUMS where he did his BSc CS and a year of LUMS MBA. Mannan is incredibly passionate about cultivating an environment for entrepreneurship in Pakistan. He remains ever the optimist!

Both these gentlemen teach – Murad at LUMS and Mannan at FC College. Those kids are lucky to have in their adjunct faculty such passionate entrepreneurs and technologists.

I can safely say that my interview with these two guys was very different from any interview I have done to date. First Mannan snatched my flip video and decided that he didn’t want a conservative formal interview. How could it possibly have been a normal or formal interview with such a duo as interviewees? He proceeded to chalk out an agenda on the glass coffee table which was a pretty good idea and then finally we proceeded with the introductions.

We discussed how these two got together, their strengths, the work that this young company has done in its two years of existence, the challenges that they face as a startup games company. We also talked about how they are dealing with these challenges, what they feel can be done at an industry level and what are the kind of areas in which the government can assist.

They also shared their excitement at having Tintash’s latest application for the Apple iPhone amongst the top ten on the App Store. This was not their first iPhone App and I could see that they are already working on the next one. I met the team of young people who work in the Tintash studios and was very impressed at the passion, the commitment and the sense of ownership that they showed.

Murad and Mannan are very gung-ho about Pakistan and the talent that exists here. They think that we have only scratched the surface in terms on innovation and that there is so much that can come out of Pakistan. I wonder if that’s why, despite their crazy schedule, they find the time to teach, to mentor and to be a part of industry activities. I am sure it is.

It was a pleasure meeting with them and hearing their story. It showed me once again that my faith in our industry is not misplaced and that there is indeed much more to look forward to in the years ahead. Do go and watch the interview with the Tintash team and come back and tell us what you thought.

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