Great things continued to happen at TiEcon 2009
The teabreak gave an opportunity for delegates to network with the speakers and organizers. By now there were 330 delegates. The vacant chairs had been placed on one side of the room so that the late entrants would not disrupt the proceedings. That worked well too.
Jawwad and I met Arbab, a young software engineer from Pindi who had flown in for the event. He told us about an exciting product that he and his friends have developed. It is being fine-tuned right now but is ready to fly. Will do a review on it as soon as it is up and running he is ready to talk openly about the product in depth together with its features. Real innovative work. It had my adrenalin pumping I can tell you. 🙂
The next speaker was Batool Hassan who is Business Development Manager at Acumen Fund. She talked about the kind of grassroot initiatives that are being funded by Acumen Fund and about the need for more entrepreneurs to look at the social sector as a business option. She explained that a social enterprise was not a charity. It had to be run on the same principles as any other businesss. It had to generate revenue to be self-sustaining and to be able to pump profits back into further ongoing activity. A great speaker who cleared the myth regarding social entrepreneurship by putting it in clear, concise and simple terms.
Things heated up before lunch when the new generation of entrepreneurs who use social networks and new, emerging techniques for generating business and getting customer feedback took on the big boys from the world of multinationals. Adil Moosajee of Ego and Shahjehan Chaudhry of Home Express were on one side of the debate whereas representatives from Reckitt Benkiser and Unilever were on the other side. The topic that was under discussion was: Conventional wisdom is becoming increasingly irrelevant. In the new, networked, interruption economy, is it necessary to follow traditional wisdom to create something awesome, disruptive, and world changing?
Personally I thought Adil and Sha put on a very convincing case for the motion but after a very intense debate ably refereed (hehe) by Hasan Rizwan, the audience voted in favour of Conventional wisdom. I guess there is a lot of unconditioning to be done and a lot of young minds to corrupt before we can expect a different kind of result. We are up for it, aren’t we Adil, Sha, Jawwad, Sabeen, anyone???
This was followed by lunch which in iteself was a delight. A menu chosen to suit many diverse requirements included various types of pastas, roast beef with an awesome gravy, roast chicken in mushroom sauce, a tikka type of concoction and, to be honest, I didn’t get to the other stuff because already I had people commenting on the amount of food I had on my plate. Dessert included apple pie with a vanilla sauce and ice-cream crunch.
The networking that ensued over lunch was also part of the deal and you could see people trying to sell concepts, create linkages and overall get to know each other.
To ensure that too much food didn’t put people to sleep, next came the Taal Karisma story followed by a musical performance. Talented young people creating music with a mix of instruments that is not conventional. Appreciation all round as some youngsters had actually had actually moved to the floor to be closer to the stage and the performance.
During lunch the room had been arranged to accommodate a dozen breakout sessions which included:
Bootstrapping with Sabeen Mahmud, Director, PeaceNiche
Branding with Adil Moosajee, Owner, Ego
Raising Capital with Ali Ansari, CEO, Dewan Drilling
Social Media with Rabia Garib, Editor, CIO Magazine
Pitching with Jehan Ara, President, PASHA & co-conspirator Jawwad A. Farid, Author, Reboot
Building Teams with Shireen Naqvi, Director, School of Leadership
Social Entrepreneurship with Haamid Jaffer, Director, Murshid Hospital
Technology with Ahmed Allauddin, CEO, Millenium Software
Public Relations with Salaina Haroon, Marketing Director, CIO Pakistan
Company Culture with Yusuf Jan, EVP, MIXIT Inc.
Creating an A-List team, Humaira Ahmad, Senior Consultant, Engage HR
All the sessions were interesting and many people whinged about not being able to attend more than one. Nonetheless, it was fun. We enjoyed running our pitching session. Somewhere in between, Imtiaz Noor joined Jawwad and me and added value to the discussions. We are evil so after providing some guidelines and providing examples, we ran it on a workshop style and had some of the kids pitch to us. This way we were able to provide them with feedback on the do’s and don’ts and how to make their pitches more effective. I think the kids enjoyed it as much as we did. The young man who made the best pitch got a copy of Reboot. 🙂
Looking around one could see that there was immense activity in each part of the room as the facilitators interacted with their groups. I heard balloons being burst and a lot of applause and cheers from different corners of the hall. Suffice to say fun was had by all and a lot of learning took place.
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