The journey to APICTA is never an easy one

October 18, 2010 at 8:47 am Leave a comment

The truth of this was made obvious to our nominees even before they left for Kuala Lumpur. Training and Mentoring sessions were arranged for them in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad where Jawwad Ahmed Farid, Zafar Khan, Nadeem Aslam Malik, Zia Imran – all former APICTA judges – and Yusuf Jan (a P@SHA ICT Awards Judge) and Adnan Agboatwalla (twice APICTA Awards winner) looked at presentations, gave advice on the judging criteria and tore sales presentations to shreds.

As judges and nominees started to arrive in Kuala Lumpur, the mentoring and prep sessions began. We took over the Traders Lounge a couple of times (although that really is meant for the people staying on the Executive Floor and not their entire teams), we used the Board room twice and Zafar Khan’s room was the scene of some of the late night sessions. Some sessions were even held in the Food Court and Burger King at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC). The commitment of the judges and the dedication of the nominees gives one heart.

Each year I see this. Successful entrepreneurs like Zafar and Jawwad, Nadeem and Sultan, Yusuf, Imran and Badar, take time off from their busy work lives to travel to some part of the world to work with these teams. They give up time with family and are totally sleep deprived the week they are at APICTA – all for one reason and one reason only. They want Pakistan to do their best, to put up the greatest performance, to showcase the innovation that exists.

Sometimes some of the judges are extremely brutal in their assessment of the presentations but I think nominees have begun to understand that those who listen to the feedback, actually benefit. You may have the most brilliant sales presentation on the face of the planet but it could do very badly at APICTA simply because it does not answer the key questions that APICTA judges are looking for answers to.

As we worked with the teams this year, we found them to be very receptive, very cooperative and willing to put in the time that was needed to revamp presentations and to rehearse them. And that makes our jobs as mentors worth the effort. Their success (and here I measure success not only in terms of awards, but also in terms of showing a regional group of highly qualified people the diversity and depth of the technology and business innovation that Pakistan is capable of) makes us proud. They make us proud. Their attitude, their willingness to listen and adapt brings us a great of satisfaction.

And you know what else? This year we saw how we work as a team even at the nominee level. Junaid Khan advising the Folio 3 team on their presentation, Yasir and Bilal from Primatics helping Muadh – a candidate in the Tertiary Student Category; each one of them trying to hep the other become more proficient, giving them a better chance of performing at an optimal level. It was great to see and warmed our hearts. The comraderie was amazing, the team work was fabulous and, as far as I am concerned, we all came out winners.

For more of an insight on how the judges feel and why they continue to do this year after year, read this post from Jawwad.

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