Muhammad Usman is a computer science graduate and young cyber entrepreneur who owns Allevents.pk website that enlists events across Pakistan. During his recent interview with Technology Times, he spoke in detail about his journey as a cyber entrepreneur and prospects of cyber entrepreneurship in Pakistan.
Q 1: Tell us briefly about yourself and highlights of your career?
My name is Muhammad Usman, I completed my masters in Computer Science in 2006 and since then, I am working as a software analyst, software developer and project manager at different companies. I will complete my M.Phil in Computer Science from SZABIST in near future InshAllah. My core area of research is data mining particularly in Data warehouses. I have worked on numerous software projects and completed 400+ medium-high level websites as a freelancer in technologies like Asp.NET, PHP, SQL server and MYSQL etc.
Q2: How you plunge yourself into cyber entrepreneurship? Was it planned or accidental?
AllEvents.pk was an initiative made by me in 2013, as I attended few events like seminars and training workshops. My supervisor was very concerned over an event where we had free entry on a very hot topic, but only few participants attended the event. We came to conclusion that we were not able to advertise it properly. We found some websites, but we could not find something that can be treated as a unique website only made for events across Pakistan. I took the idea from there, and started my working on this. I created the portal and continued adding different events from across the internet myself, as well as a facebook page to share the events. I wanted to help the society to take interest in technology-oriented workshops, trainings and seminars. I had to created many categories of events afterwards and I was wondering as how many events are happening across Pakistan were not advertised at all. There might be happening quite a lot around you, so don’t forget to check allevents.pk every now and then.
Q3: Where do you see yourself after 5 years?
I am trying to promote my website through internet and I wish that if the members count grows as in past, I should be able to achieve a membership of 50,000 members. As more members join in, we will not only cover more areas of different events but will also increase the participation of people in different ventures. For example, there is a club in Islamabad which every now and then arranges a walk, hike etc for free; their gathering might increase through this portal.
Q4: How you recognized the need of creating an online portal like allevents.pk? Who was your inspiration?
I have seen so many similar websites but there is no website in particular which can only target events across Pakistan. The websites which exist are multi-purpose like discussion forums, blogs etc. So there is a need for a website like allevents.pk which only targets events.
Q5: What was the turning point of your career that led you to take allevents.pk to the level it attains today? Did that happen gradually or overnight?
Nothing happens overnight. The idea behind this is to promote the culture of Scientific and Technological gatherings across the country; however, I accommodate several other events as well. It started from a basic template website with few events happening in each city, and now we witness like 100+ events happening across the country over weekends.
Q6: How allevents.pk is different from other online portals and how it is serving towards community?
AllEvents.pk targets only events across the country in different areas. Other portals include variety of contents, i.e. a mixture of forums, discussion boards, games etc. Whereas, allevents.pk only targets events fruitful for the society. In general, the community is always looking for different events happening in their areas. For example, a student might be looking for a specific training or workshop in his region. A doctor might be looking for a seminar being held in his city on a certain disease. Similarly photographers might be interested in their own types of events to shoot their photos. We were reached by a provincial office few days back on a phone call and they needed data of events happening in Lahore for the whole month as they were given a task by a provincial minister. So in general, AllEvents.pk is serving the community in all domains.
Q7: How did you manage to cope with the difficulties that hindered you in attaining your objectives, both professionally and psychologically?
There are certain issues which we come across in day to day routine. I have put a team of data entry people to collect events of different kinds from across the internet and post on the website. However, we encourage the organizers to participate in posting their events themselves. Once we have a crowd of 2,3 million people including organizers and general public, we might step back with our team and let the organizers do the job in future by themselves.
Q8: Can a small online business could also be setup with small investment?
If you know how to work with HTML, CSS, WORDPRESS and few technologies, all you need is a domain and hosting, which is not very costly these days. People can easily establish an online business, however it takes time for everyone to get matured enough to make it profitable.
Q9: What factors do young entrepreneurs must take care of before setting up an online business?
Your entrepreneurs should believe in themselves and work with the current trends of technology. For example, Social Networking has created a new era of advertisements and with proper plan; one can market their business without too much trouble using Social Network platforms.
Q10: What future of cyber entrepreneurship do you see in developing countries like
Pakistan? Is there adequate room in market for aspiring cyber entrepreneurs in Pakisan?
There is a lot to do in cyber entrepreneurship. Outsourcing is on its boom since 2000 and onwards. However, in Pakistan home-based entrepreneurships have not been encouraged at University level, specifically for females. If, at university level, we encourage cyber entrepreneurship and may add it as a subject for students, it might result in a better market for us.