Sunday, April 27, 2008

‘Don’t Compete with the World, rather compete with yourself'

Areeb Khan in joyous mood

26-year old Areeb Khan, a graduate of Jamia Millia Islamia and Indian Institute of Management (IIM, Calcutta), is the first Muslim to found a website for Citizen Journalism. He dumped his fat cheque job to tread a path which has been less travelled. Excerpts from an interview.

Q: You had a wonderful career of fat pay-cheques. What made you start Purdafash.com? Isn’t it unconventional wisdom?

A: Being in the top 20% at IIM C, I definitely had fat pay cheques for the duration that I worked with even fatter pay cheques in the near distance. However, the desire to do something on my own and also to make a difference is what made me take up Purdafash. Whether it can be called wisdom or not would depend on how successful we become, but unconventional it definitely is.

Q: Why Purdafash? Kindly elaborate how you managed to start the website and purpose behind it.

A: Purdafash is a very well thought out and carefully rolled out product. The site combines the concepts of Citizen Journalism and Social Networking in a focused way so as to solve the problems of people like you and me. The purpose behind starting Purdafash is to earn money while doing good of the people around us. The site has been launched on the basic premise that there is a bit of “good” hidden among all of us. So the website intends, in the future, to become a platform where all the good forces can unite.

Q: Do you think that Purdafash will survive given that it will not be depend on “senseless advertising” and “corporate charity”?

A: Yes, we strongly believe that not only will Purdafash survive but even go on to become a very powerful force on the Indian media horizon. The product has behind it a very sound business model tested under various scenarios which will eventually help it to survive against competition. As for advertising, we intend to introduce to India an advertising paradigm which is very popular in the West but has not yet touched Indian shores. And yes, we would never depend on corporate charity for our funds but at the same time Purdafash intends to blur the line between the social and the economic so the very definition of “charity” might undergo a sea of change once we are successful.

Q: Your academic life at Jama Millia Islamia and IIM Calcutta?

A: I graduated in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Jamia Millia Islamia with a silver medal and went to work in a flourishing startup Nagarro Inc. In the 2 years that I spent at the company, I rose to become the Head of India Marketing team before deciding to pursue MBA from IIM Calcutta. During my two years at IIM Calcutta, I was instrumental in getting off the ground IIM Calcutta’s flagship marketing festival- CENSUS and was part of the core team that turned around the Annual Entrepreneurship festival from being a small, intra campus event into an All India event. I was also awarded the Best Project Award by the Social Work Group at IIM Calcutta and People for Animals for developing a Business that would improve the lives of rural India.

Q: What’s the motto that drives you?

A: I don’t compete with the world- rather compete with myself. I feel the standards that I set for myself are much higher than what the world expects out of me. So I try to exceed my own expectations everyday- that’s what keeps me going.

Q: Do you think Muslim youth can play an important role in promoting citizen journalism?

A: Absolutely! I think Muslim youth are just as good as any in the world and they can definitely play an important role by highlighting the problems that we face as a community everyday.

Q: Any message for Muslim community especially Muslim youth?

A: Just believe that you are the best, get as educated as possible and strive constantly to be twice as good as the person next to you.

Q: Your family background?

A: My parents hail from Aligarh and both are government servants. They are both doctorates and have always placed a premium on education. I have a younger sister who is presently completing her schooling.

1 comment:

faraz-is-bright said...

Your writings are awesome