Gratitude and Acknowledgment: A Vital Part of Life’s Story
A story without acknowledgment and gratitude is incomplete, mostly at the end. However, I choose to begin with it.
One of the things I deeply admire about life is constant change. It enables us to reflect, identify areas for improvement, and strive toward innovation through continuous experimentation and learning. And I hope this process never ceases for me.
Salute to those who have contributed to shaping me.
My Father instilled in me a growth mindset and set an excellent example as a leader. And my Mother has always been a source of unconditional love and inculcated resilience.
I owe a debt of gratitude to my mentors and friends (in the order I met them), each of whom played a crucial role.
I also owe a gratitude who indirectly taught and inspired me to become who I am today.
My expression of gratitude would be incomplete without acknowledging the significant influence of Patrick Henry Winston – an American computer scientist, Professor at MIT, and writer. Though we have never met, he has been a great source of inspiration for me. His communication teachings have profoundly impacted my growth, and I will always be grateful for his contributions.
Each of them played a critical role in shaping me. I am ineffably grateful for everything they taught and gave me – making me a successful vision-driven entrepreneur and innovative researcher.
I was born in Layyah but spent most of my formative years in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. Growing up as the son of an engineer from modest beginnings, I was never content with just knowing the “what” of things – I always had to know the “how” and “why” as well. This inquisitive nature made me an unhappy child among my siblings, but it has also driven my educational journey and career path. Thus, I identify as an engineer at heart – a strategic thinker – a left-brained strategist.
Throughout my life, two things have consistently captured my imagination: flying kites, which symbolize the pursuit of the extraordinary, and music, which has nourished my soul and fostered my creativity which made me an artist in spirit – a right-brained entrepreneur.
On a day that stands out in my memory, I was engaged in two of my favorite activities: flying a kite and playing the bamboo flute. At first glance, these hobbies might seem quite different, but they both reflect my combined interests in engineering and art. The kite flying required a good understanding of design and aerodynamics, appealing to my engineering mind. Later, playing handmade bamboo flute, I tapped into my artistic side. The flute’s creation and the music I played were as much about artistry as they were about technical skill. This day was a clear representation of how my interests in the analytical and the creative are intertwined, showcasing my dual nature as both a logical thinker and an artist.
Reflecting on the Past, Preparing for the Future: My Journey through Education
Technology has always fascinated me while growing up.
I always tinkered with gadgets and tried to figure out how they worked. So, it was natural that after school (in the early 2000s), I spent my evenings delving into technology. I started learning about computer hardware and even got a diploma in it. I took various courses, from designing to advanced networking, to quench my thirst for tech knowledge.
In the early 2000s, the Internet’s emergence fascinated me, aroused my curiosity, and made me wonder how one could use it for business.
While pursuing my passion in the evenings, I continued the traditional educational route. In 2005 I earned Bachelor’s in Journalism and, in 2007, a Master’s in Political Science from Punjab University, Pakistan.
I knew I had found my calling and was determined to pursue it. I continued exploring technology, the Internet, and digital marketing.
After a few years of experimentation, learning, and hustle, in 2009, Salman Aslam (my friend) and I bootstrapped Omnicore – Digital Marketing Agency. Together, we built a strong reputation and credibility for the agency in a short period.
In one of the early evenings of 2016, I began to reflect on my skills, experience, and knowledge. I realized that I was not ready for the future. My life took another turn.
I responded to that realization in multiple ways:
First: In 2016, I enrolled in the MSc in Digital Marketing Leadership program at the University of Aberdeen to hone my digital marketing skills to improve results for our clients.
Second: I considered giving back and helping aspiring digital marketers. I decided to contribute by publishing a book “Digital Passport – Your Pass to Promising Career in Digital Marketing” in 2018. This book introduces the various fields of digital marketing and informs, guides, encourages and inspires aspiring marketers and entrepreneurs. It outlines career progression from entry-level positions to executive roles, with information on average salaries and recommended resources. The book was well-received and was recognized as a ‘Top 100 Books of Digital Marketing of All Times.’
Third: In 2018, I took off all my hats, left behind the comfort of the ‘known’, and what to date had served me well, and embarked on a learning journey that would equip me with the education and, importantly, the mindset that I hoped would prepare me for the future. I took a bold step and enrolled in a PhD program in Management, specializing in Entrepreneurship-Crowdfunding at the University of Aberdeen. But my thirst for knowledge and growth was insatiable. Along with pursuing my PhD in Management, I also completed several other programs:
This educational expedition enabled me to accomplish the followings:
I firmly believe that continuous learning and embracing change is the key to unlocking our potential and preparing us for the future.
From Vision to Reality: Innovating for a Better Future
I aim to unleash the potential of (aspiring) entrepreneurs and organizations through innovation to bring their vision to life and create a meaningful impact on the future.