Addventurer: Iftikhar Hussain

Meet an addventurer! We are introducing Profiles of Addventurers here at JAV by Momekh. I have long wanted to profile interesting people doing remarkable work, and I even ended up doing a close knit meetup this year (more are expected next year). This is part of the series of people You should be learning from if you want to be creatively self employed, do an online business or live a life of adventure!

Meet Iftikhar…

Iftikhar Hussain at the JAV by Momekh Meetup, here in Lahore.
Iftikhar Hussain at the JAV by Momekh Meetup, here in Lahore.

I met Iftikhar way back in the day…when Badar (then at Google) and Jahan Ara (PASHA) used to arrange all these blogger meetups.

He is always the one with the biggest smile and the loudest laugh!

The cool thing is that I remember him as being “part of the audience” … and now he has become the go-to person if you want to meet people in the tech industry.

He, along with a mutual friend Zain Majid, started TEC in 2011. TEC puts together conferences and meetups and is responsible for some of the most respected events in the calendar.

Here are the questions and answers we exchanged:

When did you start TEC and how did it start?

Iftikhar: TEC started in 2011 as a side business. Zain was working at a bank at the time, and I was busy in different tech startups…so it had to be a side business.

But later, in 2013, we finally decided to quit everything else and take TEC as a full time business.

WHY did you start a business instead of doing a job?

I was born into a business family. But while I was pursuing my bachelors (undergraduate) I attended a lot of entrepreneurship events. Those events inspired me to start my own venture instead of doing a job or even joining my family business.

My business partner and friend, Zain, he was working a job at the time, and I took it from him that doing a job stifled your creativity. He would not be allowed to introduce new concepts in the organization just because they were “new”.

And both of together really gelled as a team; one is good at PR and the other’s good at marketing in general.

Any special reason you went into the conference business? Why this type of business specifically?

When we started TEC (which stands for Trainings, Events, Consultancy), we didn’t have any plans for conference management as a business. But then it got exciting!

There are only a couple of conference producers in Pakistan that are producing quality conference for the industry. Also, a lot of people want to start an event management business, but hardly anyone opts to arrange and produce and execute a national level conference.

Conferences are definitely a niche business.

What are the UNIQUE challenges of the conference business?

Well it’s a unique business!

As we plan for a yearly conference, it becomes very challenging to sell it. And then there is a dearth of good speakers. To convince a sponsor, it is difficult, as we’d need to narrow down on our niche.

Most of our sales are through word of mouth at the end of the day.

How would you start planning a conference? How does that work flow look like? 

Conferences usually start at the agenda level, where we discuss the actual timetable of the conference with potential industry leaders.

We then decide on a list of speakers together, and then the search starts. I’d say about 85% of our work is actually on the computer/Internet, getting in touch with different people related to the event.

Do you use any Calendar application to schedule your day?

Yes! Google Calendar to schedule the day. Makes everything easier, especially using it on our phones.

Iftikhar’s Latest Venture

Iftikhar’s company TEC is arranging their fourth annual DIGIMARK conference. It’s about digital marketing, not only in Pakistan, but also the region.

I’ve always wanted to attend DIGIMARK, and inshAllah, this year, I will be there.

I have written before how important it can be to attend such conferences. You get to meet people in your field and you learn and you grow.

I’ve made very important connections at meetups and conventions and seminars. Alhumdulillah. So I highly recommend you attend the conference, if you have any steaks involved in digital marketing.

You can check out the line of speakers here, and then register for the conference at this link. The conference is on the 24th of November, in Royal Palm Lahore, it’s a full day event…

Also, if you want to learn anything on how to run a national level conference, how to get those last minute tickets to DIGIMARK, get group discounts, check TEC’s upcoming events, you can talk to Iftikhar directly here (he always tries his best to help!)…

Did you like this quick profile? How would you improve it? Remember, this is not a “detailed” interview, just a quick profile of people doing their own thing in today’s knowledge economy. Let me know what you think.

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Iftikhar is a permanent feature of the Pakistani tech and conference scene and I am honored to know him. A hard working addventurer indeed!

اللہ نظربد سے بچاے، آمین۔



A trip down memory lane!

social media summit karachi pakistan
From 2011. Travelled to Karachi for the Social Media Summit. From left to right: Usman Latif, Zain Majid, Iftikhar Hussain, Good Ol Me.
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