Categories
Universe

In a Pandemic World

This is a whole different world. Whoever is going through this, never got a chance to imagine it. We’re already in a new world and all these happened just in 100 days!

The streets of Dhaka are now empty, air quality has improved significantly. Nature is shining with her brightness but humanity is dying for their own mistake. Many predictions are here but nobody knows what’s going to happen next.

Over 1.5 million people are already affected by COVID-19 and around 95 thousand people have already died. This is a horrific situation which I’ll never forget in my lifetime.

We’re just staying at home since 17 March 2020. It’s much more complicated than I’ve estimated. Balancing work and life is really crucial for happiness but seems like we’re not going to have it for a while.

Categories
Universe

Right Turn, Left Turn

It was a bright sunny day when I started at Deligram. The entry was simply gorgeous – something like the best onboarding of my life. For some reason few of my friends and colleagues thought it could be a newsable incident. Luckily it didn’t go that far.

I left Deligram just in 5 months – exactly after 153 days of joining. Though I didn’t make any public announcement but all the people who came to know about it asked me the same question – why so early?

I’m not that person who’ll avoid the question but at the same time I don’t know which is the correct answer. Moreover I have a constant feeling of regret for not being able to do anything very impactful. So I often review my old task list and ask what did I miss?

It’s not an answer but recently I have a realization that if you have a feeling of doing something very right, most likely you’re walking in a wrong way.

Categories
Process

Fearing the Unknown but I’m Curious

We spend most of our time figuring out – what’s coming next. In most cases we predict the wrong or often we forget what we’ve predicted. The people whom we recognise as successful are mostly doers, who hardly get any time to think about the future.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about Elon Musk or Bill Gates. They are successful and they talk about future a lot. But they are too heavy to take them as role models. I’m talking about people around me who invented some hacks to have a relatively better life. Most of them are just brave people.

It’s really not so important to be a master on how accurately someone can predict the future. We live in present and we hardly have any control over it. Fearing the future is good as it indicates about taking some risks or getting out of the comfort zone. Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid.

To a brave man, good and bad luck are like his left and right hand. He uses both.

St. Catherine of Siena

Sometimes we make mistakes in distinguishing the differences between bravery and stupidity. It’s okay, some stupidities actually made this world a better place.

Categories
Universe

Let the Rain: Wash Away the Pain

And He it is Who sends the winds as glad tidings before His mercy, and We send down pure water from the sky, That We may thereby give life to a dead land, and give it for drink to Our creation — cattle and men in great numbers.

Al-Qur’an, Al-Furqan 48 – 49

Rain is like a bless for us – it brings life to everything, cleans the air, makes the river flowing. Often rain causes flood which makes the land fertile.

Rain is the result of an obvious cycle of nature. The existence of life will be impossible if somehow this cycle is collapsed.

Categories
Work

My Last and 3,348th Day at G&R

Based on the official record, I’ve spent exactly 9 years and 2 months at G&R. There were 2 leap years within this time. So it’s my 3,348th day at G&R and it’s going to be the last day here.

If I include the inception period of G&R as well, few more hundreds days would be added. Compare to my current age, it’s around 30% of my lifetime!

9 years ago when I started at G&R, we were just a team of 3 people. Today when I’m leaving, we’re a part of such a big family that it’s hard to get the exact count of the members.

Working at G&R was one of the best things of my life. Though it was challenging most of the time but it was exciting too. In the meantime I grew in many ways – from 27 to 36, bachelor to a husband, no one to a father of 3 kids. Moreover now I’m not just a confused university student like I was in the beginning.

At G&R I’ve learnt the best lessons – it’s not only about work but also about many other things all of which I will take with me throughout my life.

I got the chance to work with so many people who are not only super talented but also great human beings. There were total 55 colleagues who worked with me in this 9 years of time. I’ve signed several hundreds of cheque in the name of our publishers which I always considered as the most rewarding part of my career.

As many of you already know that in the next chapter, G&R will be operated as a fintech utilizing the NOC it has received last year to develop an ewallet. Hopefully it’s going to be the next big thing.

For me, the next chapter is to focus on something which I really love. Stay in touch.

Categories
Work

JossWork, for the Love of Working

It’s nothing new, there are a few thousand similar tools to make your work process automated and transparent. But we’re kind of reinventing the wheel – JossWork is an email service with some other additional features to make your workstation smarter.

Just one setup and you’ll get work email, automated office attendance system, customer and pipeline management tools, invoicing system and many more for your business.

Automated attendance is one crucial feature that’s producing a lot of attention. We’ve built a relatively efficient and smart process for recording office attendance. Existing internet connection is enough to get it done, no hardware setup required. It also offers a standard leave management system with a multilayer approval process.

Other features such as journal, messaging, pipeline, basic CRM are also working pretty well and our users are loving them.

Categories
Insight

Missed-call Marketing, the New Hype in the Town

After ZipDial, an Indian based missed-call marketing company was acquired by Twitter, a new hype can be felt in the tech scenario of Dhaka. Several companies started following the path, building almost the same thing.

BDCOM, a market leader in SMS and other telemarketing solutions is already doing pilots with some top brands for this missed-call marketing solution. CallSpring, a platform launched by Hackhouse is also started pitching the customers. G&R, the leading ad tech startup is also testing a platform called JossCall.

In Bangladesh, tech entrepreneurs are struggling to determine the exact idea which actually can drive the growth of revenue. Media and Publishing still leading the game but the success is limited within few mainstream top brands.

Less than 10% of our people have the access to internet so far while more than 90% people are using mobile phones. So this a promising area where technology can contribute something.

Categories
Universe

New Mayorship in Dhaka

Dhaka has witnessed a mayor election last month when Mr Annisul Haque was elected to lead the northern side of the city development for next 4 years. As usual the election was controversial but Mr Haque is being considered as the right person for his vibrant and charismatic approach.

Though it’s just 2 weeks but we’re already witnessing that there’s a new mayor in the city who is trying so hard to bring some differences.

We’re living in a city with too many problems. Every time we see a new leader in power, we start assuming that we’re going to have the same fate. So even though we’re witnessing some developments going on, most people are considering it as an eyewash.

Mr Mayor, please prove us wrong!

Categories
Universe

Growth of Internet Users in Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, around 15 million people actively use Internet. It’s 6.5% of our population and we’re in the position of 157th in the world in terms of population vs users ratio. But our penetration is 28.5% which is really high compare to many other countries.

Hopefully by end of 2015, the number of active internet users will be around 30 million which is a very ambitious prediction though.

Our users have a very different approach to internet than what we see in developed country – we consume contents rather than spend online. So it seems e-commerce isn’t going to be any big hit here in near future.

The majority portion of internet users are on-boarded by Facebook. An interesting insight is – many of them have a guilty feeling for wasting their money for no good cause.

Local startups who’re taking internet as their business platform, are yet to set long-term objectives. It’s really hard to imagine what’s going on here as technology and people’s mind – both are changing too fast.

Categories
Work

The Untold Story: Beginning of G&R

This story is originally published in Medium, both in Bangla and English. As the story is too long, I am publishing it here dividing in different chapters.

It was September 2005 when I first realised that websites could be made by ordinary people like me. Before that I imagined that making websites was similar in difficulty to building spaceships. I have always been very relaxed at work, but when I discovered the ease and beauty of website development – when I realised that this spaceship was easily attainable  –  I knew I’d discovered the secret to a long and happy life.

I was always good at maintaining pixels. This practice began on the first day of design school, where most of my friends were far better than me at drawing. I knew I couldn’t compete with them with my drawing skills alone, so I began using graph paper to make design plans and layouts. This helped me learn the manual process of using pixels. Over time, I became a pixel dancer. This helped me grab the attention many influential people.

One fine day in 2009, I received an unexpected email from London. A man I’d never heard of wanted to meet me to talk about the current status of the Internet in Bangladesh. At the time, his queries were irrelevant to my work. I was busy consulting for overseas clients who paid me an hourly wage. I had even been tasked with redesigning The Daily Star website! But I really never thought that the Internet could bring any change to Bangladeshi society.

The man from London had an extensive knowledge about the Internet and had even spent time working at Google. He taught me to see the potential of the Internet in a completely different way. I was extremely excited and finally felt that I could finally be a useful creature in society.

We had our first discussion about the Internet in Bangladesh in March 2009. G&R received the certification for incorporation in July 2009. Ours is an amazing story.

Our very first days at G&R were spent doing nothing but exploring possibilities. Early on, we decided to partner with a software company called eBizzsol for technical support. We held several brain storming sessions and drank a few hundred cups of tea. We were trying to find a single solution that would solve a few hundred problems. The word localization was on top of anything. We started following the tagline, Your local site!

Categories
Work

A Story to be Told

Necessity is the mother of invention, literature is the grandchild of crisis!

Last five months, most of the space of my brain was captivated by one single idea – hot to tell a story about an ongoing history.

After multiple attempts finally it’s published now! I choose Medium as the publishing platform because it’s easier to write long stories there.

I was not always very happy in working at G&R. I actually attempted to quit several times and plan my career in a whole different way. But somehow I wasn’t able to do that. Love often causes pain and for some strange reason, we always accept it, and often enjoy it.

From The Untold Story of a Bangladeshi Startup

Some stories to be told loudly as most people don’t want to hear – we all are busy with telling our stories.

Categories
Work

G&R 3.0, the New Era Began

Things are changing too fast and the same thing happening here at G&R. In last 1 year, we’ve experienced lots of growth in too many ways.

In this circumstance G&R is proudly presents the latest version of the Ad Network, G&R 3.0!

G&R has changed the way local digital content in Bangladesh is monetized by operating and optimizing Bangladesh’s largest online advertising marketplace. This market connects local website owners with advertisers and serves 15,000,000+ ads per day across 1,500+ websites.

This new version of ad network will allow our advertisers to start any campaign within a few minutes. The realtime dashboard will let them review the performance and various optimisation tools will help them to get the maximum ROI.

Similarly a publisher can monetize by placing G&R ads in their website or app in a simple and guided process. They also get various optimization tools to control and accelerate the revenue.

Our agency partners are getting a brand new dashboard with advanced controls to manage their clients, campaigns, ads and revenue.

Growing isn’t always exciting. We often miss our old days, our childhood. At G&R, though we’re missing our ‘no regulation’ days, but we always keep our attention in improving the product experiences with latest and updated technology.

Categories
Work

G&R Featured in Google I/O 2014

This might be one of the prestigious moments I’d always love to remember. Talking in front of a camera wasn’t a very new experience for me. But it was really difficult to keep my nerves normal when I knew that this conversation has a chance to be featured in Google I/O.

Our story was featured on the wall of startups in Google I/O 2014 . Thanks to my colleagues and the camera crew from Google for their supports. It seems we were looking good when the video was showing on Google I/O wall.

Categories
Work

Amar Bornomala, the Next Steps

The Amar Bornomala team is working hard to release their 2nd font. You’ll be able to download it from the same site. We’re also collecting people’s feedback for the 3rd font which going to be released on next Pohela Boishakh.

Those who believe in Bangla, keep the same right to contribute in developing it. We are expecting your active and constructive inputs so that we can set some standards for Bangla fonts. We hope it’ll help the upcoming typographers to be more interested in developing new Bangla fonts.

You can upload a scan copy of your handwritings here which may include the suggestions for how you want to see the alphabets. Based on experts selection, we’ll create a font combining different handwritings of different alphabets.

Categories
Work

To Download the New Bangla Font of Amar Bornomala

The new free bangla font launched by Amar Bornomala is open to download since the 1st minute after it was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. In last 22 hours it got around 3,000 downloads. If you yet to download it, please use this link.

It’ll ask your email or phone number before the download starts. We are taking this info so that we can notify you the next update, as well as if other fonts are here to download.

So far we’ve got thousands of feedbacks via comments, direct contacts, Facebook post, over phone etc which encouraging us to work harder. We are ensuring you that we are reading each of your feedbacks and working on it.

As there were no academic standardizations in creating Bangla fonts, our aim is to establish this culture. Also we want to create a platform from where people can get beautiful Bangla fonts for free.

So your support is very important!

Categories
Work

The Beginning of Amar Bornomala

The beginning was back in 2010 when I first started thinking about an academic thesis entitled ‘Amar Bornomala o Somosamoyik Bangla Typography‘ (my alphabets and contemporary Bangla typography). Those were some dots which needed to be connected.

In last two years I’ve tried to connect those dots. I’ve talked with several people, organizations, institutes to get supports. But I never imagined that the country chief will inaugurate this initiative!

The primary goal of Amar Bornomala is to standardize the Bangla fonts with academic principles. The Honorable Prime Minister of Peoples Republic of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina has inaugurated the first font at the very first moment of 21 February 2013 from the Central Shahid Minar premises. Other two fonts are coming within next couple of days.

Access to Information (a2i) programme of Prime Minister’s office initiated this project in association with Bangla Academy and Department of Graphic Design from University of Dhaka. You can also download this font from this link.

Well, it wasn’t an easy journey and at the same time was a long process of learning. You shouldn’t limit your dreams, ever! Most of the times you won’t be able to imagine the solutions, but you can be sure that there must be a solution if you are able to create a constructive problem.

Categories
Insight madness Process sleepless nights Work

Building an Internet Company in Bangladesh

these slides were presented at Dhaka Startup Weekend, held in 10 – 12 January 2013. the learnings are real and you can ask for the details. we have the stories to tell you.

Categories
Universe

When Social Media is Managed by Unsocial People

Facebook is doing a really great business in Bangladesh though we don’t have a proper, easy or legal way to make international payments. I think the amount is bigger than many other countries who might have a better way to make payments! From my personal research I got an impression that now days Facebook is getting more orders than their capacity!

Well, is this a good sign? I am sure very few of you will come up with a straightforward answer. But I have a clear stand on this regard – I am considering it as growth of stupidity.

I used to login to Facebook to see these stupidities and I am kind of paid for that. My friends (except business owners, spammers), once who were the reason of using Facebook now hardly post anything there.

Being social doesn’t mean Facebook and engagement doesn’t mean increasing the number of Likes. If you really think that way – pity on you, you actually never have a balance social life or you have very boring friends.

Categories
Work

Facebook Apps, A New Culture Driving Businesses in Bangladesh

I’ve started working with designing Facebook apps since February 2012. It was a great feeling after completing the 1st one which was My Special Valentine launched by Airtel. It was a great experience to see how people interact with the big brands.

In the later months Airtel has given us the chance to create few more apps like Bangladesh in My Lens, Ankbo Amra Dekhbe Bishwa and Monsoon in My Lens. Each of these apps have engaged the audiences in different ways and brought some wonderful returns for Airtel.

With these huge experiences I’ve got more chances to work with other brands like 7up, Pepsi, Durex etc. The Durex one worths some highlights as it was planned for a different kind of users engagement. The privacy was the biggest consideration as it’s a vital issue for any engagement with a brand like Durex.

Very recently I’ve got a chance to work with Grameenphone which was a very new kind of experience for me. I got to plan, design and develop the app Bond of Friendship which should be considered as one of the biggest social engagement case studies from Bangladesh.

Well, it seems the journey is just began. Most of the marketers are now talking about these kind of social engagements. This is the easiest and cheapest way to count the direct public feedback.

Categories
Insight

Social Media Trends in Bangladesh

For any Bangladesh brand, suddenly it became very essential to have a facebook page. hundreds of companies are coming with a new kind of service – social media management which include facebook page management, facebook campaign management, application development etc.

last March on the occasion of independence day of Bangladesh, airtellbuzz, the social hub of airtel bangladesh, launched photo competition through their facebook page. it brought a tremendous return which later drive other brands to follow it.

the big brands are now counting the ‘likes’ as their return of investments. people are talking about how to increase the page like. as well as the experts are also telling about dos and don’ts in social engagements.

in last few months i’ve managed several facebook campaign for some big brands of bangladesh. i’ve also got the chance to manage some of country’s top facebook pages. facebook is the easiest platform to promote a message among the likers – this is the common reason why the big brands are so desperate to increase their page like.

Categories
Insight

Internet trends in Bangladesh

This article was published in IT & Telecom page of The Daily Star on 13 July 2012.

The rapid growth of digital technology is fundamentally changing the world as we know it. Global internet penetration in 2010 stood at 1.9 billion people and is expected to grow to 5 billion by 2015. It is unsurprising that with this in mind, information in the world (videos, music, documents etc.) that is stored online is also projected to grow from 800 exabytes to 53 zetabytes (eMarketer, 2011).

To put this into context, Google recently announced that there is 60 hours of video (YouTube Blog, 2012) uploaded onto YouTube each and every minute.

The average user accesses the web on 3 separate occasions throughout the day, with usage peaking during the morning hours. In addition, a total of 4 different websites are typically visited during these sessions.

Personal research

Mobile adoption is another factor that is further accelerating access to the internet. The “Queen of the Net” Mary Meeker forecasts mobile internet usage to outstrip desktop/large screen by 2015.

So why is this relevant to us in Bangladesh?
In Bangladesh, with mobile subscribers just over 92 million and mobile internet access over 25 million users (BTRC, March 2012), it is fair to say, that these “pocket computers” will be the first entry point into the internet for many people in this country.

As access to internet explodes, the internet will increasingly become where people, of all ages and demographics, spend their time and as a result it will lead to significant changes in the way we go about our daily lives.

It is second nature for an individual in New York to purchase a flight via the internet and changes such as these are soon to take place here.

G&R Ad Network, a company that manages internet ad campaigns across over 150 local websites reaching over 90% of Bangladeshis online, has built-up unique insight into how users within the country and abroad browse the web.

G&R analysed millions of data points and put together 3 key trends that can help show where the internet in Bangladesh is going.

1. Internet consumption is accelerating
The internet subscriber base in Bangladesh (excluding mobile) currently stands at just over 1.5 million (BTRC, Feb 2012). However, total desktop internet users in Bangladesh is actually far greater than that number, likely driven by heavy usage in offices, internet cafes and multiple users accessing the internet from a single household. Local industry estimates suggest that in 2011 access to the web was closer to 8 million users, having grown 300% since 2010 and expected grow a further 500% by 2020 (BCG, 2010). This acceleration of internet consumption is undoubtedly fueled not only by the growth in access, such as through WIMAX modems, but also through the proliferation of increasingly affordable laptops, desktops and tablets.

2. Those with access browse a lot
Until now, it wasn’t clear how people in Bangladesh actually spend their time on the web on a daily basis. The data G&R gathered sheds some more light on consumer behaviour online.

The average user accesses the web on 3 separate occasions throughout the day, with usage peaking during the morning hours. In addition, a total of 4 different websites are typically visited during these sessions.

While usage of social networks and email services account for a considerable portion web activity, the data collected by the G&R indicates that Bangladeshis also spend a lot of time browsing the web. Such users are actively seeking information and content online and this is only going to grow further as more local websites and web applications start to enter the public domain.

3. Web usage varies considerably by day of week
Which days are Bangladeshis most online is a question that has been asked a lot at G&R. As visualised in the chart on left , web usage varies considerably based on the day of the week. Internet traffic among local Bangladeshis peaks on Mondays and is generally higher during the working days. Fridays represent substantially less traffic, but it is worth noting that internet consumption remains high for non-resident Bangladeshis visiting local Bangladeshi sites on Fridays.

Final thoughts
The rapid development of the online space in Bangladesh is very exciting and promising. The frenetic popularity of global platforms like Google, Facebook and Twitter as well as the innovation and growth of local websites, Bangla content, localised online tools and e-commerce which indicates that the internet will have an increasingly positive impact on the daily lives of people in this country.

  • Muhammad Nazimuddaula is COO, G&R
  • Nasheet Islam is director, G&R
Categories
Work

G&R Ad Network – Internet Comes of Age

Back in 2005 when I first came to know about the process of building of internet product, I was really surprised. Before that it was actually impossible for me to imagine how a simple website works!

In last few years I’ve spent most of time in learning. The same thing still going on and I am not sure how long I should keep learning. The best part of this learning process is – I’m loving i’!

The attached slides were presented at Digital Marketing Summit 2012, held in Dhaka. We had shown few insights which is driving the growth of G&R.

Categories
Work

RongDhong, Your Lifestyle is Here!

It has a long story!

RongDhong was an idea which I heard first time in middle of a night – that was a pleasant story. Later a long time passed which brought a bad story. After blending lot of good and bad stories, RongDhong became public at the middle of 2011.

RongDhong brings stories of life, the writers of RongDhong are you! It doesn’t need any expert opinion or any very thoughtful message. If any of your stories which you think will help other people, can be published here.

Let us know what you think about it.

Categories
love Process Universe Work

201loves202.com

so, here i am!

last month i’ve started another website www.201loves202.com. there is a long story behind the name. 201 was my class role and 202 was her. this website is totally focused on our works. so we are adding all our academic and professional works there. as well as we are running there a microblog to let you know about our new ideas.

please give us a visit!

Categories
Work

Happy Life

So, it’s going on.

You can’t say yourself happy unless you are happy. Life isn’t so easy at all – at least here in Dhaka which is declared by Economist as 2nd worst city in the world!

You’ll never know how long you have to wait under the burning sun for a transportation. So the definition of happiness is a term which we have to consider when we’re staying at home.

Have a look to the picture above. it’s from my balcony. I do water it everyday.

Few updates of my work: well, things around me has changed too fast in last couple of months. This is a site I’ve designed few months ago for Dropndot which was selected as a best site. This is a new kind of recognition of my work and I am feeling great about it.

Right now I am working with building an ad network which is quit a new experience for me. I hope I can tell you more about it later. Yesterday I’ve launched another sleepless night idea with one of my colleagues which you may have a look too.

Categories
Universe

Waiting Makes You Philosopher, or Anything You Want to Be

The Terminal is my most favorite movie for all the time. Life is waiting. We wait, we have to wait. Sometime waiting makes us feeling good, often its painful. But still we have to wait.

I’ve been waiting my whole life, I just don’t know what the hell for.

Amelia, The Terminal

I can hear a music very unfamiliar… I never heard this tune. Someone is playing a guitar in a very wonderful way. I usually listen to music when I wait. But this time waiting isn’t wasting of time. That day when I was waiting under the open sky, a rain drop touched me. I’d love to wait my whole life for being touched by such a drop of rain.

Waiting makes you a human being, a philosopher or anything you want to be.

Categories
Universe

It’s the New Life Around Me

I didn’t get a chance to write here in last couple of weeks though those were some of the most memorable times of my life. A new life began on last 4 March with new things, new responsibilities and new experiences.

Life is beautiful if you consider it in a beautiful way.

The Wise Donkey

The most important part is I am really enjoying my time. I hope this site is going to be more rich as a new writer is going to be added.

Well, life is beautiful if you consider it in a beautiful way. I am posting my beautiful stories in different places. I’ve created pages at blogspot, tumblr and today at odopod. You can have a look and I hope you’ll like it.

Categories
Universe

Celebration of the New Beginning

Well, this is going to be a new beginning, an unknown stage of life which about I was always curious. I am never afraid of responsibilities, but this is something very new of kind and I am unable to measure the load. I believe it’d be fine – life is beautiful.

And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.

Al Quran, 30:21

Certainly it’s not going to be any big celebration but I am trying to make it a meaningful one. Please don’t feel bad if you’re not invited.

Wish me good luck!

Categories
Work

Available for Bangla Typeface Designing

this is how we work. every alphabet is hand crafted, original and different from any other typefaces.

Globally it’s a common practice that every big companies promote their brand using their own corporate typeface. When its about using Bangla, It’s too uncommon. Very few companies here using own corporate Bangla typeface though most of them keep the practice in terms of using English font. well, till now its going fine. but i believe very soon it’d be something very important to keep the brand unique and distinctive from others. in business, the sooner the better.

i am working with typeface designing for more than 5 years and i love this job. so please feel free to contact me if you think i can be useful for you.