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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
a year back when i first got the call from the daily star, it was like a dream to me. last one year i’ve passed half of my office time watching the news sites. i am still doing the same thing and comparing my work with the standard of the leading news sites and found that may be i’ve fulfill a dream of mine somehow but it’s still far way to go! prothom alo is the highest visited website of the country. so the plan was making it the biggest news website of the country. I was so pleased that people chose to stop here after perhaps a game of online bingo (www.foxybingo.com) or in between checking their emails. i know there are still lot of opportunities to serve the users but i hope this’d be an example. i am still studying and hope the next one would be definitely better and i am waiting to tell you about that.
the idea was simple… a complete base of information of all the destinations of bangladesh and possible accommodations of these places. we’ve started thinking to build such a thing at the beginning of this year and after six months of hard work the beta version of tripbd.com is live now. well, i am honored to get the scope of working with the design and functionality analysis part of this site. we have tried our best to have a good start… we went to more than 400 hotels from popular destinations of bangladesh in person and collect data about their features, pricing, offers and took photos of their rooms, lobby etc. we hired dedicated article writes who are collecting information and writing articles about various destinations of bangladesh. ‘branding bangladesh in tourism’ is our motto and we really believe we can do that. well, this site is built with a simple registration process with which you will get access to write article, make comment and manage several personalized features. we are encouraging you to contribute to this site and be a part of this journey.
this post should be published earlier of this year as this was mostly written on 29 december of last year…
This is going to be the last post of the year and I was thinking about the whole year when writing it. The first thought that came to my mind is I am getting closer to a destination… this is weird thinking but obvious… I’ll die! I could remember one of my childhood friends who got sick and died within 24 hours before starting any serious treatment. I often remember him and still can’t believe though it happened 10 years before. Two weeks ago another known face disappeared though as far I remember I never talked with him. But after getting the news I can’t forget the face. And lastly, one of my uncles died last Monday who was one of most talented but has been treated as ‘wasted talent’… that’s a big story. So I am thinking about my death. What probably could happen then? I don’t know and I can’t guess anything but I am thinking lot about it…
Last Friday on my way back to home I was thinking and found myself so happy. 2008 should be said as a year of achievement… I’ve learned lot of things. I did some freelance works those probably mentionable. I did 2 big print design works for care Bangladesh by the first half of the year. On the second half I got the daily star website project which was a really new experience for me. As regular job in ebizzsol I have worked with several design projects within this year…like , , , , , , , , ,  and many more…
Print designs are more complicated than any other media. You have to maintain too many things at a time to get a better output. But I feel comfort working with this media. You have to be so sure about your design… the colors should be clean, contents should be aligned perfectly.
This job was given by care Bangladesh. It’s a training manual containing 106 pages, describing 10 different issues, published in 2 languages. I just tried to keep a simple look, light pastel colors, least design elements… just playing with the given contents. I am happy with the final printed production.
Here is a pdf of the English version. It’s a 25 mb file. So think before have a look on it.