By Maryam Hasan
Google Business Group (GBG) Islamabad celebrated GdayX 2015 at SEECS, NUST on Tuesday. The event included a series of talks by well-known entrepreneurs who shared their journey and experiences as well explained how Google can aid in growing businesses. These included; Open Islamabad President, Owais Anjum, Freelancing Guru – Saad Hamid, Bramerz, VP Product and Ex-Google Country Consultant – Badar Khusnood and Ex-Google Student Ambassador – Awais Imran.
The first speaker, Owais Anjum, is the founder of the popular cricket social network app – Cricout, President Open Islamabad and CEO of a product-centric company, emumba which he started in 2011. Before this, he got his MBA from San Jose State University, spent 6 years working for startups in Silicon Valley, and then, worked for Numetrics at Islamabad. His focus was on the fact that the use of smartphones has become so fundamental and crucial that there is now a need to ‘take your business on the phone’. He emphasized, providing statistics, the exponentially increasing trend of the common use of smartphones. After choosing your phone for your Business, he said the way to acquire and retain customers is through Google Adwords and Facebook categorization that can let you reach consumers based on their age group, gender, device, internet, geographic location etc. Which, thereby, is a good marketing strategy that will lead to less marketing expenditure over time and cuts the middle man that maximizes profit by minimizing revenue spent.
Saad Hamid, the next speaker, focused his talk on freelancing and how to excel in that area. He mentioned the infamous dress that recently got popularity over the internet, thus highlighting the point how things escalate over the internet. He further said freelancing is generally believed to be an area where you devote very less time to and get rich quickly. He said the reality is quite opposite, where you have to have the proper skill and discipline yourself, making sure you market yourself properly as well. The most common freelancing skills in Pakistan are IT, customer services, admin work, writing, blogging etc. He also mentioned a few tools that freelancers use such as Evernote, Dropbox, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Forms, Google Script, Freshbooks or Quickbooks, Google Fusion Tables, Google Calculator, Google Calendar, Google definitions, Google converter, Google Time Zones etc. Moreover, Saad suggested to switch to oDesk and also gave importance to oDesk tests for freelancers since these tests can verify their skills and they are more likely to get hired.
The next speaker, Badar Khusnood, focused his talk on why businesses need to adopt digital platform. He shared a video which had mind-blowing facts regarding the technological advancements. But after choosing a digital platform, there are a few challenges in promoting your brand. Badar pointed out that these include the disconnect between brand marketers and consumers since the former is using print media to capture users who are on digital media and their brand is not available online and TV and newspaper ads costing several hundred thousand rupees, for which payment is done in advance with no actual return. Badar also explained another very important concept, ROBO – Research Online, Buy Offline which means if a consumer did not find your product in top ten search result, your brand lost great number of offline sales.So the need to be careful with what tool you choose to represent your business online becomes vital.
The next speaker aimed at a very seemingly impossible task. To explain 100 google products in under 10 minutes. Awais Imran started his talk by mention Google Alerts. This tool can also be used for creating alerts to monitor different types of interesting content over the web. The next Google product he talked about was Google Flights. He explained that Google Flights can be used to search flight details of your local airports based on destination, time, price, class, type of flight etc. The next Google tool, a rather fascinating one that he talked about was Google sky. The interesting thing about it that he said was that it allows you to view celestial objects, including stars, constellations, galaxies, planets and the Earth’s moon. You can even view an historical sky at a specific point in time. Google Trends was what he talked on next, explaining how it is an excellent tool for keeping an eye on search trends in a region and then tailoring any e-commerce marketing campaign for gaining more users. He then asked what the binary equivalent of 4 is and the answer came from the audience as ‘100’. At which he finished his talk on a humorous note saying this is how you explain 100 Google products in under 10 minutes.