A long, long time ago, before I was born, back in 1965, there was a drama series on Pakistan Television Network known as Alif Noon. During my late 80s and early 90s, we used to watch the re-run, fun times.
The story revolves around two fellas; one was known as Alaan and Nanah. In Urdu, Alaan starts with the Urdu alphabet, pronounce as “Alif,” and Nanah starts with “Noon,” hence “Alif Noon.”
It was a comedy-drama series, two friends Alaan and Nanah, always devise a plan to start a business. Alaan, on the one hand, always tries to create a phony and cunning scheme, where he used to deceive the clients, whereas Nanah is always about being honest, upfront, and transparent. By nature, Alaan was cunning, and Nanah was innocent and sometimes too gullible for Alaan’s taste. But they were the best friends for life. Always stick together in thick or thin.
Why I still enjoy that drama? Even though I start watching it somewhere in the late-80s. Why is it intriguing that much, still today? I think there are some good lessons for entrepreneurs.
Suppose you are offering a service. Be honest about it. If you have a roadmap of a product, do share with customers. Also, being a bit cunning is OK, which does not harm the customer, of course, but in a way that you can out-compete your competitor. For that, I recommend the book “Blue Ocean Strategy.” The main theme of this book is said precisely on their website.
Red oceans are all the industries in existence today — the known market space.
Blue oceans are all the industries not in existence today — the unknown market space.
Did you make a blunder, accept it, and be upfront about it, no hanky-panky. Just say, “you made a mistake. You apologies for it”. Next step for you? Just fix it.
Your policies should be crystal clear, do not be like a cunning lawyer. Make sure the verbiage in your privacy policies, terms, and condition are obvious and precise. For example, a recent fiasco of those apps sharing our “data” with other companies, and they, in return, sharing that data with the US government.
If you noticed, how those two characters are starting a gig is always unique and spontaneous. They do not hold back. They dive in! What they are doing is they ship it! They don’t linger around too much. They improve while they are doing. Your mileage may vary. Some ideas take time because of their context and domain but do ship in the end.
First, let me clarify something. You cannot be 100% empathetic. Reason? Your pain endurance is different than mine. As humans, we have always going to have a slightly different perspective. It can be similar, but not the same.
This means, at least try your best to understand my view, and to understand this my view, you need to listen to my pain points and try to “connect the dots” of missing things or painful things I am talking about. This is as close we can get to understand someone’s point of view.
This is exactly what they have done, try to tap into someone's pain point by promoting their gigs.
Be an observer
Try to understand the “user,” not just listening to what they are saying, but be an acute observer, focus on their content, and choice of words too, plus tone, and body language, we cannot say “oh 7% is just wording, and 93% is all about body language and tone”. Communication is not just 7% words, and the rest (93%) is tone and body language, etc. It is a “myth.” Communication is a whole package. Consider every aspect of it.
Oh, so your idea is bringing tons of users and not bringing a single bit of a penny, and you think it is a success? Unless you are Edhi or Mother Teressa. Likes won’t bring you money, so focus on getting some dollar into your pocket, after all, you are running your services on equipment that you bought it from the store, etc. You get the gist.
Unfortunately, there is no close caption for that Urdu drama, but if you want to enjoy the visuals, please do check out the sample here.
Be bold, dare to dream big, think out of the box, seize an opportunity, and takeaways from the show.
Hi! There, I am Mudassir Azeemi, a culturally aware product person with 10+ years of experience. I am currently working on a mission-critical application at Wells Fargo, leading the design system effort for Commercial Electronic Office (CEO) Portal. And I teach at UC Berkeley at UX/UI Bootcamp as a lead instructor. I brought the Urdu language to Apple’s iOS 2 billion devices! My mantra is finding patterns in chaos. Feel free to connect with me on Linkedin if you’d like to chat or to say hi! I am also mentoring via ADPList.org. You can also subscribe to my newsletter.