Reflections: Looking Backing on 2018


Hello Guys and a happy Tuesday to you! Being the busy girl I am, I manage to do “good” by giving others entrepreneurial advice when they don’t want it. You may think I am being hilarious, but nothing teaches innovation like complacency. The secret ingredient is the shock value. Scare the person you deem worthy of your advice, stir in the creativity with YOUR idea, and then briefly build on how to implement it. The magic is in knowing when to let it go and just pray it works. It feels so pleasurable to see the ideas as a full-fledged business under someone else’s name social media and online and even more fun to see it thriving. You may be thinking why I give away “million-dollar” ideas like they are just “precious pennies”. The truth is that I have too much on my plate and there is too much wrong in the world. So if you have an idea, but you are already working on “that big idea” of yours, share “this” idea with a stranger and you will have done good.

Another cautionary tale I must inculcate in the minds of my readers is the aftermath of all the hard work you need to put in an idea. When Facebook went live in 2004, I had a meltdown in the Wheeler Hall computer lab at UC Berkeley and asked everyone there if the website looked good. When Twitter went live in 2006, I broke up with my boyfriend. When Instagram went live in 2010, I became clinically depressed because by then I was exhausted by all the work “I” had put in, plus I was upset over many things that were happening around me. From conceiving the idea in 1984 to finding practical ways of materializing the idea from 1988 – 2010, I have enjoyed every second of being the visionary entrepreneur like my mentor, Steve Jobs. And while situations weren’t always perfect the way I wanted I am grateful the only lesson I had to learn was that my health – my mind, my body, and my spirit are the key to succeed long-term.

Now you are curious what ideas I have given away like “precious pennies”. In 2014, I adopted my calico cat, Suri from Nine Lives Foundation (see HERE) in Redwood City, California. I had walked in and never could have imagined that many sad little homeless cats in one place. After I picked Suri (she was called Glitter at the time) and put her on the lap of one of the volunteers, I got to talking about shelters and animal homelessness. One of the alarming facts at the time was that California was still allowing euthanization. After I heard that a progressive state like California still practiced euthanization, I told those two volunteers my “million-dollar” idea of creating Cat Cafes (See HERE). I spent two hours there and asked for refreshments at least 5 times so having food and cats in one place just made perfect sense to me. There is no law that a non-profit needs to regulate food and non-farm animals in a place. Hence, the “legal idea” was born. I finished the conversation with some pep talk, filled the necessary paperwork for Suri and adopted my first cat in 19 years! So it was all around a win-win situation.

Other ideas that are spur-of-the-moment is the theme of the Starbucks Holiday 2018 hot cups (see HERE) & the introduction of Starbucks Decaff Lattes. I planned everything from what the theme is going to be called (“celebrating the spirit of yesteryear with a modern twist”) and how we are going to market it. How did it happen? I was in Palo Alto on a lunch date, when I ran into one of the executives of Starbucks whom I met many years ago. Starbucks & I share a deep past starting from Pakistan also. The both of us claim fully the responsibility of creating “the corporate culture”. I started talking about how it would be cool if Starbucks created this year’s hot cups with a “flames of a winter’s fireplace” theme because then it will remind people of holiday warmth & their coffee will taste extra cozy because it is in a Starbucks cup with “flames of a winter’s fireplace” design. He got so excited, he asked me, “How many designs can you come up with?”. I said one, but the rest will be designed by people I choose. I picked Jack Dorsey, Kevin Systrom & Jeff Bezos as the rest of the hot cup designers (see HERE). He recommended “Kristy” and I said she sounds wonderful and that was it. We parted ways.

The very first business idea I gave away was in the 1980s. A family friend who was obsessed with the Mughal era came to meet me because she heard we shared a similar interest in their history. I told her I was 4 so all I could tell her was that I wanted my wedding dress to be like a Mughal princess’s dress and that I will tell her what I know through describing that. So we designed my wedding dress based on my research of Mughal fashion. A couple of decades later she found me shopping in Karachi and asked if I can tell her those details again because she had never heard someone describe their wedding dress that way since then. I looked her in the eye and asked her what she has done since that first meeting in the 1980s. She told me she had gone to fashion design school and had some experience in designing wedding clothes for her family. I was so happy to hear that and congratulated her on her hard work. And since I was working on my “big ideas” (see above, please), I knew I couldn’t dedicate much time to this project nor felt comfortable calling it a joint venture because of that. In that 20 – 25 minute conversation, I gave her home business a name, a unique business plan, and the idea that started it all – Pakistan’s first bridal couture. She did the rest on her own through wits, grits, and with the help of an online presence. Thanks to all her customers and fans who have “inadvertently” marketed her designs online and probably in person. I am sure your love provides jobs to many workers, plus you look cute. I have been back to Karachi numerous times since then to tweak ideas on her customer service, fairly incorporate Pakistan’s labor laws, copyright laws, and fair pay laws (especially since she works in bridal wear) to make the business sustainable. Today, Bunto Kazmi’s bridals cost thousands of dollars and are available to only with discerning eyes, big hearts, and a big wallet.

BTW creating Shahi Truck Art Culture was not a “business” idea AND I will write loads about it in the future. So keep checking back. xoxo.

Well, guys, 2018 has been a crazy year, especially since I dedicated it all to work and my health (see HERE). The few fun projects on the side like blogging, playing a small part in animated movies such as “The Grinch” and “Ralph Breaks The Internet”, and this Starbucks campaign 2018 have been the cherry on top. I want to thank each and everyone who has supported me this year. I know I keep going because of your belief in me. Know your friends from your enemies!!

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