A tale of many cities
As a student I was a more interested in international development than in the course I was enrolled in, for my engineers in the making mates Eric Raymond's essay 'The Cathedral and the Bazaar’ was a tech game changer for me the interest was in the impact of the Bazaar model and its subversive impact beyond tech. The global status quo has been in need of transformation for a long time, and what we are seeing around us is that metamorphosis, for some communities it is progressive; opening up new avenues and breaking barriers to socio-economic mobility for others it is unfortunately dark.
Over the years it was what FOSS could do for global development that stuck with me even as I built and exited from one tech business to another, from intrapreneur to entrepreneur and back. I was the proverbial subah ka bhoola for whom the shaam wasn’t in sight, that is until I came across Drupal and its community in 2010, in that community and the platforms potential I found the pagdandi back to international development and the bazaar; a platform, community and model that allowed me to mix the ras-oie and my passion for international development.
In 2010 I was in a unique position, I had a consulting business I was exiting from, a software development house in Islamabad ripe for a metamorphosis and the old calling had found its way back to the frontal lobe, the decision was to experiment with the assets in hand.
The hypothesis; By creating a market leading Drupal shop I can create a beachhead to bring together the best freelancers in the local market, thereby creating a critical mass of developers under one roof, that in turn will attract service contracts that will create awareness in the market for the true commercial potential of the platform for other ’shops’ and investors; put it firmly on the enterprise service provider radars, at the same time use that critical mass of developers under one roof as a catalyst for nurturing and growing the local community exponentially, create awareness within EDUs, tap into the global demand and create jobs in the local market… using that beachhead to bring about FOSS lead socio-economic transformation in a tea-cup! In 2011 that journey began, what an epic journey it was, with many firsts; including first ever Camps in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Dubai between 2012 and 2014. Unintended but I became the farangi who seeds, grows, hands over camps to a budding community and moves on to connect the next silos of Drupalers, it was an epic trip that culminated for me with the handover of my software house to the employees who built it, it also happens to be the first employee owned Drupal software house in Pakistan and the force behind a budding community there.
It is this journey I would like to share with the audience in India, a homecoming of sorts. but thats another tale.