Conversations With An Entrepreneur: Haseeb Tariq

From Pakistan to the US, this influencer has made his mark creating content that took him from being an engineering graduate from Sir Syed University to a marketing genius who’s worked for some of the world’s top brands including Universal Music, Disney, Fox TV, Guess, and Forbes.

Who is this influencer? It’s Haseeb Tariq – a marketing leader who has made his mark across the world. With his experience in analytics, technology management, product management, and marketing, Haseeb’s insights and knowledge are off the charts. But that’s something all of his followers know. What we wanted to discuss with him was his journey from a student in Karachi to a mainstream influencer and a senior marketing technology leader working with some of the top brands in the world. It is an inspiring tale of how people among us can create a name for themselves by following their passion and learning from their mistakes.

From Sir Syed University to the US’s top brands…

“I did my engineering degree in telecommunications from Sir Syed University, but I was more interested in tech and startups, trying to figure out how websites worked as they were gaining popularity back then. I started being active in marketing forums to develop my learning and to help people out with their projects. That gave me a new direction. That was the beginning of the journey, and it became better when my father got me my first computer – I was ecstatic!”

Getting your own desktop computer at the peak of the 2000s was definitely a motivation boost! But how did a student from engineering realize his calling was in marketing?

“My inclination toward marketing developed later. I was more interested in ongoing trends. I started by creating a channel of my own to host live streams, gaining traction by showing people teasers on other sites and bringing them to my site – the exact strategy OTT platforms using now.’

‘The next step was to monetize my site. Once ads started appearing on the site, I started earning good money! I used to get $400 to $500 for one stream!”

Now that sounds like a formula for success – but it wasn’t this easy all the time. Like every person trying to build something new, he faced questions and hurdles too. But one thing that took him forward was his determination to succeed. This made him persevere even after his trial to start computer classes at 17 failed, so did his first tech company he started when he was 19. But you know how they say that your resolve to succeed should always be strong? That was the case with Haseeb.

Gaining Momentum in Pakistan

“I started taking my work seriously when I started university and started meeting people in the tech industry. IBA played a huge role in giving me the motivation to go further. It was with this institute that I arranged Pakistan’s first Startup Weekend and connected with some amazing people, including Marc Nager – the founder of Startup Weekend in the US. Knowing that this guy from Seattle was interested in what I was doing made me realize I was on to something big..”

After arranging Pakistan’s first startup weekend with IBA and recruiting his own team of professionals, Haseeb went on disrupting his industry. He created a startup that soon started gaining trajectory, and his team kept growing. This caught the attention of multiple investors and big shot entrepreneurs, creating opportunities for him left right and centre.

“You can create anything in 54 hours”

“By this time I was also working on building my personal brand, along with a few startup ideas. I was being invited to TEDx youth events in different cities, and I was meeting people from LUMS and NUST. In a way, I had leveraged the 3 biggest universities from Pakistan’s largest cities. I was gaining visibility everywhere, and part of the reason was the topic of our events.’

‘What was the topic? That you can create anything in 54 hours. This idea blew people’s minds – that their ideas could be executed in just over two days. This possibility was astounding for them and thus, lead to the success of our Startup Weekends. We started gaining popularity once people started meeting investors in these events.’

‘But by then I was also thinking if I was lagging behind or would lag behind if I stayed at the same place longer. You see, I’ve always wanted to try and learn new things, which had lead to everything I had achieved, and I wanted to continue. So I talked to my partners who agreed to manage the company, and I moved to the US.”

To build his knowledge in mind, Haseeb moved abroad, and then there was no stopping him. It’s since then that he’s achieved success across the board – from building specialization in humanistic automation, to creating solutions for brands and businesses in all domains.

On building his brand in a human way…

While creating a brand is one thing, creating a human brand is something else. Haseeb managed to do that, and his strategy was simple.

“Whenever you’re working on something, whether a success or a failure, you have to share its story with the world. This makes people trust you and if they go through a similar experience, they come back and ask you questions about it. So never be afraid of sharing your journey because that’s how you move forward, and it’s important now more than ever.’

‘This pandemic has affected so many people, and while we don’t know all the stories of all the people affected by COVID-19, the ones I’ve heard have made me feel connected to those people. That’s how you build trust and create a brand.

And we agree with all of it. When building a brand, one thinks of the different aspects people will relate to, and the case is no different when it comes to influencers like Haseeb – whose stories, successes and failures resonate with people easily, creating an automatic connection.

Humanistic Automation – A Humane way to connect with people

Maybe it’s because of the way he built his personal brand, or because he felt that companies were too focused on canned communication – leading to their demise – that Haseeb started building his specialization in Humanistic Automation.

“The world is rapidly moving toward automation. We’re part of a world where every single message or post we get is automated. Most of the content on platforms is already scheduled by someone. But as marketers, we need to understand that we need to be human, even if we’re automating things.’

‘You see, every person you show your ad to, or communicate on behalf of your brand, has different cultures and backgrounds. They’re going through different paths in life and live in different spaces. These are points everyone should understand so you can resonate with them. Then only you can create communication that people can connect with. Whether it’s an email, a text message or an offer – these data points can help you personalize their experience, and that’s when you build enough trust that they look forward to your messages and voluntarily interact with you.”

Channelling communication despite obstacles

Building a human brand – check.

Humanistic automation – check.

But what can a creator do when they face obstacles in their domain? Case in point: a ban on platforms like TikTok – something that India has already done, and the US is considering. In cases like these, it’s crucial to ask if such decisions will impact creators like Haseeb in reaching their audience and building their brand. And as per him, that is exactly why being human in front of your audience is important.

“I think for TikTok it’s important to understand that it’s just another channel. Sure, it’s big, but it shouldn’t matter if it’s banned or not because there are a lot of other channels that you can move to. It’s important to focus on multiple fronts rather than creating a brand on one platform only.’

“Another important thing is the way you interact with your audience. When you build a connection and tell your story, the people who relate to you will follow you. The responsibility on your part is to have a database of your own to make sure that if you lose footing, you can always personalize and reconnect with your people.”

Well said, Haseeb! We agree that if you’re good at what you do, and keep connected with your customers, it’s not hard to rebuild your base even if you face obstacles.

Inspired, we close…

Interviewing Haseeb was an eye-opener – it was a lesson in understanding that no matter where you’re from, your dedication to succeed can be a gamechanger in creating opportunities and pathways for you.

And the best thing about Haseeb’s story is that it isn’t fictional or fake – it’s a true story of a guy living among us who followed what he believed in and achieved what he wanted despite facing failures. The biggest lesson we learnt from this interview is that if you are passionate about something, and if you tell your story right, you can create a name for yourself. Sure, it’s tiring, and yes, it takes a lot to create was Haseeb has for himself, but success is never served to you, you have to hustle for it. That’s what Haseeb Tariq did, and that’s why he’s an MVP who inspires us.

Zainab Abdul Rehman

Content and strategy specialist with a head full of ideas that I never get time to execute.

Explore further 👇

4 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x