After hours with Ali Zeeshan Khan from Informa ME
Arabian Computer News delves below the corporate strategy to find out what really makes the region’s IT leaders tick
How did you come to be in your current role?
I was born and lived in Karachi, Pakistan, graduated from a local arts school in 2003 and started my career as graphics and web designer. I moved to Dubai at the beginning of 2008 to start a new journey. I joined Informa Middle East as web administrator and this job piqued my interest in digital marketing. In 2012, I completed my MBA in digital marketing and started work as a digital services manager.
What is your management philosophy?
Before I was in management, I had many different types of superiors. I learned a lot from observing their management styles. My good managers, for example, taught me about working smart instead of working long hours. However, I learned even more from bad management styles. Never being available, not caring, and the mentality ‘do as I say, not as I do’, are examples of styles I would never take on. I believe I should lead by example, provide guidance and growth by giving important feedback, and be accessible.
What was your first computer, and when did you first use it?
My first encounter was about 16 years ago on a CLAIT course at our local college. We didn’t have mouses, just keyboard and it almost put me off learning. The mouse came into use on a later course and on no account were we to touch the right side.
What is your greatest achievement?
In my younger days, I used to be like the people who are considered to be successful. However, soon I realized that there are no fixed formulae of success and everyone succeed in their own way. You can find bosses who perform well by putting their subordinates under tremendous pressure and you can also find bosses, who succeed without even raising their voice.
What is your biggest mistake?
We have all made plenty of mistakes in our careers. When I started my career as a software engineer, I had a big ego problem. Looking back, I should have checked myself. But in the end, the $10,000 mistake that I made helped me grow into a smarter and humbler professional.
What is your fondest memory of working in the Middle East industry?
I have had a lot of good memories in the past nine years I have been in Middle East and it is difficult to narrow it down. My first GITEX was a real eye opener as I knew the IT industry was strong in the Middle East, but this really set the stage as to how big it is. The good thing about the region is the people here are tech-savvy.
What technology do you think will have the biggest impact on the market in 2016?
The biggest impact is expecting over the next coming years is the expanding use of automated algorithm technology. Algorithms have already revolutionised the way data handling takes place and will continue to play an ever growing role across all online mediums. At the same time, the need for manual optimisation will diminish making way for online marketing systems utilising evolving algorithms.
What’s the best way to deal with stress?
For me time spent with my family helps me distress. Cooking is my hobby and I cook for them, which again acts as a stress-buster for me.
Number of years in the industry: 13 years
Favourite food: Off course Biryani
Holiday destination: Europe
Dream car: Anything with Zero emissions
Gadget: All Apple Products (Ipad, Iphone and Macbook)
Movie/book: Disney Cars
Piece of advice: Strategy creates competitive advantage, a culture of innovation maintains it and technology delivers it