The first issue of Wired magazine hit newstands in the US in January 1993. I subscribed immediately and started receiving my copies of Wired in the post, in Pakistan, from the second issue onwards. Much of my thinking has been shaped by the early years of Wired’s fabulous content and the first site I ever visited was Hotwired.com.
Last month I was in Delhi for Asia Society’s Women Leaders of New Asia summit and met Lois Parshley, a journalist based in the US. We had a great 3 minute conversation but weren’t able to chat in detail. A few days ago, Lois got in touch and said she was doing a piece for Wired and wanted to talk. I nearly fell off my chair with excitement. Lois and I had a fabulous, long conversation which resulted in a feature about me, T2F and Karachi’s first civic hackathon. The article was published on T2F’s 6th birthday making it the most glorious present one could ever dream of.
Here is a link to the story: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/05/pakistans-first-hackathon/
I am humbled and overwhelmed. Thank you, Lois and Wired, for choosing to cover Pakistan and its potential. We have a lot of stories and tons of people doing amazing work and I hope this is the beginning of many features.
I just want to take this opportunity to add an attribution, a clarification, and a critical credit. Journalists have wordcounts and pegs and sometimes things get left out
Pakistan has had hackathons before. What we did in April 2013 was Pakistan’s first “civic” hackathon.
“Fear is a line in your head. You can choose what side of that line you want to be on,” is something I heard Tarun J Tejpal, founder of Tehelka say a few years ago. He is a dear friend and mentor and I quote this sentence often, when asked if I am fearful about street protest or anything I choose to do that is perceived to be ‘dangerous’. Thank you, Tarun, for providing a tight soundbyte
The journey to the Civic Hackathon beagn over a year ago. Sheba Najmi, a User Experience specialist came round to T2F to talk about Code for America and whether I thought there was interest and potential for doing something similar in Pakistan. I was thrilled to meet her and learn about Code for America, its exciting work, and the fact that Sheba had been selected as a Fellow. We kept in touch via e-mail while she was doing her fellowship and then we met again a few weeks before the hackathon. We had originally planned for Sheba to give a talk at T2F about her CfA experience and to share thoughts about moving forward. However, a series of crazy chats and ambitious brainstorming sessions resulted in Pakistan’s first civic hackathon. Sheba was a key instigator and was fully involved in the entire initative and in its sustainability. In fact, she is now in the process of leaving San Francisco and is moving back to Pakistan to set up Code for Pakistan and will conduct many hackathons across the country. Sheba, it’s been fantastic working with you and I look forward to co-conspiring on many more exciting projects.