An Exclusive Interview with the Woman behind Pakistan’s largest IoT & Consumer Electronics Company

If you’ve used any Orient product, it is sure that BlueEast’s Deputy C.E.O Ms. Sidra Talat has had equal contributions in its creation. Ms. Sidra joined BlueEast in 2016, and over the course of just a few months, she has extended her domain beyond physical products to encompass Ecomfort smart AC technology, Mevris application, digital transformation strategy, fully automated homes, ecommerce, IoT integration and much more.

Ms. Talat’s expansive role was formalized back in November of 2016, when C.E.O BlueEast & Director Sales & Marketing Orient Group of Companies Mian Abdul Rehman Talat handed her the day-to-day responsibilities of running the IoT/E-commerce giant.

I conducted a detailed interview with Ms. Sidra Talat to know about her vision for the future of BlueEast and how it will impact people’s lives by bring a positive difference.

During our conversation, she laid out a strategic mechanism to improve BlueEast’s products and client service through digital transformation. In her reply she mentioned that she has sketched out a grand plan to deliver computing capabilities to billions of people around Pakistan.

“Technology can change people’s lives for the better; Ms. Sidra advocates an egalitarian ethos.”

Ms. Sidra Talat being one of the most powerful persons at BlueEast (Orient Group of Companies) tends to lead her teams with vision, charisma and bombast. As a person, she is thoughtful, empathetic and friendly.

When we briefly discussed the new Internet of Things integration with banking networks, she immediately grasped my low level of technical understanding and briefed me about it in a very simple and pleasant manner.

Mr. Abdul Rehman Talat’s goal for digitizing Pakistan is being carried out efficiently under Ms. Sidra’s far sightedness and creative expertise. Both BlueEast’s product vision and R&D projects seem to be heading in the right direction under her control.

She’s clearly proud of the fact that BlueEast’s products work the same whether one is a billionaire or a rural farmer in a far-flung place. Ms. Sidra’s vision is to ensure that dedication becomes a part of everything BlueEast creates.

Ms. Sidra Talat agreed to answer some of the questions I had, and I think you’ll find the responses quite interesting.

Sharoon Emmanuel: How do you start your day?

Sidra Talat: I start my day with a few glasses of water, then I dress-up my little angel and drop her to school. After that, I go to the gym and work-out for an hour, then get ready, have a healthy breakfast and reach office. The rest is all the daily routine work.

SE: What was the reason behind stepping into this industry? Passion or coincidence?

ST: It was my passion to be a part of something big, something that brings innovation. Nothing could be a better option than BlueEast as it aims to lead the way for innovation.

SE: BlueEast has recently joined arms with JS Bank for forming Pakistan’s first ever IoT banking alliance, How would this benefit our country?

ST: As the world is moving towards digitalization, I think it was about time someone took the responsibility of coping up with developed countries in terms of technological advancements. It’s an honor for us to be the first one in Pakistan to bring this concept. We plan making it a reality.

SE: Every startup has to experience a lot of challenges, how do you face them? Had there been discouragement from haters as well?

ST: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! Challenges are there, but it is important to understand that overcoming them is the main key to success. It is all about making the right decisions at the right time, staying positive, dedicated, putting yourself to the test and believing in your abilities. Reinvent, recreate and conquer is my rule to do it. As far as the discouragement is concerned, it serves as the driving force for you to become better with every day passing. For me, challenges are a way to break barriers, realign and transform oneself for the bigger picture. The best way to respond to discouragement is being successful.

SE: After Ecomfort, What is the next big thing we will witness from BlueEast?

ST: We have a lot going on in our R&D dept. and much more is still in the pipeline. Revealing everything before time would affect the significancelet the right time come.

SE: What do you plan on doing for the bright future of Pakistani youth?

ST: At BlueEast, we always welcome talented youth. It’s not like we just produce jobs, we create life changing careers. We help our young talent become more proficient and skilled; we provide them equal chances of growth and development. Considering the unemployment rate in Pakistan, we are playing our part in making the lives of fresh graduates more meaningful. Apart from this, our C.E.O Mr. Abdul Rehman Talat is also an active part of “Idea Croron ka” (the Pakistan version of Shark Tank) in which he finances struggling entrepreneurs with innovative ideas and scalable business models.

SE: Do you see BlueEast competing with international giants in near future?

ST: We are very positive about our technology venture. When the direction is right, success is only a matter of time. Owing to our international exposure, we know what it takes to be on the top. Orient being the only local consumer electronics manufacturer is competing with international brands; this is a clear example of us beating other names in every format of the game.

SE: How do you differentiate BlueEast from other technology companies?

ST: Speaking in corporate terms, BlueEast has shared the success of businesses all around the globe. From startups to fortune 500 enterprises, BlueEast has served them with innovative solutions and products. We have grown from a one man’s dream to a cluster of highly skilled software engineers, creative designers, innovative business strategists and marketing experts. We have CMMI L3 mature processes. We are basically not a company; we’re a family where everyone’s opinions and suggestions are given value. We are not one of those who just aim to make money; we have a bigger motive of making Pakistan a better place. A digital Pakistan is what we aim for.

Based on high performing solutions and products, our mission is to enable people, enterprises and verticals to transform the world.

Determined to lead in the invention, development, and manufacture of the industry’s most advanced information technologies, BlueEast is capable of not only succeeding, but leading humanity.

SE: Are you a traditional Deputy C.E.O or the people’s person?

ST: Hahahaha! You should ask this question to my juniors. I think I’m always connected with them; I don’t alienate myself from the team. We daily have productive discussions on all kinds of matters.

SE: What is “success” for you?

ST: For me, success is a never ending journey, the priorities and goals you have today may not be the same tomorrow. It’s a measurement of what have you achieved and what not.

SE: What is the most challenging part of your position as the Deputy C.E.O?

ST: To me, the most challenging part is to meet the deadlines and to get the tasks done on time.

SE: What is the most exciting part of your position as a Deputy C.E.O?

ST: Everything is exciting. Helping employees excel, productive discussion sessions, making corporate decisions and seeing them manifest into reality. It’s been a wonderful experience so far being the Deputy C.E.O of BlueEast.

SE: One quality you are admired for and one quality you are hated for at work?

ST: Quality I might be admired for is my fair dealing with everyone. I am sure I am not hated for anything so far.

SE: Who is your inspiration?

ST: My biggest inspiration is my father, Mian Talat Mehmood. He is my ideal. What I am today is because of him, the values he has taught us help me a lot in the decision making process. Even today I ask for his suggestions and opinions while making a tough decision. The struggle he has experienced in forming a multi-million enterprise is very inspiring. He makes me feel proud; he is the best daddy in the world. He is currently looking after the duties of the Managing Director of Orient Group. He is undoubtedly a source of vast knowledge and his experiences are a guide to me.

SE: What one word describes you the best and why?

ST: BRAVE, because I overcame my personal and serious health issues, although it wasn’t an easy journey, but I still made it out of the tunnel.

SE: Do you have any hidden talents?

ST: I love cooking and baking. I love desserts and I am very passionate about them. I find making desserts very pleasing, it’s like a cure for overcoming weariness. Also, I can easily cook for 60–70 people.

SE: How do you balance your work and private life?

ST: Managing private and work life is a tough job. I have a lovely daughter who always needs her mum on her side. She is the little version of me. She is the most important part of my life. Despite being a minor, she’s very smart and understands her mother’s hectic routine. When I get home, I make every effort to spend quality time with her. I love the way she tells me her innocent stories, it makes me go back in time.

SE: Any advice for someone who aspires to be where you are?

ST: Firstly, confidence is the key factor. Have faith in yourself and stand resolute for a noble cause. The position of Deputy C.E.O is all about managing operations, being human centric and realistic. You should know how to manage your organization. Always be open to new ideas and have an accepting nature. Lastly, keep polishing your interpersonal and technical skills.

SE: How do you stay motivated?

ST: Being the Deputy C.E.O, I love the global aspect of the job — meeting folks from many different cultures, that’s just super motivating. I enjoy the intellectual, organizational and leadership challenge, it keeps me going.

SE: How do you keep your employees motivated?

ST: Every year we award trophies to our best performers, we make sure that the team is kept motivated, so that they can deliver to the best of their ability. We involve them in important decisions and gain their input on all operational matters. We give them a free hand in their thought process and provide them a healthy work environment.

SE: Thank you so much for your time, I hope you enjoyed the interview.

ST: Thank you for having me, it’s been a pleasure.