Lahore School of Economics

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Dynamics of Expanding Entrepreneurial Organizations

Monis Rahman, CEO ROZEE.PK delivered an online session on Dynamics of Expanding Entrepreneurial Organizations to Lahore School MBA program on May 4, 2020. 


Monis Rehman said at the outset it was ironic today that he was talking from his home, the place where he started his business ventures a long time ago with three other employees. He had come back from the US, bought some furniture, a street-map of the city and sought advice from a software-house. He had to train programmers himself because he needed to scale platforms from 20 people to millions of consumers. Soon he was not only doing technology but also finance, HR and other activities.

The difference between a big established business and an entrepreneurship was that in the later, one was paving the road as one was running fast. The passion and energy that entrepreneurships exhibit were missing in large organizations. This explained why the smaller organizations disrupted larger ones. These were not 9-5 jobs. When he heard“This is not my job” he smiled. If the customer was not using your product, it was your job.Entrepreneurship was not done for glamour; entrepreneurship was a consequence of trying to solve a problem.


Monis said it was not possible to re-create the small-scale culture of an organization. It was human nature to exist and organize around groups. In organizations, there soon developed departments around marketing, finance, HR etc. And it was in the nature of these departments to push for departmental interests. What was important though was that as organizations became larger, they should strive even more for alignment of interests –not only inter-departmental but also designing incentives for partners, investors and employees.

The one thing that he had maintained was the culture of “anyone can talk to anyone.” Old-style bureaucratic organizations were riven by hierarchical structures where orders were conveyed downstream and one could only talk to those who were one level up in the hierarchy. This system encouraged “I am a king here of my own area”, stifling creativity.

The present times were difficult. The problem was that many in the workforce were blaming businesses for not paying them. What they could not understand was that if the businesses had no money how could they pay employees. Organizations were facing another problem. In times of growth they became inefficient. However, in times of economic decline, companies were forced to re-evaluate. On the one hand there was survival of the fittest. On the other hand, one could decide not to lay off any one and then be faced with the prospect of watching the company go down and everyone laid off.

Digital marketing, software programming, cloud-data and AI, all such skills were in demand now and emphasis was on converting data into information. Financial intermediaries were being dis-intermediated.

Monis and his wife had launch projectpakistan.org (Project Pakistan) where donors sent donations to Project. At the same time, various Freelance Rozee Dost mobile field agents collected verified worker profiles (at the website you could either become a MFA or a donor or both.Project Pakistan assesses workers and finds the neediest using scoring algorithm and manual inspection. Displance workers then receive funds directly through EasyPaisa.

An MBA candidate asked him that it was difficult to disseminate information for a manage because had all the information stored in his head and it was thus difficult to communicate and thus to delegate. How did this fit in with communication and transparency? Monis thought it was a “beautiful”question and it was relevant to current times. One of the things that had happened because of the lockdown was that information sharing had gotten a lot more efficient. Before the lockdown, if he was working on a project, there were various stakeholders involved.As things happened in the smaller individual groups, the larger group needed to know so maybe three days later you had a follow-up meeting. So this information access was very inefficient and often it turned out that only the project’s leader was the only one who knew exactly what had been happening in each group because he was only one talking to each group. Now they had created WhatsApp groups and people shared all the information in that group and everyone knewwhat had been going on and it was even more efficient than being on the same office floor. Monis was planning to continue with these groups even when they went back to office.

Monis delivers regular sessions the MBA program both on digital marketing and on the human side of the organizations. It was an honor to receive him as a guest speaker.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 5/05/2020 02:17:00 PM,

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