Interview with Kamran Qamar, Founder & CEO of Paras
Hi Kamran! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m the Founder & CEO of Paras, a productivity app for teams on the go. I’d describe myself as an outgoing people person and I always work to excel in everything I do, whether it’s traveling, business, or volunteering. I’m a computer engineer by education.
I like to reflect on the following story as it speaks to my first experience with entrepreneurship. I was a recent graduate looking for a job when a friend recommended me to a company that was hiring for a computer programmer. After going through a preliminary round, the interviewer (who later became a great friend) gave me a second challenge of writing a complete application in 30 days and if I was able to complete it they’d pay me for my work!
I didn’t have the computer at the time, so I borrowed money and bought a computer to learn and code the application. By the fourth week, I had the application up and running and happily submitted it to the company. I later found out that they had been working on this application for the past year and spent 10 times the amount that they promised to pay me.
Since then I’ve successfully built and sold three tech companies, turning them into multimillion dollar businesses. Over the years, I have also worked in the corporate world managing large scale teams, products, and budgets. These experiences combined give me a unique insight into accomplishing more in my personal and professional life.
Why did you build Paras?
There are many tools out there that promise to make you productive. Most of these tools are based on a work breakdown structure, meaning that you take a project, divide it into the smallest possible units, and start working through tasks from the bottom up. This process works well for industrial projects but doesn’t cut it for the knowledge era. It’s hard for knowledge workers (people whose jobs involve handling or using information) to work within the confines of 9 to 5. Today, we work at all hours of the day and our personal and work life are intermingled. The funny part is that we love it!
Paras is designed specifically for knowledge workers on the go, whose personal and professional life is intertwined. Paras guides its users to create work-life balance for themselves without enforcing any sort of methodology, whether it be GTD, WBS, Kanban, Scrum, etc. The only thing that Paras asks you to do is to set a deadline for your task or project, that way you are kept accountable. By setting a deadline you are promising yourself or your team members that you commit to getting it done on time and in full.
Do you have any advice for people trying to start their own businesses?
Start small. Make sure that you have a long enough runway as it always takes longer to build, sell, and monetize a successful product. So if you project that you will make your first dollar in six months, make sure that you have a runway budget for at least 18 months.
What are your top tips for productivity?
Look at your accomplishments in the long-term, broken down by week, month, or quarter. This will take the daily pressure off you, and you’ll be amazed by how much you have accomplished.
Always set deadlines for tasks and projects and keep track of them – There is no bigger motivator than a deadline and shortly you will learn your limitations and the most important skill needed to succeed: saying no!
Work smart and play hard.
Always try to beat yesterday’s score. For example: if you go for a run, try running for 1 minute more than you did the previous day.
What are 3 books that you’d recommend to people looking to pursue entrepreneurship?
What’s your favorite way to unwind after a busy day?
People give me energy so my favorite thing to do after a long day is spend time with friends and family. Talking through the days event with loved ones is a great way to unwind.
Interested in achieving a more productive lifestyle? Download Paras today.