Ahmed Sajjad Zaidi

Entrepreneur, trekker, and photographer based in Pakistan

About

Ahmed Sajjad Zaidi

Here is a brief history of my life:

I was born in Islamabad, Pakistan, and soon moved to Bulgaria with my parents. I have been traveling ever since. I was too young to remember anything about Sofia, but a year later, the family had moved to Rabat, Morocco, where we stayed for four years and where I first started going to school. Until I was seven years old, the only languages I used at school were French and Arabic, though I spoke Urdu at home. Maybe this exposure to many languages was what sparked my interest in languages, as well as different cultures.

After moving back to Pakistan, I had to start learning a strange new language known as English, in addition to my mother tongue. After a couple of years, we were on the move again, this time to London, England. I really loved living in London, but after just three years, had to move back to Pakistan once again. Another couple of years in Islamabad and the next destination was Singapore. My four years in Singapore were mostly spent studying, including an attempt to learn Chinese. I got my first taste of working life there doing stock analysis and online trading, but soon enough, it was time to follow my parents back to Pakistan. It was in Islamabad, that I started my technology career, but it was in mid-1998 that it really took off after I moved to Tokyo, Japan.

The first few months in Tokyo were quite frustrating. Japan was just recovering from an economic downturn and there weren’t many jobs around, especially for people who couldn’t speak Japanese. Near the end of that year, I started work in Tokyo’s Akihabara district. Initially, I worked on contract basis, designing websites and trying to absorb whatever I could of this new thing (new to me) called the Internet, but soon joined as a full-time employee.

Around this time, I also got involved with local volunteer groups such as the Tokyo PC Users Group and the Tokyo Linux Users Group. In early 2000, I sat for the Red Hat Certified Engineer exam and cleared it. Soon after, I started work as a system/network administrator with a small, recently established dot com company which was a real eye-opener. I got to work together with a team of really smart and experienced people and had a lot of fun in doing so. Alas, it wasn’t to last. This was around the time of the dot-com bust and the crucial round of funding that we were expecting never materialized. Thanks to our president’s negotiating skills however, none of us ended up without a job. We were acquired by a decent-sized Japanese company and mostly kept working on the same projects.

In 2003, I left Japan and returned to Pakistan to start my own company. The timing was perfect since the telecom industry about to explode onto the scene. During this time, I took up a position with Pakistan’s biggest ISP. I initially headed their systems department and then the whole Network Operations Center for the North zone. The ISP was eventually acquired by Orascom and soon after, I joined another LA-based startup.

I’m currently working on a number of projects, providing innovative technology solutions and pursuing my passion for photography. My aim is to make a difference by playing my part in educating and helping others. If you’re also looking for something similar, I’d love for you to join me.