HISHAB
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Profile

  • Mishu started his career as an Urban Planner Specializing in GIS mapping. In his early days he worked in two major government projects in Bangladesh as a GIS expert. He then pivoted towards music production and distribution and started working in a dual role as Marketing Manager and Audio Production Engineer at an indie music label, Incursion Music. He later joined Radio Foorti, the leading FM channel in Bangladesh. From the radio job, he got picked up by an IT company, SSD-TECH and joined as a product manager, content. There he worked in Telecom domain and eventually became a mid level manager who led the digital transformation of the product portfolio. He also worked at the Robi Axiata Limited and managed the CRBT and streaming VAS portfolio. Later he re-joined SSD-TECH as a senior manager and worked to launch products in the e-learning and gaming domains. He joined Hishab as Product Manager in April 2021. Mishu’s product portfolio includes names like Ghoori Learning, BeatMyTeam, BBC Janala, Grameenphone Voice Chat, Music IVR 2008, Lifestyle IVR 2580, Chakribazar, Rutiruji.

Interview

  • Q. Tell me about your work in Hishab
    • I work at Hishab as a part of the Microfinance Institute Team. 
    • My job is to understand the needs and application of Voice technology in the microfinance domain which consists of institutes who do microlending to millions and millions of borrowers and collect money from them. I have to work to find scopes of voice-based products in the day to day operations of this microfinance institute and create documentation and requirements based on that. And then work with my delivery engineers to make that happen and put it to use.

  • Q. How did you know about Hishab?
    • I had been working in the Telecom company, which was a provider of telecom solutions to the larger telecoms, as a content manager since 2015. I was struggling with a problem to enjoy discovery over IVR, telecom, and call. I was looking for a voice-based solution, and then I went to a seminar where the owners of Hishab were talking. Throughout the session, everybody was talking about some similar things like developing an app, website, or other best digital solution, and around 95% are Internet-based solutions. but from my working experience, I know that it represents a very small portion of the population here in Bangladesh. Then, Zubi, CEO of Hishab comes up on stage and says “You have talked about beautiful solutions, but I’m sorry to say we are talking about only 1% of the population, because 99% of the population, although they may have a smartphone, they may have an active internet connection, but their knowledge of being able to utilize that is fairly limited.” I was deeply impressed and empathized with his speech. I came back to my office, and asked my CEO for contacts about Zubi and Hishab and I got in touch with them.
  • Q. Why did you choose to join Hishab?
    • I think we cannot design a good solution for the mass people using a website and an application. So, I believe “voice” is the way and that’s why I joined Hishab because only Hishab is doing something like that in Bangladesh, and maybe even in Southeast Asia. Hishab’s solution allows people access to software solutions or IT gateways to the bar of voice where I don’t have to learn how to use the graphic user interface, where I don’t have to know how to insert an OTP or how to use my email address to register for a service. A very few companies are thinking about it.

  • Q. What do you like most about Hishab or your work?
    • Regarding my work in Hishab, I get to see not only the data but also get to meet the users who are using the solutions. This is a very good opportunity to think about a new solution and talk to them about a lot of things. And also Hishab has a very different culture than other companies in this region and values employees’ comfort. The colleagues who work here are very friendly and helpful. Here you can always say no to your bosses, you can always express your thinking and people will consider your opinion. So, all of these things make working very enjoyable and create a great experience.

  • Q. Please tell me the episode of the hardest work you have done so far. and how do you overcome those challenges?
    • My first difficulty in Hishab was understanding the technical languages to be able to communicate with developers in a technical manner. This is a learning that as a non-technical person from a non-technical background was a bit difficult for me, and still is, but I’m getting a lot of help from my technical colleagues to overcome that difficulty.
    • The second one was when we were building solutions for users based on user feedback or requirements from the clients, but we made one service that was not seeing a lot of uses. So I had to go through a process to find out the reason behind this service not being used and then had to identify the bottlenecks over there, and solving those bottlenecks is sometimes beyond our capacity. That is why we have to depend on our partners & here comes negotiation skills. Here you need to create a strategy that you’re making to utilize your partner’s strength and ask them or design something in a way that will help you achieve your KPI but that at the same time is motivating for your partner as well. We are still working on it but we have a clear vision of how to overcome it.

  • Q. What is the best learning of yours that you gained from work at Hishab.
    • Prior to joining Hishab, I worked with products whose average life cycle would be less than a year. Therefore we used to make a lot of products like 10, 15 projects that would go simultaneously, and maybe in a year, only one would work and the rest of nine would fail. But here in Hishab if any project failed, they tried to make the product better, make it more effective. So, I could learn from Hishab that if you have patience and resilience, it could be a success.

  • Q. Hishab’s work style is remote-basis. How do you do so far with remote communication?
    • Working remotely is a challenge but it’s a good challenge because in this way you get to collaborate and get to learn that your communications, your writings, all the documentation, everything have to be very clear. Therefore, you have to be extra effortful when it’s arranging meetings, more and more you need to talk to your colleagues. We try not only to remote, but we will also try to work in an asynchronous way. So we use state-of-the-art tools, like, Confluence and Jira to manage our documentation to manage products.

  • Q. Are there any advantages/challenges? As for challenges, how do you mitigate them?
    • When we are taking a new initiative or a new idea, we try to discuss this a lot. Sometimes confusion is there, so you need to be able to communicate very well or at least have a good communicator in your team, who can actually understand what you’re thinking, and who can express that to other team members. 
    • In terms of mitigation, we try to be more detailed in our documentation about what we need in the form of user stories or product requirements and we just talk with each other a lot over the cloud meetings that we have. 

  • Q. How do you spend your time after work or on holidays?
    • Usually, I go for a walk with my wife or meet my friends for coffee mostly or over dinner. Sometimes I visit my friends’ offices and say hi to them. It has helped me a lot to network more and talk to people more about what’s happening in their world. It also helped me spend a lot of time with my family. That is something that has been rare in my previous roles because I was busy and I was taking on a lot of responsibilities that maybe was over the top of my capabilities.
  • Q. What are your goals in Hishab in the future?
    • I’m in a managerial room in charge of a single domain and my opportunity in Hishab is to become the head of products or chief product officer in the next five years.
    • Also, Hishab is a startup, so we definitely will scale over time with a kickass product and a lot of people will work for Hishab in the next two or three years. This growth will definitely come with growth opportunities for myself and I’m ready to grab them.
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