Arbaz Pirwani Talks About How B2B Marketplace Is Disrupting Retail Industry in Pakistan

If you see something good happening which you might have planned, try to contribute with those who are doing it already, instead of starting it from scratch.

– Arbaz

Appforshare.io: Hi Arbaz, we are excited to have you on board with Appforshare.io. Please tell us about yourself and your association with Bazaar Technologies.

Arbaz: Hi, thanks for inviting me. I am working as a Senior Software Engineer and have 5+ years of experience in developing mobile apps. I have worked for many startups and am currently being associated with Bazaar Technologies.

Bazaar Technologies is a B2B e-commerce marketplace that aims to empower small and medium-sized retailers which form the backbone of Pakistan’s retail economy.

Bazaar’s mobile app gives these small business owners access to a large assortment of goods from multiple local and international brands as well as unbranded products on a single platform which can be ordered at any day of the week with free next day delivery to storefronts. Our mission is to build a truly incredible and scalable tech company in and for Pakistan.

For the last 1 year, I have been working on the Easy Khata app which is also a part of Bazaar. I also have a small YouTube channel where I started teaching Kotlin as I love sharing the knowledge of what I have learned and built in all these years. I have also been providing training for Android development in multiple institutions. My contribution to open source can be found on platforms like GitHub and Stack Overflow as giving back to the community excites me more.

Besides training and coaching, I love speaking in public and I have given multiple sessions on Android development. I also tried vlogging once where I shared my day in the life of a software engineer which I will resume soon hopefully *fingers crossed*.

AFS:  How do you find YouTube education for programmers? What are the platforms you have followed in your journey of knowledge gaining? Have you done some courses for it?

Arbaz: I feel YouTube is a great free resource for programmers to learn new technologies. It has tons of good videos and short courses, to begin with, and continue with advanced programming. You can learn at any stage whether you are a student or a professional. The reason why I love sharing knowledge is the inspiration I get from others with whom I’ve learned so much in all these years.

In my learning, I have done some courses on Udemy for my Kotlin training. Other platforms that helped me a lot with their short courses include Udacity, Coursera, freeCodeCamp, and w3Schools. Such short courses speed up your workflow and help you to grow in your career.

AFS:  We have been watching you in some activities like playing chess and solving Rubik’s cubes. How do these activities help you sharpen your mind and make you a better programmer?

Arbaz: Haha, thanks for asking me about something I love doing in my free time and for getting such small, detailed information about me. Yes, I love playing chess and solving Rubik’s cubes. Nowadays, I am crazily involved in solving Rubik’s cubes. In fact, I have 18 different kinds of Rubik’s cubes and puzzles.

These activities are without a doubt very helpful and sometimes work as a brain booster for me. Playing chess helps you improve your thought process and strategic thinking. You get a better understanding of how you can solve a problem and how to manage time. It teaches you how to use different tools and techniques to achieve your goals and makes you able to tackle a problem in many ways, which you can relate to as a programmer.

AFS:  Bazaar has been recently listed on many platforms. What does that signify for you and the tech startup space in Pakistan?

Arbaz: Pakistan’s tech space is booming right now, and Bazaar is one of the startups working as a ladder so that other startups can go from zero to one and we can create value exponentially. Startups like Bazaar are making investors believe and drawn deeper into Pakistan.

AFS:  Why should small business owners switch to digital? How is Easy Khata making a difference in the life of local shop owners?

Arbaz: I believe tech is for everyone whether you are a small shop owner, tailor, farmer, or working in any other sector.

Maintaining your debit-credit ledger and your daily expenses in the register is hectic, time-consuming, and in many cases, not secure. Easy Khata is providing a platform to maintain your ledger in offline mode so you can use the app in a place where network availability is crucial. You can also add or view transactions and that’s not it, it has many other features which Million+ users are using like Collection Date Reminder, Free SMS, Business Card, Cashbook, etc.

At Easy Khata, your data is secure. If by any chance you lose your phone or it gets damaged, you can get your transactions data easily. Above all, the app is very easy to use and is available in different languages including English, Urdu, Roman Urdu, and Sindhi.

AFS:  What challenges have you come across while dealing with those shop owners?

Arbaz: Nothing is easy at first. Making the shop owner use an app for maintaining a ledger is a very tricky job because financial apps have always been confusing with many options in them and are never easy to maintain if you are a non-tech user. So, it is one of our toughest challenges to create a platform that is easy and simple to use and can solve every problem of a shop owner. Through user research, we tried to provide the best user experience which help us gain more regular users to our platform. Communication apps like WhatsApp are easy to understand and if you make your app as easy as these communication apps, you can make anyone use your app.

The other challenge was to understand how exactly they maintain the ledger in their register, so we can provide them a digital version of their business’ current behavior. We launched our first version with Roman Urdu which was also quite helpful as most of the shop owners were only able to understand Urdu.

AFS: Which tools do you frequently use from development to deployment in Android development?

Arbaz:

1.      Android Studio

2.      IntelliJ Idea

3.      Firebase App Distribution for internal user

4.      Play Console for internal tester and for production user

AFS: Appforshare.io is a cloud-based platform that helps developers to upload the .APK or .IPA files for user acceptance testing for free. What do you think about the platform?

Arbaz: Well! Appforshare.io is a perfect platform for me haha, as I am working on app development which means regular app testing either by our QA teams or our clients. We can share the apps with our friends and use them without launching them on the App Store, Google Play Store, or any other official store or website used for app downloading and installation.

I love that we can share our APKs/IPAs with release notes, and we can design our own custom HTML here, to create dynamic pages that relate to our theme. Other than that, one very good feature that I think no other platform is providing is that, here, the link never expired.

These platforms are usually critical, and we sometimes get stuck while sending our specific builds, but I think, the smooth process at Appforshare is definitely helping many developers to shift to it from whatever platform they are using currently.

AFS:  From the developer’s point of view, what improvements would you like to see in appforshare.io?

Arbaz: This platform is doing a lot better than other platforms in so many ways, still, there are ways with which you can improve your platform. This can be done by taking users’ feedback on the current features and asking for the problems they are facing because of the features that are unavailable or unaffordable on other platforms.

You also need to sit with your development and QA team to constantly check the problems that can strike at any point and add more easy tooling mechanisms to make the work better than ever.

AFS: What would you do if you ended up winning a $10 million dollar lottery ticket?

Arbaz: I already have a plan to start my own startup. If I win 10 million dollars, I will use it to build my team. One of my dreams includes creating more jobs and opportunities for people and making Pakistan proud. That $10 million will be the first step to fulfilling my dream.

Thank you Arbaz for this wonderful conversation. We wish you good luck with your future plans.

Appforshare.io provides you with a mobile-friendly platform that helps you in sending your files to your clients within minutes through OTA (Over the Air) deployment. Find the package and pricing details here.

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