Teaching at North South University, Bangladesh: A Journey of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Teaching is a noble profession that offers endless opportunities to learn and grow. As a professor at North South University, Bangladesh, I had the privilege of developing two new undergraduate and master’s courses, IP telephony and Nanotechnology. These two courses were the first of their kind in Bangladesh, and it was an incredible opportunity to be a pioneer in this field.
- Developing new courses involved extensive research, syllabus preparation, and lecture, assignment, and assessment development.
- Witnessing students’ engagement and curiosity with the course material was the ultimate reward.
- As a professor, I also had the chance to share my experience with entrepreneurship and innovation with my students.
- I founded my first startup, a car tracking system, while teaching at North South University. The startup was funded by angel investors and venture capitalists, which gave me an opportunity to explore the startup ecosystem in Bangladesh.
- The name of the project was “SatTrack” under Adroit Technologies.
- The goal of the startup was to address the pressing social issues of car theft and kidnapping, as well as oil theft by drivers.
- We honed our skills in customer-centric thinking, building teams, securing funding, and navigating the startup ecosystem through the invaluable lessons we learned from our time at university.
Our vehicle tracking startup was not without its challenges, especially as it was founded in 2008, a time when smartphones and the Android and iOS ecosystems were still in their infancy. Nevertheless, we persevered, leveraging the technology available to us and innovating where necessary to create a solution that truly met the needs of our customers.
- One of the significant technical challenges we faced was integrating 2G internet connectivity and SMS-based communication to enable car owners to track their vehicles.
- Our commitment to innovation and overcoming technical challenges has enabled us to deliver an effective solution that addresses real-world problems and makes a positive impact on society.
- Our vision is to provide a reliable, cost-effective, and easy-to-use vehicle tracking system that not only prevents car theft and kidnapping but also helps drivers keep track of their fuel consumption and usage.
Building a startup required a different set of skills than teaching. I had to learn how to build a team, motivate them to achieve their goals, and think from the customer’s point of view. It wasn’t just about the technology, but also understanding the market, identifying customer needs, and building solutions that solved their problems.
- The experience of building a startup was a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows.
- Despite the challenges, the experience taught me valuable lessons that I could pass on to my students.
- It was an incredible opportunity to not only teach theoretical concepts but also share real-world experiences that could inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.
In addition to the academic and entrepreneurial opportunities, teaching at North South University gave me the chance to immerse myself in a new culture. Bangladesh is a country with a rich history and vibrant culture, and it was an incredible experience to learn from my students and colleagues.
Lessons Learned: Exiting a Startup and the Importance of Customer Research
Unfortunately, our vehicle tracking startup had to be closed down due to market readiness and pricing issues. Our target customers, car owners, did not have a high enough earning to justify paying for an additional service to monitor their cars. This led to a lack of demand for our product, and we had to make the difficult decision to exit the market.
We applied the “Smart Quit” method, which allowed us to exit the startup quickly without incurring significant financial losses. This method involves understanding the voice of the customer and being willing to exit a project if it is not meeting their needs.
The lesson I learned from this experience is that it is crucial to understand the market deeply before developing a product. Amazon has a reverse process where they focus on the customer’s end result and develop the product in later phases. Our approach was flawed as we developed the project first without fully understanding the market and the needs of our customers. It is essential to listen to the voice of the customer and create a product that solves their problems to ensure success in the market.
In conclusion, my experience teaching at North South University, Bangladesh, was an unforgettable journey of innovation and entrepreneurship. It allowed me to create new courses, build a startup, and immerse myself in a new culture. My experiences have inspired me to pursue my passions and make a positive impact in my community, and I hope they inspire others.