Umair Kazi

A strategist who blogs at

How to be a workplace super hero

Average people who work average jobs are easy to replace. They come in at 9, do the work that’s expected of them, and leave by 5. They cause no problems, they don’t raise questions, and they don’t threaten the status quo. They are good, dependable people. Unfortunately, because of their generic nature, there are too many of them. Sure, you got the job done. But there are thousands of people just like you being churned out of business schools at an incredible pace. In today’s economy, playing it safe could be your worst career decision. How to stand out and be a workplace ‘superhero’ The ...

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Another kind of democracy

My name is Umair, and I’m a marketing strategist. And as a marketer, I’m trained to offer creative solutions in the face of extreme adversity. Between apocalyptic stories of fake degrees, rampant corruption, and all-around disappointment hovering in the international media, Pakistan is almost always in the crosshairs of a bad governance witch hunt. Much like a marketing brief, let’s tackle this problem by identifying the crucial elements: What’s the job-to-be-done? Good governance. What’s the market scenario? Destruction and despair at the hands of politicians. Who’s the target audience? The population of Pakistan. What are the competitors (read: the opposition) doing? Promising to usher in change. What ...

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Jackson’s secret power

Michael Jackson was and remains the very definition of fame. A year after his demise, it’s not too late to wonder what transformed Michael the man into Michael the legend. Considered by many to be the greatest showman in history, Jackson’s story is as bizarre as they get. We’re all well versed with his eccentricities, the over-the-top stunts, and the sheer opulence he surrounded himself with. But the fact of the matter remains: it worked. From his days in the Jackson 5 all the way to his funeral, he was a source of entertainment and awe for countless people. Love him or hate ...

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Irony on wheels

I was on my way to a meeting at II Chundrigar Road yesterday. As usual, there was a big, annoying traffic jam on the street, courtesy it being the main artery of Pakistan’s famed financial district. With everybody stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, my car ended up wedged next to a Rolls Royce Phantom, net worth Rs 34 million. Inside the car was a prominent Pakistani media personality, who was driving the Rolls himself, and accompanying him were two Toyota Vigos in front of and behind the vehicle, with private guards openly displaying their AK47s to everybody on the road. I was ...

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The Empire of Cash

Near the swimming pool, a kid proceeds to push another into the water, resulting in a big splash. The caretaker comes over to reprimand them, but the tiny swimmer starts crying before the guy can say anything. The kid’s concern: he had a ‘bohat mehengi’ (really expensive) toy car in his hand which was now lodged at the bottom of the pool. The toy car wasn’t a nice car, or his favourite car, or a special car; it was an expensive car. “It was for 150 rupees!” he cried. The kid must be less than eight years old, yet he was thoroughly inculcated with our money-minded culture. ...

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