Note # 011

Zahid Lilani
Note # 011

Have you noticed how everyone is starting a newsletter on Substack?

Last month, four people I follow on Twitter started a newsletter:

  1. Uzair Younus launched Pakistonomy where he does deep dives into Pakistan’s economy.
  2. Kalsoom Lakhani launched The Rabbit Hole where she plans on curating all things interesting.
  3. Aadil Maan launched Building Rome(s) where he writes about managing technology programs and shipping world-class products.
  4. Hamza Mahmood launched Takhleeq where he shares his thoughts on the state of design, technology, and art in Pakistan.

According to Substack’s CEO, the readership and writership have doubled since the pandemic started. People are reading more and writing more. And it shows.

Uzair got 250 subscribers within 24 hours of tweeting that he will be starting a newsletter. Later he tweeted that he had passed 400. That’s no small feat.

Yes, he already has an audience due to his podcast. Or it could be this:

Note # 011

That’s my inbox. I have an alert set up on Google Trends for ‘newsletter’ searches in Pakistan.

What I am highlighting here is both supply and demand. And given how easy it is to set up a newsletter on Substack, it’s no surprise that it’s the popular choice. On top of that, Substack has a paid newsletter option giving writers an opportunity to earn a side income or go full-time.

Here are some newsletters, tech-related or otherwise, that I know of authored by Pakistanis on Substack:

DYL Ventures, Advertising Insights, Tech Geeks Pakistan, Memon Mondays, Hamnawa, Made in Pakistan, Ejaad-Nama, and Chapter One.

(hit reply and let me know if I missed someone)

Question is, once the pandemic is over and people have less time to read and write, will the trend dissipate? Yes, some newsletters will go dormant, some will flourish. That’s just how things work.

I believe there is an appetite for original and informative insights that lands straight in your inbox.


📰 Learn

PTA behind AWS interruption but it vehemently denies it. In the aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic, Pakistan’s digital divide widens. Pakistan is spying on its citizens in the name of contact tracing. TikTok is “immoral, obscene and vulgar” and should be banned. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, lament content creators on YouTube’s possible ban. Khujlee Family channel on YouTube hacked. PTA bans PUBG, wait, nevermind just kidding. Pakistan ranks # 9 with 81 million mobile internet users. Did Tania Aidrus resign or was she fired? Plutwo rebrands to Airschool and issues a press release. Names, emails, and phone numbers of Swvl users compromised in a security breach.


🗣 Read

Boomers are irrelevant, they just don’t know. Making sense of EMPG and OLX merger. Profit received a legal notice from Inov8 because they profiled the mismanagement and outright fraud in a recent article. Startups disrupting B2B retail supply chains. Pakistan’s digital divide Part I and Part II. Forget product-market fit, let’s explore the market-product fit.


🎙️ Listen

Uzair Younus talks to Junaid Iqbal, Careem’s former MD in Pakistan. Amad Mian talks to Jehan Ara, President of P@SHA and founder of the Nest I/O.

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