EXCLUSIVE: How does this Pakistani entrepreneur power 25m+ websites via remote software business?

11:59 PM | 17 Oct, 2023
Syed Balkhi
Source: Twitter (@syedbalkhi)

Pakistani tech entrepreneur Syed Balkhi powers over 25 million websites through his remote software company, Awesome Motive.

Awesome Motive, a company Balkhi started back in 2009, builds software for WordPress, a content management system that powers 43% of the websites on the internet in 2023. These tools allow website owners to add a huge array of functionalities - an opportunity that Pakistani entrepreneur Balkhi realized early on.

Here’s his story.

Balkhi was born in Karachi and showed his entrepreneurial spirit early on. “I started my first business when I was seven years old, selling holiday greeting cards for Eid and Pakistan’s Independence Day celebration. Later, I started a small snack shop for my neighborhood. Both ventures were extremely profitable,” Balkhi told Daily Pakistan in an exclusive conversation.

When he was 12, his family moved to the US - and soon faced financial hardship. To help out, Balkhi started taking online jobs managing forums and building websites. This helped him discover WordPress, then a fledgling software.

Balkhi, though, instantly recognized its potential. He told, “I came across WordPress and saw that it was open source. That was a magic word for me. I had money to buy licenses at this point, but I was very frugal, and I believed in the huge democratizing potential of open-source software.”

As a result, Balkhi soon became a WordPress expert, and started sharing his knowledge on his blog, WPBeginner.

The sentiment paid off. WPBeginner soon gathered a massive audience - who let Balkhi know exactly what they wanted in terms of WordPress functionalities.

It is this user feedback that helped Balkhi turn Awesome Motive into a massive success.

“I remember, I wanted to grow my email list for WPBeginner, but there was no plugin on the market that scaled to my needs, so I coded a solution for my own website,” Balkhi recalls. “Then I started getting emails from users asking me - ‘What is this - can I get this exact thing that you are using?’”

Scenting an opportunity, Balkhi got together with co-founder Thomas Griffin, a seasoned coder he’d met at a WordPress community event. Together, they turned Balkhi’s home-made fixer-upper code into a sleek, publicly available pop-up plugin, OptinMonster.

“We launched it to the WPBeginner audience in September 2013, and it was an instant success

Furthermore, Balkhi bought several existing plugins and extended them based on the feedback he got from his audience. He acquired MonsterInsights, a Google Analytics plugin, as well as All in One SEO, a plugin that helps users optimize their content for search engines.

 “We were fortunate to be a fully distributed team from day one, so when everything changed, for our team, at least this aspect of their lives stayed the same,” Balkhi explains.

“We were also fortunate to be in the tech sector, which saw a massive tailwind. Many of our software tools enabled our small business customers to not only survive, but thrive during the pandemic, and this was rewarding both spiritually and financially that we were able to make a difference in the lives of our customers, their families, and their community.

In addition, building a remote team also let him source amazing new team members without geographical restrictions: “I always say that talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. By building a distributed team, we get to hire not just experts in their field, but people who are autonomous, motivated, and self-driven.”

Looking into the future, Balkhi counts on sticking to the same principles to keep growing his business. “We just do the simple things really well,” he says. “And we keep doing them over a long time. You keep doing something for twelve, sixteen years - then all of a sudden it looks like an overnight success.”


Pakistani rupee exchange rate to US dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham, and Riyal - 4 Dec  2023

Pakistani rupee's value remained stable against US dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham, Riyal and other currencies in the open market.

Dollar Rate in Pakistan Today

On Monday, the US dollar was being quoted at 285.15 for buying and 287.95 for selling.

Euro rate stands at 309.9 for buying and 310.5 for selling. British Pound GBP rate stands at 359.4 for buying, and 360.05 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED currently hovers around 77.45 while rate of Saudi Riyal stands at 75.82.

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan – 4 December 2023

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 285.15  287.95 
Euro EUR 309.9  310.5 
UK Pound Sterling GBP 359.4  360.05 
U.A.E Dirham AED 77.45 77.6
Saudi Riyal SAR 75.82 75.97
Australian Dollar AUD 187.72 188.22
Bahrain Dinar BHD 759.94 767.94
Canadian Dollar CAD 209.99 210.49
China Yuan CNY 39.78 39.88
Danish Krone DKK 41.95 42.05
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 36.38 36.48
Indian Rupee INR 3.39 3.5
Japanese Yen JPY 1.49 1.56
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 926.39 935.39
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 60.38 60.98
New Zealand Dollar NZD 173.44 175.44
Norwegians Krone NOK 26.25 26.55
Omani Riyal OMR 742.16 750.18
Qatari Riyal QAR 78.5 79.2
Singapore Dollar SGD 212.45 212.95
Swedish Korona SEK 27.09 27.19
Swiss Franc CHF 325.38 325.88
Thai Bhat THB 8.05 8.09

Gold prices in Pakistan move down despite positive global cues

The gold remained under pressure as the precious metal moved down despite an upward trend in the international market.

Gold Rates in Pakistan Today - 4 December 2023

On the first day of the week, the price of a single tola of 24-karat gold stands at Rs217,000 and 10 grams of 24k gold costs Rs186,043 

A single tola of 22-karat gold costs Rs170,539, while 21 karat rate for each tola is Rs. 192,325 and the price of 18k gold is Rs164,850.

In the global market, gold prices hover at around $2086, gaining $14.44 on Monday.

Today Gold Rate in Pakistan

City Gold Silver
Lahore PKR 217,000 PKR 2,720
Karachi PKR 217,000 PKR 2,720
Islamabad PKR 217,000 PKR 2,720
Peshawar PKR 217,000 PKR 2,720
Quetta PKR 217,000 PKR 2,720
Sialkot PKR 217,000 PKR 2,720
Attock PKR 217,000 PKR 2,720
Gujranwala PKR 217,000 PKR 2,720
Jehlum PKR 217,000 PKR 2,720
Multan PKR 217,000 PKR 2,720
Bahawalpur PKR 217,000 PKR 2,720
Gujrat PKR 217,000 PKR 2,720
Nawabshah PKR 217,000 PKR 2,720
Chakwal PKR 217,000 PKR 2,720
Hyderabad PKR 217,000 PKR 2,720
Nowshehra PKR 217,000 PKR 2,720
Sargodha PKR 217,000 PKR 2,720
Faisalabad PKR 217,000 PKR 2,720
Mirpur PKR 217,000 PKR 2,720


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