July 26, 2012
SAN JOSE: The Silicon Valley in California is not only the IT capital of the world, but an environment so competitive and unforgiving that if one does not possess fortitude it can break your spirit and leave you with less than nothing. But for those with a dream and the willpower and ability to make it come to fruition, there is no other place one would rather be.
“You have to have a dream and a plan… and you have to work hard,” says Farrukh Shah Khan, the man behind WBT-TV, an online TV channel based in San Jose, the IT capital of the Silicon Valley.
Farrukh should know; WBT-TV is a dream that he has long chased and now cornered. His years of hard work and determination are beginning to pay off. His dream has become a realization. But Farrukh is already planning ahead: “I see a possibility where WBT-TV can become the voice for all South Asians in America and beyond with its shows being watched throughout the world.”
Nothing is impossible.
Farrukh came to Silicon Valley after completing his B.A. and M.S. in Computer Science in the early 90’s. He immediately got the Silicon Valley bug of starting a creative software business which could make him and his associates very, very rich and it was this drive that lead to many of his attempts at high tech startup ideas. He also worked at a number of Silicon Valley startup businesses of 10 to 50 people each.
But somewhere, there was a journalist, a TV producer within him. The more he thought about television, the more enamored he became by the concept. In 2004, he finally relented and gave vent to his other creative being by establishing WBT-TV.
It all began with a business and technology show covering the high tech business world of Silicon Valley, the place where HP started in a garage with two dedicated individuals and where Apple burst onto the world scene, also courtesy two people working in a garage.
WBT-TV covered the world of Silicon chips and computer programs, smart gadgets and high tech geeks, high stakes games of billions of dollars and worldwide fame.
Now a thriving production house, with clients such as eBay and Paypal, WBT-TV currently produces four shows regularly covering politics, social issues, lifestyle and entertainment.
One of the shows, Vision 2047, focuses on the problems currently faced by South Asian countries and ways of solving them over time so that when India and Pakistan celebrate 100 years of independence in 2047 they would be celebrating it as prosperous and successful countries.
Viewpoint from overseas gives current affairs and politics in Pakistan a perspective that overseas Pakistanis can relate to. “There is more to come,” says Farrukh cheerfully, and who is to disbelieve him; if he has managed to come so far what’s stopping him going further.
Television and IT are not Farrukh’s only concerns or areas of interest; a few years back he launched the Pakistani-American Culture Center (PACC) in San Jose where Urdu is taught to children with the primary goal of staying in touch with their roots and being able to speak their mother tongue fluently.
At the same time, the PACC offers Pakistanis and other South Asians the opportunity to enjoy mushaira, classical music programs and arts and craft which are also promoted and shared with the mainstream American population of the Silicon Valley.
“We could be a conduit to bigger things,” says Farrukh, “…an alternative perspective of how things actually are. It’s good to have an alternative perspective, one that’s not entirely mainstream; it makes you different and, therefore, all the more attractive.”
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