PT: How did it all start?
Yazdi: I’m a qualified CA, holding a Master’s degree in Financial Management from Bajaj. I worked in the financial industry for over ten years. Back in 1989, when the computer-age had started coming into its own, I felt immense interest and passion to work with these machines. I took the leap of faith and quit my job to start my own firm that dabbled in computers and IT.
PT: What brought on this passion for the then new industry like IT?
Yazdi: Basically, the IT world has something new coming up every single day. Ever since childhood, I have an insatiable thirst for learning something new. This field gave me the opportunity to explore novel concepts. This is also one major reason that keeps me glued to this field.
PT: Tell us about ‘On-Lyne’..
Yazdi: I started ‘On-Lyne’ as a one-man-show, training people to get acquainted to working with computers. Back then, softwares like Lotus123 and WordStar were unheard of, so I began conducting short one or two-day courses in computer literacy. Thereafter, I started teaching my family and friends. At that time, I was known as a finance-guy, so no one looked at me as a techie. Initially, people were apprehensive and sceptical, but word of mouth references began to take route and soon I even had a sixty-five year old man aspiring to learn how to operate the computer!
PT: How did you take this forward and turn it into a booming IT business?
Yazdi: I began training people to use computers, but eventually, on realizing the true potential of the IT industry, I started dealing in hardware. I started buying and selling computers within six months of starting my firm, and today we not only sell computers and laptops, but also assemble them. With a current team of 25 people, we assemble computers, repair and sell laptops, desktops and computer appliances, create websites commercially as well as for NGOs and enable various software programming for corporates. Some of our clients include Bank of Tokyo, Parsee General Hospital, The BPP and Patuck Education Trust.
People are always in search of information, both online and offline. In an attempt to cater to that need, through high-speed technology in the internet age, I created a website called ‘on-lyne.info’, where I started posting all possible information and contact details of various topics of interest. It was supposed to be a database, like the ‘yellow pages’, for all kinds of information that is usually searched. This initiative bloomed out of my own need to know about certain institutions, profiles and working procedures. However, with the gradual increase in the collection of data, I felt an increased need to sort out this information, so as to make it more approachable and easy for the viewers. Moreso, I wanted to create an online database for Zoroastrians across the world. This prompted me to initiate various websites that specialise in providing comprehensive details in that particular area.
PT: Tell us about your various undertakings for the Zoroastrian community?
Yazdi: Till date I have created five websites that provide answers and directions to various Zoroastrian queries and searches. My first such website, ‘zoroastrians.net’ operates as a holistic community resource provider. ‘TheParsiDirectory.com’ helps Parsis connect and search for Zoroastrians across the globe. ‘TheParsiInsititutions.com’ is a one-stop destination for all information on Agiaries, Anjumans, infirmaries, clubs and gymkhanas for Parsis. ‘TheParsiFamily.com’ is for Parsis who wish to connect with their roots and know more about their extended family members. ‘TheMissingParsi.com’ helps people search for and reconnect with long lost fellow Zoroastrians. I’ve also written blogs on consumer resources and entrepreneurship. However it is the ‘Uthamna SMS’ which I daily send out to over 4,500 Parsis across India, that reigns as my most appreciated endeavor. This has become my daily morning routine and I am overwhelmed by the response and gratitude that I receive for this from our community members.
PT: What’s in store for the future?
Yazdi: Riding on the popularity of my mobile app called
‘The CommuTree’, which works on the lines of ‘TheParsiFamily.com’, we are now working towards creating another app for ‘TheParsiDirectory’.
PT: What is most professionally gratifying for you?
Yazdi: Through the five websites, Parsis have not only re-connected with their long lost ones, but have also come to the rescue of stranded fellow Parsis across the world in times of crises! To me, the ability to provide the platform for such instances taking place within our community, is my biggest achievement.
PT: What message would you like to share with PT readers?
Yazdi: All my life, I have thrived, thanks to my constant urge to learn and know, and this is one attribute that needs to be cultivated amongst the youth today. To add to it, today all information is readily laid out on a silver ‘digital’ platter and speedily available via a number of search engines! All you need to do is make the effort and click your way into finding all you need online!