Randall Agee Interview – “feel good” story! Good for you!
Randall Agee is an IT Entrepreneur and Chief Executive Officer of Allshore Global Resources, LLC. The company was founded in September 2009.
1. Tell us about yourself, your early life schooling, college, and university life?
I was born in a small agricultural town in Oklahoma. The town’s population was only 5000 when I was growing up and continues to be a small, close knit community. After graduating high school, I went to study architecture at the University of Oklahoma and later completed my degree in Management Information Systems at the University of Texas at Arlington. In college I was in the United States Air Force Reserves where I learned invaluable leadership skills and obtained the rank of Captain.
2. What is Allshore Global Resources?
Allshore Global Resources is an IT staffing company in the United States that was started in conjunction with DatumSquare IT Services, PVT LTD in Islamabad, Pakistan. Since we began in 2009, DatumSquare has opened a second location in Lahore, Pakistan and in 2013 we began another partnership with Zeppelin Communications, PVT LTD in Karachi, Pakistan. Allshore is responsible for sales, customer support, managing client relationships, and providing daily leadership, while DatumSquare and ZepCom is responsible for hiring, retaining, vetting, training, and policy enforcement.
3. When did you decide to start this organization?
I started Allshore in September 2009 after I outsourced a project of my own overseas via the traditional offshoring model. The experience was frustrating. I could tell the talent was there, but the model was too problematic. I knew there had to be a better way, so I created my company along with DatumSquare in Pakistan to completely revolutionize the software offshoring industry. We have grown from one software developer in 2009 to over 80 today with over 30 support personnel to keep our clients and developers working harmoniously every single day.
4. You started alone or someone helped you?
I started Allshore alone, but couldn’t have started DatumSquare alone. I teamed with Mr. Raheel Afzal, CEO of DatumSquare, and together we built an international company that is a true symbol of peace through professional and cultural understanding. Raheel and I had a vision to be the best employers in Pakistan, to be the kindest CEO’s for our people, and to show America the true talent that was inside Pakistan just waiting to be introduced to the world.
5. What is offshore outsourcing? Are you doing offshore outsourcing for other sectors too, or just offshoring IT?
Offshore outsourcing is when a person or company hires a person or company located in another country to produce goods or services. Offshoring can be utilized to make core functionalities more profitable, or to handle non-core business functions so the business owner can instead focus more resources on his business’ core competencies.
6. In how many countries your organization providing your IT services?
We only market our services in the United States of America right now, but have future plans to expand into Europe and Australia.
7. We went through your profiles on Linkedin and we find out that you worked in Pakistan too with different IT experts, so how you find Pakistan market as compare to others?
I work exclusively with Pakistanis these days. I have tried other markets in Asia and have found that their work ethics were not strong enough for our needs, their accents were tough to understand, and they had a sense of entitlement that, quite frankly, was hard to work with. I prefer working with Pakistani people over all other nationalities and over the years I have made many close friends and met thousands of amazing people.
8. How do you compare Pakistan IT market and talent with other countries IT experts?
Pakistan’s IT market is growing and becoming extremely competitive with each passing year. It is true that Pakistan’s infrastructure and educational opportunities are still trying to catch up to other countries in the region, but I am here to say that there is a lot of talent and Pakistan is catching up fast. We have tried to expand our partnerships in nearby countries and have interviewed over 500 developers in these other countries, however, we were never able to find anyone suitable for our business model. We are extremely picky about who we let into our company. Pakistan is the only country that can consistently produce employees that meet our high standards.
9. When it comes to south Asia region special Pakistan, image is not so good in rest of world, what is your experience and observation about this region and specially Pakistan?
My observation about Pakistan is that it is full of talent-rich individuals that are trying very hard to shed a negative perception that was created by a few bad apples in the country. Media tends to focus on negativity and spread fear in order to generate more interest in their publication. There is a lot of good happening in this world and especially in Pakistan that needs to be seen. I applaud this news agency for spreading a story for the benefit of humanity.
I have been fortunate enough to travel and meet people from many different countries and Pakistanis are some of the friendliest people I have ever met. I have forged many amazing friendships with people in Pakistan and consider them to be amongst my best friends. If you would have asked me six years ago if I would have said that, I would have definitely said no. You have to really get to know people in other countries and form your own opinions—you’ll realize that they are more like you than you ever imagined. I admire Pakistani people for their struggle, I admire them for their fortitude and I admire them for overcoming many of the daily struggles that they have to work through. And best of all, they overcome them with a smile on their face.
10. Mostly businesses specially in Asia and central Asian countries are not so much aware that how IT new technologies can help to make their business easy and more profitable, What is your analysis and how Allshore Global Resources as organization can create this awareness?
Technology is moving at a rapid pace. It changes on a daily basis, and if a company doesn’t stay aware, they could be left behind very quickly. Look at all the industries that have been transformed or are flat out gone now since the dawn of the internet age. The beauty of outsourcing is that companies don’t have worry about being able to keep up if they hire a virtual staffing firm like Allshore. Virtual staffing firms consult with their clients to keep them up to speed on the latest and greatest technologies, and build their projects in those technologies to keep companies from falling behind.
11. Starting and managing offshore outsourcing business is not an easy job, how you manage and what you will give tips or suggestions for others who want to start or already have the same business?
No it is not an easy job. Managing client expectations, managing developer expectations, managing people in general is one of the hardest things someone can do. It is even more difficult when you are managing people across cultural, political, societal and religious boundaries. It has taken us years to perfect our processes and our policies to ensure the long-term survival of our business model. We have had to deal with loadshedding, U.S. and Pakistani political events, the negative publicity, and the negative mindsets of individuals on both sides. Yet through it all we have come out victorious.
Starting an offshore outsourcing business is not for the faint of heart, but the biggest tip I can give anyone wanting to do so is to build your company with people you trust. I would trust my Pakistani business partners with my life, and they trust their lives with me. You have to have this high level of trust or it simply will not endure the hard times.
12. There is so much argument and discussions and debates about the Internet security and privacy and after NSA leaks it become more visible in media and everywhere, the IT solutions that your organizations provide for different business houses how much they are secure when it comes to companies DATA and financial transactions?
Like every company in the world we are always trying to make our data more secure. We have many company secrets on how we do this (and intend to keep them secret). No company is completely immune to hacking and it’s not just the NSA that is doing this. Many countries are involved in these types of activities.
13. What is Leadership?
Leadership is the unique ability to gain passionate, loyal and dedicated followers to carry out one’s visions and achieve a result that would not have happened otherwise. Leadership is being the example that others want to follow, being kind to the people that help you, and gaining respect by showing respect.
14. How you will define success?
I will define my success if I can continue to grow my company so that it remains stable for many years. I want to continue to train more and more Pakistani people to rise up to international standards so Pakistan as a country can begin gaining more investment and attention in the international community. Also, if I can continue to bridge the gap between the citizens of the USA and Pakistan, then I will have considered my life a glorious success.
15. Where you want to take Allshore Global Resources in future?
I want to take Allshore, DatumSquare and ZepCom to the world stage and show everyone what kind of talent these companies have found and helped shape in Pakistan. I want Americans and Pakistanis to look at our companies together as a symbol of a cutting edge company that is not afraid to try new things, that is not afraid of cultural stereotypes, and is not afraid to meet new people.
16. What you do in free time?
I spend all my free time with my wife and children; family is the most important thing in my life.
17. Your message for readers?
Frederic Bastiat once said, “If goods don’t cross borders, armies will.” This is a powerful statement that is very true. If people from different countries can’t forge productive and meaningful connections, then they will live in fearful ignorance and hostility. My vision is to get people working together. I want to break through the stereotypes and the unknowns so that other people can see Pakistan how I have.