Shabbir Evershine is the Founder of RocketPMO, a boutique management consulting firm that specializes in the setup and maturity of Project Management Offices (PMO) for small and large organizations. Shabbir is a self-declared foodie, travel buff, techie, and book lover extraordinaire. He was born in Karachi, Pakistan and immigrated to the US for his studies – ultimately moving to Toronto, Canada with his wife, Rashida Evershine. He worked for various organizations including the Government of Ontario, Global Payments, and Royal Bank of Canada as well as a few startups (he was co-founder of LocaWoka), before embarking upon RocketPMO.
What is your earliest memory of entrepreneurship?
I used to read a lot when I was a kid, and still do, and so had a massive collection of books and comics. Most of my neighbourhood kids used to borrow my comics, so one day it dawned on me that I start loaning out these comics. I got my dad to setup a table right outside our house, and started a neighborhood library. Word spread quickly and pretty soon, every weekend, I have a line-up of kids and their parents waiting to borrow books for a small fee.
What does entrepreneurship mean to you?
The mindset, tenacity, and ability to do something bigger than you. It is the capacity and willingness to create solutions for basic and complex societal problems. It is a fun journey that you take with like-minded people. It is boldness in an eco-system where everybody is telling you to sit down.
Have you had any failures along the way?
Many, and at least one major public one. However, failures are necessary to advance and grow yourself. Everyone has failed at some point in their like, personally or professionally. As Ken Robinson said, “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. It seems that failure tends to be more public than success. Our society judges harshly those who publicly fail. Failure brings character and humbles you. JK Rowling was rejected many times before publishing Harry Porter. Steve Jobs was publicly fired from Apple and recruited back to make it the biggest company on earth. Bill Gates started Traf-O-Data, a colossal failure, before starting Microsoft. Albert Einstein himself, could not speak fluently until the age of nine. Michael Jordan, Abraham Lincoln, Steven Spielberg, Walt Disney are all great examples of how they turned failure into epic turnarounds. My advice to everyone is that if you have not failed, you have not tried hard enough. Get off the sidelines and do something that you can look back and be happy that you at least tried.
What’s your favourite book and why?
So many, but currently I am reading Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari and I am thoroughly enjoying it. The 48 Laws of Power, After The Prophet, Rework and Animal Farm are my all-time favourites as well. One of the things I am consciously trying to do is read different genres. If anyone has a recommendation, please let me know on Twitter at @evershine.
What is your next vacation or travel destination?
Norway. I have been drooling over Pinterest and Instagram photos for a while. My wife, Rashida always wanted to visit Australia so we may go that path as well. From the past, the most memorable ones are Banff and Jasper in Alberta, Canada.
What do you recommend the next generation of startup founders?
Embrace uncertainty. Avoid naysayers. Resist the temptation to do the ordinary. Focus on comprehension versus career. Build a legacy, not a retirement income. Choose your network wisely – you are the average of the 5 people you connect with the most. Better yet, build a tribe. Your tribe members are those people who accept you just as you are, and who want the very best for you. Your tribe does not go with the “way of the wind” – they are there, as should you for them, through thick and thin. Surround yourself with the best people for you, work on what your heart and mind desire, and never look back.