Silicon Peaks

Pukar C. Hamal, Founder and CEO of SecurityPal, recently coined the term Silicon Peaks to capture the growing startup ecosystem of Nepal.

On his LinkedIn page, Pukar wrote that “The Himalayas have always been a source of inspiration for me. And given that 8 out of the worlds 14 highest mountains are located here including the highest (Mt. Everest) and the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th(!) highest, it only felt natural to pay homage to the incredible Peaks we have here! And thus ?️*Silicon Peaks* ?️ was born!”

Silicon Peaks is here and will continue to grow! #SiliconPeaks

The color of the grass

A tourist from New York City, US visits Pokhara, Nepal for the first time.

The beautiful views of Phewa Lake and mountains from Pokhara’s Lakeside makes the tourist relaxed and joyful after a long time. The tourist lives a hectic lifestyle back home with job, daily commute, bills, and all the “luxuries” that come with city life. So the Pokhara scenery, atmosphere, and the local people make the tourist comfortable and appreciate everything that is around. The local Pokhara tour guide shows the tourist the best spots in the area and makes the tour enjoyable and memorable. The tour guide lives a relaxed lifestyle with seasonal tours when the tourist season is at peak and takes other temporary gigs in the off tourist season time.

The American tourist sees the tour guide and admires the simple life of the tour guide who is bestowed a place full of natural beauty, hospitable people, and delicious food. The tour guide sees the American tourist and admires the relaxed life of the tourist who is bestowed financial freedom, choices to splurge their money on, and travel flexibility.

Institutional knowledge : A case study

Nepal is a beautiful country with its unique opportunities and challenges.

Alicia and Ajay both attend a top management college in Kathmandu, center of colleges and universities in Nepal. Once they finish their undergraduate studies, they plan to pursue their graduate studies outside of Nepal (Europe, Australia, North America). After graduating top of their class, Alicia starts working at a technology company and Ajay starts working at a bank. After working a few years, they decide to pursue their graduate studies and apply to universities around the world. Alicia feels comfortable at her workplace and shares her graduate study plans with her supervisors and employer. Ajay is hesitant sharing his graduate study plans and wants to finalize his graduate admission first and then share the news with his employer.

Many employers across all industries are aware of this “going abroad” trend among the young professionals in Nepal. Some employers have systems in place to manage the transition better than others. With Alicia, her employer starts planning a transition, starts gathering institutional knowledge and puts out a vacancy internally and externally to fill her role. With Ajay, his employer will find out at the last minute his graduate study plans and will have to scramble to find a replacement, rush to collect his knowledge/expertise gained from having worked several years at the company, and might struggle to fill his position on time.

Given this circumstance, who should take more responsibility? Should employees better communicate their graduate and undergraduate plans with their employers? How should employers better prepare for migration trends of their employees and how should they handle when employees do share their going abroad plans (be it for studies, work etc.)? What can the company, industry, or the government do to understand these migration (studies, work etc) trends and better prepare as well as leverage the diaspora’s collective expertise and experiences to help the companies, industries and the country?

Exponential growth of Nepal’s tech industry

How can we help grow Nepal’s tech industry? To measure the growth of the tech industry, what are some benchmarks? Good to have some benchmarks to start out with:

Few quantifiable benchmarks can be:

Number of companies in the tech industry

Number of jobs created by the tech companies

Number of high skilled professionals in the tech industry

Number of diverse employees in the tech companies

Collective amount of taxes paid to the government by the tech industry

Few non quantifiable benchmarks can be:

Is it easier for someone starting out today to make it in Nepal’s tech industry?

Do individuals and teams have access to the tools, resources, mentorship, trainings to become successful in Nepal’s tech industry?

How can different tech companies intentionally help each other grow and navigate the dynamic tech landscape?

Are government policies and regulations helping the tech industry grow?

Reflections from running a startup

Once upon a time, I was very passionate about creating a better platform for writers of Nepalese origin. I pitched the idea at a Startup Weekend event, met my team members there and then eventually registered a company.

Reflecting on my startup journey, I can share some learnings.

-Move fast with your product/service idea. Develop the product or at least a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) before doing too much marketing.

-Seek help in areas that is not your domain expertise.

-Research and understand the challenges in the industry or the market you are entering.

-Understand the market size of your product/service.

-Collaborate where possible.

Secrets of Himalaya | Nepal in 4K

Pure. Calm. Peaceful. A video by Sergi Martínez Miró

Thank You, YouTube

Dear YouTube,

Thank you.

You have provided a platform to show the world how beautiful and amazing Nepal is. From the natural beauty all across Nepal to the vibrant and colorful life of the capital Kathmandu, you gave everyone a glimpse of life as a local.

We are rich in culture, tradition and heritage. We are more than just mountains, lakes and valleys. We are people who are genuinely humble, hospitable and happy. We welcomed you inside our homes, villages and country to help us show the world how wonderful it is to be in a place like Nepal.

Thanks again.




On the way to Sailung (Part 1)

It was still wee hours of Friday, March 10. Having woken up at 4:30am, I got ready quickly and was walking briskly towards the microbus and tempo station in Old Baneswore. I had to reach the bus station before 6am to meet my other friends. We were all very excited for this trip to Sailung and could not afford to miss the only bus to our destination.

A few days earlier, there were rumors of a strike. We did not know who was planning the strike or what their motive was. That morning there were no signs of a strike just yet. At the microbus and tempo station, there was a man with his family and a lot of luggage by the side. He approached me and said “There are talking about a strike today. Where are you going? Are you also heading to the bus stop?.” I said “Yes, I am heading to the bus stop.” As we’re talking, a blue microbus turns the corner and stops a few steps from us. I hurriedly get on that microbus not sure whether this is my only chance to reach the bus station. Although this is a 8 seater microbus, there are already more than 11 people inside. The tight space inside with commuters along with their backpacks almost gave me claustrophobia. I sat on the little space between an aged woman and a young commuter. Within 15 minutes, I reach the bus station and am glad to be the first of my friends to arrive. I call some friends and learn that they are on their way to the bus station. Some were on their bike while some were still at their homes. As I await at the bus station, I search for food to fill my empty stomach. There are fruit sellers with their bicycles and small snack vendors around the bus station. I scour the area and decide to buy grapes and water bottle. A friend arrives and now we’re awaiting for 11 others to join us at the bus station. As more of our friends arrive, we search for our bus to Sailung and get on it. All 13 of us are now on the bus, seated and awaiting its departure.

Our bus leaves the station. We leave the beautiful and dusty capital, Kathmandu for a few days. We are on the way to Sailung!!!

Photo by Rupak Shrestha

Brand Nepal

Prabal Gurung sent out a couple of tweets on New Year’s Day of this year. Some read:

2011 is Nepal Tourism Year. Lookin 4a vacation spot, an adventure or 2 find urself? Will u pls consder visiting Nepal? U cud make a diff.PLS RT.

Nepal Facts: Nepal has 8 of the world’s 10 highest mountain peaks including Mt. Everest 8,848m (29,000 ft).

Prabal Gurung is a New York based fashion designer who was born in Singapore and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal. He also has 23,396 Twitter followers. Nepal, a country of about 30 million people in Southeast Asia is currently promoting Visit Nepal 2011. Tourism is a major source of revenue for the landlocked country which is most popularly known for Mount Everest. In 2009, out of 509,956 tourists, 32,403 were from the United States.

In my opinion, Prabal could be the best brand ambassador for promoting Nepal in the Western world. He is widely recognized in the Western fashion industry having dressed the likes of Michelle Obama, Demi Moore and Oprah. Prabal’s tweets have definitely given visibility to Nepal’s tourism campaign if not already encouraged his followers to book tickets to Nepal.

Since Nepal is promoting tourism this year, I wanted to understand Nepal as a brand and find out how the country was positioned in regards to its Visit Nepal 2011 campaign. Upon visiting the official site of Visit Nepal 2011, I noticed the tagline that the tourism board was using to advance the campaign. It was

Naturally Nepal

In its website, there were also quotes from renowned news sources:

“One of the best countries for adventure destination in the world” – National Geographic Adventure Magazine

“One of the 50 Places to see before you die” – BBC Holiday


The official website gives visitors a glimpse of what Nepal has to offer: from trekking, mountaineering to rafting, festivals just to name a few. Nepal has unique offerings such as its majestic natural beauty of mountains, rivers and lakes and a very traditional culture with numerous festivals and languages. Place branding has been around for a long time and Simon Anholt, a British branding expert states “in today’s globalized, networked world, every place has to compete with every other place for its share of the world’s consumers, tourists, businesses, investment, capital, respect and attention.” As the CEOs for Cities website explains although the most common reason for a place to have a brand strategy is to stimulate economic growth; a strong brand can create a common vision for the future of the community and its potential, provide a consistent representation of a place or enhance its local, regional and/or global awareness and position etc.

Nepal has outlined 5 major objectives for the tourism year. They are: (1) Establish Nepal as a choice of premier holiday destination with a definite brand image, (2) Improve and extend tourism related infrastructures in existing and new tourism sites (3) Enhance the capacity of service providers (4) Build community capacity in the new areas to cater the need of the tourists (5) Promote domestic tourism for sustainability of industry.

I find nation branding to be very intriguing. As a native of Nepal, I am thrilled to see how many people visit Nepal this year. When a country is promoting tourism, it’s the best time to see country branding taking place. It’s great to have brand ambassadors and Prabal’s celebrity outside of Nepal will truly make people interested to visit Nepal in the near future. In this digital age, I strongly believe that a short tweet can go a long way.