Our latest project focuses on motivational Iranian female figures. From entrepreneurs to designers and beyond, these women have managed to leave a lasting mark on the world. In a series of interviews we bring to you the details behind their stories of success.
Peeyade – Photo credit: Arash Tavakoli
For most of her life Lena Vafaey, 28, has lived in Iran as she currently does. Lena left for a while to study geotechnical engineering at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and in 2014, she began studying architecture in New York, which was always her passion.
While studying she would do a lot of travelling so she had to discover cities through digital media. This motivated her to pursue a project that evolved into Peeyade. In a nutshell, Peeyade is a platform that introduces cultural and recreational activities and attractions in Tehran.
Try to describe yourself in a sentence.
I am very tiny, so I often hear that people say “my other half is in the ground” then I think to myself, what’s wrong with tiny people?! Why is it a pre assumption that only big people are capable enough?!
How would you define a successful woman of the contemporary world?
In my opinion a successful woman of the contemporary world breaks boundaries and presets, whatever they may be, however big or small. Instead of asking for her rights, she will claim them and own them. Also, any woman who uses her brain is a success.
What launched your career?
Chance and opportunity arrived; I jumped at it and grabbed it.
What inspires you in life?
Success of others, courage, and witnessing the progress of mankind
Lena Vafaey in her office – Photo credit: NedaMonem
What would you do differently if you could do it all over again?
Take smaller and steadier steps, but remain eager to take risks.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome down the path?
In my field of choice, I had to learn everything by myself and that was, and is, both most exciting and most challenging.
What piece of advice would you give to a young lady who looks to you for motivation?
Don’t be scared to venture on what you believe in. Belief is a critical tool to success.
By far, on what grounds have you been criticized by your audience? Which in your opinion were justified and which were not? What changes do you have planned in the light of the feedback?
The most memorable one is that a segment of our audience did not understand why we were only focusing on the good features of Tehran and were not pointing out the daily dilemmas of locals in the city. In this case I felt that the criticism was not justified since we had “chosen” with awareness, to create a business surrounding this point of view. Criticism on lack of sufficient information in some of our reports has been one that we have always tried to improve on.
Imagine a young lady who is fresh to the game and has just decided to launch a life-style application; give us a step by step guide of what they need to do and also a tip that they need to have in mind through all these steps.
1) First it would be to make sure that they admire and believe in the field that they are choosing. Also, that they have one or two unique attributes that could contribute to the development of their project.
2) Understand what kind of content they are going to manage and how, and what competitive advantages they could have compared to others in their field.
3) Understand the field of technology enough to make wise general decisions. Keep in mind that even if they do not have a technology background they should not be afraid to approach it.
4) Know how they are going to make profit out of their application and to always keep this as one of the main factors in decision making.
5) Throughout all of the above, not to ever give up when it gets hard; because it will.
What are your future aspirations?
To use technology in order to facilitate the human interaction in a city’s environment, to collect data from human interaction in the city and contribute to urban design solutions, I also want to learn motor-cross biking!
Peeyade team – Photo credit: Bahram Habibi
You may download Peeyade’s app on App store and Google play
Neda Monem is a Tehran-based journalist, photographer and social media advisor. She covers arts, culture, society, tech and startups.