What Inspires You?

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A friend has recently asked me: “What inspires you?”. I kept putting the question off. Frankly, I don’t have an answer. Here, I come to my keyboard, trying to find one.

I asked Google: what is inspiration? “The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative” it said. What a beautiful definition. Keyword here is stimulation. What is stimulation, I asked. “The action of arousing interest, enthusiasm, or excitement in something”, Google answered. What a beautiful definition! So in essence, inspiration is the process that gets you to become mentally aroused and excited to take action.

When she asked me, I felt that I have mixed up the definition of inspiration and motivation, so what is motivation? Read More

The Subtle Art of Bootstrapping

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The process of bootstrapping is painful, yet beautiful. It teaches you so much about business that no other experience possibly could. The uncertainty of knowing whether or not you will survive another month and the anxiety caused by it is a tough master of discipline. I know this firsthand having run my first startup from a $1,000 loan I got from family to +$100,000 in revenue as a 19 year old.

Now that we have closed a funding round for Malaeb, some think that things have been very easy. “But you have a good runway!” or “Lucky you don’t have to think about money.”

The truth of those statements is debatable, but regardless of that, have things always been this way? The short answer is no.

We have survived way longer than we thought we ever will. There were moments where I personally had literally $0 in my bank account for days, and couldn’t do shit about it. There are moments where our company’s bank account also had $0 with payroll of 6 people coming in. This is the ugly truth that not many are willing to talk about. I’m writing this for the entrepreneur out there who thinks they’re in a bad position. Guess what? It’s part of the journey; it’s not all rainbows and butterflies.

Here, I want to give the outside world a glimpse at what was happening in the 6 or so months where we were fundraising with the clock ticking.Read More

The Yoga Investor

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Once upon a time, a friend invited me to a yoga class. Two months later, our company received a wire transfer from an investor. Those 2 events are completely correlated.

As a tech startup CEO, a great chunk of my job is networking. Whether during events, in the elevator, while in a queue at Starbucks, or even in a yoga class. The doors this opens are countless and priceless.

As I try to maintain a somewhat human-like work-life balance, I decided to go to a yoga class a friend has invited me to. It was an interesting experience as I stretched and moved parts of my body I never felt before. As I left, I spoke to the instructor and told her I’d like to come again. She included me on the class confirmation email where I would reply to confirm my attendance.

One of the emails that were copied on the confirmation email was name[at]rocketmail.com and that caught my attention. First of all, it was a 4 letter name, and then it was bloody RocketMail email!

RocketMail was one of first major email companies established in 1997 and acquired by Yahoo! in 1998. After the acquisition, nobody was able register their email with RocketMail anymore. [Yahoo! opened that option in 2008 closed it again soon after]

Anyway, I had a feeling this guy was a techie. As I was leaving my 3rd class, I had a quick chat with him. Let’s call him Mike.Read More

Be Nice to Strangers in Tech Startups Events

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Lesson learnt. Thankfully, the easy way.

As I was leaving Bahrain Tech Week’s awesome event, I glimpsed a small group of the organizers on the side so I went to say hi. I thanked each one of them for what he/she was doing: “Thank you for the coverage!” “Thank you for MCing” “Thank you for the support!” until I reached the last person whom I didn’t know [and wasn’t an organizer], so I said jokingly “Thank you for existing!”. He chuckled and took it with good sports.

Two days later, I get a WhatsApp message from a number I don’t know saying “Hey”. I ignored it, until about half an hour later, I get 2 more messages saying “I have an issue to discuss with you” “Do you remember me?”

WhatsApp Convo

Well, shit. At this moment, I had 2 thoughts in my head:

  • I hope he wasn’t offended by thanking him to exist
  • Well, shit.

I thanked him for getting in touch and said I’m very curious to know what he found!Read More

You Are Not a Startup

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The term Startup has invaded our dictionaries heavily in the past 5 years. It’s been overused and abused. Here, I explain why most businesses are not a startup.

If you are a newly established design agency, you are not a startup.
If you have a small law firm, you’re not a startup.
Running a salon on the side? Nope. Not a startup.
Selling t-shirts online? Yep. Still not a startup.
Unique concept bakery? You guessed it. Not a startup.
Providing consultancy services? Not even close. Not a startup.
New restaurant around the corner? Don’t think so. Not a startup.
Got a hobby app with thousands of downloads? Sorry. Not a startup.

In most cases, you are not a startup. You might have been referred to as a Startup, but that doesn’t make you one.

Here’s what makes you a Startup:Read More

How to Live a Good Life

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“The world is this continually unfolding set of possibilities and opportunities, and the tricky thing about life is, on the one hand having the courage to enter into things that are unfamiliar, but also having the wisdom to stop exploring when you’ve found something worth sticking around for. That is true of a place, of a person, of a vocation. Balancing those two things -the courage of exploring and the commitment to staying- and getting the ratio right is very hard.”

$2 Psychology Words: Conscientiousness & Industriousness

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Meet my new $2 words! Conscientiousness and Industriousness are very similar concepts.

Also, meet my new favorite modern psychologist! Jordan Peterson. He’s a YouTube star from the videos of his lectures and the vlogs he shares (which he records at midnight when he has thoughts keeping him awake instead of writing them down on a piece of paper).

Here are my favorite videos for Dr. Peterson. I’ve been sharing them very religiously with those I care about.

Wasting Time and Opportunities

Peterson here speaks about the “capacity” at which we work, also known as performance, which is something I’ve always thought of. He says that from his experience, most people run at about 51% of their capacity.Read More

Questions To Live By

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Recently, I stumbled upon a couple of very thought provocative questions on separate occasions which had me pause for a while and think. Today, I created a list on Google Keep of those questions aiming to update them and go through them every week or more frequently.

Here, I will share those with my insight on each, and I’ll update the post whenever I find another one that catches me off-guard.

What are your 10 year goals? How can you achieve them in 6 months?

Woah. Well, fuck. First of all, most people -myself included- probably don’t even have 10 year goals outlined. But forget that. Put your 1 year, 3 years, or 5 years goals. Why can’t you achieve them in less? I’m a huge supporter of challenging myself to achieve what’s unimaginable. I think that’s how the best things are created. A lot of great characters advise to constantly challenge yourself and prove that you can do WAY more than you think you can. This could be simply proved by doing 30 push-ups when you think you can only do 10.Read More

Don’t Find Yourself. Make It.

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Typical self development gurus will often advise to go about life finding and discovering yourself. Realize what you like and dislike, know what you’re good at and what you’re not, etc…

But wait, was I born this way? With my likes and dislikes predetermined? With my skills preprogrammed?

“I’m an introvert, public speaking isn’t my thing”
But.. who stamped the introvert label on my personality?

While acknowledging genetic traits that affect your personality, I’m a big believer in the incredible power of the brain and its psychology.
You don’t find yourself. That’s a rather limiting approach. You make yourself. You build, create, and influence it. Again, it’s more choice, less chance.

Yours truly was a shy introvert one day who never thought he could present in front of an audience. Today, I genuinely enjoy public speaking.

What I’m trying to say is, your journey shouldn’t be about discovering yourself. It should rather be about creating yourself. You’re not lost, you’re just a clear canvas. You get to draw on that canvas.

Chance vs. Choice

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“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”

As much as I truly admire this quote and understand its core, it treats “life” as a reactive experience that happens to you by “Chance” and fails to realize that it could be a proactive experience with independent “Choice”.

I realize more as I grow that once you get over this bias, once you realize that life accepts inputs that were not given as options, and once you understand that your life decisions do NOT have to be reactive to events that happen to you or around you, then life will never be the same experience.
How you react to things is very important, but I for one believe that decisions which are not reactive are the most vital.

You get to shape, form, and influence your own life. And this could be in bold decisions as simple as deciding to wake up an hour earlier every day to read, or as seemingly transformative as migrating to a new country. They are both equally effective decisions that could steer your life in a different direction.

You would live this as a maker/writer/artist or entrepreneur because nobody will get you out of bed every morning. Nobody will tell you what you should think, strategize, or execute. You’re acting, not reacting. That’s at the core of innovation.

Life is 100% what you do.
Most of it should be independent choice, some of it is reacting to chance.