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FASTer - Issue #48

FASTer - Issue #48
By Faizan Siddiqi • Issue #48 • View online
Dignity of labour, the philosophy that all types of jobs are respected equally, and no occupation is considered superior and none of the jobs should be discriminated on any basis. Regardless of whether one’s occupation involves physical work or mental labour, it is held that the job deserves respect. Thats the text book definition. To be respected in the work one does, the simplest thing to do is to respect it your self. Be the best version of your self doing it. Do not take short-cuts, from writing code, to building planes to surfing, whatever you do, do it with pride.
Even in the actions you take your self. A simple thing that I have noticed and continue to notice are crooked switch boards and mis matched screw alignment. A simple yet over looked item by most if not all people doing the work. Referred to as clocking your screws.
I clock my screws, meaning I orient the slot in the screw heads so they are all vertical or horizontal. Do I think it’s a mark of superior aesthetics? For me it’s the satisfaction of doing some thing the way it ought to be done to respect the act of doing a job, in this case installation of some kind. Just like lining up silverware on a table even if its just the average family meal, it becomes second nature the minute you take pride in what you do.
You may think it’s a lot of fuss over nothing. Clocking screws is not a matter of over-torquing or under-torquing screw heads. It’s a simple matter of thinking about the problem for more than two seconds and devising a simple solution. This is neither complicated nor world impacting work. But doing it right is the difference between some one who is considerate and aware vs some one who is not.
The good craftsman breaks down the issue into basic truths, like
1)The screws are mass-manufactured items
2) The slot and the worm of a batch of screws are consistent across all the screws in a box.
3)A pilot hole for the same job is the same diameter every time.
By thinking through about your outcomes, you can use these consistencies to clock the screw. Not every one does, thats what makes your work stand apart if you do.

Clocked Screws
Clocked Screws
Most people want to be rich. Most people do not know how. Most people follow the herd. Most people never get rich, because they do not know how to ask the right questions & even if they did/do, they are disadvantaged with “poor access”. We must understand that “access” enables the creation of wealth. From access to the right schools, right jobs, meeting the right people, knowing the right “communities”, being included in the right conversations. All items driven by access, but we continue to not think about these things. We feel our outcomes our part fate, part hard work, part out-smarting the system. All of these are valid items only when sprinkled with the right access. Most people do not think about building the right access. It is not easy. Let’s look at 2 cases tied to entrepreneurship as it seems to be all the rage.
Case 1. Most people feel entrepreneurs have a higher calling for risk, but if you look beneath the veneer, most entrepreneurs have access, be it financial security or wealth and or the ability to not be out on the street. Hence they take the actions they do.
But what often gets lost in these conversations is that the most common shared trait among entrepreneurs is access to financial capital—family money, an inheritance, or a pedigree and connections that allow for access to financial stability. While it seems that entrepreneurs tend to have an admirable penchant for risk, it’s usually that access to money which allows them to take risks.
Case 2. The entrepreneur with no financial access. If this is you, welcome to the club. That where most of us start. But if you think you are at a disadvantage then you have already lost the plot. Consider your lack of privilege and access a super power. Early on in my career I thought it was a curse, till one day over time, I realized that it’s a superpower. How? When you have to fight to get every thing in life, you try harder, you leave nothing to chance, you prepare harder. How so still? Well when you have nothing to loose, you have every thing to gain. Very early on in life, I decided to “keep asking till being refused or being accepted” Most people will not ask a second time, but if you over index on harnessing the skill to ask and ask in volumes greater than the privileged, you will come across doors that others will open for you, you will come across people who will respect you for your hustle and for your drive. All you have to do is get access to the first door. It could be as simple as getting extra time with a teacher to learn some thing that a more privileged person would wait for their private tutor to teach them later. Once you realize that you have the ability to create access and alternate access for your self, you will never look back. Be it an internship a part time role some thing any thing, you have to ask to get access, so simple but most of us spend our entire lives missing out. You can build access leading to the end state of being an entrepreneur, it doesn’t have to be, I am just using that as an example. The underlying thread being that you have the ability to build, create, shape, use and deploy access to be at any or most desired outcomes one of which could be the ability to be an entrepreneur.
Following your dreams is dangerous, a bulk of the population is being seduced into thinking that they can just go out and pursue their dream anytime, but it’s not true. You have to build the foundations to live the dream and that starts by building access vs being mis-guided into just believing follow your passions. Passions without access and plans result in outcomes that destroy peoples lives for good.
The Many Faces of Access
I remember my first career-fair/job-fair at university in the US. Besides not having a lot of money & having the same/similar desire as most middle class kids who found their way to the US in the 90s, there was no way in hell I wanted to go back. The American dream was beckoning. With that dream in hand and 6 printed copies of my freshman resume in hand, I got in a line that had over 100 people at the line for one General Electric Company. GE was to all aspirants in the 90s what Google is to those in ‘00s. The worlds most admired company. It took me about 2 hours to make my way to the front of the line to be screened by the on-ground recruitment team. When I was in visible distance of seeing a table behind the 4 ppl who we interviewing or pre screening, I saw the sign no foreign student wants to see “No Visa Sponsorship for Internships”. I was second in line to hand over my resume and I almost pulled out of line but the gentleman interviewing paused the person he was talking to look at me and said “you are almost here son, a few more mins and Ill talk to you”. Then he went back to the guy in front of me. I stood in line not to be rude, rehearsing my “oh I just saw the sign, so I was leaving”. What id really wanted to say was, “what a waste of so many hours, who the hell puts a micro sign on the table when the line is this long.” Instead I got my first lesson in access in life, I decided I have nothing to loose and rehearsed a different line.
What was it? I came to the gent, he asked for my resume and I held on tight to it. I said “Sorry Mathew, you cant help me, I was getting out of line because I saw this sign very late, due to the 2 hour line up. I am afraid today wont be the day you get to make the best hiring decision of your life, best to try your luck with so many other aspirants” He smiled at me. He asked why he couldn’t help. I said that the sign said no visas and I am a foreign student, so unless he’s with US Immigration my fate is sealed. He turned out to be head of HR for the Americas for the largest division at GE, took my CV, said let me worry about Immigration. The rest is history, my first lesson in access and my first ever job at GE happened because I wasn’t ready to be shunned out of line because of lack of access, I decided to try build my own that day.
One New Thing (That I Learnt today)
A tortoise named Adwaita lived from 1750-2006. Local lore said Addwaita, the Aldabra tortoise whose name means “the one and only” in the local Bengali language, was some 250 years old. I had no idea that they could live that long. Full story here.
Boring stuff that Scales
Some time ago I had shared that every thing new is some thing old. Boring does scale exponentially. I came across a fantastic piece about Pakistani origin brothers who used the power of Haldi(turmeric) to build a health foods brand in the US.
Pakistani brothers run successful natural anti-inflammatory turmeric drinks business in the U.S| VOA
Pakistani brothers run successful natural anti-inflammatory turmeric drinks business in the U.S| VOA
Why am I sharing this? So that we dig deep in to our roots(no pun intended) and look for the boring, the age old, the not so sexy. There is so much potential in taking things that may come to us naturally, by way of culture, heritage etc that we can capitalize on it if only we think about “productizing the old”. To make any thing scalable we have to break it down into small parts and re-evaluate how to make the process repeatable. Unless you can repeat a process, you cant really make success repeatable either.
What you should be watching
John Doerr Full Interview | 20VC Podcast with Harry Stebbings
John Doerr Full Interview | 20VC Podcast with Harry Stebbings
John Doerr joins host Harry Stebbings to talk about buying 12% of Google for $12M, his biggest investing lesson from 30 years in venture & the climate crisis: why governments are the biggest problem and where the biggest opportunities are in climate investing. An incredible investment of time to learn from.
Monetize your time
Once you realize that money can be used to buy time instead of stuff, your behavior with money permanently changes.Buying other people’s time is amazing indeed. Buy a masterclass, learn some thing, pay a skilled person to learn a skill, pay some one to execute something for you that frees up your time for some thing with higher marginal utility. Monetizing your time is not just about charging for your time, but paying others for theirs to add more value to yours. The minute you realize this, your outcomes will be completely different from what they are today.
Looked at differently, you could also be some ones 2IC(2nd in-command) so they can focus on what they value more. If you can productize your work/effort/skill to take the load off some ones plate, you build access to being in their proximity and also being their go to person. From their perspective they are happy to pay for your time so they can focus on some thing else. Imagine working for a symphony orchestra director, for any amount of money likely you cant do what they do, so if you work for them and allow them to hone their skill better by offloading to you, you are developing your skills whilst allowing them to pursue theirs. This is a very hard life lesson to learn, in being OK with being the 2IC till the opportunity cost is greater than the reward. But till then doing it, drives you closer to your outcomes. Monetize your time by optimizing some one else’s or using some ones else’s for your outcomes.
Made in Pakistan(Journeys)
The Punjab Road Runners Bradford to Pakistan in Ford Transit Mk2
The Punjab Road Runners Bradford to Pakistan in Ford Transit Mk2
The story of three taxi drivers from Bradford West Yorkshire Fazal, Patrick, and Azad driving to Pakistan in old Mk2 transit vans in the 90s in time for Eid . A route taken by many British Pakistanis and the reason why so many old British Ford transits are in Pakistan with most still going strong.
From Bradford (UK) to Rawalpindi (Pakistan) via Peshawar
From Bradford (UK) to Rawalpindi (Pakistan) via Peshawar
London to Rawalpindi Bus Service in 1985: Passing through Belgium, Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran and reaching finally Pakistan. There was a time when you could easily travel on a bus service from Bradford to Rawalpindi for just £75.
The bus service was called ‘Shaheen Express’ that introduced a holiday package to Pakistan in which a passenger would travel on a 12 day journey from UK to Rawalpindi. Around 40 passengers travelled in one bus with their families and luggage, this is their story.
One last thing
If you run a business or ever want to run a business. Here is a must read for you. Desperation Induced Focus. A fantastic blog post here.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Faizan Siddiqi

I have been fortunate to have mentored founders, established CEO's & students for about a decade, across the world. Every interaction has been an enriching experience for me personally. What I've observed , every one wants to do things FASTer. Be successful faster, be richer faster, do more faster, get to the end state faster. To grow FASTer you must learn to rely on small data, small acts & pick up on small nuances. Most people need a little push, contextually aware advice, directionality and a candid forum to learn from mistakes, perhaps their own but ideally from the mistake of others. This is an attempt to provide a safe space to answer the questions you don't ask in public and providing Go To Market Snippets on every day things, so you can truly Transform to your desired end-state, FASTer.

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