FASTer - Issue #49



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FASTer - Issue #49
By Faizan Siddiqi • Issue #49 • View online
The simplest things are some times incredible stories. Fact or fiction you can decide for your self. In the early 1980s, Toyota began production on a new luxury line of cars to compete against Honda and Nissan, both of whom had recently unveiled their Acura and Infiniti premium brands. Because of export restraints enforced by the Japanese government, automakers in Japan discovered that it was much more profitable to export high-end cars with big sticker prices to the American market rather than their standard models. Then in 1986, the company employed the help of their longtime advertising gurus, Saatchi & Saatchi, who were asked to cook up a name that was sumptuous, elegant, and flawless.Though this is the official story, there have been various unsupported theories over the years. Probably the most well-known is that Lexus is an acronym for “Luxury EXports to the US,” though there is little truth to this story, clever nonetheless. But according to Toyota, this is all gossip and the brand name was invented whole-cloth by their marketing teams and only later came to embody all of the qualities we now associate with Lexus. No less it could have simply been marketing genius to get both stories out there and build speculation and intrigue? But Lexus through the 80s and 90s continued to come up with well crafted advertising, which was only possible because the product in the first instance was stellar. Build some thing exemplary once, sell over & over, is exemplified by Lexus. It should true in anything that we do too especially in the internet age. Where you can create once and distribute many times over.

Lexus LS400 - Champagne Glasses - Commercial
Lexus LS400 - Champagne Glasses - Commercial
Skirters are a breed of people that limit, restrict and destroy their own outcomes and those of others. At some point we all skirt. It’s always easy to blame the little guy, but the little guys seldom design the system or have ability to change it that result in less than optimal outcomes. Its always the management that has control over systems. So if a system is broken, its best to look up vs looking down. One of the best lessons I got at university was an introduction to organizational behavior where I was taught by Prof Jim Windle (Or Doc Windle) who had trained under Dr. Demming.
A prime catalyst behind the incredible success of Japanese industry, Dr. W. Edwards Deming is a household word in Japan, but scarcely known in the United States, his own country. Since 1951, the Deming Prize has been the most coveted award among Japanese corporations. Just who Dr. Deming is, and what he has to teach American businesses regarding management and quality control is revealed in this fascinating biography.
In 1990, Marshall Industries (NYSE:MI, 1984–1999) CEO Robert Rodin trained with the then 90-year-old Deming and his colleague Nida Backaitis. Marshall Industries’ dramatic transformation and growth from $400 million to $1.8 billion in sales was chronicled in Deming’s last book The New Economics, a Harvard Case Study, and Rodin’s book, Free, Perfect and Now.
The point to note here is that Marshal was one of the first companies to engage in e-commerce. Confounding predictions that the Internet would “disinter mediate” commerce, making “middle man” companies all but obsolete, Marshall Industries, a leading electronics distributor, used the Internet and digital technologies to reinvent itself. Marshall continued to sell electronics components, but the company abandoned the traditional sales-driven strategy for a more customer-focused, service-driven strategy. At the heart of its transformation was a complete restructuring of the compensation and incentive system and heavy investments in information technologies. Several years into its first foray into the digital realm, Marshall faced growing pressures: shrinking margins, increasingly demanding customers, restrictive supplier practices, and competitors rapidly introducing me-too Internet and virtual services. Marshall continued to look for ways to use its innovative spirit and digital expertise to differentiate itself and to create and deliver a whole new set of virtual supply chain services. Marshall got that that end point by focusing at the starting point, the best outcomes come about with the best laid out systems.
W. Edwards Deming: The 14 Points
W. Edwards Deming: The 14 Points
One New Thing (That I Learnt today)
At its peak early last year, Haidilao was worth more than $57 billion, making it one of the world’s largest restaurant companies, and Mr. Zhang, a naturalized Singapore citizen, was estimated to be that country’s richest person. So what is Haidilao International Holding Ltd., it is a chain of hot pot restaurants founded in Jianyang, Sichuan, China in 1994. Its restaurants typically operate under the name Haidilao Hot Pot. It is the largest hotpot chain in China which is widespread through spicy broths and special services. With the expansion of Haidilao, there are also many chain restaurants located overseas, such as in London and New York City. Their annual revenue is estimated to be more than 1.5bn USD. I had no idea there was a hot pot chain no less that its worth over 57$bn. Proving the adage that it doesn’t have to be sexy to be worth Billions.
Boring stuff that Scales
There is wisdom in never being the guy/gal who solves big exciting problems.
Be the person who does the little boring things right, copies off others and isn’t afraid to start a business without a new big idea.
The more automated and isolated our society gets, the more opportunity for brands that provide an amazing human experience. The pendulum will swing back — at least for premium brands.
Think about building human experience, they may be boring but they can and will scale.
When you build some thing, an incremental improvement gets people’s attention but a commitment to improvement gets people hooked. Build based on that assumption.
Some boring things that turned into scaled entities:
Coffee: Starbucks
Airlines: Virgin Atlantic
Grocery Stores: Trader Joes
What local examples do we have of great experiences? What can we build? What will attract people? Where are the gaps?
What you should be watching
The 5 Part series on the History of Singapore. A country without many resources that turned into from a mangrove to a metropolis.
History Of Singapore Part 1 Discovery Channel
History Of Singapore Part 1 Discovery Channel
Monetize your time
By doing things around the house. If you don’t cook or cant, learn how to. If you cant do basic repairs, learn how to. Invest in a small tool box, a sharp set of knives some thread and a needle do some fixing around the house/office etc. Your gender doesn’t matter, self sufficiency is a great skill.
Make a list of all the times you have had to rely on others, and list the skill. Try to acquire that skill. Be it driving, be it repairing, painting, cooking, making a spreadsheet, setting up the home wifi every thing is accessible.
Meet your best friend, Youtube.To learn some thing new, instead of wasting time, crying and complaining learn a skill, any skill and monetize your time by going down the Youtube rabbit hole of detailed videos on endless subjects. If you have the privilege of internet access to be reading this, you also have the ability to acquire most skills if not all. You must try. If you do not, you are leaving money on the table.
You Can Learn Anything on YouTube
You Can Learn Anything on YouTube
Made in Pakistan (Ukrainian Billionaire)
'Prince of Kyiv': Who is this billionaire Pakistani in Ukraine? - BBC URDU
'Prince of Kyiv': Who is this billionaire Pakistani in Ukraine? - BBC URDU
Mohammad Zahoor (born August 1, 1955) is a Ukraine-based, British businessman of Pakistani origin. He is the founder and owner of the ISTIL Group, a diversified trading company which included a steel mill which he sold in 2009 for between $700 million and $1 billion, the former publisher of the Kyiv Post which he subsequently sold for approximately $5 million, the co-founder of the Ukrainian Music Awards (YUNA) and a philanthropist. He was given the scholarship to study in Soviet Union during the first year of study at NED University of Engineering and Technology.After receiving a scholarship in 1974, Zahoor studied metallurgy at Donetsk National Technical University (then Donetsk Polytechnic Institute) in Ukraine. Zahoor moved back to Pakistan to work at Pakistan Steel. In 1987, he moved to Moscow where he entered a partnership with a Thai steelmaker and ran Metals Russia, a Hong Kong-registered trading company. In 1996, Zahoor bought Donetsk Steel Mill. He bought other steel mills in various countries.In 2008, Zahoor sold Donetsk Steel Mill to Russian parliamentarian Vadim Varshavsky, for a sum believed to be around $1 billion.In 2009, Zahoor bought the Kyiv Leipzig Hotel for $36 million.
One last thing
Kushal Bhagia
Spicy take by HUL India CEO on competition from D2C brands.

HUL adds 5000 CR of revenue a year at their scale by growing 10-15%.🤯
So a 100-500cr runrate brand is a rounding error.

Question is can the new brands continue growing at these rates to eventually become a threat?
If you are a d2c brand read up. I am a firm believer that the first few d2c brand in the FMCG/CPG/Cosmetics/Beauty space will achieve incredible scale + growth, large enough to dethrone both branded and eventually unbranded players in the space. He/She who builds distribution will win. Nothing better than a hybrid D2C. If you want to monetize your outcomes and take a bet, bet on building a brand that every one wants and needs that they can also afford. For inspiration read the story on how Sugar Cosmetics started across the pond.
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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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