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FASTer - Issue #54

FASTer - Issue #54
By Faizan Siddiqi • Issue #54 • View online
2IC or (ADC) aide-de-camp are critical for continuity of any organization. Some mature to executive leadership positions. These days also fashioned as Chief of Staff. Historically, An aide-de-camp was a personal assistant or secretary to a person of high rank, usually a senior military, police or government officer, or to a member of a royal family or a head of state. An aide-de-camp may participate at ceremonial functions, and the first aide-de-camp is typically the foremost personal aide. To run any thing complex its good to have a sounding board. Where ever this tradition started it has proven to be effective in management setups. A simpler way of looking at it is having a co-founder in a business that helps rationalize decisions of the founder who may be too close to the situation most days. When we are too close to any problem we need to learn to disconnect, dis engage, take a step back.
War time has to be the toughest place to process information. It got me thinking how do generals process information in the theater of war or in the interest of national security. Strategic intelligence is a critical input to national security decision-making. Research indicates decision-making is negatively affected when strategic intelligence creates cognitive problems. Much like complex problems when you are driving an organization.
In a qualitative study, the opposite was found to be true. Twenty-one very senior Landpower generals with command experience in Iraq and Afghanistan were interviewed. Their problems with strategic intelligence – resulting from their perceptions of contradictions – had a positive affect on decision-making. The generals resolved problems using a three-prong, socially embedded, hierarchically diverse, problem solving strategy consisting of self-learning, learning from others, and mentoring others. Such a strategy could be incorporated into professional education.

Fixing outcomes by understanding motivations of those who run the roost in our country or are in positions of power and control. A short guide to help millennials understand Gen X.
Who are GEN X ?
These 42-57 year-olds are a complex being, if you crack the code it presents opportunities you can unlock to work for you vs getting frustrated with them.
What you must understand vs hating on them is the peculiar situation they are in. Some Gen Xers are closer in age to either Boomers (born 1946-64) or Millennials (born 1981-96). That is a weird stat to process, but the sooner you process it the sooner you will be able to manage your outcomes.
Gen X’s parents were boomers who had a hard life, they worked crazy hours, being in the office was a badge of honor but they had hope an abundance, if they worked hard their kids would do well.
They(Gen X) thus grew up self reliant. They grew up fending for them selves. They made quick decisions early on and had to stick to them for good or worse. They were institutionalized with formal education, proper conduct, proper manners etc.
So send them well crafted notes, when you engage with them. Short cut prose, text messages etc are new to them. Play on their turf to win their trust. Emails/long form work better. Respect goes a long way.
Work life balance matters as they grew up never seeing their fathers in our parts. They grew up in a politically turbulent Pakistan, wrought with nationalization, military take overs etc, breaking of a nation in to parts, loosing all trust in institutionalized relationships.
So they are one to get to know individually, not as a tribe or community, they have bad memories around organized relationships, be it with government, politics or other wise.
Whilst millennials like structured feedback or shit sandwiches, Gen X prefer direct fluff free feedback.
They have a scarcity mindset vs an abundance mind set. Boomers and Millennials have seen abundance of every kind. Gen X were the middle child of generational progress. They are pessimistic. The faster you understand these key elements you will be successful, more so you can help Gen X navigate outcomes for you and your country that can help all, vs always being frustrated in working with them.
One New Thing (That I Learnt today)
A pincushion (or pin cushion) is a small, stuffed cushion, typically 3–5 cm (1.2–2.0 in) across, which is used in sewing to store pins or needles with their heads protruding to take hold of them easily, collect them, and keep them organized. The most famous one is a tomato with a strawberry.
One especially popular design is that of a tomato, often with a small attached strawberry containing emery powder. The tomato to store the needs and the strawberry to clean and sharpen the needles. The tomato design was most likely introduced during the Victorian Era. It is commonly stated that the origin of this design was a belief that placing a tomato on the mantel of a new house guaranteed prosperity and repelled evil spirits, and that if tomatoes were out of season, families improvised by using a round ball of red fabric filled with sand or sawdust, which also became a place to store pins. However, this statement appears to have no basis in historical fact.
Boring stuff that Scales
I meet a lot of young folks who ask me this “How does one deal with the lack of knowing what you want to do or learn, or not knowing what or who you want to be. How does one decide whats right and when?”
Whilst you try to rationalize the larger things in your life, there is a simple life hack, that ensures you help your self. I generally tell the younger lot to pick a language and start learning it. The power of the internet lets you do this at no incremental cost besides investment in time. So instead of wasting your time in over thinking, do this. You ask why? Simple: you get access to a new culture, sources of information and way of thinking and deep rooted history.
The breakdown:
Most people go to university, go to a job they don’t like or aspire to do better, if during or around the process you add language to your life, you will enhance your exposure.
Even at a personal level it was because of the language or being bi-lingual. I could find more sources of information and had access to more job & university opportunities, because language allows you to process things differently. It brings a new dimension and scale to your life, may seem boring or mundane but it is true.
Based on my own experience in life the typical learning I share to with young people who don’t know what they want to do after school or even as they think about university: Instead of wasting your time following a profession you’ll probably end up hating, invest your time into languages. It would probably pay off way more due to the nuances it opens you up to. From food, to culture to a different way of thinking. It brings you closer to things which allows for a better natural inquiry mind set leading to more calculated choices in life that you are likely to see through to fruition vs ascribing to societies ideals of university degrees or particular kind of jobs. The world and education is changing fast. The desire to learn should be valued more than where you learn from and how.The right desire scales to better outcomes.
What you should be watching
The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia| FRONTLINE PBS
The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia| FRONTLINE PBS
If you want a primer on ambition, regional politics and businesses to build in the region this unlikely documentary is the window in to the literal gold rush(digital and then some) to Saudi Arabia for years to come. A two-hour FRONTLINE documentary investigates the rise and rule of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia (MBS). Correspondent Martin Smith, who has covered the Middle East for FRONTLINE for 20 years, examines the crown prince’s vision for the future, his handling of dissent, his relationship with the United States — 
Monetize your time
By building your brand online. Easier said than done when you are starting of, but there is merit to having a good profile, that puts out value/valuable content related to your field. Or if you are very early career, or skill, you reach out to experts in the space online/twitter/insta/fb/linkedin where ever they live and ask intelligent questions. Learning by engaging is free. If you start today you can build social proof of:
1)Your interest in a space
2)Engaging with experts(meaning that you identified them)
3) Building a cheat sheet of your own own documented thoughts to evaluate later
4)An early starter/enthusiast thats not afraid to learn in public
Most of all you get in to the habit of:
1) Organizing your thoughts
2)Understanding your own likes and dislikes
3)Curating the best information
4) Developing a reach based mindset
5) Not being afraid to fail in public
The last one is a super power. As a nation, as a people, as a race as humans we care too much about what others will think about us, or our failures, the minute you realize it doesn’t matter and you aren’t important enough when you are starting off to really matter to any one, you will go further faster if you are ok to accept the NOs life has to offer. Start early, you develop thick skin. Later on in life when you fail for the first time its much harder and nothing in life has prepared you for it. Step outside your bubble, it’s ok to be uncomfortable. Chaos brings opportunity, learn to embrace it.
Made in Pakistan - Miniature artist and Record Holder
Guinness World Record holder-Ahsan Qayyum is one of a kind miniature artist who uses the lead of a pencil to carve out various miniatures. Ahsan made the record by creating 75 links from a pencil, a record which was previously held with 58 links. Graphic designer by profession, Qayyum says that it’s his passion to work on these miniatures so he doesn’t think of selling them. You can follow his work here. This is his inspiring story.
Ahsan Qayyum, Pakistan's miniature wonder | My Story | Indus News
Ahsan Qayyum, Pakistan's miniature wonder | My Story | Indus News
One Last thing
Greg Brockman
In a startup, you should seek out activities that seem hard, boring, annoying, and unscalable. The highest-value tasks are often hiding amongst them, and no one else has noticed because they seem unappealing on the surface.
This rings true to me. It’s also held true for me in my work life, every time I’ve gone looking for the absurdly difficult, boring, annoying, or mundane problems Ive found success. Why?
When you pick you what every one else ignores you stand out, when you make it work. Even when you fail, you failed at doing some thing no one else had given much thought to in the past any way. Net net, you win even if you loose, because you learn along the way but aren’t judged too critically for failure. But celebrated dis proportionality for success. Pick these problems.
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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