To write is to offer a piece of yourself (your time, your experience and your wisdom) to others. To write well is to live on for eternity. My name is Rafiq, and it’s my sincere hope that the experiences I share with the online community allow my mark to be left on future generations.
As a serial entrepreneur, I’ve experienced and learned from the pitfalls of raising Venture Capital. Then, after funding, I’ve managed to white-knuckle the rollercoaster ride of gathering a team, developing a product, launching it to the public, and then immediately having to make revisions based on customer feedback for version 2. Many of the ventures I helped with, or started failed.
Those failures were the tuition I paid for the lessons I gained along the way. Eventually, I met with resounding success. Financial independence affords me the ability to reflect honestly, and help others avoid the same obstacles, or at least prepare for them.
Today I spend the majority of my time consulting on business development. I have the heart of a teacher. My goal is to help others along the path. If I gain some equity in ventures, then great! If not, I’ve still been able to make a connection, make a new acquaintance and add value to someone’s life.
Passion is what guides my ship through this stage of my life. Sometimes with winds are calm, other times it feels like a hurricane of opportunity. But, as Warren Buffet is fond of saying, “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” I’ve learned the hard way that it’s impossible to take on everything you’d like to, or even need to at times.
So, today I’ve tempered my passions. While I could talk about politics for hours, or the ever-changing world of technology, I’ve learned that my experience is only a passion in these areas. But, in the world of entrepreneurship and business, my passion has been matched with a lifetime of experience, compressed into a decade of entrepreneurial success.
It’s amazing to watch how a single person (whom others refer to as a leader) can make one positive difference in their life, and create a massive ripple throughout an organization, and potentially an entire industry. Steve Jobs was one of these people. He was a man that understood the power of focus, and the importance of capturing the attention of a room. Yet, he had a horrible home life and left a trail of disgruntled former associates in his wake.
He could distort reality to his will; not literally, but in the moment, with the people he wanted to woo, he could make the world appear magical. The gift of being able to communicate and share a passion with others can move mountains. I look to his example when I consider how to advertise and market a product. The product is secondary to the feature, which is second the lifestyle it represents. How does an item make you feel? What does its use say about you as a person? A sense of belonging, a sense of being part of the future, the ability to become something greater than yourself through a mere transaction is magical.
I am no master at creating my own “reality distortion” effect on others. Jobs was a legend, especially considering his flaws. But, I believe there are key lessons that the future entrepreneurs of our world need to take from Jobs.
I am only worth millions, and will likely never reach billionaire status. But, I count part of my wealth in the people I touch and inspire. The thought of giving someone else the raw tools for success, which they can craft into future glory, is what gets me up in the morning.
Success is fleeting. If you’re addicted to victory, the entrepreneurial path is not for you. But, as someone that came from poverty and rose to be financially independent, I can tell you the entrepreneurial path is worth the price of admission.
I hope you’ll take the time to read my submissions and consider my thoughts. And, as I’m sure will happen, if you disagree or have further questions, I look forward to conversing in the comments section below my articles.
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