An Interview With Sidrat Talukder, Co-founder, Maverick Studios and Former CEO, StrateGeek

An Interview With Sidrat Talukder, Co-founder, Maverick Studios and Former CEO, StrateGeek

G&R credit bannerSidrat Talukder, co-founder of Maverick Studios and Former CEO of digital marketing agency StrateGeek, StarteGeek recently merged with Madly, reflects on his journey and life, future of digital marketing in Bangladesh, struggles and trials of building a company, why we almost always miss the big picture of life while worrying about small things, his experience as a CEO and the importance of taking your fundamentals seriously in business and why continuous evolution is the most sustainable way of building a lasting company and fulfilling life.

Future Startup

I want to start at the beginning of your story. Where did you grow up and how was your early life?

Sidrat Talukder

I was born in Dhaka. My dad is Bangladeshi but my Mom is Filipino. They met while they both were working as expatriates in Saudi Arabia, under very unlikely circumstances. One thing led to another, and eventually, they got married, even though neither family was that happy about it, but it all worked out at the end. Afterward, my Mom came to Bangladesh and they settled here. After three years, my dad got another opportunity to work there, so our whole family went back to Saudi Arabia.

I spent most of my early life in Saudi Arabia. I attended schools there. There was a small Bangladeshi expatriate community, and most of my interactions were within that community. I also had a lot of exposure to other expatriates, and some of my best friends were from Pakistan, India, Africa and many other places.

From a very early age, I developed a different perspective of looking at things. If you have exposure to a lot of different cultures at a very young age, you look at things very differently.

Then after my A levels, I came back to Bangladesh for further studies.

When I came back to Bangladesh, I did not know much about what were good universities or anything. I had just heard of NSU. I only knew NSU. That’s it. But I got sick just before the NSU admission test, so I could not attend the exam. The next admission exam was after three/four months, so in the meantime, I got into coaching. That’s where I first came to know about IBA, Dhaka University. Apparently, people said it was very good.

I took a little bit of preparation and gave the admission test at IBA. Luckily, I got the chance at IBA and that basically changed my life. The people I met there became my partners at Maverick Studios. I would credit IBA a lot for what happened to me afterward, particularly because of the people I met and the environment there.

Future Startup

You wanted to start a company when you were at class ten or eleven.

Sidrat Talukder

Not exactly, my goal was more like: do BBA, join a big company and eventually go up the rank and become a CEO, make tons of money and then starting something of my own.

When I was really young I wanted to be an engineer, but when I grew older my objective in life changed. At one point, when I was at class ten or eleven, my objective was to be the richest man in the world.

I don’t know what exactly happened, but my objective was not making money for the sake of money. I thought there are so many problems in the world, if I have tons of money then I could solve all of them. So money was a means to an end.

Then I thought about how do I make money, and it occurred to me that the best way would be to start a business. That was just a thought of a kid.

We were all first-year students and money was something we were always in need of. So we took the opportunity. The first commercial project that we did was a ten thousand taka project, and we were eight partners. On the day of payment, I could not go because I was busy with something else. They got the money and went to a restaurant and simply spent that money. Even today I regret that I was not there!

Future Startup

Tell us about your path to becoming what you are today?

Sidrat Talukder

It is not all that connected with that dream. The real story began at IBA. There was a tradition in IBA – I don’t know whether it is still there – we used to organize a program on 14th April and the immediate new batch was responsible for organizing that program.

In 2008, we were the new batch. So our first big task as a group was to arrange this ceremony. We did it in the typical Bangladeshi way, which is to form committees. We formed several committees i.e. sponsorship committee, food committee, management committee etc. There was also an entertainment committee.

The responsibility of the entertainment committee was to figure out a way to make the program really exciting and fun. Interestingly, this committee attracted people with a very specific mindset. We all wanted to do things differently; we wanted to make a mark on the tradition. All of us had good chemistry, and we got along well. It turned out later that pretty much 8 founding partners of Maverick were part of that committee.

Long story short, we decided to make a video. During those days, this handheld full HD camcorder was becoming a thing, and somehow we got our hands on one of these things. We decided that we have to use this thing and we would make a funny, parody video.

We made a pretty awful video, but for some reason the crowd loved it. Not only that but after a while, we started to get requests from seniors, who were already in jobs, to make videos for their companies. We started to do a couple of these videos for other people.

Once we started to get a lot of requests, some of my partners came along and figured it out. I was not the one who figured it out. They somehow came to figure out that, you know what, we could make money out of this. There is a demand for it, there is a market for it. Mostly corporate videos and nobody was serving the market the way we thought we could.

Then they, two of the members from entertainment committee, started calling rest of the entertainment committee to onboard others. The first time when I heard it, I was like, “Guys, do you want to make movies to make a living? I’m in a business school, I’m not in a film school.” But they were very convincing, and we all kind of saw the future and saw that there was real money to be made.

We were all first-year students and money was something we were always in need of. So we took the opportunity. The first commercial project that we did was a ten thousand taka project, and we were eight partners. On the day of payment, I could not go because I was busy with something else. They got the money and went to a restaurant and simply spent that money. Even today I regret that I was not there!

We became known to many people very quickly. One thing led to another. In 2009, Brand Forum was organizing their Best Brands award. Sharif bhai, the founder of the BBF, asked us if we would like to make videos for them: nominations video, winners’ video etc. In fact, we came up with the name ‘Maverick Studios’ because of the Best Brands Award, because Sharif bhai offered to put our name on the big banner of the event as the audio-visual partner. We did not have an official name yet.

When Sharif Bhai asked for our company’s name, we tried to think about what it was that made us special. Our partner Raquib finally came up with the name “Maverick”, and it resonated with us because we all wanted to do something different… we wanted to be Mavericks. We came up with the name and a friend designed our logo, and Best Brands Award was where our logo was published for the first time.

Within a year, we had regular clients like BAT, some Real Estate companies, and a few others. Our specialty was making corporate videos and documentaries.

By 2009, we were getting big video projects like hundred thousand taka to two/three hundred thousand taka worth of projects, whereas we had started with a ten thousand taka project.

We were making a decent amount of money. We decided that for this company to work out; we couldn’t simply go and spend all the money we were earning. We all knew that this company had potential. Sometimes you get this feeling that you can make actually make something happen, that you are onto something big. We all had that feeling.

At one point, we realized that we needed to have some form of organizational structure. Before that, we never thought about incorporation or anything. But in 2010, we registered our company. We formed a partnership.

We consciously reinvested all the money we earned. We never took a salary when we were students, except for a small stipend we started taking in our last six months at IBA. But mostly we invested every single penny we earned.

We bought our own camera, we bought our own iMac for video editing. Between 2010 and 2012 – which was the year we graduated – we set ourselves a goal: if we could make this company grow to a stage where it could support us full-time and we wouldn’t have to look for jobs, then we would not look for jobs when we graduate. Those two years were all about work. We worked hard every day.

We would use our bedrooms on a rotating basis as our makeshift office. Project wise, we would shift from one partner’s apartment to another’s. We were spending up to 20 hours a day on projects. Sometimes we would not see our own homes for five days. The whole goal was to take the company to that position within two years.

All that hard work paid off at the end. By the time we graduated, we had a decent amount of money in our bank account, with which we could have an office, hire some people and pay everyone a decent salary. Small salaries but salaries nonetheless.

So, all of us decided that we’re not going for jobs, we were going to be full-time Mavericks. By this time our revenue had also grown significantly higher.

At the same time, some of our clients, who knew that we understood business and had the creative capacity as well, started to give us other projects that were not just videos, but overall marketing projects. They realized that the ideas we were coming up with, and they way we executed a project, was different from a normal agency.

One of our clients asked us whether we do can develop an app for Facebook. We said, we don’t, but we can. So we hired developers, and then we realized that the market for app development itself is big. That became our second company, Ice9 Interactive. It started with two people and now there are around 20 people at Ice9 Interactive.

Then some of our clients started to ask, “Do you guys do facebook marketing, digital advertising etc.?” We again said, we don’t, but we can, and that became Maverick Studio’s digital wing.

We continued to grow organically like that. From there we now have six companies.

We would use our bedrooms on a rotating basis as our makeshift office. Project wise, we would shift from one partner’s apartment to another’s. We were spending up to 20 hours a day on projects. Sometimes we would not see our own homes for five days. The whole goal was to take the company to that position within two years. All that hard work paid off at the end. By the time we graduated, we had a decent amount of money in our bank account, with which we could have an office, hire some people and pay everyone a decent salary. Small salaries but salaries nonetheless.

Future Startup

When you started Maverick, you had an advantage. You were students, so you did not have a lot to lose. You did not have family responsibility and all that. That said, building a company is always hard. Tell us about difficulties and trials of early days.

Sidrat Talukder

My number one difficulty was keeping my grades up while also continuing Maverick and making sure that my assignments were done on time. Due to work, we all had to skip many classes. For instance, in our final semester, there was a course called Taxation. I don’t remember attending that class more than once in the entire semester. When I went to give the midterm exam, the first question was “define taxation”, and I was completely clueless. I was like, “what the hell is taxation?!”. That was the kind of trade-off we had to make to get our company up and running.

Back then my home was in Uttara, our office was in Kalabagan, and I had to attend class at Dhaka University. It did not make sense for me to go to Uttara every day. So I often stayed at the office and went home only on the weekend.

I used to work the whole night, do my classes in the morning and then went back to work again. That was my life for two years. I think I could never attend any morning class. We literally worked all our waking hours.

You were right when you said, we did not have much to lose because we were still students, but we did give up on a lot. When our classmates and friends were going on tours and trips, we were working on projects and had no holidays.

We used to work on intense projects with tight deadlines. We had a market positioning that said if you need a video within a short time that nobody in the market would touch; there are these crazy guys who would do it. Not just that, they would deliver it on-time, and it would be very good work. That was our positioning. There were projects where we did the shooting, editing, and delivering the video within 24 hours by working day and night.

One upside was that we were all partners at the company, so we had that ownership and we wanted to make it happen. Often, it didn’t feel like work.

Still, the sacrifices that we made… today I look at people who work with me, and I can’t imagine asking them to do it. In fact, I’m never going to ask them to do it. That’s crazy, why would anybody do it?

Back then my home was in Uttara, our office was in Kalabagan, and I had to attend class at Dhaka University. It did not make sense for me to go to Uttara every day. So I often stayed at the office and went home only on the weekend. I used to work the whole night, do my classes in the morning and then went back to work again. That was my life for two years. I think I could never attend any morning class. We literally worked all our waking hours.

Future Startup

You have over 8 years of experience in building companies. What are the biggest lessons from all those years?

Sidrat Talukder

If you want to do anything badly enough in life, you can do it. What really frustrates me is when people say “I don’t know how to do it” when they come across a challenge. As founders, we learned everything ourselves. When we were making videos, we did it all by ourselves. We learned things by doing, by finding our own answers online. That’s what I wish more people would do.

It is a life changing thing to imagine that you can already do everything you need to do. You just don’t know it yet, but you can always learn it. Except, perhaps, things like superpowers and other metaphysical things!

The second lesson is the difference between ownership and working for someone else, in the sense that when it is your baby when it is your own thing, you will be willing to go distances that no one will comprehend.

For us entrepreneurs, this doesn’t require explanation; we’ve each lived through this common experience and know what it feels like. As entrepreneurs, we’re willing to do things that no one else would do.

The other thing that I learned is that in order to get best of people, they should have some sort of ownership. They should have skin in the game. It does not always need to be equity, but people need to have a sense of ownership.

Future Startup

You touched this question a little bit. Then and again, you started StarteGeek in 2014. What was the motivation or you saw something coming?

Sidrat Talukder

Even though we launched StrateGeek formally in 2014, we have been doing digital marketing since 2012. We did not have a separate company for it, we were a part of the Maverick Studios but it was there.

Maverick started as a video production company, and then clients started to ask us to do digital marketing, so we became a video production AND digital marketing company. This was around 2012 and 2013.

We always like to see our ideas to come to life. As business students, we studied strategy and marketing, and when we got the chance to apply our knowledge to work and someone was ready to pay for just doing that, we jumped into it.

We realized that if you want to start a marketing company, it is never going to be easy because there are these big companies who have years of experience and big money invested into the sector. We were never going to be able to compete with them. But digital was different: it was just starting to grow back then. We thought that digital is a place where big advertising agencies don’t have the expertise, and also where their economics didn’t work in their favor. We could get a toehold into the industry and see how we could move up. That’s how we got into it.

By 2014, it became such a big operation that we decided to turn it into an independent company. That’s how StrateGeek came into being. By then we were already digital veterans.

Our strategy all along has been different. We have always focused on effectiveness and the science of doing digital, as opposed to doing something ‘viral’ or merely grabbing attention.

We were always asking “why” even before starting anything. We are, I believe, one of the few agencies who really ask why we are doing this as the starting point for every single project.

I think our clients get that as well, which is why they stay with us. One of our earliest clients is with us from the very beginning. That I think was one of our strengths.

If you want to do anything badly enough in life, you can do it. What really frustrates me is when people say “I don’t know how to do it” when they come across a challenge. As founders, we learned everything ourselves. When we were making videos, we did it all by ourselves. We learned things by doing, by finding our own answers online. That’s what I wish more people would do.

Future Startup

StrateGeek recently merged with Madly. Before the merger, how big was StrateGeek, in terms of business, revenue, and team?

Sidrat Talukder

We crossed the milestone of a million dollars in revenue last year. StrateGeek does not exist now because of our recent merger. That said, we are very proud of what we have achieved, and of the new entity coming out of this merger, which I can’t talk about right now.

We hope to publicly launch it later, next month.

Up until merger, in terms of clients, the most we handled was about 12 clients at a time. For us, it was not about the number of clients but the volume of business.

In terms of people, we were around 25 full timers, supplemented by over a dozen part-timers.

I don’t think we’re the biggest digital marketing agencies, but we were one of the more stable ones in the space.

At StrateGeek, we used to think in a specific way, and with Madly, we felt that they had similar ideas about digital marketing – that it is not just about flashiness and trends, but about strategy and substance. That is the only sustainable approach. We believe the people at Madly also thought along the same line.

Future Startup

Competition is growing rapidly in the digital marketing space. Once big companies were not into the digital business but an increasing number of incumbents are starting their digital wing. What do you think about competition?

Sidrat Talukder

My take is that market in Bangladesh will follow the same global trend, which is that all the big marketing players will jump into the digital space. The market has its own way of making things work.

In any new industry you have some fast movers & new entrants, and then you have some late comers & large incumbents, and then you see consolidation. That’s how it usually works. I think our industry is going to follow the same pattern.

I think our merger is not going to be the last. I think more of these things will happen in the coming years, mergers, acquisitions and more consolidation. This is how the market will develop.

I presume that there are going to be two streams: there will be a small number of big clients who will be working with big agencies doing their digital integrated with other marketing work, and there will be small agencies doing digital-only for a lot of small brands. There is going to be both specialization and concentration at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Currently, we have relatively big specialized digital agencies. I don’t know how long these companies will go but they will face a lot of challenges. They will have to specialize further if they want to survive as independent entities.

Future Startup

What was (is) the culture look like at StrateGeek?

Sidrat Talukder

At the beginning, it was more important to get the job done than coming to office and all the “official” formalities. We could have done the work wherever we wanted to do it from. This was the same philosophy for all of our other companies when they were small.

We were good to go as long as you have got everything done. There is an advantage to this practice, there is no hard rule like you have to come to office on time otherwise your salary will be cut. At the same time, there is a disadvantage: you have to work even on weekends if the work demands it.

Having said that, as our company grew, we had to put processes and systems in place.

The challenge of growth and becoming a medium-sized company is that you have to become a more process-oriented company. While still there is no hard and fast time to be in office for anyone, you realize that when you work with a big team, many other people depend on you, and need you to be available at a certain time.

We were trying to find a balance between having the old flexibility and at the same time ensuring that collaboration happens seamlessly.

Now that we are going to be even bigger we will obviously have to work harder to make it work.

Still, as a company, we emphasize on people over processes. We are in the creative industry, and in the creative industry, it really starts and ends with the people who work with you. The balance is important, but at the end of the day, whatever is better for our people will be prioritized.

Future Startup

The challenge a company faces in its early days when it is particularly small, and the challenge in the later stage when it is relatively big and growing, are fundamentally different. From you experience, can you tell a bit about the differences between these two types of challenges?

Sidrat Talukder

When the company is smaller, you do many things yourself. But when the company gets bigger, you have to trust your people to do the things that you used to do. You have to delegate a lot.

For instance, in the early days, I and my partners used to do all the job interviews ourselves, and were very cautious about people we were bringing into our company, but today I can’t do all the interviews even if I wanted to because I have other responsibilities.

When you are a small team, nearly everything of a company depends on the founders. What you do as a founder becomes the culture. If you stay late at the office and work harder, the rest of your team also notices it and does the same.

But when your company grows and you start working from the corner office, you may still be working as hard, but fewer people are exposed to it. That’s when you need to have culture and process, and a middle management who would pass on the culture you want to the new people who join.

Future Startup

There is an overall lack of innovation in the digital marketing space. Digital marketing has become synonymous to Facebook boosting and all and people have already started to talk about it. What is your take on this?

Sidrat Talukder

Agencies are the companies who try new things before big companies, because big companies are, largely, inflexible. They move very forcefully, but they can’t move whenever they want to or need to. There is structures and processes and systems and bureaucracy that prohibit that.

Small companies are agile; they can move fast and change rapidly. Agencies can grow expertise in new areas by constantly experimenting, and big companies come to them because they cannot grow that expertise themselves fast enough. This tells a simple truth: agencies, in order to survive have to consistently stay ahead of the curve.

The issue here in Bangladesh is that there are some misconceptions prevalent, especially on the client side, about digital marketing. If your client is not pushing innovation as much, then as an agency there is only so much you can do for them.

It is not that we can’t be creative or think anything innovative, it is more about how things were done before and many clients don’t want to rock the boat much.

More often than not people are afraid of taking a risk and investing in cutting-edge things even though taking the risk often pays off.

For us, we have been lucky to work with companies that have been pushing us to do great work and innovate, and who are often open to risky ideas. They are willing to take the risk sometimes, but across the industry, it is rare, very rare.

People are still talking about likes and page views and all those things when real ROI lies in sales and conversion and analytics.

That said, we are still at the very early stage. I don’t think innovation is not happening at all. I think we are asking too much from the industry at a young age.

Future Startup

We don’t see a lot of leading local brands that are doing business for a long time in Bangladesh. There are, of course, brands that have been doing business successfully for many years but the number is slim. What does it take to build a company that sustains for a long time, say 100 years?

Sidrat Talukder

I think this is not a local phenomenon. This is true across the world. We know about companies like IBM and Apple and others because they survived in their own country, but the vast majority of the companies don’t survive and so we seldom know about them.

In Bangladesh, we have companies like PRAN, Square doing business for a very very long time. Since we are in this market, the companies that don’t survive are simply more visible to us.

I think what is more important than surviving as-is is ensuring that you evolve. We have seen very well known companies fail, for instance, Nokia. They did not do anything wrong, but they still failed.

It is important to stay ahead of the curve and to keep adding value. If you stay ahead of the curve, your customers will always find value in what you do.

I think this is inevitable, there are industries that are growing and there are industries that are dying while it is important that you grow as a company, it is more important to be able to evolve and adapt to the next big thing.

Future Startup

How do you feel being a CEO?

Sidrat Talukdar

I’m not going to be CEO for much longer (laugh)!

I think one of the critical challenges for a CEO is to disengage from the many important things that go on in the organization, and focus on making decisions for the greater good the entire organization, even when it is hard to do so.

I’m not that good at managing people, which is a commonly cited quality of great CEOs. I’m good at data, numbers, and strategy. As CEO, I found it a bit challenging dealing with people.

I think the ideal CEO is more of a people-person. Such CEOs are good at managing people, inspiring them and getting the best out of them.

It was a challenge for me, but still, I liked it. At times I liked it, and at times I was like, ‘why do I have to do this?!’I wished somebody else made this decision for me. But that’s the reality of being a CEO, it is up to you to make decisions that no one else will.

Future Startup

What would be your advice for the CEOs of early stage companies who are trying to build and manage a fast growing company?

Sidrat Talukder

If you want to build a sustainable company, finding the right people is your most important job as a CEO. If you want to grow your business and build a company of a certain size – which is not essential; you can be happy with a small company, doing things that you love. That is perfectly okay in my opinion – then you can’t do everything You need people who can work for you and do things with you.

If you are trying to grow your company quickly, you had better spend time in finding great people.

The second thing is that you should be very concerned about the fundamentals of your company i.e. the value you are creating, the revenue vs cost etc. Making sure that you are on top of that is very important, right from day 1.

It happens with entrepreneurs that sometimes the idea of the business becomes so important to us that it becomes the reason the only company exists, even though fundamentals are not there.

Sometimes I see founders of companies and I can tell you that they are genuinely in love with their company, but I wonder: do they have a model in place yet? Are their fundamentals okay? I think it is incredibly important to focus on that. If you are not focusing on that, then ultimately things are going to get tough and unsustainable. This is just my personal opinion.

Future Startup

How do you pull yourself up when you feel really down or come across a really big challenge?

Sidrat Talukder

I think it is important to take a step back and look at things from a distance. Obviously, when you are building something, you become very invested in the company or the project. You root for the people and the project, but you have to understand that this is just your perspective.

Sometimes, no matter what you do things are not going to work out for you but you should never take that as the end of the road. As long as you believe in yourself, there is always a way out.

I often try to reflect on things and see things from a distance. It always helps.

Future Startup

What is your management philosophy?

Sidrat Talukdar

Enabling people to do the job and inspiring people to do the work the best way possible, as opposed to showing them or doing things for them.

I encourage people to seek out the answers for themselves instead of guiding them in every step. Micro-management is not something I like to do.

As a result, it often gets difficult because it is a struggle to find people who are ready to take responsibility and go and figure things out for themselves because that is not the orientation we give people in our society. Still, I think this is the best way to manage for me.

If you want to build a sustainable company, finding the right people is your most important job as a CEO. The second thing is that you should be very concerned about the fundamentals of your company i.e. the value you are creating, the revenue vs cost etc. Making sure that you are on top of that is very important, right from day one.

Future Startup

How do you work?

Sidrat Talukder

Once I was a workaholic and now I’m less of a workaholic. I used to work always and always and push and push to get the work done.

More recently, I realized that balance is more important than working hard. As people get older they realize that balance is important in life, and working smarter is more important than working hard.

When we were a small company, if people tried to tell me the importance of working smarter, I would often think, “what the hell are they talking about?!”. If I work for 20 hours and other person is working 10 hours, I can definitely get more things done than that other person. Simple math.

But now that I look back, yes, I appreciate what I did but I think that’s not sustainable. Now my philosophy is a little less intense and more dependent on other people.

Image by Florian Klauer

Future Startup

What do you think about life?

Sidrat Talukdar

We are a very small part of this huge universe. For me, a lot of things that we worry about in life, many of the things that divide us and worry us, I think they are much less important than we think.

As a Muslim, I believe that we’re placed on this earth to do good things. In my opinion, every moment in life is a test more or less. Every opportunity that we get, regardless of our faith, is an opportunity to do either good or bad.

I think if everybody just focuses on doing the right thing, instead of worrying about things that are not really that important, the world would be a much better place.

I don’t think people are inherently bad and I try not to judge when someone does something I don’t personally agree with because I think the environment and our circumstances has a lot to do with what we do.

The so-called “big issues” are not that all that big. Focus on being a good person. Young people are worried about jobs and salaries and all the material things, and while these are not to be ignored, I don’t think they are the most important things in life, and no matter what I think everything works out at the end.

You really don’t need much to be happy. I take a lot of inspiration from our Prophet [PBUH], he did not put too much emphasis on material wealth. Even if you are not religious, which I respect very much, I think there is a lot of value in this philosophy. I think life is transient and fleeting. I try to take things in a detached way, while still being very appreciative of whatever I have got.

Future Startup

We have a huge young population and as an economy, we are growing rapidly. Where do you see Bangladesh going in the next couple of years? How do you see the role of youth in the coming years?

Sidrat Talukder

I read somewhere recently that Bangladesh is set to become the 8th largest economy in the world by 2050. We have a huge young population which we often talk about. We talk about the demographic dividend and all that.

While I do believe in Bangladesh and am hopeful for a great future, I’m a little worried about our young population, which is a huge opportunity for us but at the same time a huge risk if we fail to turn them into productive resources. I think we are papering over some cracks here and I think those cracks, if not taken care of, can become fatal. We have a lot of people are coming out of schools and universities with degrees, but degrees are not everything. If you look at the quality of the research papers that are coming out and look at the approach the universities and schools are taking towards education, I think there is cause for real concern.

I believe this country has a lot of potentials but what bothers me is that it sometimes seems we are more interested in promoting that potential than making sure that we fulfill that potential. I’m always more interested in getting something right as opposed to talking about it. I’m positive and excited about our future but I think there are going to be a lot of challenges and we have a lot of work to be done.

You really don’t need much to be happy. I take a lot of inspiration from our Prophet [PBUH], he did not put too much emphasis on material wealth. Even if you are not religious, which I respect very much, I think there is a lot of value in this philosophy. I think life is transient and fleeting. I try to take things in a detached way, while still being very appreciative of whatever I have got.

Future Startup

What advice would you give to people who are just starting out?

Sidrat Talukdar

People around you are very important: your partners, support group, and mentors. Having the right partners can take you far. If you get the opportunity to work with people who you respect, you should be grateful for it and should not waste it.

Having a solid set of partners is almost the cheat code to building a successful company.

Give your 100% but don’t lose track of the rest of your life. If you start a business and it fails, it is not the end of the world.

In short, believe in yourself, find the right partners, focus on fundamentals, do good work, and never stop learning.

This story is made possible in part by our friends at G&R. G&R, the leading platform for advertisers and publishers in Bangladesh, empowers brands in the digital age and helps entrepreneurs and companies to tell their stories to 65 million internet users in Bangladesh through sophisticated targeting and its wide publisher network. You may know more about G&R here.

Image courtesy: StrateGeek

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