The Making Of Brain Station 23: An Interview with Raisul Kabir, CEO, Brain Station 23

The Making Of Brain Station 23: An Interview with Raisul Kabir, CEO, Brain Station 23

Founder and CEO of Brain Station 23Raisul Kabir (one of our innovators under 35, 2016), recalls his serendipitous journey to becoming a programmer, although he studied EEE in university, and then an entrepreneur, talks about the early days of Brain Station 23, one of the top ten software companies in Bangladesh, importance of having a vision bigger than yourself, reflects on mistakes he made, lessons he learned, shares his plans for Brain Station 23 in the coming years, offers suggestions for people who want to raise investment in Bangladesh, and discusses the importance of focus and dedicating our life to one thing at a time.

Future Startup

Tell us about yourself and your path to becoming who you are today.

Raisul Kabir

I was born and brought up in Mohakhali, Wireless gate area, in Dhaka. Both of my parents were teachers. We used to live in a rented apartment, which we still do these days. I attended Government Laboratory High School. I was not a particularly good student, more of a mediocre student, the average type that nobody cares much about.

My life changed when I was in class eight when I came across a teacher named Akter Sir. Before that, I tried a lot to improve with no success. Akter sir was different. He would make me work hard, every day. He would give me tons of homework daily and would take those work the next day. He would never do maths or anything for me, instead always made to me solve the problems. If I could not do anything he would help to find it in solution book and that’s it. It taught me some important lessons including the idea of trying and taking responsibility. From then on I started to do better in school and became a quite good student.

After school, I went to Notre Dame college because I wanted to get into BUET. My grandmother had this dream for me to go to BUET and Notre Dame was the college from which 50% students used to get into BUET. Although I was not a good student, I managed to get into BUET. One reason I could remember is that I worked, really hard after my HSC exam. Probably, I worked harder during those three months than any other time in my life.

After getting into BUET, I did tuition for a while which most BUETians do. I was earning good money but was not satisfied because I felt that I was not helping students to become really good. And at one point I quit tuition.

I used to work as a part-time programmer even before my BUET admission, largely for free. I first started working in 2000 at a company called DPath for free. I helped make a portal for them. Then I worked at another company called Western Network, again for free. I used to do web design there.

After quitting tuition, I started working as a programmer professionally in 2001 in Sonar Courier. My salary was BDT 2000 at that time whereas I could earn BDT 15000 from tuition. After some time at Sonar Courier, in 2002 I moved to Paradigm, now Paradigm Group. I used to do web design and other stuff there. At paradigm, I used to do the coding and programming for 30% share of a project value and other partners used to do the design, marketing, and other stuff. I was earning on an average BDT 20-30,000 monthly. Since we were earning good money, I proposed to start a company. So we started a company in 2003 called Paradigm NeoMedia, a web design, and IT solutions provider. We had Tanvir bhai, who was a designer, probably the best designer at that time.

I always wanted to grow fast and employ a lot of people but at Paradigm, we were not growing. After a while, we realized that it is very difficult to make money from doing web design business. So In 2005, I was still in BUET, I decided to left Paradigm. I had a 30% stake in the company, I gave up on it. I then started doing freelancing on a platform called getafreelancer.com and started to earn a hell lot of money.

After a while, I realized that I could get more work and earn more money. That’s when I thought of starting a company. Back then I was also working part-time at Latitude 23, one of the best 3D visualization companies in Bangladesh, founded by our elder brothers from BUET. I helped to make their office management software.

After that, they got a quite big project of flash and gave me the responsibility to manage it. This was in 2005 and I was still in BUET. I then hired 10 people contractually and executed the project within three months. The client was very happy and Latitude was also very happy.

Latitude 23 had other foreign clients who wanted software support and other stuff. So they asked me whether I would be interested in a partnership with them and start a software company. I thought why not. I was studying EEE in BUET all these years but I was working in the software industry. I was passionate about EEE from my childhood. EEE had a very good demand in the market at that time, good job and good salary were easy to get. Contrary to that, computer science was not a big thing yet. I was quite confused what to choose after the offer.

During that time, Latitude 23 went to India and they brought me a book on Narayan Murthy of Infosys. Infosys was already a huge company at that time and was employing over 56000 people. I thought well this is incredible. These people are earning foreign currency and also creating huge employment opportunities for the country.

Then I thought I got all the chances in life, I went to best school and best university, I have some responsibility to my country. After much thought, I decided to move ahead with Latitude and give up my EEE career.

I’m not an entrepreneurial person. I don’t exactly feel comfortable with taking a big risk. But I knew if it did not work I could go back to freelancing and get my family going. Since we are middle-class family, we don’t actually need much. We are used to living on less and go by it. After all these thoughts, we finally started Brain Station 23 in partnership with Latitude; the name came from Latitude 23. 50% owner of Brain Station 23 is Latitude 23.

I was still a little in doubt, so I went to Omar Al Zabir, he was my school friend. In fact, I first came to know about computer programming from him. He has been doing programming from a very early age. Initially, he did not have a computer and used to program on paper and then go to one of his elder brothers who had a computer to code those things from Paper to a computer. He bought a computer in class eight and that was the first time I saw a computer. I was not as tenacious as Omar but I was influenced by him. I got my first computer when I was in HSC. My uncle gave me a computer because my parents could not afford one.

So before getting into Brain Station 23, I went to Omar and told him that I’m starting a software company what do you think. We were not in touch for a couple years in between so he said you studied EEE what do you know about computer, how are you going to do business. I said I know a little bit of programming and have been working on PHP, ASP, CSS, HTML and other languages. Then he asked me that ‘you know HTML, CSS, can you do cross browser development, I said yes. Then he asked me to join his company as a part-timer. I agreed and joined Pageflakes as part-timer because Omar was my Idol and having an opportunity to work with him was a huge thing for me. They also raised a huge amount of funding from VCs like Benchmark and others and was one of the fast growing startups at that time. I used to work part time for Pageflakes and then part-time at Brain Station 23.

I used to earn a good money from PageFlakes, so I did not take any salary from Brain Station. I worked there for a year from mid-2006 to mid-2007.

In 2007, there was political instability in Bangladesh so they moved to Malaysia. They asked me to join them but I did not. In fact, they wanted to acqui-hire Brain Station but after much thought, I decided not to go. After that, I concentrated full time at Brain Station 23 and started to take a BDT 10,000 salary. PageFlakes was offering me around BDT 2 lac in salary. Instead, I started working at BDT 10,000.

I always took less salary and my partners always encouraged me to take a salary that I needed to maintain my lifestyle, “if you make a profit you can take it but salary is always for maintaining your lifestyle”. Well, that never happened because we always reinvest what we earn. Even these days my salary is below our Project manager salary slab in our office. So still these days I live in a rented apartment but now that I have kids I feel that it would be great to own an apartment!

My life changed when I came across a teacher named Akter Sir in my class eight . Before that I tried a lot to improve with no success. Akter sir was different. He would make me work hard every day. He would give me tons of homework everyday and would take those work the next day. He would never do maths or anything for me, he always made to me solve the problems. If I could not do anything he would help to find it in solution book and that’s it. It taught me some important lessons including the idea of trying and taking responsibility.

Brain Station 23

Brain Station 23

Future Startup

Tell us about the early days of Brain Station 23.

Raisul Kabir

I was very lucky in a sense that we did not have to struggle a lot. Since it is a service business, we did not have to invest a lot of money from our pocket. Moreover, I was (am) used to making sacrifices. I never wanted to earn a lot of money or travel a lot or buy expensive clothes. It made it easier for me to take things easily. I’m used to taking the local bus and do things in a very middle-class way. In fact, when things get better I feel a little bit of discomfort.

The thing that helped us very much during our early days was our vision. We started Brain Station for a reason which was way bigger than money or any material goal. We had a common vision. We wanted to achieve something bigger than ourselves as opposed to building a mere business. As a result, everyone in the company was happy and used to feel empowered and part of something bigger.

People usually want to be a part of something noble. We had that thing. As a result, people used to stay with us for a long time. Our employee turnover rate is very low. Our first employee stayed with us til the day he left the country for Germany. It is not like that we pay a huge salary. We do pay good salary but we are not the highest paying company. We pay better than average companies but we have consciously made the decision that we will never be the highest paying company because we don’t want people to come and work for Brain Station 23 for money rather for the cause and passion. We want people who are ready to sacrifice for the vision we have.

The way we work is very democratic. We tell people that this is your company. We are working towards a goal, let’s build the company. We empower people like anything.

At Brain Station 23, our developers work directly with our clients, a very uncommon norm. In many companies, developers leave the company with clients but it never happened to Brain Station.

At Brain Station, transparency is an important value. Everyone who works on a project knows how much we charge a client. It creates a lasting bonding among people based on trust. We are a flat kind of organization. There is no bossing or sir culture here. We don’t encourage it either.

I was very lucky in a sense that we did not have to struggle a lot. Since it was a service business, we did not have to invest a lot of money from our pocket. Moreover, I was (am) used to making sacrifices. I never wanted to earn a lot of money or travel a lot or buy expensive clothes. It made it easier for me to take things easily. I’m used to taking local bus and do things in a very middle-class way. In fact, when things get better I feel a little bit of discomfort.

Future Startup

How many people were with you when you started? How big is your team now?

Raisul Kabir

When we started in 2006, we started with a team of 4 people. We had contract/work for two of them. We used to pay BDT 10 to 12000 salary to each of these two people. But with the profit, we made from our work we hired two more people who did not have work at the point. That is how we continued growing. Whenever we had extra money, we hired more people.

However, we are a bit conservative now because as an organization we are growing and if we do things recklessly it may become a problem for us as a company. Today, we are a team of 151 people.

Future Startup

You talked about having a strong vision, what was the vision when you started Brain Station 23? How much has the company evolved over the past years?

Raisul Kabir

The vision was creating employment and earning foreign currency through outsourcing. We started with a goal of creating employment opportunities for five hundred people within the next two years. We did not achieve that goal but if you talk about the direction, we are moving towards the right direction.

Over the last couple of years, we have touched lives of at least 300 people. Our employees started companies after leaving Brain Station, at least seven companies are started by Brain Station’s former employees that I am aware of.

The thing that helped us very much during our early days was our vision. We started Brain Station for a reason which was way bigger than money or any material goal. We had a common vision. We wanted to achieve something bigger than ourselves as opposed to building a mere business. As a result, everyone in the company was happy and used to feel empowered and part of something bigger.

Future Startup

What is brain station now?

Raisul Kabir

Brains Station 23 is a Dhaka-based software company serving international market through outsourcing and also the local market with best talent and services. We hire top talents in Bangladesh, train them to do the best work and then try to retain them.

We have been serving the international market for a while now and started serving our local market recently. We have found that there is a growing demand for services we provide in the local market. Many of our local companies are taking IT solutions from abroad which our local technology companies can meet.

We have done a few interesting works in the local market. City Touch, the internet banking app of City Bank, is developed by us. We want to work more in the local market in the coming years.

Our original vision is still there. Still, we want to employ people and earn foreign currency. In fact, when we are working with local companies we are saving the foreign currency that they used to pay to avail services from foreign companies. Moreover, software maintenance is way more expensive than buying it. We are also helping in that respect as well. It is hard to have constant support when you buy a software from abroad and there are also local customization issues.

Brain Station 23

Brain Station 23

Future Startup

What are the services you offering now?

Raisul Kabir

We provide mobile and web application development services to the international clients. In the local market, we are providing technology solutions to the banking industry and also offering ERP solutions.

Future Startup

How big is Brain Station now? Can give us an idea about business size, and customer size etc?

Raisul Kabir

Last year, our revenue was around BDT 9.5 crore. Our profitability is not much because we are investing in growth. Currently, 20% of our revenue come from the local market and the rest 80% from outsourcing. We are working on cloud and enterprise application. We also work on native apps.

Future Startup

How do you find top talents and hire people?

Raisul Kabir

The way we hire is quite interesting. Many people think that in order to hire top talents you need to go to top universities but we think otherwise. We think top talents can come from anywhere. We have put together some process in place to ensure that we hire people from across the country.

We have some values that we developed over the years including transparency, honesty, passionate, excellence and ownership. In order to find passionate people we have designed a process: we try to find people who attend competitions or work part time. We try to find people who are doing something apart from their profession/studies that show that they are passionate.

After choosing these people, we take multiple choice exams. The advantage of MCQ is that you can judge people without bias. Interviews can be affected by many human errors and biases.

My mood can influence my capacity of judging people honestly. But when it comes to MCQ, you can’t do that. There is no chance of biases or anything. We have a big question bank and a committee that prepares a couple of sets of questions.

After the example, we then take verbal interviews and also take them through a psychological test in order to know whether the person is a team player or not, whether they have a large size of ego or not etc because if you have the ego you can’t learn.

Future Startup

Can you please give us an idea about the growth of Brain Station 23?

Raisul Kabir

We have been growing at a 30% rate yearly for a while now. We are trying to grow even faster. That is one of the reasons why we took the investment. If we are trying to grow with our profit and reinvestment, it is very difficult to grow fast.

The way we hire is quite interesting. Many people think that in order to hire top talents you need to go to top universities but we think otherwise. We think top talents can come from anywhere. We have put together some process in place to ensure that we hire people from across the country.

Future Startup

You started an ecommerce company called Biponee and later sold it to Zero Gravity Ventures.

Raisul Kabir

Yes. Ahsanul Alam Raju, who is now the head of Othoba, ecommerce venture of PRAN, is my school friend. He is an entrepreneurial person. He was in Banglalink and then in Coats. At one point, he left coats and was not doing anything. We asked him to help us with HR because we did not have an HR policy or anything at that time. He then joined us.

After a while, we started to think about starting something along with outsourcing. After much thought, we decided to start an ecommerce and asked Raju to lead it. He took the lead and started Biponee. In 2012, we opened an FB page and tried to sell mango to see whether people buy online or not.

We found out that people buy online. That’s how Biponee came to exist in January 2013. We started with one product, t-shirt.

Raju had a good taste of t-shirt. So we did well in 2013 and 2014 and was expecting that we would reach break-even in 2016. It was a wrong assumption on our part. We should have studied more. Since we thought it would reach breakeven by 2016, we started investing a small amount of money every month. But soon we realized that this is not going to reach break-even anytime soon rather we will have to keep investing for a long period of time which we thought we could not do.

That’s when we started to look for investment. In the meantime, we made some mistakes. In startups, you need to work harder but we’re becoming complacent. When the new competition entered the market and us also slowly became cash stringent, our friendship started to face challenges. There were some office politics as well.

One of Raju’s friends, who Raju hired, started to plot against him because Raju caught him doing some unethical activities and asked him to leave and he turned everyone of the team against Raju.

Initially, I did not take it seriously but when it become complicated, there was not enough time to fix it and in the meantime, Raju also decided to quit. Meanwhile, we got term sheet confirmation for investment from IPE Capital and Bd Venture. But we had to decline the investment since Raju was quitting and I had Brain Station to take care of. I can’t focus on two things at the same time.

After much thought, we decided to sell it and I called Zeeshan bhai and said we want to sell Biponee, would you like to buy. After a couple of meeting, we agreed to go ahead. We did not negotiate with money rather we wanted to make sure that all the people of Biponee must have their jobs. You can’t fire any of the 20 employees and you have to maintain the relationship with our partners including merchants.

What usually happens is that when you work with friends you tell your friends if you liked anything about their work but never gather the courage to tell if you dislike something. There is a sort of lack of honesty when it comes to communicating negative feedback. That caused us the company.

Future Startup

What are the key lessons from your Biponee experience?

Raisul Kabir

I should have more proactive and direct about communication. I should have told Raju that you friend is complaining about you instead of just listening to the complaint and not doing anything about it. Had I told Raju about the complaints, we could have taken action together and save a lot of hassle. Finally, I had to do it but it was already too late. It made it even difficult for me to tell him unpleasant things. That was my mistake.

We did not start with a proper business plan in place. We finally prepared the business plan in 2014 when we were trying to raise investment. We did not know raising investment takes a long time and in our market, it is hard.

We did not know much about ecommerce industry. It usually takes a long time to build an ecommerce company which we thought we could do within a very short period of time. When we did a better study on ecommerce we came to know that we will not break-even any sooner and will have to continue investing for a long period of time. It was already late.

Raju was working alone at Biponee which was a huge pressure on him. I did not realize it then. In order to run a startup properly, you need at least two people. It is hard for a single founder to run a startup. I should have thought about it. I could have found someone to look after Brain Station and then concentrate on Biponee for a while.

In all your life, you have to walk the talk. You can’t preach the things that you don’t do yourself. We made mistake around that which affected the entire team and culture. If you come to the office early only then you can ask other members of your team to come early to office. Culture is about showing the path. Now I try to maintain this. I try to come on time and stay at the office at least for nine hours. I try to do something first and only then tell others to do it.

Another mistake we made was not establishing a direct and honest relationship among partners. You can do good business with your friend but your friendship has to be strong and you have work to make your friendship stronger.

What usually happens is that when you work with friends you tell your friends if you liked anything about their work but never gather the courage to tell if you dislike something. There is a sort of lack of honesty when it comes to communicating negative feedback.

That caused us the company. I could not tell Raju that you should not do that or you should do that and it was same for him. Finally, we did speak about all those things but it was even worse when we inevitably had to face it.

Now I directly tell my friends who work at Brain Station that if I dislike something of their work and also if I like something of their work. I discussed these with them that if I dislike any of your work I’m going to tell it and you should too and our friendship should not come interfere our work and our friendship should not be so fragile that we could not argue or disagree.

My understanding became even stronger after reading this book called Five Dysfunctions of a team. Rokomari published a translation of the book and it helped me a lot to understand these dynamics of managing a team.

There was an example in the book that apparently said what kind of friend are you if you can’t fight, which is true. We fight with people we love and close to because we have trust. In friendship and in a team we have to have trust as well.

We have to trust that the other person wants only good for me. When there is trust, you can have disagreements and still work together and make progress. If you can’t then you have to work on your relationship.

You have to make business and relationship separate. Tell your friend that business is business and friendship is friendship. We are now executing this organization-wide.

I now demand very high performance from my people. I have always been a nice type person. I have always tried to be logical and careful and not hurt people but now I’m trying to become a little bit asshole because it does not make sense to accept subpar work. It does not make sense to do things comfortably. You have to move out of your comfort zone and give your best.

When you push someone you are not only pushing him to do more, you are also helping that person to grow because if someone works harder he would get better eventually.

Being said that, I don’t appreciate people to overwork or work too hard that you burn out or sacrifice your family life.

One of the ways of working hard is, of course, loving your work. If you love your work, you would work hard and if you don’t love your work but continue doing it because you are getting paid, that is going to be detrimental to you in the long run and company will not get benefited from your work either.

Now when I find someone who is not performing, I ask them to leave not because it hurts the company but also because it hurts that person more. It is super bad for the employee himself.

In all your life, you have to walk the talk. You can’t preach the things that you don’t do yourself. We made mistake around that which affected the entire team and culture. If you come to the office early only then you can ask other members of your team to come early to office. Culture is about showing the path.

Future Startup

What are the major challenges for Brain Station 23?

Raisul Kabir

We need to ramp up sales in order to grow at the rate we want to grow which is the key challenge for us now. That’s one. Since we are targeting local market now, it is often hard to break into the local market because our local companies used to rely on foreign companies for their tech solutions.

The another aspect is the growth of our people. If we are to grow as a company, we have to have mid-level managers, senior managers, and the likes. In order to grow our people, we need to offer organization-wide training. We need to critically assess the needs of our people and then help them with those needs to grow further.

Future Startup

How do you reach out to your customers? What are the channels and mediums you using?

Raisul Kabir

Locally we are applying traditional approach, going through personal connections and references. Internationally, we tried a lot of different approaches, starting from email to cold calling but none was bringing expected result.

Clients often want to talk to local people because clients had burned their hands in other outsourcing partnership before. It is not possible for a client to come to Bangladesh and then check our company but they can trust their local people. So now we are working to create agent base in different countries and building relationship with clients through agents.

Future Startup

You have experience of raising money in Bangladesh. What advice would you give to people who are planning to raise investment in Bangladesh?

Raisul Kabir

Having a forecast for your business is important for you and investors also want to see it. Start with preparing a forecast. You may use excel or any other tool that suits you.

We prepared a business plan, forecast and a strategy about how we want to address the market and then gave those to the investors. It takes 6-7 months to raise an investment, so you have to start early. If you want to raise investment at the beginning of 2018, you should start now. We were a partnership firm, so we had to turn ourselves into a limited company and had to wait for the transition. That’s why it took us a little longer than usual. It took us over a year time.

The older the company is the longer it will take to manage the investment because then it takes time to do the due diligence.

If you plan to raise investment, you should maintain proper documentation of your business from day one. Investors often want to see the papers and accounting documents during the due-diligence.

Since maintaining your accounts/finance is critical, you can have experienced part-time people. Someone you know who is working for a big company probably, ask them to help you with your account once in a week. That is way more effective than having a full-time novice accountant.

Finally, raising investment is a complex thing. You should prepare yourself before raising money, you should study nitty-gritty of fundraising before talking to an investor. We did not spend much time in studying valuation and other relevant trends but it is critical.

Future Startup

What do you think about the state of software and technology industry in Bangladesh?

Raisul Kabir

We need consolidation in the software industry. There are too many companies doing the same thing but if you can’t differentiate yourself it is tough to survive and thrive. Companies need to focus because if you stand for everything, you stand for nothing. But there is an overall lack of focus among companies across the board.

Another thing is, everybody tends to follow a linear path but in order to be useful and do something great you need to work at an intersection. For instance, if you say you do web design, it puts you in competition with almost all the companies out there but if you say I do web design for only banks, you become someone specialized in web designing for the banks. It reduces your competition.

I often don’t see challenges rather opportunities for that matter. I can complain or say that we don’t have this or that or this needs to be done, the government needs to do this and that but that’s not going to solve any of my problems. And that’s not how my brain works. I see a lot of opportunities and I think our problems are in our head.

Don’t do sporadic work, be focused. Don’t do things because it is easy to do or there is easy money to earn rather be serious about your plan and stick to your goals. If you want to build a company in one vertical don’t deviate from your goal just because there is easy work to get in another vertical.

Future Startup

What are the future plans for Brain Station 23?

Raisul Kabir

We plan to launch a few sector specific products in the local market. Two of our focus areas are financial industry and ERP. And then we want to take those same products to the international market.

Strategy-wise, the major shift will be coming up with our own products and market focus wise, we plan to increase our work in the local market while continuing our outsourcing work.

Currently, 20% of our total revenue comes from the local market which we plan to grow in the coming years. Bangladesh is a big market and we are also growing fast, we see a lot of opportunities in the coming days.

The advantage we have in Bangladesh is that talented people are more available than India or any other country for that matter because demand for talent in India is way higher than us. This is a huge advantage that will help us to compete efficiently in the global market. We plan to accommodate more of these talented people with us and compete in the global market in big projects.

Future Startup

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

Raisul Kabir

Identify your strength and find opportunities that can be put into work with your strength.

Don’t do sporadic work, be focused. Don’t do things because it is easy to do or there is easy money to earn rather be serious about your plan and stick to your goals. If you want to build a company in one vertical don’t deviate from your goal just because there is easy work to get in another vertical.

Most people try to do too many things at once in life and end up doing nothing significant. Focus and perseverance are the two most important qualities you need to cultivate if you want to make something happen.

It is hard to focus because so much is going out there and we often feel the temptation of attending to more than one opportunity and the second reason is that everything often takes a long time to happen, so it is hard to maintain focus for a long period of time. But that is what separates people who do something and who don’t. Find something in life that you believe is important and work on it for a long time.

There is an almost no alternative to working hard.

The idea of education is not that it ends with school rather it begins after school. Be a relentless learner. Gather domain knowledge and develop a deep understanding of your work and industry.

I believe most people are good and honest and I put a rather high importance on having trust on people. Whatever I have achieved in life, trusting people and respecting them helped me a lot in doing so.

Teamwork is critical. It is very hard, almost impossible, to build a business alone. So put work into building a team and strengthening your relationship with your partners. In order to build a solid partnership, you must have trust among partners and only transparency and open communication will help you to build trust.

There is a theory called Slicing the pie. The theory addresses the core reasons that create problems among partners. The idea goes something like this: one partner supposed to execute marketing but he/she did not perform that responsibility but when it comes to remuneration he complains about not getting his/her share.

According to slicing pie theory, a partner gets what he gives and what a partner gives that must be in written and if he/she don’t deliver on the promise or deliver at a lower level, he/she should get a lower level of share. People often feel that whatever work they are doing is the most important work which creates the problem. But when you put things in writing and keep a record and put a process in place, it becomes easier to deal with.

Future Startup

How do you pull yourself up when you feel down?

Raisul Kabir

I often feel down which, I think, is not the case for many people.

When I feel down, friends often help. I have been very lucky to have some great friends. For instance, Raju and I have a good relationship even these days, Mizanur Rahman, Nazmul Ahmed, Rifat Hasnat and many other friends are helping me in different aspects. I spend time with them when I feel particularly not okay. My family also helps. My wife has been very supportive of my work and at the end of the day when you go back to home, it always helps.

Work is often the best remedy. I often need to work hard which I find as an advantage. When you are busy, you seldom get time to worry or stress yourself. That said, there are times when you feel like not working.

When I don’t feel like working, I listen to music and try to control my mind and concentrate. I also watch funny movies and serials. I used to walk, I do walk quite a bit even these days. I listen to podcast and audiobooks while walking. It helps with inspiration.

Having said that, as you grow old, you develop perspective and see things differently. At this stage of life, I have figured everyone is trying to figure it out and somehow managing it. Although it seems otherwise from the outside, most people are barely holding it together.

Over the past years, I have learned that it is the journey that matters not the destination because there is not one.

Most people try to do too many things at once in life and end up doing nothing significant. Focus and perseverance are the two most important qualities you need to cultivate if you want to make something happen. It is hard to focus because so much is going out there and we often feel the temptation of attending to more than one opportunity and the second reason is that everything often takes a long time to happen, so it is hard to maintain focus for a long period of time.

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