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Pathao Founder Says Be Prepared To Do Boring Works And Stay Humble

Pathao co-founder and CEO Husain M Elius recently made it to Asia Edition of Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Elius is a deserving candidate for the list. In fact, he should have made it last year. Over the past few years, Elius and his team at Pathao have not built a consequential technology company in Dhaka, but also helped reshape the entire technology business scene in Dhaka. Elius was also in our second annual list of Innovators Under 35 and our Tech's Person of The Year 2018. The story of Pathao is an inspiring one.

“Pathao started as a concept; as a small initiative,” says Elius in an interview with FS. “We had a secret Facebook group, where we asked all our friends if they wanted anything delivered they could use our service. For us, it was an experiment. It soon evolved from there. While we were doing deliveries with our motorbikes, we thought, can we utilize our bikes in a more efficient way? Would people in Bangladesh like to use a motorcycle as a transportation service; as a ride-sharing option?” With the question came an MVP.

“This question led to us building another MVP around the idea. Unlike many other countries around the world, such as Vietnam or Indonesia, Bangladesh did not have a motorcycle as transportation culture. With Pathao, we have helped create that culture. We realized that there was a pent-up demand for a service which would save people time and energy.” When Pathao team realized that there is a demand for ride-hailing service, the upped the game.

“At first, we started small. We had only 5 bikes and everyone would call my personal number and I would schedule the rides in an Excel sheet. It was a completely manual operation. It was tedious. Everything changed when we launched our app in December 2016. That’s when things kind of blew up and we ended up changing our entire business model around our app.”

Patho has grown since. From a tiny operation, the company has grown to become one of the most important ride-hailing companies in Bangladesh over the last few years. In an interview with Future Startup, published in June 2018, Elius shared his lessons from the journey so far. Here is an excerpt from the interview.

Work hard and be humble, there’s no secret to success.

Enter Hussian M Elius:

Paul Graham has a term called “Schlep Blindness”. “Schlep” means boring, uneventful ground grinding work. There is a reason why a lot of entrepreneurs are young. People who start companies don’t realize how difficult it is to start companies; which makes them perfect candidates for starting companies. If people knew how difficult it was, none would start one.

People don’t realize that most of the times entrepreneurship is not very eventful and not a very glamorous job. It’s a lot of hard work over a sustained period of time, where you don’t give up. It’s the grind that you have to face every day. No matter what someone has to start, there is a lot of ground level, boring, and monotonous work.

If you see through my personal journey, you will see that I don’t appear a lot in media, especially before 2018. It was because I believe that people should keep their nose down to the ground, be humble and just work.
It’s very important to have everyone follow their own north star metrics rather than vanity metrics.

Work hard and be humble, there’s no secret to success.

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