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10 Powerful Lessons I've Learned From 2019

Dec 31, 2019

I have interviewed more than 200 entrepreneurs and professionals from different walks of life since we started Future Startup in 2011. At FS, we have so far published over 350 interviews. 

I have learned a tremendous amount from all these interactions. In fact, the experience has changed my worldview. 

Most of us have a linear approach to looking at the world. In reality, most things are not what they appear to be. Maintaining a healthy skepticism is necessary for seeing things for what they are. Question almost everything. 

Luck has a lot to do with where we end up in life when it comes to wealth and material success but living a good life is mostly about becoming and choice. 

The struggle is universal. Everyone suffers, from MTO to CEO. The nature and scale of suffering are different though. 

Life does not get any easier when you move up on any ladder. It is likely to get a lot busier though. 

Most intelligent people are after transcendence, knowingly or unknowingly. They want freedom from wants and needs and sufferings and burdens of being human. However, most don’t know which path will lead them there. Hence they get entangled with more burden of living and eventually end up in the parties of many kinds. 

One of the most important decisions you have to make is who are the people you want to spend your time with. There are all kinds of them. Choose the straight forward ones. Steer clear of the ones your gut does not approve of. 

When we started Future Startup, it was a passion project. I and my friends had a love for entrepreneurship and writing. Hence, we started a blog. However, it has been a long time and things have changed. 

In the past four years, I and my partner Nezam Uddin, have been trying to turn Future Startup into a sustainable business. The day I started working full-time at Future Startup in early 2016, I have come to find myself at an interesting intersection. We predominantly cover tech and startups in Dhaka and interview mostly founders. On the other hand, I’m trying to build a startup as well. 

It has been a fascinating run for me in the sense that I could see both: from a founder’s perspective - myself trying to grapple with the challenges of running an early-stage company. At the same time, from the perspective of founders and entrepreneurs whom we cover at Future Startup. 

2019 has particularly been a learning curve for me. At FS, it has been both a good and challenging year. We have grown as a business. Any growth is a challenge. Our website has grown both in terms of traffic, content, and subscribers. We have been able to build a steady business out of our branded content service, launched a few products such as jobs, courses, and research and interviewed a great number of founders. 

One of the lessons I have learned is that it is easier to see mistakes in other people than in us. That’s a limitation of being human. 

Here are 09 more lessons I have learned from building a startup myself and speaking with a great deal of founders and covering a large number of startups in Bangladesh and beyond. 

1. Make growth an integral part of your culture

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Ruhul Kader is a technology business and technology policy analyst based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Future Startup and author of Rethinking Failure: A short guide to living an entrepreneurial life. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, technology policy, and society. He can be reached at

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