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Lessons in Focus, Tenacity and Partnership From The Co-founder and CEO of Brain Station 23

In 2005, Raisul Kabir, Co-founder and CEO of Brain Station 23, was a student of EEE at the BUET and was also working as a part-time software engineer at Latitude 23, a Dhaka-based 3D visualization company.

He was given a job to manage a big flash project for a foreign client. He then hired 10 people contractually and executed the project within three months. The client was very happy and his employer, Latitude 23, was also very happy.

They offered him to start a company jointly and Brain Station 23 came into existence. Today, Brain Station employs over 150 people and raised an investment last year for investing in further growth.

In an exclusive interview, we published last month, Raisul urges founders not to do many things at once and focus.

He shares his ideas for founders on how to pursue an idea and build a business, albeit in a slow process. Enter Raisul Kabir below.

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. 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 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 in 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 is 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 the slicing pie theory, a partner gets what he gives, and what a partner gives must be in writing and if he/she doesn’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.

Get ready to make a lot of sacrifices. I was very lucky in the 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 doing things in a very middle-class way. In fact, when things get better I feel a little bit of discomfort.

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