July 18: This Week in Future Startup
1. Book: Bullshit Jobs: A Theory by David Gaerber
I published a short essay on David Gareber’s excellent 2018 book Bullshit Jobs: A Theory that explores the idea of the rise of meaningless work in our society that does not make sense to the person doing the job and seldom adds any net value to the society. This reality is exacerbating at a time when the advancement in technology is supposed to free us from trivial work and allow us great freedom to pursue our passion and dreams. The opposite has happened. Today, we work far more and longer hours and a greater number of us do work that adds little meaning to the world and our personal life. Read the essay here.
2. bKash Allows Sending Money to non bKash Users, Digital Product, and Growth
bKash is a company that fascinates me. The company made an important decision a few years back: choosing technology over profit. The impact of that profound strategic decision has been vivid in every one of its decisions and product launches in the past two years. Last week, the company unveiled a new feature allowing bKash users to send money to any mobile number – non-bKash users. It means if you have a bKash account you can now send money to a non-bKash user, who then will receive a notification along with a download link to the bKash app. They can download the app, create an account using the app, and receive the money in their newly created account. I examine the background and ramifications of this move here.
3. The Jobike Updates and Followup: New Locations, JoDelivery, and The Realities of Micro-mobility in Bangladesh
Jobike has received a great amount of attention since its launch two years ago. This week the company made two new announcements. One, it launched its service in 4 new areas in Dhaka with some 1o0 bikes. At the same time, the company introduced a new last mile logistics service called JoDelivery. The service is currently available in Mirpur. Jobike is a service that makes excellent sense on paper. Now that it gets into logistics, it adds layers to its already exciting narrative of last mile affordable transportation. However, reality has a far greater number of nuances that meet the eyes. I dig deep into the reality and nuances of micro-mobility and bicycle powered last mile delivery business in Bangladesh here.
4. Fatal Founder Distractions
Distractions kill far greater numbers of early-stage companies than any other ailment. Founders are smart people. They don’t get distracted easily. But when they do, they offer sensible explanations to themselves and others. That’s precisely why many distractions that founders get attracted to eventually turn fatal. In this essay, I take an attempt at understanding some of common fatal distractions early-stage founders suffer. The defining nature of all these distractions is that they give you a false sense of progress. You feel like you are doing something important and moving forward but in reality, you are not. This is precisely why these distractions are fatal. Read the essay here.
In most instances, action brings inspiration. Rarely the other way around. If you are particularly not feeling like doing that particular task or approach that project, you don’t lack inspiration, you lack action. Break it down and take action. The extent does not matter. If you want to write an essay, don’t wait up for the inspiration to come, write that first shitty draft. Then edit it. Edit it again. By the time you feel inspired, you will have a pretty good draft ready. If you can develop the disciple of getting to work regardless of how you feel, you can get almost anything done. If you still lack inspiration, I recommend you read Steven Pressfield’s The war of art.
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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 [email protected]