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FS Weekly No. 36: Don’t let one mistake turn into a downward spiral

I'm Ruhul. I convene Future Startup Weekly to help you understand entrepreneurship and the technology landscape in Bangladesh and beyond. You are receiving this email because you subscribed to our newsletter. And if you are new here, you can subscribe here. 

A downward spiral has a simple trajectory. It starts small with one mistake that we either overlook or makes us so nervous that we turn one mistake into many and never recover from it. We all have experiences of events that got out of control and landed into a rapid downward spiral to never recover again. 

In an illuminating chapter of his excellent book The Art of Learning, Josh Waitzkin explains how a downward spiral begins and offers practical insight into dealing with one. According to Waitzkin, a downward spiral begins when we stop living in the present moment and allow one mistake to turn into multiple mistakes. 

There is a clear psychological path to how this happens particularly when it involves some kind of performance pressure. When we make mistakes, we immediately become self-conscious. We become nervous. Our breaths get heavier. Our heart moves faster. Our palms sweat. If you are in a stressful position where you need to perform or make a good decision, this sense of nervousness is not a good sign. Psychological distress leads to bad decisions. Instead of thinking clearly and trying to understand and acknowledge your mistake, you make suboptimal decisions and subsequently turn your one mistake into a series of mistakes. 

Waitzkin explains why our mind goes overboard when we make a small error and how our inability to relax into our errors and see them for what they are clouds our judgment and costs us dearly. To read how to avoid a downward spiral, read

In today's edition of FS Weekly, we feature 05 stories. Find them below.


I. Interview: Monsurul Aziz on the future of brands, change, and internet culture in Bangladesh 

Monsurul Aziz heads Corporate Communication at Nagad, Bangladesh’s second-largest MFS player. In this candid conversation with Future Startup’s Ruhul Kader, Mr. Aziz shares his journey to what he is doing today, discusses the nature of market and organization, building future proof companies, change as the defining nature of our time, internet culture in Bangladesh, brands in the age of internet and social media, future of communication, cultural imperatives for building meaningful brands and the critical importance of community in the future of brand building and much more. The entire conversation is full of fascinating nuggets of insights.

II. Halda Valley Food and Beverage Managing Director Shamim Khan on what worked for the company in the early days

Shamim Khan is the Founder and Managing Director of Halda Valley Food and Beverage Ltd. In an interview with Future Startup published in 2021, Shamim shared some of the organic strategies the company used to find growth in its early growth. We illustrate the strategies for you below.

III. CodeCrafters CEO Ellis Miller on building a stable operation in the early days of a business, managing the self, and valuing people

Ellis Miller is the co-founder and Managing Director of CodeCrafters International, a Dhaka-based international technology development company. Founded in 2007 by Ellis and Lynita Miller, CodeCrafters provides customized software solutions to businesses in the USA and other parts of the world. In an interview with FS published in 2021, Ellis shared some of the most important lessons he has learned from his journey so far on building a stable operation in the early days of a business, managing the self, and the importance of valuing people, we distill the lessons for you here.

IV. Josh Waitzkin on how not to let one mistake turn into a downward spiral

“When we cling to the troubling emotions that result from an obstacle or loss, we abandon the present for the past. In short order, we find ourselves using our personal resources to wage an internal war instead of using them to handle what is going on now and move forward. By focusing on a past problem it becomes easy to believe that things have taken a turn for the worse. In not being awake to the present, we magnify the original loss, allowing it to produce a ripple effect of additional problems. These, in turn, take us even further off a course of growth. We must stay cool under fire and fully in the present to glean the most we can from every experience and achieve success.”

V. Interview: AmarLab CEO Tazin Shadid on building a pioneering at-home pathology test services company in Bangladesh

Amarlab is an on-demand at-home pathology service company. Founded in 2017, the company has experienced excellent growth within a short period of time. We recently sat down with Amarlab co-founder and CEO Tazin Shadid to understand where the company stands today, its evolution, growth, and strategic ambition. We discuss Amarlab’s product, team, business, strategic direction, growth, priorities, fundraising, challenges, culture, and much more.


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Other interesting ideas 

Book: The coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt. Link (note: Beautifully written. Excellent read.) 

A Founder’s Manifesto. Link

Top idea in your mind (Paul Graham). Link

Book review: Raise a genius. Link

A16z new state of the crypto report. Link. 

Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based writer, researcher, and entrepreneur. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Future Startup and the author of Rethinking Failure: A short guide to living an entrepreneurial life. He writes about entrepreneurship, business, strategy, technology, and culture. He can be reached at [email protected]

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