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FS Weekly No. 38: Psychology of consistency

Hi there: 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. If you are enjoying this, feel free to share with other good people.

Consistency is how we build things. Consistency produces results. Consistency produces quality. It is how we get anything done. You don’t write a book or build an organization overnight. It is done over time. You can’t do a lot at once. It is an aspirational goal but infeasible for humans. But if you do a little every day, you don’t need to do a lot at once. We know if we are consistent we will accomplish great things. Despite the knowledge, we fail to be consistent in our actions and ambition. 

It is worth examining the reasons. First, we think that we can’t achieve great things by doing small things. We somehow have to find a way to do more at once. A solid path to disaster. 

Second, we often misunderstand the scope. We set a scope that is beyond our capacity. We want to get a lot done at once. We set goals that exhaust and demotivate us. 

To give an example, how many tasks do you have on your to-do list now. I assume more than you can chew. That’s scoping. You have more things to do than you can in a day. Naturally, you fail to finish all your tasks. In enough days like this, you will give up maintaining a to-do list. A better approach would have been to learn from your failure to finish your to-do list and re-scope according to what is doable. 

One path to consistency is taking small actions. Break down your big goals and reduce them into small and approachable ones. If you want to go from 1 to 500, don’t try to do it all at once or even in five 100 steps. Instead, go from 1o to 10, then 10 to 20, and so on. When you break down your big goal into smaller ones, your chance of failure reduces. Small wins will motivate you to keep going. Contrary to that, if you choose a big goal and fail to achieve it a few times, it will sap your motivation. 

The second condition for consistency is trusting the process. Often we are too outcome-oriented. But results come from our actions. When we are too preoccupied with the outcome, we lose interest in action. The incremental process appears as no progress to us. It demotivates us from taking further action. Instead, focus on the action and trust the process. 

The third condition is tolerance for setbacks and failure. Every journey suffers failures. But you must have a high tolerance for failure if you want to be consistent. 

In today’s newsletter, our interview with IFA Consultancy co-founder Yousuf Sultan offers an excellent insight into how consistency works in practice. 

There is a ton to learn from IFAC and Mr. Yousuf. However, the most important lesson I take is the lesson of consistency. Keep your goal front and center and move incrementally towards it. You don’t look for a grand strategy, to get big things done. Instead, you set small goals and keep them going. 

In today’s edition, we feature 05 stories. On to the updates: 

I. Regional accelerator programs become key players in Bangladesh’s growing startup ecosystem

Several regional and global incubator and accelerator programs have come to play an important role in Bangladesh’s fast-growing startup ecosystem. Programs like Accelerating Asia, Iterative, and Surge have supported and funded a good number of Bangladeshi startups over the last several years. For now, it seems to be the most sure-fire path to meaningful funding opportunities for Bangladeshi startups. Read.

II. Agritech startup iFarmer raises $2.1 million in new funding, eyes expansion 

iFarmer, a full-stack agriculture platform that provides services to farmers, Agri-input retailers, and buyers of Agri produce, has raised $2.1 million in a new financing round as the company looks to maintain its accelerated growth and expand across the country. 

The round was led by IDLC Venture Capital Fund, the VC arm of IDLC Finance, with participation from Millville Opportunities, a New York-based hedge fund, and Startup Bangladesh Limited, the Bangladesh Government-funded VC firm. Read

III. How iFarmer was created and lessons in finding product-market fit

The journey of iFarmer from an initially failed idea to a successful pivot to product-market-fit is a textbook case of how ideas evolve and how the tenacity of founders contributes to the eventual success of startups. The path to product-market-fit is often a circuitous one. You need to have the courage to take the plunge and change when you hit the wall. Read

IV. Interview: IFA Consultancy Co-founder Mufti Yousuf Sultan on Islamic finance, venture capital, and the making of IFA Consultancy (Part I)

Mufti Yousuf Sultan is the co-founder of IFA Consultancy, a pioneering institution in Bangladesh that provides training and consultancy on Islamic finance, aiming toward a Halal and Sustainable Economy. 

In this fascinating interview with Future Startup’s Ruhul Kader, Mr. Yousuf talks about his journey to what he is doing today, the origin of IFA Consultancy, Islamic finance and venture capital, the history of Islamic finance, the origin and making of IFA Consultancy, the challenges of building an Islamic finance education and services company in Bangladesh, how IFA Consultancy works as an organization, the metaphysics of growth, the ambition of IFA Consultancy, the real measure of success and much more. Read.

V. Indonesian social commerce startup Super raises $70M in new investment, eyes expansion 

Indonesian social commerce startup Super announced that it has raised a US$70 million oversubscribed Series C round. The round was led by NEA with additional investment from Insignia Ventures Partners, SoftBank Ventures Asia, DST Global Partners, Amasia, B Capital, TNB Aura, the Chairman of Bain Capital Stephen Pagliuca, the Former General Partner of Kleiner Perkins Eric Feng's Goldhouse, and Xendit CEO Moses Lo. The start-up has raised US$106 million to date, making Super the most funded Indonesian social commerce company to date. Read

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Other interesting ideas 

Derek Sivers is one of my favorite authors. And Derek reads hundreds of books. Here are his notes. Link

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Why Netflix should sell ads. Of course Ben Thomson. Link

Book currently reading: 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing by Gary Provost. Link


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Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at [email protected]

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