In the introduction of their beautiful book Art and Fear, David Bayles and Ted Orland write: “This book is about making art. Ordinary art. Ordinary art means something like: all art not made by Mozart. After all, art is rarely made by Mozart-like people — essentially (statistically speaking) there are not any people like that. But while geniuses may get made once-a-century or so, good art gets made all the time. Making art is a common and intimately human activity, filled with all the perils (and rewards) that accompany any worthwhile effort. The difficulties artmakers face are not remote and heroic, but universal and familiar.”
‘Ordinary’ is the key word here. And I find this true for building organizations as well. While ambition is important, it sometimes can be a nonstarter. It can cause unnecessary fear and make us doubt our ability to create. Unrealistic standards are anti-growth. It is why many people don’t start—be it a company, an art project, or an essay.
We think if we are doing something ordinary, it is not worthwhile. That’s a wrong heuristic. The right one is simpler: ordinary is beautiful. Start small. Let go of the idea that your company has to raise millions in funding. Let go of the idea that you have to build the next unicorn. Not to say dream small, if it is easier to navigate, act small. That's more about it. Build an SME if that’s more approachable at the beginning. Although billion dollar companies often get all the PR, it is small guys that make the world work.
Today’s edition features 05 stories. On to the updates:
I. Gazi Raffan on how BanglaMeds got acquired by Chaldal, Chaldal’s pharmacy ambition, and business of online pharmacy (Part I)
Gazi Raffan is the founder and CEO of BanglaMeds, a fully-owned subsidiary of Chaldal. Founded in 2017, BanglaMeds is one of the earliest players in the vertical. The company was fully acquired by Chaldal in 2021, Bangladesh’s largest online grocery startup, in a cash and stock deal. Mr. Raffan joined Chaldal as the CEO of BanglaMeds after the deal. BanglaMeds continues to operate as a fully-owned independent subsidiary of Chaldal.
In this fascinating interview with Mr. Raffan, we talk about the acquisition of BanglaMeds by Chaldal, Chaldal’s online medicine delivery ambition, the secrets of the online pharmacy business, and much more. Read.
II. Bonik raises pre-seed investment, eyes product improvement and growth
Chattogram-based startup Bonik announced that it has raised $47,000 in pre-seed investment from prolific angel investor Mohammad Maaz, managing director of Steeltech Industries Limited.
Founded by Salman Saafi (CEO), Jonayed Tanjim (COO), and Atikur Rahaman (CTO), Bonik describes itself as a “mobile-first, no-code digital tools for small businesses to get online in minutes from smartphones and run online businesses without thinking to manage technology.” In a simpler term, the company enables SMEs to launch their e-commerce store within minutes using its mobile app. Read.
III. Mufti Yousuf Sultan: Halal and sustainable economic model, startup funding, personal growth and productivity, and good life (Part II)
Mufti Yousuf Sultan is the co-founder of IFA Consultancy, a pioneer institution in Bangladesh that provides training and consultancy on Islamic finance, aiming toward a Halal and Sustainable Economy.
In this final part of our interview with Mr. Yousuf, we discuss a wide range of topics including the halal funding framework for startups, shariah compliance framework organizations, the discontent with the current economic model, and what a Halal and sustainable economic model can offer, the Islamic financial products and services market landscape in Bangladesh, the relationship between Halal and sustainable Economy, the heart of productivity, the science of learning new things, finding contentment in life, dealing with the trials and dissatisfactions of life, why it is critical to have a mission larger than yourself, and much more. Read.
IV. These Four Startups are Looking to Change Apparel Manufacturing, Ecommerce, EdTech, and Space Rental in Bangladesh and Beyond
We have seen an influx of new fascinating startups in Dhaka's startup scene over the last few years tackling challenges in a variety of verticals including garment manufacturing, ecommerce, online education, and space rental, among others.
Many of these companies are doing unique work such as Nitex, a sustainable apparel manufacturer that manages the complete supply chain, from design to manufacturing to shipping, for small clothing brands and individual entrepreneurs.
Others are part of global meta trends such as EdTech, space rental, and digital commerce. Read.
V. What Founders Can Learn From Athletes and Artists
In their beautiful book Art and Fear, David Bayles and Ted Orland offer a simple recommendation for doing good work. The authors suggest if you want to do high-quality work, you have to do a lot of not-so-good quality work. If you try to achieve quality at one go, you will not succeed. Read.
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Ramen profitable by Paul Graham. Link.
Are you playing to play or playing to win? Link
Slow down, it’s what your brain has been begging for. Link
Recent podcast episode I enjoyed; Lex Friedman x Rick Rubin. Link
Book I’m currently reading: Getting the love you want: A guide for couples. Link
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