How to Succeed? - 138 Pyramids

How to Succeed?

January 5, 2017

2017, by many, is being predicted as a difficult year around the world, with several political and economic challenges. However, I look at our Egypt and can only see the potential.  With so many challenges entrepreneurship is born to fill in the gaps. Hence, my inspiration comes from my daily meetings with entrepreneurs who are coming up with implementable ideas, using the vast data available at our fingertips today. Kevin Roberts -CEO Worldwide & Chairman 1997-2016, Saatchi & Saatchi – one of the world’s leading creative organizations, gives an inspirational leadership “Lovemarks” presentation saying “Dreams are about reaching the stars and not counting them & dreams are at the heart of all great endeavors”. Hence, I also dream of playing but a small part in the overall ecosystem of the Egyptian entrepreneurship scene and hoping I and 138 Pyramids with its great team can make a difference.


What is success and how can one achieve it?

There is never an end to success, as long as we live we shall aspire to perfect at whatever we do or aim and with it success comes in various forms and shapes; can be in material rewards, fame or sense of doing great good. Success is also very subjective, differs from one person to the other based on the form that he or she aim to achieve.

Winston Churchill said “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm”…. But why assume failure? Assuming one can fail gives you the courage to start your business journey, believing you can achieve your ambition knowing that there are risks inherent.

So what is business? Business is:

  1. Creating shareholder value
  2. Creating and growing a customer
  3. Making the world a better place for everyone

As an entrepreneur I have found it always best to take a role model to follow, be it an institution I respect and would like to emulate it’s Egyptian format or an idol in business from whom I capture some of the learning’s to help me build what I have set out to do. Instead of beginning from scratch, looking for these role models helped me commence where the others may have reached…a good place to start, to apply in Egypt then aim to go beyond our borders.

So over the years and with every business I have established, I have read about that specific industry, its leaders and idols, as well as attended numerous executive courses to learn more and apply the best practices to reflect upon to implement my version of what I would hope to achieve. Over 2017 I shall use some of the most useful readings and name some of the Institutions and Idols I took as role models, explaining why I chose them and what were the lessons I learnt hoping that you may benefit from.

I would like to commence by one of my favorite role models and who to many is a real inspirational business idol “Steve Jobs”. Although, with reservations on his human management skills, yet there has never been anyone who has disrupted the world with his vision to perfect what already existed. To me Jobs legacy at every step of the way is a lesson in how best to succeed. Many books have been written as 101 lessons learnt from top CEOs of the world, however, I would like to use this blog to emphasize what stuck with me pertaining to Jobs:


Lesson 1:

Jobs was neither a hardware engineer nor a software programmer, nor did he even complete his university education and he didn’t think of himself as a manager. He considered himself a technology leader, choosing the best people possible, encouraging and prodding them, and making the final call on product design. We can be whatever we put our heart and energy at. “Creative Leaders are purpose driven”


Lesson 2:

Jobs is considered the greatest inventor of the 20th and early 21st centuries with 317 patents in his name, but in reality never invented anything. He saw what other people had, recognized there is potential in already existing products and went out to perfect them then sell them back to the world. Invention does not mean starting from the lab or the sketch board. “You don’t have to innovate to be an innovator”


Lesson 3:

Jobs’s genius lay in his ability to simplify the complex. He put himself in the consumer shoes and decided it was not their job to know what they want but that he would provide what he saw best for them. It is more difficult to make simple products but the value is higher & more useable and scalable. “Creative Leaders create a Winning Culture”


Lesson 4:

Quote: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. … Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” Unquote… Steve Jobs. Why not try? “Fail Fast, Learn Fast and Fix Fast…Why wait”


Lesson 5:

“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. “In Jobs commencement address for the senior class at Stanford University, he encouraged students to follow their own dreams and not to get caught up in living someone else’s life.

He came up with the motto to “Think Different” and no where more than the tech revolution we are witnessing the ability of disruptive technology overtaking mainstream old businesses; UBER is the world’s largest online transportation network company that owns no cars, AirBnB is the world’s largest community driven hospitality company that doesn’t own a single room and Alibaba is the world’s largest hyper market that does not own any stores. Many others are already operative, with the sharing economy finding disruptive new ideas. “Think Different”


Lesson 6:

Dr. Edwin Catmull the co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and now President of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, working with Steve Jobs said “You need a lot more than vision — you need stubbornness, tenacity, belief and patience to stay the course”.

“Ideas are the currency of today but it is all about successful implementation…stay the course”  


I would like to end on a philosophical note;The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach full potential…these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence” Confucius

Have a great year full of many successes and bright new disruptive ideas to make our Egypt the most conducive environment for budding entrepreneurs.

Neveen El Tahri

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