FASTer - Issue #134

Finding 💡 in the Darkest of Moments

In these challenging economic times, it's essential to remember that some of the greatest victories emerge when all seems lost. In the world of business, we often face periods of darkness, uncertainty, and dwindling hope. It's during these moments that we need to draw inspiration from unlikely sources, such as the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali.

In January 1981, Ali showcased a side of himself that had nothing to do with boxing, yet it was a defining moment in his legacy. A man stood on the edge of a building in Los Angeles, threatening to jump. The police negotiators were at a loss, unable to convince him to change his mind. Ali happened to be nearby, and he volunteered to help.

Ali's iconic charisma and the sheer force of his personality worked like magic. The man recognized Ali and started to listen. Ali didn't just say the right words; he exuded empathy and genuine care. He assured the man that he was loved, that there was hope, and much to live for. In the end, Ali's words had a profound impact, and the man chose life over despair.

Here's the lesson for entrepreneurs and founders in these uncertain times: the darkest moments often precede the brightest victories. Just like Muhammad Ali, we must remember that when we face seemingly insurmountable challenges, there is always hope. It's easy to get caught up in the difficulties and uncertainties, but it's during these moments that true innovation and resilience shine.

  1. Adapt and Overcome: Entrepreneurs are no strangers to adversity. We must learn to adapt to changing circumstances, pivot when necessary, and find new solutions to our problems. Remember that Ali himself faced incredible adversity, including a temporary ban from boxing and political challenges, but he emerged stronger.

  2. Leverage Your Network: Ali used his fame and presence to save a life that day. Similarly, entrepreneurs can lean on their networks and communities for support, guidance, and opportunities. Collaboration and reaching out to others can make a world of difference.

  3. Believe in the Power of Empathy: Ali didn't just recite empty platitudes; he genuinely connected with the man in distress. In business, empathy can set you apart. Understand your customers, employees, and partners on a deeper level. Show them that you genuinely care about their well-being.

  4. Resilience and Perseverance: Muhammad Ali's career was marked by his resilience. He faced numerous setbacks and defeats, yet he always returned to the ring, ready to fight again. Entrepreneurs must develop similar resilience, not letting failures or dark moments define their journey.

In these tough economic times, take a page out of Ali's book. When all seems lost, when darkness surrounds you, remember that the seeds of success often sprout in adversity. Embrace the challenge, and like Ali, show the world that your fighting spirit has applications far beyond business. Your determination, empathy, and resilience can lead to the most remarkable victories.

Keep fighting for your dreams, and let the story of Muhammad Ali remind you that even in the darkest of moments, the outcome can be better than you ever imagined.

Wishing you strength, resilience, and boundless success on your entrepreneurial journey.


Our outcomes are drowning in a sea of information over load. I read a twitter thread that led me to believe that Finding Your North Star Amid the Information Sea is a critical skill for better outcomes.

Every day, we're bombarded with information, and it's no different for founders like you. The digital age has brought us a staggering amount of data, news, and trends. It's easy to feel like we must keep up with everything, but in reality, it's not only unrealistic but also counterproductive.

The Challenge: Information Overload

In our fast-paced world, staying updated with the latest happenings is almost a social obligation. But in 2023, the saying "Ignorance is bliss" takes a sarcastic twist. It's a reminder that labeling someone as ignorant for not being caught up in every trend is misguided.

Flipping the Script on Shaming Ignorance

The world we live in uses "bliss" as a tool for shaming, and it's an indicator of how things have been turned upside down. The reality is, there's no way to absorb even a tiny fraction of the countless events occurring each day.

A Fun Twist to Deal with Critics

When someone challenges you for not knowing about the latest trends, try this fun hack: Ask them about the current situation in lesser-known places like South Sudan or Laos. You'll likely find they don't know much about these places, if they even knew they existed, exposing their own ignorance. It's an irony that reveals that their criticism is not about combating ignorance but rather about control.

Unveiling the Paradox of Shaming Ignorance

Interestingly, those who shame others for not keeping up with trends are often unaware of their own ignorance. It's a classic case of not realizing the extent of what you don't know.

Navigating the Age of Information Overload

Now, let's introduce the concept of crafting your "information diet" in terms that entrepreneurs can relate to.

1. The "Info Buffet" Approach

  • This is the approach where you're constantly swayed by what everyone else is doing.

  • You consume whatever's trending, following the loudest voices and algorithm-driven recommendations.

  • It's an approach that keeps you entangled in an endless sea of information, expecting you to always have an opinion.

  • It may seem like you're staying informed, but in reality, you're getting overwhelmed and understanding very little.

2. The "Laser Focus" Strategy

  • This is a more calculated approach guided by your own goals and intentions.

  • You set clear boundaries for the information you allow into your world, recognizing the scarcity of your attention.

  • You actively seek out information from reliable sources and filter out the noise.

  • Instead of fearing the admission of "I don't know," you embrace it, as it signifies a commitment to quality over quantity.

In Conclusion: Chart Your Course

As entrepreneurs, we're all navigating the same information-drenched sea. It's not about trying to outdo everyone else but rather about outdoing your past self. Choose your path: either be lost in the "info buffet," or chart your course with "laser focus." In the age of data abundance, finding your North Star means staying true to your mission and doing better on your own journey, without getting swept away by the information tsunami. The real win, is winning against the algo and your ego to accept that it is ok to not know and not being ashamed.

One New Thing That I Learned Today

Texas A&M University offers a class on Texas Barbecue that teaches the history of BBQ, cooking methodology, flavorings and seasonings, and different types of BBQ. The class is offered in the fall and is held on Friday afternoons. Link here for details.

Boring Stuff That Scales

Other peoples lessons and advice. So I came across an amazing book The 38 Letters from J.D. Rockefeller to His Son. Without being in violation of other peoples copyrights and still sharing how that advice scales, I read an exceptional twitter thread on the subject. If you read one good thing this week, this has to be it.

What You Should Be Watching

The Rise And Fall Of Nokia Mobile.

With Nokia’s innovations, Finland was steered out of depression and into the leadership of the cell phone world. In 2013 Nokia’s mobile phone business was sold to Microsoft; what were the decisions that led to the demise of one of the most successful technology businesses of modern times? A story told from the perspective of the inventors and engineers who worked in the mobile phone business during its heyday.

Monetize your time - at any age

By learning and using frameworks. One such framework the PARA method, which helps bring order to chaos by Tiago Forte, was introduced in his online course "Building a Second Brain." The method is designed to help individuals manage and organize their digital information effectively. PARA stands for:

  1. Projects: These are the top-level categories in your life. Projects are typically long-term, and they encompass a wide range of related tasks and resources. They're often things you're actively working on or maintaining, such as a work project, a personal goal, or a hobby.

  2. Areas: Areas are broader categories that encompass multiple projects. They represent different aspects of your life that require ongoing attention and maintenance. Examples of areas might include career, health, personal development, or family.

  3. Resources: This category includes the materials, references, and information sources that support your projects and areas. Resources can be documents, books, articles, websites, and any other information you need to access regularly.

  4. Archives: Archives are for items that are completed or no longer relevant to your current projects and areas but may still be valuable for future reference. This could include old projects, finished reports, or past research.

Let's consider a practical example of how the PARA method might be applied:

1. Projects: Let's say you're a marketing manager, and you have several ongoing projects at work. Your "Projects" category might include:

  • New Product Launch

  • Content Marketing Strategy

  • Sales Funnel Optimization

Under each project, you'd have a list of tasks, deadlines, and relevant documents.

2. Areas: In your personal life, you might have different areas you're actively managing. Some of your "Areas" could include:

  • Health and Fitness

  • Home Renovation

  • Education (if you're taking a course or studying)

Under each area, you'd track your goals, progress, and any tasks or information related to that aspect of your life.

3. Resources: Within the "Resources" category, you'd store information, references, and materials that are important but not tied to a specific project or area. This might include:

  • Marketing ebooks and articles

  • Health and fitness guides

  • Home renovation guides and inspiration

  • Educational resources and textbooks

You can easily access these materials when needed for your various projects and areas.

4. Archives: As projects and tasks are completed, or if an area of focus changes, you would move items to the "Archives." For instance:

  • Completed project documents

  • Previous health and fitness plans

  • Records of finished home renovation projects

  • Courses or study materials you've finished

This keeps your active workspace clutter-free and makes it easier to find current and relevant information.

The PARA method is used in conjunction with digital note-taking tools and organization systems like Evernote, Notion, or Roam Research to keep track of your digital information. It aims to make it easier to find and access relevant information, reduce digital clutter, and ensure that you have a clear structure for your knowledge and tasks, it's particularly useful for knowledge workers, researchers, students, and anyone dealing with a substantial amount of digital information.

One Last Thing

The Library Map helps you find new reads by grouping similar books together. For me personally its the best find this year. Check it out at

Bonus! Thought(s) of the week

Just like I’m a huge proponent of small data, similarly there is some thing spectacular about photomicrography. The Nikon Small World Competition first began in 1975 as a means to recognize and applaud the efforts of those involved with photography through the light microscope. Since then, Small World has become a leading showcase for photomicrographers from the widest array of scientific disciplines. To understand some thing big and to understand outcomes at scale, you must start small.