FASTer - Issue #141

Seed of Hope 🌱

The world feels uncertain. War rages in different corners, economies teeter on the brink, and political landscapes seem increasingly volatile. For young people everywhere, the future may appear bleak, especially for those disillusioned by the policies and actions of their governments.

However, amidst this global turmoil, a flicker of hope ignites: the spirit of entrepreneurship. It's a force that transcends borders and circumstances, empowering individuals to take control and forge their own paths, regardless of external challenges.

Today, I want to share the story of Hamdi Ulukaya, a Kurdish refugee who turned yogurt into a multi-billion dollar empire. His journey, born out of displacement and uncertainty, is a testament to the human spirit's resilience and the transformative power of entrepreneurship.

Forced to flee his home in Turkey due to political persecution, Ulukaya arrived in the United States with just $3,000 and a dream. He found himself working at a small yogurt factory in upstate New York, a far cry from the life he envisioned. However, instead of succumbing to despair, he saw an opportunity.

Ulukaya recognized the potential of Greek yogurt, then a relatively unknown product in the American market. He saw a chance to create a delicious and healthy product while also providing jobs and economic stability to his local community.

With unwavering determination and a keen eye for business, Ulukaya transformed the struggling yogurt factory into Chobani, a global brand that revolutionized the yogurt industry. Today, Chobani employs thousands of people, generates billions of dollars in revenue, and has made Ulukaya one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world.

But Ulukaya's story goes beyond mere financial success. He has remained true to his roots, using his platform and resources to empower others. He has established a foundation dedicated to supporting refugees and fostering understanding across cultures.

Hamdi Ulukaya's journey serves as a powerful inspiration for young people around the world, especially those disillusioned by the state of the world. It demonstrates that even in the most challenging circumstances, individual agency and entrepreneurial spirit can create positive change.

For those of you feeling lost or discouraged, remember Ulukaya's story. You too have the potential to rise above your circumstances and build a brighter future. Embrace the spirit of entrepreneurship, harness your creativity, and don't let the challenges of the world deter you from pursuing your dreams.

Remember, you are not alone. Countless others have faced similar obstacles and emerged stronger. Learn from their stories, seek inspiration from their successes, and join the global movement of young entrepreneurs who are shaping a better future for themselves and their communities.

The world may seem uncertain, but within you lies the power to create the change you desire. So, go forth, dream big, and be the entrepreneur who ignites hope in the face of adversity.


From High School Dropout to $200 Million Success: Derek Wall's Inspiring Journey

Derek Wall's story is one that resonates with any aspiring young entrepreneur. A high school dropout, he defied expectations and built a $200 million business in just twelve months, all without any outside funding. His journey is not only remarkable but also filled with valuable lessons for anyone embarking on their entrepreneurial adventure.

Building from Scratch:

With limited resources and formal education, Wall relied on his innate drive and resourcefulness. He started small, identifying a gap in the market and finding creative ways to fill it. His first venture, "BuyNow," became a subsidiary of, one of the world's top three internet companies. This early success proved that even without traditional advantages, determination and vision could lead to significant achievements.

Learning from Experience:

Not every venture was a smooth ride. Wall experienced setbacks and failures along the way. However, instead of letting these discourage him, he used them as opportunities for learning and growth. He learned valuable lessons about building teams, managing finances, and navigating the ever-changing landscape of the business world.

Disrupting the Billion Dollar Industry:

Wall's latest venture, HUBX, is poised to revolutionize the trillion-dollar secondary distribution industry. This marketplace platform empowers manufacturers and brands to sell directly to B2B customers, bypassing traditional middlemen and reducing costs. This bold move demonstrates Wall's unwavering commitment to innovation and his belief in disrupting established systems for the greater good.

Lessons for Young Entrepreneurs:

Derek Wall's story offers invaluable insights for anyone starting a business:

  • Believe in yourself: Don't let your background or lack of formal education hold you back. Trust your instincts and pursue your vision with unwavering conviction.

  • Be resourceful: Find creative solutions to problems. Don't be afraid to experiment and take calculated risks.

  • Learn from your mistakes: Every setback is an opportunity for growth. Analyze your failures, learn from them, and come back stronger.

  • Be passionate: When you truly believe in your idea, it will ignite your drive and help you overcome obstacles.

  • Disrupt with purpose: Look for opportunities to challenge the status quo and create positive change in your industry.

Derek Wall's journey is a testament to the power of human potential. His story serves as a beacon of inspiration to young entrepreneurs everywhere, demonstrating that with hard work, dedication, and a touch of audacity, anything is possible.

One New Thing (That you should know)

Get inspired.

As of December 10, 2023, there are a total of 2,640 billionaires in the world, according to Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List. That list is a great place to try and understand the things people do and what makes them the money, to work backwards and find inspiration to start some thing new.

Boring Stuff That Scales

Sandwich Shops.

The origin story of Jimmy John's, as recounted by its founder, is an incredible tale of perseverance and success. Despite facing academic challenges, including dyslexia, and graduating near the bottom of his class, the founder was faced with a pivotal decision from his father: enlist in the Army or start a business. Opting for the entrepreneurial path, he received a modest loan from his father in exchange for a share in the business. After a period of initial difficulties, thorough research, and experimentation, he opened his first sandwich shop in 1983 at just 19 years old. Fast forward to the end of 2022, and Jimmy John's has grown into a formidable force in the sandwich industry, boasting nearly 3,000 locations worldwide. This podcast, featuring an interview with Theo Von, is a must-watch for aspiring entrepreneurs seeking inspiration and insight into the journey of building a successful business.

What You Should Be Watching

A former Perth arts student described as “sublimely talented, witty, smart and unabashedly offensive” in a musical career that has taken the world by storm has been awarded an honorary doctorate by The University of Western Australia. This is his address. Worth every second to watch.

Monetize your time - at any age

Many people believe that entrepreneurship is a young person's game. They imagine fresh-faced college grads with boundless energy and innovative ideas disrupting industries. While there's certainly truth to this stereotype, the reality is that age is no barrier to entrepreneurial success. In fact, some of the most inspiring and impactful business ventures have been launched by individuals later in life.

Dr. Hiroshi Yamauchi (born 1927, Japan): After inheriting Nintendo in his late twenties, Dr. Yamauchi transformed the company from a modest playing card manufacturer into a global video game powerhouse. He recognized the potential of video games and revolutionized the industry with innovative consoles like the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Game Boy. Dr. Yamauchi's leadership and vision shaped the modern video game industry, proving that age and experience can be invaluable assets in driving innovation and business success. He was born in 1927 and inherited Nintendo in his late twenties. Assuming he inherited the company around the age of 28, he would have been around 55 years old when Nintendo released the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1983, and around 66 years old when the Game Boy was released in 1989.

Granted he got a head start by having a business he inherited but it clearly was light years away from the trajectory he put it on. Many years later with hard work and scale.

The central idea being that if you try hard enough you can win what ever you put your mind to.

Here's how you can monetize your time at any age:

  • Identify your passion and skills: What are you truly passionate about? What unique skills and experiences can you leverage to create value for others?

  • Find a market need: Research your target audience and identify a problem or need you can address with your product or service.

  • Start small and scale gradually: Don't be afraid to start small and grow your business organically. Test your ideas and iterate based on customer feedback.

  • Network and build relationships: Connect with other entrepreneurs, mentors, and potential partners. Building a strong network can provide invaluable support and resources.

  • Embrace technology and stay up-to-date: Leverage technology to streamline your operations, reach a wider audience, and stay competitive.

  • Never stop learning: Continuously educate yourself and stay up-to-date on industry trends and developments.

  • Give back to your community: Use your success to make a positive impact on the world around you.

One Last Thing

Idea of the week…

Traditional Local Herbal Supplements/ Elixirs as a productized play.

So heres how I am thinking about it, we are all lazy, we all know and swear by some remedies, for a cough, cold, better sleep, more energy. Across cultures and regions every one has house hold remedies they swear by.

So why is there no “better outcomes” packaged local supplement play? Or looked at differently, can you list the top 5 things you take as natural remedies to a host of health items or know about that you cant buy pre packaged commercially? But would be a user if it were available?

A brew I rely on, with cloves, ginger, turmeric, green tea, cinnamon stick, cardamom and honey in preparation for the onset of flu season or sore throat is some thing that I have to get up and brew in hot water. What if it came as a tea bag or sachet? You may not believe in my elixir but you may have your own, which is much better. This is the lazy grab and go segment. Find things that we have access to commonly in a market and build a grab and go option. This week think about what you can make grab and go that is not too perishable and shelf stable in its existing form.

Bonus! Thought(s) of the week

Speaking of Nintendo….The Nintendo 64 was released closer to the moon landing than the present day. The Nintendo 64 was released in Japan on June 23, 1996, and in North America on September 29, 1996. It was released in Europe on March 1, 1997.

On July 20, 1969, millions of people gathered around their televisions to watch two U.S. astronauts do something no one had ever done before. Wearing bulky space suits and backpacks of oxygen to breathe, Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first human beings to walk on the moon.

9,835 days

Days between July 20, 1969 to June 23 1996

10,032 days

Days between June 23 1996 to Today