Living on Purpose

by Khaled Hussein

CTO & Co-Founder of Tilt

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An athletic perspective on entrepreneurship

Being a competitive athlete from such a young age has definitely shaped my life in many ways. TaeKwonDo taught me discipline, losing changed my understanding of winning, and attempting to stay a winner taught me that there is always room for improvement. It is fascinating how all of these lessons map directly to entrepreneurship.

A huge factor of being a successful competitive athlete is discipline. Serious athletes have an insane amount of discipline to be able to workout every single day and to stick to their rigorous diet. Entrepreneurship is no different. Entrepreneurs are usually passionate, but passion can fade over time. If the entrepreneurs are not disciplined, they’ll lose focus easily and may mean the end of the startup. In the early days of Tilt, we had one line in the entire homepage of our internal Mission Control system that said:

Passion is not enough. DISCIPLINE.

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Who do you spend most of your time with?

You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. -Jim Rohn

About a year ago, I started developing a huge passion to truly understand the world we live in and seek the truth behind it all. Back then, most of the people I spent the majority of my time with didn’t have the same interest. So, I needed to go on the journey of finding communities that share the same passion.

My first step was to go to reddit, and it was very successful to say the least. One lead from reddit, led me to a whole bunch of leads in other offline communities, and the circles kept expanding from there. I started spending most of my time, with some individuals in these communities to learn from them as much as I can. I learned a ton from everyone I met, but then I got to a point where I realized that I am truly learning from one or two people. The problem was that these individuals are super busy...

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Why is it hard for me to blog?

I’ve always struggled with blogging, as you can tell from looking at the blog’s archive. It wasn’t easy publishing a post even once a year :). So I started talking to some friends about how hard it feels to maintain a steady stream of blog posts. You know what I got back?

“I have so many ideas, but I can’t really get myself to sit down and write them in a blog.”, "I love writing, and I have a ton of ideas, but I just don’t have the time to do so”, “My opinions change all the time, so I don’t want to publish something, then go correct it.”

So I wanted to take a hard look at this and really try to figure out why is it hard for my friends and I to maintain an interesting blog.

Some say blogging is hard because of the lack of interesting ideas. Deep down, I believe we constantly gain knowledge and wisdom throughout our daily experiences. Sometimes, we may not know how to articulate this...

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Learning anything new

This post outlines some of the steps that I take to learn anything new. I wanted to sum them up in one place so it serves as a reference and a reminder for me in the journey of self improvement.

Method

  • Make sure that you have clear intentions on why you want to do this. Intentions matter significantly. If you can’t articulate and state your intentions clearly, then save yourself the effort of even attempting to learn the skill.

  • Accept the fact that you are going to fail and struggle at learning any new skill in the beginning. You’ll get better with time and practice. So, embrace the “failure” and realize that it is simply a step towards the success.

  • Study the best. Identify the masters of the skill, watch them at work, and take notes.

  • Research. Educate yourself as much as you can. Study different schools of thought with an open mind. That way you can form your own informed opinion.

  • ...

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The one lesson every entrepreneur should learn

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” -Winston Churchill

STOP BEING AFRAID OF FAILURE

We’ve been conditioned to fear failure. We are trained to seek validation before taking any actions. We are told that inaction is better than failure. I think we should start to seriously challenge that mindset.

You spend the first 22 years or so of your life, if not more, trying incredibly hard to “succeed” in school. You assumed that getting an “A” in class meant success. If you ever got a “D” or an “F”, it wouldn’t be a good day at home. Sadly this behavior is predominant not only in school, but in our social lives as well. We still seek validation before taking action. We are so afraid of rejection – think about asking an attractive person out, or giving a speech to an audience. We are trained, year after year, that there is no value in failure....

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Why did I choose perl when building Tilt?

At Tilt most of our system has been built using Perl. When I get asked about our technolog stack and mention Perl, I often get surprised looks followed by “Oh! wow, why?” :). In this post, I will outline some of the most important reasons we chose to go with Perl, and hopefully clarify some of the misconceptions surrounding Perl and the Perl community.

While it is enough that I have a blast using Perl and love the people in the Perl community, here is my attempt to explain a few of the reasons why my team and I decided to use Perl to build Tilt:

  1. We needed to move fast.
    Tilt is a young startup that is very passionate about enabling users to leverage the power of collaborative consumption models. We needed to move really fast and provide a highly scalable, extensible, and maintainable product to our customers to enable them to pool money together. Using Perl Dancer and CPAN, we were...

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