Below are some FAQs. But if you don’t see your question below, feel free to connect with me below. We’ll get back to you soon!
As a young multipreneur, I have been driven by a desire to create purpose-driven businesses. I am the founder and CEO of four companies that reflect the belief that entrepreneurship is an opportunity to help others achieve their own success. I also choose to invest in companies which prioritize disruptive green innovation and marketplaces that improve the lives of participants. I believe young entrepreneurs driven by a desire to make the world a better place should build portfolios of businesses which are focused on improving social and environmental realities.
Many young entrepreneurs are engaged in exciting, purpose-driven projects but lack a platform to connect with audiences specifically interested in purposeful business. At the same time, many young entrepreneurs may not understand how to integrate purpose-driven efforts into their own brand, and need inspiration. It’s time to inspire young creatives and entrepreneurs to add purpose-driven projects to their portfolios while also adding a human face to successful entrepreneurship and reigniting startup aspirational culture post-2020.By showcasing purpose-driven projects, NextPlay humanizes and elevates successful innovators doing good while inspiring a new generation of thought leaders to prioritize purpose.
Civil discourse refers to polite argumentation, where all participants act with the intent of finding truth or producing mutually-beneficial results. It’s a vital element of open, innovative, and democratic societies: civil discourse allows for the exchange of ideas across different groups. Our society has grown far too complacent and accepting of uncivil discourse, focusing less on ideas and respect and more on clicks and polarization. It’s important to work towards empathy, understanding, and respectful discourse in order to address the challenges of tomorrow – social, environmental, technological, biological, and more. If you want to learn more about civil discourse, check out The Doe, a company I founded to promote civil discourse through bias reduction and the promotion of empathy through narratives.
Right now, all of my companies are self-funded. Why? Because I didn’t just wake up one morning with a fully-formed plan about how I was going to build a startup. One day, I started researching and building solutions to problems I saw: the problems and solutions were the focus. Brick by brick, they suddenly went from being ideas in my head that I worked on from my dorm room, to staffed teams across the globe. As the ideas have grown, I realized that I can’t single-handedly fund these companies and teams forever. Thus, we’ve begun the processes of planning and looking for partnerships to fundraise in the coming year. We’re keen on finding the right backers who share and support our vision. Check back here in the future to see updates!
As a kid growing up in Silicon Valley, I was able to watch firsthand how both successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurs approached business. I spent my youth building backyard businesses and learning everything I could as part of Gen-Z and the youtube generation: reading, networking, talking to fellow young entrepreneurs, and developing skills as a leader.
My greatest skill lies in my ability to recognize my own shortcomings. To me, this means having the wisdom to know my limits and not pursue my business endeavours alone, and I am incredibly proud of the hardworking, innovative, purpose-driven teams that I have built at each company. These talented individuals come together and help me build excellent solutions for the world, and I am constantly proud of their determination, dedication, and ingenuity. We can all trust the excellence of what we are building together.
I am a high energy creator who is at my most innovative when I am balancing multiple projects. On any given day, each of my companies has different needs, and so I divide my time according to the dynamics of each company's workflow. My time is always dictated by the needs of my companies and the talented staff that run them. This means hour-to-hour, I’m consistently code switching between companies via zoom, slack, email, and wherever else I’m needed. It’s perfect for someone with ADHD :)
Staying organized and not trying to keep things in your head are the most important things. If everything is documented, has due dates, and you view them all as steps to greater life objectives, you tend to maintain your sanity. In short, having clear priorities helps eliminate burnout and anxiety, though there will always be stressful and anxious moments in business: we can’t plan and predict everything.
Prioritization comes down to understanding the difference between urgency and importance. Everyone will always tell you about the significance of having clear priorities in life. Most entrepreneurs will use the line "you have the same amount of hours in your day as everyone else, you're just bad at prioritizing.” Most lack an understanding that to have great priorities, you have to understand the difference between urgency and importance. Something might be supremely important for you and your life goals, but it might not be urgent, so you never get around to it, and thus miss out on an accomplishment in life. That's a failure/misbalance in priorities. If you’re so busy prioritizing things that are seemingly urgent, over those that are more important to you in the long term, you may end up with regrets, burnout, and tons of anxiety.
Oh and meditation, having well structured teams, high quality talent, hobbies, friends, and doing things you love more often definitely help!
Lol… I love social media, but this question is social media’s fault. Look, no one’s life is perfect. You could look at me and think that my life is perfect because I come from money, I’m building companies that are fully staffed, I do work that I love, I travel, I date, and it all looks so glamorous, right? While I’m grateful for it all, the flip side is that for every employee, I’m responsible for their livelihoods and the lives of their families. I’m responsible for the success of my companies, and so I’m responsible for building a life for myself. And of course, my loved ones and I experience difficulties and challenges in our personal lives (we have a very modern family). But also, just like everyone else, I live in a world that is suffering in so many ways. Whether it’s climate change (an issue that was the focus of my college study), or the plight of the Iranian people, or some of the issues my companies are built to explore: there are many aspects of our shared lives that can be improved.
So yes, I carry a lot of weight on my shoulders. But I do have to say, even though my life isn't perfect, it's pretty excellent, and I'm very thankful for the blessings that I have. Even without perfection, there's a great deal of fun and festivity to enjoy, and I'm blessed to have wonderful loved ones to share my good times with.
No, actually, I don't think it's fair. But life isn't fair, life isn't going to be fair in the future, and no matter how hard we try, we can't make life fair. All that we can do is take the opportunities that are presented to us and do the most that we can with them to help out society, protect the planet, and do good. And I might ask, wouldn’t faulting me for being the child of successful immigrants and following in their footsteps also be… unfair? So yes, I do have exceptional access to exceptional opportunities that others don't, but I hope to use those to do as much good in the world as I can.
I'm most actively involved with a charity called @wayfarerfoundation. I serve as a chair member for their education and advocacy department. I also do a lot of charity work to support the Iranian immigrant community in the US. That's all through my mother's foundation @parsequality. I also donate to charities and causes that are near to my heart or timely: this year, I've been prioritizing organizations that protect voting rights.
A lot of the biggest problems in our society today require large scale, innovative, and risky solutions. Nonprofits are great philanthropic ventures that can do a lot of good in the world, but they are funded by the donations of others, and those donations should not be spent on high risk endeavors - donations should be used to directly improve the world.
But the tools needed to solve big social problems come with risks that companies are only willing to take if there is the promise of profit. Paradigm shifting technology comes at a significant financial cost, and creating for-profit businesses that can afford to bear the burdens of those costs allows for the innovation necessary to achieve our wildest dreams: technologies that save our environment, revolutionize civil discourse, break the cycle of student debt, and more. If those risk-taking ventures fail, charitable donations are not lost, only capital willingly risked.
I don't. I don't align with one political party or another. I don't even align with the concept of having two political parties! If you look at the United States compared to other countries around the world, we have a real problem with representation in our political system. Only having two parties has created the kind of polarization and negativity that has destroyed civil discourse. Part of the reason that I built The Doe is to repair some of the damage to our civil discourse that our two political party system has caused.
I don't want to be forced into supporting a candidate that holds positions I don't agree with just because there are only two options, and you probably shouldn't be happy about that either. Of course, we have to vote within the system that currently exists, and participate in our government so that our voices are heard, so yes, I’ve voted in all elections since I’ve been eligible. I care about the greater social good, civil discourse, protecting our planet, and encouraging a more equitable future. I do not vote to minimize my own taxes or to increase my wealth. I support the wellbeing of the majority by voting for leaders and initiatives that prioritize innovation, entrepreneurship, and ethical business. I suppose I’d say I’m a capitalist with a conscience?
No, I'm not a religious person. I do appreciate the positive ideas and lessons we can learn from various religions, and I think it's great when people use religion to motivate themselves and others to help and protect the most vulnerable of our society. But I'm not religious myself.
I grew up idolizing these guys. I didn’t idolize them for their talents as fathers. I didn’t idolize them for their talents as husbands. And I didn’t idolize them for their character. I quite frankly can’t comment on any of that because I don’t have the pleasure of knowing these people personally. But what I can say, is that I idolized them for their work. Their work speaks volumes. They have changed the world for the better. They are our modern day Thomas Edisons. As an inventor, I’m inspired by Jobs and Musk the most. But truthfully, there is no one mentor, no one parent, no one idol or inspiration who I can look at and say “that’s the quintessential human being that I want to emulate”. Sorry.
But I will say one thing to young people out there reading this answer and dreaming of becoming an entrepreneur too: remember, Elon Musk didn't walk around going, "I want to be the next Nelson Rockefeller, or Andrew Carnegie." He said, "I want to be the first Elon Musk." It's always important to have role models, and have people in the industry that you look up to. But I also believe that the greatest thinkers, innovators, creators, and businessmen of a given generation are the ones who don't take their cues from those who came before them, but strike out on their own, without fear, and change the paradigms of the society around them.