New York City, NY

What I Learned From Ex-Facebook Engineer Who Now Raised Nearly $2 Million For His Startup

Derick David

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Photo by NEW DATA SERVICES on Unsplash

Ever since I came back from the United States to the Philippines, I felt extremely lost. Although I’m incredibly happy to see my family again, I felt like something was still missing.

A few months later, most of my time is now dedicated to building my new startup, Hikre School and I have never felt this alive before.

And just a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak with someone I was truly inspired by. Personally, I managed to get a lot of value from his content writing on both Twitter and Linkedin along with my startup journey, so I decided to invite him for a quick chat to which he kindly agreed to do so.

Who else are the best people to speak to than the people that inspire you the most right? His name Ish Baid, a Canadian-born entrepreneur who’s now living in New York City.

He’s a former Facebook engineer and now the CEO of a thriving EdTech startup, Virtually, to which they have raised nearly $2 million dollars last year.

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In our chat, I’ve managed to pick up several insights that I’m so happy and excited to share with you. Without further ado, let’s get this started.

Building a startup can be hard, choose a problem you’re passionate about and make sure you’re actually solving a problem

From the outside, the entire entrepreneurship landscape seems to be full of rainbows and watermelons that make the life path so exciting that teenagers today are even doing it.

However, there’s a big misconception.

What most fail to understand is that they have to endure a stressful and depressing lifestyle. It’s hard, but if there’s one thing that I can assure you, it’s fun.

VCs, metrics, products, marketing, hiring mean nothing without a problem you can commit to.

When asked, Ish said that building a startup is hard, it’s crazy hard out there, and that you should be able to be passionate about the problem you’re solving.

Why is that? Well, because some entrepreneurs do start a startup for the sake of starting a startup and raising millions of dollars.

While that’s not always the case, you should expect that regardless of your expectations, you should at least have a problem you have to solve and a wrong you have to right.

Key takeaway: Key advice for aspiring entrepreneurs out there, be sure that you’re actually solving a problem.

Build relationships early on in your career

Perhaps the biggest difference between a successful individual or a least successful one is connections and relationships.

Ish said that one of the best decisions he had made early on even when he was still at college, it’s that he made time to build relationships with people.

And somehow he’s reaping the benefits today to which has helped him progress through his career.

Your network is net-worth.

Ish also built relationships through podcasts. He said that he would invite successful people for a brief recorded chat to which he would transform into podcasts. He leveraged this strategy to meet more successful people and famous people as well.

I have to also admit that the way I managed to get in touch with Ish and invite him for a chat is exactly through this way. I followed Ish on Twitter and Linkedin, commented on his posts, added a few values, and reached out to him.

This is most important than ever now that we are living in a WFH-driven world.

Key takeaway: Connect with people and build relationships early on

When making relationships, add value to people first

We’ve seen this happen enough. Either you did it or someone did it to you.

You receive a LinkedIn message from someone named “Carrot” who asks for help in this thing or that. Chances are, you won’t respond to Carrot.

The people are not to blame, of course, however, there’s a better way to approach this. You could find a way to provide value to that person before asking him for help.

As the psychological phenomenon of reciprocity, someone is more likely to give back to you if you do something for their firsts.

It’s the very exact same application for building relationships.

What you can do:

  1. Compliment them on their recent milestones or achievements
  2. Acknowledge their projects or current work
  3. Give them suggestions or resources
  4. Point out a detail they’ve missed on something like Newsletter, Website update

Key takeaway: When you build relationships, always provide value first

Content writing is a powerful way of marketing your startup

If there’s one thing that Ish and I have in common is that we love writing. As you can see, I’m writing this now. However, all of us have different perspectives on why we do such things.

In my case, I see writing as a way to touch people’s hearts or grab their attention. Ish has added that it’s free marketing for your startup.

Jordan Peterson, the Canadian Clinical Psychologist and the author of 12 Rules For Life says,

Do you want to think better? Write better. Writing makes you a better critical-thinker, clearer communicator, and decision-maker, and a person who can formulate and communicate the best arguments almost always wins the case.

I’ve also noticed that most successful founders nowadays have content writing strategies for their respective startups.

The surprising fact, most founders still ignore the importance of writing.

And as I have learned recently as well, writing is also a powerful way to climb the social ladder whether it benefits you personally or professionally.s

Key takeaway: Start writing

Embrace your nature

During our chat, Ish told a brief story of how his parents immigrated from India to Canada and that his immigrant story helped him gain a new perspective in life which eventually helped him in his career successes.

Ish reminded me to embrace our nature, to love who we are and where we came from. Another thing of course, that both of us have in common is that we both come from immigrant families.

I have reflected on this realization and now I’m seeing there’s so much power that we have that other people don’t. For instance, perspective, relentlessness, patience, and grit. Something that immigrant families commonly possess as qualities.

Thank you so much, Ish, and for your brilliant words.

Key takeaway: Stay true to your nature and embrace your nature

Final Thoughts

So here’s what I took away from Ish Baid, former Facebook engineer, and now the founder of a thriving EdTech startup, Virtually.

  • Most of the overnight success happened in decades
  • Solve an actual problem for your people
  • Build relationships early on; just talk to people with good intentions
  • Add value to every person you meet
  • Writing is so powerful in every way imaginable
  • Embrace who you are and where you come from

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10x Top Writer on Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Startups.

New York, NY
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