Timeline of Divine Revelation – Religion and Politics

Peace everyone.Divine revelation

With the advent of ‘Freedom of Speech’, secularism, agnosticism, atheism (and Google) are rising at the early 21st century. As of 2012 – secularism is the third largest religious affinity, around 1 billion people. The internet is being populated with a  load of crappy misinformation regarding basic facts, most of which is digested face first by coming generations that have little knowledge of their history.

i recently found out first-hand that most ‘modern people from the internet age ‘ now believe Moses, Abraham, the Torah, Jesus, Islam etc. are ‘Patriarch myths created over time to control people’. Why? because Google says so.

Not all information is knowledge. To bring fact to fiction, it is imperative that there be a standardized compilation of the timeline of divine revelation. Given below is a small compilation, and its the best i can do with my limited resources. Ironically it is all coming from the same ‘Google’ being used to underrate religious history, GPS co-ordinates inclusive.

This article is a summary of information i’ve been able to find regarding Divine revelation. It starts from Adam 4000 BC , up to date. Please note that there may be other divine revelations/inspirations during this period, but for the sake of brevity i have limited it to books that the majority believes to be Divine (only major exception here are the 4 Shruti Vedas from Hinduism, which i do not have much knowledge of. will add that as well once i have gone through those as well. Have read some of their verses and they do speak truth in essence, much like the books mentioned herein).

Feel free to add/comment on date entries and i will update where necessary. Does not contain pre-adam timelines regarding other lifeforms on earth – for more details on these variants please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_human_evolution.

Darwin fans will like the above. For people who believe we evolved from apes etc.. please read the next link from a scientific (not religious) mindset, and then feel free to read further.

http://www.icr.org/home/resources/resources_tracts_scientificcaseagainstevolution/

All events listed here are authenticated in multiple cultures/religious texts, historian accounts and books. The total duration of this timeline is about 6000 years. Post timeline, this article also discusses politics and religion, and how both have been unnecessarily correlated over the course of history.

The objective of making this short repository (trust me its short, considering the fact that it covers 6000 years) is to give viewers (and more importantly, coming generations) the ability to see the correlation between religious/cultural/political events as time progresses. As we go further into the age of technology, it becomes easier to refute the wisdom of the past in favor of the luxury of the present. Lets try to make the best of both and progress, rather than get back to square one (as has happened in our history one too many times). Looking at the past enables us not to repeat the same mistakes in the present, so as to progress and evolve as a society, rather than deteriorate/stay in a loop. I am personally not a fan of blind faith, and i would exhort readers to do their own due diligence on all that is mentioned here and learn from the similarities of mistakes committed in the past. An ‘epilogue for dummies’ is also given at the end.

Timeline – Religion
Timeline sources Hebrew Scriptures and Torah (Pentateuch – Mostly Genesis), Bible (King James Edition) , Quraan (one version only), reference literature from historians, some other hebrew/ arabic texts and modern day accounts. Only dates which have a majority overlap are listed – minor differences may exist but timeline is more than enough for educational purposes. Also – the timeline has been converted to the prevalent solar calendar to avoid any confusion – BC=before christ – AD = Anno Domini (current solar). Physical locations have been linked to Google maps where and when possible.

Adam to muhammad lineage

  • Pre 4004 BC – Adam and Eve’s decent to Earth (To be noted that earth and its organisms exist prior to their entry).
  • 4004 BC Adam and Eve’s first two children are born, Cain and Abel (Gen. 4). Cain kills Abel (Ibid.)
  • 3900 Enoch is born, Cain’s first son. Seth is born to Adam and Eve. Irad, Cain’s first grandchild, is born (Gen. 4).
  • 3400 Enoch, the great, great, great, grandchild of Seth, is born. At this same general time period, Methuselah was born (Gen. 5)
  • 3000 Noah is born (ca. 2948 B.C., Gen. 5: 29).
  • 2500 Noah’s sons are both, Shem, Ham, and Jepheth (Gen. 6: 9). It was about this time that Noah was commissioned to build the Ark (Gen. 6).
  • 2350 The flood waters cover the entire earth (Gen. 7). (James Ussher suggest 2349 as the flood date, the Samaritan Pentateuch has 2998, the Hebrew Bible has 2288, and the Septuagint lists 3246 has the date of the flood). Noah’s three sons began to repopulate the earth (Gen. 9: 1).
  • 2300 The Tower of Babel and its destruction (Gen. 11). The confusion of tongues and the scattering of the people.
  • 2166 – Abraham (tenth descendant from Noah, noah lived 950) is Born (reverse calculated from death date, no accounts of birth date remain).
  • 2091 – Abraham arrives in Egypt.
  • 2090 BC The Famine in Canaan Genesis 12:10
  • 2085 BC Abram and Lot Part Ways Genesis 13, Abram Promised Many Descendants Genesis 13:14.
  • 2081 BC – Gods covenant with Abraham.
  • 2080 BC Ishmael Born.
  • 2067 Isaac’s birth promised – Destruction of Sodom, Lot’s Town (a town used to homosexuality, bloodshed and several other vices, said to have been destroyed by a blast/meteors)- GPS co-ordinates.
  • 2066 Isaac Born (Father to a line of Prophets including Jesus).
  • 2064 Hagar and Ishmael Sent Away by Abraham to a desert – after a vision (present day Mecca) Genesis 21:8
  • 2054 After seeing another vision, Abraham tries to sacrifice son (Ishmael according to Quraan 37:100 ->37:113, Isaac According to Judeo-christian History – Genesis 22), but due to divine intervention ends up sacrificing a lamb instead (modern day Eidh ul Azha ritual). The previous entry and this one have a date dispute (since if it were Ishmael that was to be sacrificed, he was still with Abraham and had not left yet).
    Political point to consider here is that one son (Isaac) is the blood-father of Judo Christian community, Moses and Jesus, while another (Ishmael) is the blood-father of the region where Islam originated/Muhammad. It is an expected outcome that both parties claim their father figure to be the sacrificial son. In actual terms however, the spirit of the sacrifice is important, who/what/when is only for historical purposes and has no practical consequence.
  • 2030 BC Death of Sarah (first wife). Abraham returns to meet Ishmael, first construction of Kaabah (date disputed between Historians). GPS co-ordinates. Oldest living Patriarch structure (Abrahimic), ten centuries before first temple in Jerusalem. Some historians also dispute that Adam made the Kaaba first, though no such reference exists in history or revealed books.
  • 2000 The death of Noah (ca. 1998 B. C., Gen. 9: 28, 29). Burial place unconfirmed. Four different Burial places claimed link here- Most popular being Iraq/Najaf.
  • 1991 – Death of Abraham. Buried at Cave of the Patriarchs. (pretty much in the center of Modern day Israel) – GPS co ordinates. Adam and Eve, and Abrahams majority family also entombed there. Some Shiite accounts state that Adam/Noah/Abraham are all buried in Iraq.
  • 1730 Joseph is sold to the Midianites and his consequent experiences that result in him becoming a ruler in Egypt (Gen. 37 – 47).
  • 1680 The Book of Genesis comes to a close, having covered approximately 2300 years of history.
  • 1571 Moses is born . Moses is adopted into the Egyptian royal court.
  • 1491 The call of Moses (believed to communicate with God directly) and his commission (the burning bush experience, Ex. 2). The ten plagues (Ex. 7 – 12). Israel is liberated from Egyptian bondage (Ex. 12 ff.). Moses receives Ten Commandments Law at Mount Sinai GPS co-ordinates (Ex. 20, some provide the date of 1445 for the giving of the law). Hence, after about 2, 500 years the system of Patriarchy comes to a close.
  • 1451 The death of Moses (Deut. 34). Joshua is appointed as Moses’ successor (Josh. 1).
  • 1425 The Abrahamic land promise is realized (Gen. 12; Josh. 24).
  • 1400 The beginning of the judges and their governing of Israel, covering about 305 years (ca. 1095 B. C., see Judges 1 – I Samuel 8).
  • 1095 The appointment of Saul to be King of Israel (I Sam. 10, some have 1050 as the date).
  • 1063 David defeats Goliath (I Sam. 17).
  • 1055 David is appointed King (2 Sam. 2, some have 1010 B. C.).
  • 1015 Solomon, David’s son, is appointed King (I Kgs. 1, 2, some believe 970 is the more likely time for the appointment of Solomon). Builds first temple in Jerusalem  - GPS co-ordinates.
  • 992 The Queen of Sheba visits Solomon (I Kgs. 10). By Quranic records (Chapter 27, surah Naml) – her throne was brought to Suleman prior to her arrival.
  • 975 Solomon’s death and Rehoboam succeeds Solomon to the throne (I Kgs. 12, some have 931 as the date). The Kingdom is divided. When Solomon died, the fight for his throne results in the twelve tribes of Israel dividing, creating the Great Schism. The two southern tribes, Benjamine and Judah, maintaining Jerusalem as their capital, become “The Kingdom of Judah” under the reign of Rehoboam. He reigns 17 years. The ten northern tribes of Israel revolt, becoming “The Kingdom of Israel” under the rulership of Jeroboam. He reigns 21 years. Israel’s continues, with 19 Kings from the reign of Solomon, for 254 years. Israel makes Samaria its capitol.
  • 722 The Assyrians capture Samaria and take Israel captive (cp. 2 Chroni. 33, end of the Kingdom of Israel).
  • 597 Jerusalem is captured by Babylon (cp. 2 Chroni. 36).
  • 536 First group returns from captivity (see Ezra 2).
  • 458 The second group returns from bondage (Ezra 8).
  • 444 The walls of Jerusalem are rebuilt under the leadership of Nehemiah (Nehe. 1-7).
  • 398 The completion of the 39 books that constitute the “Old Testament” see Malachi). This date began the “400 years of silence” between Malachi and Matthew (New Testament).
  • 250 BC – Greek Translation of The Hebrew Bible – Septuagint – details here

New Testament Timeline (post 400 year gap – intermediate details given here)

  • 4 BC Census of Quirinius. The census or enrollment, which, according to Luke 2:1, was the occasion of the journey of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem where Jesus was born, is connected with a decree of Augustus embracing the Greek-Roman world.
  • 4 BC Birth of Jesus – Historians generally assume Jesus was born between 6 BC – 4 BC
  • 4 BC Herod orders the “Massacre of the Innocents” — the killing of all male children in Bethlehem aged two years and under.
  • 4 BC Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus flee to Egypt
  • 4 BC Death of Herod the Great
  • 4 BC Three sons of Herod divide up rule of Palestine under Roman Authority. Archelaus ruled Judea and Samaria. Herod Antipas ruled Galilee and Perea. Herod Philip ruled Iturea and Trachonitis.
  • 4 BC Birth of John the Baptist – John the Baptist was six months older than Jesus (Luke 1:36)
  • 8 AD Jesus visits The Temple in Jerusalem.
  • 8 AD-26AD Jesus works as a carpenter in Nazareth.
  • 26 AD  - 29AD – Jesus Preaches monotheism, Performs miracles and foretells events. Takes on disciples.
  • 33AD (year contested between 29-33AD, majority claims 33 AD)- Jesus tried and crucified by the Roman Court. (Both Islamic and Christian texts hint at his resurrection, which is arguable in the light of science).
  • 49/50 AD – Council of Jerusalem
  • 52 AD St. Peter founds the Church in Rome – GPS coordinates
  • 64 AD - Rome destroyed by fire; persecution of Christians begins by Roman Empire under Nero.
  • 67 AD - Martyrdom of St. Peter (crucified, actually), succession of St. Linus as Bishop of Rome
  • 66-73 AD - Jewish revolt against Rome.  Rome wins, Temple in Jerusalem destroyed 70AD, Jews expelled from Jerusalem by General Titus. The Apostles and their disciples carried the Gospel (teachings of Jesus) to the corners of the Roman Empire.  St. Paul carried the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Asia Minor, Greece and Spain; St. James Zebedee carried the Gospel into Spain; St. Philip carried the Gospel into southern Russia; Sts. Bartholomew and Thaddaeus preached Christ to the people of Armenia and modern Iraq and Iran; St. Thomas founded the Church in southwestern India; St. Andrew on the shores of the Black Sea in Asia; St. Mark the evangelist founded the Church in Egypt; etc.
  • 73 AD – Jews expelled from Jerusalem concentrate in two communities, the western one at Yavneh/Jamnia/Jabne (“Alexandrian” Jews) under the Sanhedrin (supreme court) of rabbi Yohanan/Jochanan ben Zaccai, and the “Babylonian” community, a tributary of the Parthians.
  • 74 AD 0 the Zealonts/Sicarii commit mass suicide at Masada, the last stronghold of the Jewish rebels
  • 75 AD –  Judea, Galilea and Samaria are renamed “Palaestina” by the Romans – does that name ring a bell?
  • 75-312 AD – Several important events  - details here
  • 313 AD Constantine becomes first Emperor of Rome to accept Christianity – Issues edict of milan protecting Christians rights.
  • 325 AD Council of Nicaea.
  • 382 AD Council of Rome – This local Church council under the authority of Pope Damasus, (366-384) approved a complete list of canonical books of the Old and New Testaments which is identical with the list the Council of Trent reaffirmed in the 16th century and identical to Catholic Bibles today.
  • 383 AD – 573 AD –  Further details of Juda-Christian timeline to present day given here.

Advent of Islam

  • 570 AD – Muhammad is born
  • 610 AD – Muhammad has first vision of Gabriel (Angel considered to bring messages to all previous Prophets) at a Cave near mecca
  • 610-622 AD – Muhammad Preaches Monotheism in Pagan Mecca.
  • 622 AD – Owing to persecution by Makkan pagans (quraish), Muhammad and his followers flee to madinah, where their ways are accepted by Ansar (natives). Islamic Calendar begins
  • 624 AD – Muslims and Quraish engage in first armed battle. 313 Muslims fight an army of an armed caravan of 1000 of the Quraish, winning their first military victory (some accounts also portray this as a raid on a meccan caravan by muslim ‘raiders’ ).
  • 625 AD – Muslims defeated at Uhud due to indiscipline/greed for booty.
  • 627 AD – Meccans march on Madinah  - battle of Trenches – muslims defend successfully
  • 628 AD – Treaty of Hudaibiya – truce allowing muslims to perform hajj/umrah each year in meccah
  • 630 AD – skirmishes between allies of both parties initiate retaliation, Muslims march on meccah as result and get a bloodless conquer with 10,000 strong. All paganistic idols in kaaba broken, made house of (Ibrahamic) monotheism.
  • 632 AD – Farewell pligrimage, Last sermon and Death of Muhammad due to illness (succession dispute, Abu Bakr becomes Caliph, dispute details here).

Muslim Politics Post Muhammad Era (summary).

  •  632-634 AD – consolidation wars (some clans refuse to pay zakaat) – battles against claimant prophets (Musailma etc). Death of Abu Bakr due to illness. Umar Ibne Khattab assumes Caliphate.
  • 634-644 AD – Militaristic growth of the Muslim Empire under Caliph Umar, growing the caliphate to several times its original size. Assassination of Umar by the Persians. Uthman assumes Caliphate.
  •  644-656 AD – Caliph uthmans reign, standardized compilation of Quran (maintained to date), Further conquests and defense campaigns. Dispute regarding placement of kinsmen in political offices esp. Marwan. Riots, siege, and ultimately mob murder of caliph at his home.
  • 656 AD  - Ali Ibne Abi Talib assumes caliphate. Battle of the camel (First Fitnah war – civil war among muslims - Prophet’s wife Aisha instigated by Pro- Meccan Native Muawiya, Sufyans son, into raising rebellion against reigning caliph, for not bringing Uthmans assailants to justice upfront.). Ali wins.
  • 657 AD Capital shifted from Medinah to Kufa, Battle of Siffin (civil war continues over caliphate, murderers of Uthman). Ali wins again, after nearly 55,000 casualties, and Muawiyas battle plea of Raising Quraan’s on spears for truce. Negotiations take place following cease fire, to no effect.
  • 657-661 AD – Civil wars and rebellions continue. Muawiya 1 declares himself Caliph At Damascus, Ali assassinated by Kharjites. Shiite and Sunni Division ‘permanented’.
  • 661-750 AD – Ummayad Caliphate (lineage based)
  • 710 – Muhammad Bin Qasim invades Sindh on behalf of Ummayads
  • 710- 1857 AD – Muslim Rule in the sub continent (1147 years)
  • 750 – 1517 – Abbasid Dynasty (Lineage based, descendants of Abbas Ibne Abd al Muttalib)
  • 1096- 1272 – Holy Crusades (Christianity vs. Islam for territory/’Promised land’, several exchanges of power). details here.
  •  750 – 1258 – Golden Age of Islam (R&D) – Jabbar bin Hayyan, Ibn Al haitham etc.
  • 1258 – Fall of Baghdad to Mongols (territorial oocupation/expansion). Abbasid capital moves from Baghdad to Cairo (Egypt)
  • 1299 – 1914 – Rise and fall of the ottoman empire
  • 1920 – Dissolution of the Ottoman empire post WW 1 (1914-1920), Great arab revolt (saudi arabs sided against the ottoman empire for their independence with the british). Saud Family comes back into power after several hundred years.
  • 1932 – Hijaz and Najd come together to form Present day KSA (saud family, dynasty based).
  • 1945 – End of WW2 – KSA founding member of Arab league, United nations. Enters US/UK protection against access to its oil resources.
  • 1947 – Pakistan/India created
  • 1948 – Israel declared independent state.
  • Further details to present day given here.

Epilogue (for dummies)

Though a lot of regional details are left untouched, this compilation focuses around contested territories and politics related to divine revelation. Several other events also took place on the world map that relate to the greater scheme of things, but for the purpose of brevity, we will discuss politics only at an abstract level.

Common learnings found from the above are as follows:

  • Despite several iterations of divine revelations that in essence preach the same ’10 commandments’ over and over, Mankind has yet to learn to abide by them.
  • in the past 6000 years – the ‘Promised Land’ of Jerusalem has been has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.
  • Despite all religions preaching equality among man, and superiority only through deeds, every single power group has (sooner or later) resorted to staying in power through claim to Kingship via race/ties/bloodline or ethnicity, including the current custodians of Kaabah.
  • Despite human life being sacred in all religions, every group when oppressed has addressed and beseeched God for support. And once in power, every group has returned the favor in kind, forgetting their own plight once they get in the drivers seat.

As promised in religious scriptures- The plight of mankind continues, where one nation that is better replaces another which is worse, only to corrupt itself with power and get cleansed by another a few decades/centuries later.

In short, the problem is not divine revelation or its authenticity. Much like guns or roses, they have both positive and negative implications. The problem is the self centered people reading them, mutilating and re-interpreting their teachings for their own selfish interests. Others, when they find no room for doing so, try and refute the authenticity of divine revelation altogether.

None of the revealed books allow aggression. Yet history is filled with accounts of war, murder and conflict for territorial expansion in the name of God, justice, revenge, divine promise, Oil and whatnot. After going through 6000 years of the same shit over n over again, we are left with 2 options:

1. Call all divine revelations a farce and have a good time for the rest of our lives (despite the fact that we never followed divine revelation in the first place, just used them as an excuse for what we wanted to do).

2. Realize that no man has more claim to rule over another, but through deeds and goodwill. And that the only piece of land promised to us is the 8 by 4 ft. area we will be buried in. N try to actually comply with the truth, instead of trying to justify our own aspirations as Divine Will/truth.

‘Promised Land’

The idea of a  ’promised land’  is that of a land of peace, where the oppressed can live as equals. And a land of peace is not found by kicking someone out of it, or killing others, it can only be found through peaceful co-existence. I have one simple question for all nations of the world vying for the promised land – if they truly deserve dominion over the promised land – why the $#@% have they been kicked in the nuts over it so many times in history? Is God not watching over his ‘blessed’?

You get what you pay for. Over and over we have done the exact same things. From the children of Israel to the followers of Muhammad. We have all hero-worshipped our prophets as demi-gods, we have all thought less of others, we have all gone against the commandments given to us. And we all have blood on our hands. We have invaded proactively, something that our scriptures never allowed us to do. And we have faced the consequences in the form of revolts, assassinations and sectoral division.  The only blessing such nations get is annihilation to prevent them from going astray further, or plight to temper them. Hence history and its repeated state of affairs.
God isn’t a propaganda victim, His system works on merit basis, not preference basis. So if a certain group of people want to be named the best, they will actually have to BE THE BEST in terms of their words and their actions. There is no other way to it. All people are equal in the eyes of the Creator.

In order to make the best of religious teachings in modern day society, one must understand the spirit behind them. Religion is a way of life that induces self-control and accountability, and has shaped over 6000 years. Without it, we will lose faith in our values as a society (something which we can already see around us).

Much like everything else, religion is also continuously being used by power groups as a means to manipulate the masses into doing what is in the interest of a select few. People need to break out of the sheep mindset WITHOUT giving up on the core essence of religion. Being muslim does not imply making the Saud family richer, its just a feudal dynasty that has noting to do with Islam. Similarly, being a christian does not implying kissing up to the pope. And being a Jew does not mean thinking you’ll get salvation by stepping on a piece of land.

It implies being honest and true to yourself and those around you, doing the right thing. Figure it out in your own way, don’t be gullible, and give people the space they need to find their own way. Do not ridicule another man’s faith, perhaps he is better in the eyes of God than you are. Help people in what you think is right. Stop (if not, speak against) what you think is wrong. And above all, keep faith in your Creator. If he can give you life, He can also give you guidance through any means he deems fit.

Would like to conclude this write-up with a small quote from the Quran (2-62).

‘Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans – those who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness – will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.’

Would highly recommend that people belonging to different faiths exchange knowledge and read religious literature with the positive mindset of adopting positive similarities, and refuse to adopt negatives they find therein.

Hope this helps shed some light on the truth. As truth is not subjective, it is that which stands the test of time against all opposition. And what has stood the test of 6000 years, wont mind standing a few more generations, no matter what the odds.

May this effort be a source of guidance for those who wish to seek it.

All the best,

z

PS: special thanks to contributors Dominic St. Pierre, Ali H. Rizvi, and everyone who helped put this together. Readers are requested to continue the effort with due honesty. feel free to suggest edits/additions (with references).

Ten Rules that help get the Job Done

infinite-monkey-theorem-500-px

A lot of people respect and admire the work of a good consultant/manager. At the same time, however, it is very hard to find people who would appreciate the methods half as much as they appreciate their results.

This short write-up will try and explain how (in my finite and prone to error opinion) being nice (with an exploitative, opportunistic audience), or being forgiving (with someone who will go right back to sleep once you turn around) is not always a prime priority when you set out to get the job done – however big or small the context may be. The objective is to help management professionals realize how a bit of tweaking within our daily stance for work can lead to massive changes w.r.t productivity and results.

The following applies to both a 5 year sprint at a tech company as well as your next visit to the grocers for celery.

What to do (and more importantly, what NOT to do) is summarized in the following points:

DOs
1. Prioritize.
Know what you are setting out to do, make it your number ONE priority (not the second, third or fourth). If you want a ‘work-life balance’, you wont make it to the top.

2. Plan.
Plan BEFORE you jump into the water. Not when you’re halfway out of breath. ‘it’ll work out’ is for losers. Proactive>reactive>ignorant. Sun Tzu – AOW says – The winning general first seeks victory, then seeks battle. You normally get stuck at things ‘you didn’t foresee’ first off. Think of all possibilities, and your reaction to each of them. Do it all the time.

3. Act.
If you intend to sit on your hands, stay home. In the words of Alladins genie, “thats the problem with doing the right thing, you have to do it all by yourself.” Don’t expect people to deliver. Be prepared to get your hands dirty, and lead from the front. If you’re not in a situation you can control on your own, you have bitten off more than you can chew. Supportive people are an added luxury, not a necessity. You will have to work with the best (who will question/attempt to supersede your authority every step of the way) and the worst (who will pretty much fail at every other task). Be ready to handle both, by example.

4. Delegate
If you think you can do it all on your own, you probably can, but that will slow you down. No amount of expertise will give you a 25th hour in the day. So delegate. effectively. Give more work (and rewards) to someone who delivers. Take work off someone who doesn’t. Continue to do that until one turns into the other, just like free market mechanics. Do not compromize on quality. Set clear expectations, and do not tolerate sustained failure to meet them.

5. Be Just – Not Nice

This is the part most people fail at, as managers. Leading is not about being a nice guy (or a jerk for that matter). its about being able to do both, as and when needed. Be just. reward the guy that deserves it, to an extent that it inspires others to follow. Conversely, kick when you need to, and kick hard enough for trash to stay out of your team.

DONTs

Whatever you do, don’t..

6. Bluff (esp. when you KNOW you’re wrong).

Go by logic. Just because you’re in-charge doesn’t mean you cant be wrong. If someone has shown you a better way, take it, and acknowledge their guidance. Unless you want them to supersede you in the long run.

7. Be distracted.

When at work, use your head. Not your ..heart. Mind on the money. Nowhere else. If somethings distracting you, that means its a priority over work.

8. Do unto others that you do not wish in return.

The categorical imperative. Yes, it works professionally. E.g. Don’t fire a guy for incompetence if you don’t want to get fired for incompetence yourself.
Normally what people do in response to this logic, is that they stop firing incompetent people. What you’re SUPPOSED to do, is stop being incompetent, so you can fire as many incompetent people as is necessary. Don’t breed the same weaknesses within you that you despise within others.

9. be a people pleaser

You set out to get the job done, remember. Prioritize. Most of us make a mess of priorities when it comes to interacting with/convincing others. If you wont give your subordinate a piece of your mind when he messes up the first time, he will mess up again, and probably lose his job if you’re not there to cover up again. Similarly, taking unnecessary shit from your boss once will only help ease it on again, harder next time. So, do whats needed, say whats needed, in a politically accurate way.

10. Stand in line

You won’t ever get ahead when you’re standing in line like everyone else. Respect yourself and find a legitimate alternative. If you feel there is a better way around, take it. Show others that its better. Nothing speaks for itself better than success. Do not doubt your ability as an individual and do not stand in need of appreciation / approval from people. The only person you need to convince w.r.t. your skill, is yourself. How far you get in life is directly dependent on how much you respect the person you see in the mirror every day.

Hope this helps. Questions and comments welcome!

z

The Entrepreneurship test

kid selling stuffPeace everyone.

With more and more young, educated people joining the rat race every day, startups are the order of the day. despite over 16-20 years of schooling and professional education, its sad to note that not even one institution of the world trains people on how to start their own work. We are all taught how to be compliant, acceptable pieces of machinery that help the rich get richer each day.

Some basics of how/when/where to start a company are given below, it is hoped that it will benefit the reader in planning out  what is practically possible and what’s not. Its also a test, in terms of state of mind. Most of us don’t have the right reasons to start something commercial, which is why it blows up in our faces more often than not. So lets start with ten basic yes/no questions that all of us should ask ourselves before doing something on our own.

 

The TEN ‘yesses’ needed to enter entrepreneurship mode

1. Do you actually want to start something that will be completely dependent on you and no one else, for the rest of your life?

2. Aside from academics, do you have the practical experience of running something commercially viable in your business vertical? – simple version – Can you make it work all by yourself?

3. Are you financially capable of surviving the gestation period of your business (6 to 12 months)? Simple version – can you go without making a dime for a year?

4. Are you good at making your own decisions and seeing them through, regardless of the outcome, positive or negative?

5. Are you satisfied with what you are currently making with your current employment/commercial scenario?

6.In case you intend to borrow investments, have you ever taken a loan from someone that is 10 times greater (or more) than your monthly income potential, and paid it back within the agreed term?

7. are you good with numbers?

8. are you good with words? can you read /write /communicate perfectly well in at least one major tongue in your region?

9. are you aware of the legal/commercial rules and regulations applicable on your region of operation?

10. Can you make your start-up your number one priority (over family, friends and loved ones, sleep, food, entertainment etc) for the next one year?

 

In case any of the above is a ‘no’, or even ‘maybe’, wait until its a confirmed yes. Might take a while, but its better that way. An explanation of the questions is given below (for people who might not be sure regarding the answers).

 

1. Commitment - Your company/start-up is like a child, it cannot survive without you. once it is on its feet, its like a beautiful woman that no one other than you will be sincere with. Because its yours, not theirs. you know the rest :) So, don’t get into it if you cant commit to it for life.

2.  Expertise and Experience- If you don’t know how its done, stop fooling yourself that it will work. Even if it does, those that make it work will take it over, sooner or later. To retain authority, you need to be the best at what your’e doing. also, you need zero dependencies on people, from start to finish. You need to know how to do EVERYTHING yourself, so if in case someone leaves you down the road, your hands are not tied. This is why it is always recommended to work at least 5 to 10 years in the same business vertical before starting on your own.

As an example: the most successful businessmen in this world are jews and memons (a cast in karachi). Memons have a basic principle that they always have their children start their own businesses at age 20 or less, AFTER having them work at the root level (teller, clerk, accountant, shopkeeper etc) for at least 5 years in a business that DOES NOT belong to their parents directly. Similarly, you wont see Bill gates JR. in microsoft, or Jobs JR in apple etc. An Entrepreneur is self made, merit based. A son running his father’s business is a safe, employee mindset.

3.  Financials - perhaps the biggest mistake all start-ups make, they assume they’ll start making money instantly. If its not financially well timed, even the best business model will flop. Nothing works without money, not even your relationship with your parents :) . If you need money every month to ‘pay the bills’, you cant start something on your own, until you’ve hedged up at least an years worth of running finance.

4. Perseverance/leadership -  entrepreneurship is not for gullible people. You need to be obstinate, convincing and influencing, an individual that walks their path through even if they have to do it alone. If you’re not, don’t try to take up this responsibility. People can only follow a leader if he can follow his own set direction himself. People that switch plans mid-way, or go around in circles/are impulsive – they are better off finding someone they can follow. examples, Martin Luther King/Abraham Lincoln are leaders, Britney Spears/Michael Jackson are not (and never will be, despite being more popular among people).

5. Commercial viability - second biggest mistake – people make start-ups because they believe ‘they’re not getting paid enough’. By making a start-up you’re actually putting yourself in a  more severe position. When employed, you just had to convince one person to pay you more (your boss) – which did not happen. Now you’ll be at the mercy of 8 billion people, good luck :) . You can only make money in this world if you know how to get what you want in life, and it starts with negotiating a good employment deal. Anyone that can’t do that will never be able to do better as an entrepreneur. Also, you always make more for less effort in an employment. So if the objective is to make a lot of money and have a good time without working too hard, stay employed :)

6. Investments -  Third biggest issue (if you make it this far). Preferably, do it all yourself. if not, know who to involve and who not to. There’s no such thing as a ‘sleeping partner’, they only sleep until you go profitable, then they will grow brains and try to tell you what to do. Scale down your business, try to make a profit on a small amount first. once you have a cash cycle done/proof of concept completed, magnify the scale (ideally using the money you make from the business/your own investment). As an example, i’ve started 3 companies before my current one, and I’ve had to leave all of them after making them profitable owing to the fact that i had ‘sleeping partners’ financing me. Its only your business if its your own money, else its everybody’s business, in which you’re ‘somewhat employed’.

Its also advised that you have some experience of paying back on time , before starting a company. An example would be paying for an asset bought on instalments (you should be comfortable tightening your belt to pay back money you’ve borrowed in the past). If you’re not , you’ll just keep borrowing more and will never be out of debt.

A guy that makes 1000 PKR and saves 50 after running a rickshaw all day is richer than a guy that makes 1 Mill PKR and spends 2 million, and owes 3 million in debt already. Money doesn’t disappear into thin air, neither does it grow on trees. if you take money, you will have to pay it back, sooner or later. If you don’t, you’ll lose something equivalent. The financial institutions/people around you with money are not stupid, and they did not get rich by giving out money to random people and never asking back for it :)

7. Numbers -  the only absolute truth in our world is numbers. If you’re not good with numbers – join a math class somewhere. Don’t start a business (unless you want people to fleece you everyday). Musicians/celebrities are never good with numbers. which is why they are always under debt. which is why MJ lost everything, even after death. Not even one of his songs (or even one of his jackets) is his own property, every hair on his head was property of record labels. despite grossing more money than Berkshire Hathaway makes in an year, he never made it to even the fortune top 100 all his life. MJ as an individual= financial wreck.

8.Words -  Communication is needed, esp. written. verbal doesn’t count as much as written, but you need to be a man/woman of your word. Unless you can put things in writing (and abide by them), you can’t run a business. You also should be able to explain things to people, make them see reason in your words (not artificially, actually). Go by logic, not assertions. Sweet talk is a positive, provided its used in a positive context. People like being praised. But they are not stupid, they can see through empty words. They just don’t show it until they find an alternative.

9. Legal/rules/reg

Know how to start a business in a legal/morally accurate way.  Dont screw over your employers in the process. If you do, your employees will do the same later :) . Know the exact legal implications of your business and do everything legit. All the legit businessmen of the world are still the top 10 richest people, which is a clear indication of the fact that white money has more volume than black. I don’t know about other verticals, but having worked in software for 13 years now, I can tell you that you can make more money as a the CEO of a legit software company, than you can as the President of Pakistan :)

10. Priorities - Perhaps not a business killer, but screwed up priorities can hamper the growth of a business. The reason why everyone is not Steve jobs is that Steve destroyed a marriage and his health making Apple what it is today. Most of us lose impetus when the money starts coming in, and we start focusing on ‘where to spend the money’ rather than taking the business further. We start buying expensive things like property, gadgets, sports cars, doing world travel trips, dating expensive women, booze, parties etc. That’s not what we set out to do. If it is, we could’ve done much better doing it in someone else’s company. Screwing over your own creation just to have a good time is not justified.

Why entrepreneurship

The core reason (which we often lose sight of) why every one feels like doing something on their own is to prove that they can do it BETTER than its being done. Focus on that. If you’re starting a company just to become what you set out to prove wrong (exploitation of workforce wages, wrong processes, favouritism, owners taking massive cuts out of gross etc),  its better not to do it altogether. The world already has its fair share of screwed up companies that are screwing working, capable people like you to make the rich richer. It does not need more firms like that.

I’d like to close this with the mission statement from Engro Corp. – which is ‘To improve the quality of life of people around us’. +- pros and cons, Engro does what it can to make that happen. The world would be a much better place with more companies like that. Our gift of knowledge can be used to help make people’s lives better, esp. people like the kid in the photo (he’s an entrepreneur too, one exploited by the self interest of others). Lets do what we can to get him the quality of life he deserves.

Comments/questions welcome.

z