It takes more than Excel to build a model for the real world.

Sometime the simpler things in life lead to the most profound experiences.

Financial modeling lessons come in three categories.

The first and most common are Excel tips and tricks.

How do you use the vlookup function to not return a N/A value when it doesn’t find a result. The second are modeling related suggestions, and there are a lot of them — common financial modeling mistakes. The third and final category is where we don’t find as much advise. On the Zen of building models.

Here is a short list from the third category. On the design thinking behind…

As someone who has been following the value school for two decades, getting comfortable with Bitcoin and crypto assets had been a challenge.

I was fortunate enough to run into Faisal Khan right about the time he was giving away Bitcoins to friends and family members about a decade ago. Unfortunately I don’t remember what I did with mine, or if Faisal gave me one or two or three or none.

But since then we have touched base every few months to talk about payments, fintech, Ed-tech, Goldilocks conditions, second chances, paying down debts and doing right by our students.

There are three lectures that I always wanted to record for posterity.

The feature prioritization and product market fit one was the most important and the one I had always missed. We finally recorded it this Friday with my Habib University students.

We talk about Product Market Fit and project pillars across Sushi burgers, Sashimi, Grease the movie, Neal Stephenson, Imran series, Teaching Chinese, Game design principles, attendance quizes and liberal arts education.

Just over a year since we started teaching remotely as teachers and instructors. My teaching style and the conversations I have with my students have changed and evolved over the last 12 months.

While the primary audience here are CS and EE undergraduate students, there are some nuggets in there for regular founders too. Take a look. Would love to hear your reactions and comments on how the class went.


What is your Bitcoin for 2021? Do you expect a correction in Q1? What does price data and historical trends suggest? Is the next big move up or down?

In October 2014, a close friend asked me to look at Bitcoin and share an informal opinion on the price data set. That look led to a series of articles that culminated in

Yesterday I got a similar ping from a different close friend. What is your Bitcoin outlook for 2021?

You must be a true social hamlet to ignore the meteoric rise in the value of Bitcoin in the…

I recently gave a short talk on Product launch lessons from school of hard knocks for founders at 021Disrupt. Here is the summarized conclusion (last two minutes) from that conversation.

One. Launch is a terminal event. No, it is not.

It is neither the beginning nor the end. it is a series of overlapping sequences. The sequence includes pre-build, pre-launch, launch and post launch.

Two. One launch sequence is not enough. You need to do more. You need to do more because the objective of launch sequence is to generate a stable flow of orders.

To get to a stable…

Don’t build better financial models. Build better businesses.

Well, I couldn’t help myself. I went ahead and wrote another one. All 227 pages of it. Why?

Founder Puzzles, summary video. 227 pages in 7 minutes, 29 seconds. Take a look.

Founder Puzzles, 7 minute summary of 14 chapters, 227 pages

After a decade and a half of mentoring startups and founders across my part of the planet have to come realize that as founders, we sink and fail for two primary reasons.

The big one, reason number one, is we don’t know how to sell.

The second, equally important, is…

Unit Economics — Making models and numbers work for you before tying the knot with a business idea.

A common challenge with technology business founders is that we jump into founder/startup mode inspired by latest trends, breaking news or opportunities without running basic numbers.

It often starts with a desire to do something big in X (replace X with current flavor of the month), to not miss out on the next big wave, to try our luck together with an old friend, to leave our mark on the world, to make it to the front page of Wired, The Atlantic, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Financial Time or Forbes.

Founders often fall in love with ideas without thinking…

When it comes to Private Equity case studies in the Middle East, GEMS Education is a study in contrasts and conflicting opinions.

GEMS Education School System and its tango with institutional private equity investors, financial markets and banks in the region makes for a fascinating read. As an investor if you have been following the K-12 and high school education segment in Middle East, it is impossible to not come across GEMS Education. GEMS has had run the course with three round of private equity investments, two public debt issues and multiple bank refinancing and credit extensions.

Data for this…

What could Kelly’s criterion teach us about founders, startups and the size of your next bet? Faced with a sure thing, what should you do?

There is one question that I ask myself every time when I am about to make an investment decision. Is the amount I am allocating and committing to this investment too large? Can we afford the size of this bet? Will I regret this later? Is this a mistake?

I asked myself this question before I put down the buy order for my first equity trade, the deposit for our first car, the lease for…

As traders we spend a great deal of time trying to make sense of risk limits. But where do risk limits come from? How can we tell if they are broken or if they work? What is the right way of setting risk limits that work.

We often speak about process and discipline when it comes to trading. While quality of our research and depth of our trading ideas matters, the two are meaningless without a strong process and the strength to follow it in good times and bad.

A key element in process and discipline debate is limits management…

Jawwad Farid

Husband. Father. Founder. Failure. Rocket Science at Book 5. Founder Puzzles. Check it out.

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