My name is Omar Sayyed and I blog because I want you to learn from my successes and mistakes. I started my first business while I was a freshman in college and have never looked back since. This blog is all about starups, marketing, and other general business topics.
Along with my two partners, we run a successful tech company and we operate in the ecommerce space with Ties.com & Scarves.com. Here you’ll get to witness our hard work, our successes, our trials and everything we learn through our endeavors. We too have had a ton of failures along the way such as wasting $1 million on failed marketing campaigns.
My goal is to remove the veil and give you unfiltered view of our going-ons hopefully inspiring you to achieve as we’ve achieved but avoiding the pitfalls. They’re not nice.
What makes you a leader in your startup? I always stress this with my partners, Morgan and David. EVERY decision we make, at our level, has consequences for the rest of our startup – positive and negative. No decision is too small. For example, just changing the type of pens that get ordered can have adverse effects. Let’s say your team is used to using Pilot G-2 07 pens (my personal favorite), you better have a good reason for making a change as it will cause undue disruptions. So how do you become an impactful leader knowing that every decision you make is important? 1. Realization that your position gives you inherent authority. Yes, for the most part, your position as the founder, CEO, COO, CTO, CMO, etc. is by nature just positional! But if you have to own it or be willing to step down as things get bigger and bigger. You are the day-to-day leader and your employees or your team will be looking up to you for answers, guidance, rules and boundaries – your leadership. It’s like [...]
Whether you want to pursue consulting, start your own company, or secure a promotion, the MBA unambiguously states you mean business, and a top program can seal the deal. However, the process of getting an MBA is not nearly as clear as getting your undergraduate degree was. In fact, the work experience requirement, the GMAT, and the collaborative nature of the degree itself make it completely unique among all college degrees. Having just completed the application process myself and having been admitted to Cornell—my top choice—amongst others, I learned that there are some “rules” you can follow to land your dream school, or, at the very lest, make the process simpler. 1. Know Why You Want an MBA It may seem overly simple to say this but you should know why you want an MBA. Too many friends and candidates I have spoken to use the MBA as an “application booster.” They assume they simply will “go back to school for business” and come out more qualified for a dream job. The truth is an MBA is not meant to [...]
In the wise words of Jay-Z, from time to time you have to put on a suit. If by age 21 you don’t own a suit there is something seriously wrong with the type of places you frequent. I personally love wearing suits. No, not talking about your dad’s suit. Nice suits, fitted-crisp-made-just-for-you-nice materials-no pleats-no visible-pant-hems-two-button-suits…you know what I’m talking about. So many of my fellow startup/tech brethren lack sartorial elegance. I recently read a blog post where someone was facetiously listing classes that he was happy are not taught at incubators; one of the classes he listed was something relating to “dressing to impress” – can’t recall the exact phrase. But it made me think. Why? Why would you not want to dress up? I have been around the tech space long enough and have enough developer friends to understand the hesitancy. I won’t call out the person who said this to me originally but I believe it’s not a willing choice but rather a choice forced by lack of style. The veil of “I’m a developer/coder” or “I just build [...]
A while back, I wrote a post on how to choose a new notebook, or at least my process thereof. After receiving the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook I was extremely excited. The device was packaged rather nicely, almost Apple-like. The ultrabook itself was very sleek with its carbon fiber bottom, the keyboard had a nice feel and its most impressive feature was its edge-to-edge gorilla glass. The ultrabook fired up fast and felt great. Portability was nice in comparison to the Alienware M11x since there was a huge weight reduction. But, I had to give it up and trade it in for Macbook Air. WHAT?? Had hell frozen over? I work long hours and I typically fire up my laptop and get a few hours of work in before the next day. This usually means sitting in the dark. A light-up keyboard is an absolute essential for me. The Alienware offered the ability to customize the keyboard, the “Alienware” moniker and other doodads. I always choose the color red since according to BMW using red lights to illuminate things at night is easiest on the eyes. [...]
Recently, Marissa Mayer (ex-Googler turned Yahoo! CEO) put a cease to all work from home arrangements between Yahoo! and their employees. I for one applaud her decision. I’ll come out and say it: It’s a counter-productive element about running a company (including in the tech space and I’d argue especially in the tech space). For our proposes we’ll focus on the tech/startup space. For the most part I’m addressing this issue in generalities and not looking at outlier cases. I’m sure there are people who are successful remote employees. I personally know of an IBM’er who is very high up the food chain and has been with the company for a long time. He works remotely and is very effective. But I also know he walks into his home office at 8AM, closes his door and does not step out until 5pm, despite a stay-at-home wife and a toddler. To me, he is the exception to the rule. Then there are solo-preneurs like Rob Walling who successfully works from home. This is not about him. Different topic. Yahoo! has experienced significant marketshare loss over the [...]
When I write – the lens through which I view the world is from the Startup prospective. That’s how I’m informed. As a leader of a business you try not to be reactionary to events that come along. And in a perfect world, you wish you could proactively see things coming a mile away – new trends, new marketing opportunities, squashing issues. But too often that’s not what happens. You spend most of your day jumping from email to email, from meeting to meeting and interruption to interruption. Reactionary work is not productive. You might “get things done” but you’re only reacting to what is happening. How is that productive? There are ways to combat all of the distractions that come your way. Meetings can be a huge drain on time. Most meetings are unproductive and suck up huge resources. Meeting Ticker explains how expensive meetings really are. At Scarves.com we have abandoned traditional meetings for “Purposeful Meetings” or PMeetings. During a PMeet only people who are pertinent to what is being discussed attend. We focus on actionable items – then [...]