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S02E10 – Bringing Ideas to Life through Crowdfunding – Chris Blauvelt
Channel: Muslim Life Hackers
Series: Muslim Life Hackers - Season 2
File Size: 20.58MB
Mifrah speaks to Chris Abdurrahman Blauvelt, the co-founder of the crowdfunding platform LaunchGood on bringing ideas to life through crowdfunding.
- What is Crowdfunding?
- How LaunchGood plays a part in supporting Muslim causes and ideas.
- The early days of Launch Good and challenges experienced
- The importance of mentors and how to find them
- How to make sure your business grows steadily and not fizzle away.
- How long to spend time in a startup before seeing its success.
- The reality of business failures and bigger picture.
- The reality of unsuccessful crowdfunding campaigns.
- How to make sure your crowdfunding campaign is successful.
- An overlooked benefit from crowdfunding that many are not aware of and more…
Episode Transcript ©
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season two episode 10
Welcome to the Muslim life factors podcast, the weekly podcast providing you the knowledge, tools and connections to help you get ahead in life. And now your hosts Mithra maroof and mahane Malik
Assalamu alaikum Muslim life hackers and welcome to another episode from the Muslim life hackers podcast. My name is Miss America and I'll be your host for today. On the show today we have on Chris Abdul Rahman blurred out from launchcode, a crowdfunding platform for Muslims. Chris gives us a lowdown about what crowdfunding is, and how to use it effectively to make your business idea and projects come to life. We also touch upon the topic of mentors, creating successful startups and the advantages we have as Muslim entrepreneurs. I hope you find this interview beneficial. And without further ado, let's get started. Assalamu alaikum Muslim life hackers, I'm here with Chris
Abdurrahman Blauvelt, our guest here on the show today. Assalamualaikum. Chris, how are you today? Oh, hello. Welcome, sir. I'm great. Have the lead. That's awesome. We're happy to have you on the show. Thanks for joining us. I hope to learn a lot from this interview. So okay, Chris, I'm what I have here. On your bio, it says that you are the CEO and the captain of ship over at the crowdfunding platform called launch. Good. Is that right? That's correct. Okay, so would you be able to tell us a bit about it? Because this whole concept of crowdfunding may be new to some. So can you explain to us what's it all about, and why people use it? Sure. So crowdfunding, I'll start with
crowdfunding, I can get a word to launch good. crowdfunding is a really simple concept. It's the idea of bringing together a group of people to fund projects. It's in a sense, taxes are a form of crowdfunding, albeit involuntary. But when we talk about crowdfunding today, for the most part, people are talking about donating online to projects with specific goals and specific deadlines. And it started around 2008. And it really started becoming popular around 2011. And it's just accelerated a lot since then. So launch good is a Muslim crowdfunding platform. So what that means is, we do all sorts of crowdfunding, but with a special emphasis on the Muslim community. So that
could either be projects by Muslims, for the general public, yeah, for example, someone raising money to feed the homeless in Sydney.
Or it could be a project even by non Muslims. But the beneficiaries are Muslims. So it could be, you know, building building a clinic in Indonesia, for example. Yeah. Yeah. That's why it's good in a nutshell. Awesome. So like, what, what was the reason I've actually started a crowdfunding platform back particularly catered for Muslims, when when when they were like, a lot out there, like, well, what actually makes this one unique to that? That's, that's a really good question. And thank you for asking that. Um, so I'm going to have to wind back in history a little bit. So every every startup has a story. And our startup began, or I guess, in a sense, our story began 14 years ago.
That's when I became Muslim. Just before 911 happened, the tragic events of September 11 in America.
And, in fact, three months before 911. So I was like many Congress, very zealous and excited. Yeah, I'm so proud to be Muslim. And then all of a sudden, my country is under attack. And I'm like, What is going on? And I'm so confused. And I was only 16. So so right. Yeah. Yeah. And it really forced me to dive deeper into Islam. In China, it was fortunate to be able to travel a lot of the Muslim world. I visited places like Islamic Spain, Turkey, Morocco, Malaysia, Egypt, Jordan, the Saudi Arabia, Dubai, you know, so on and so forth. And what I found in many of these countries is that Islam, in fact, is really truly a beautiful religion and in its history, contributed greatly to
civilization. And so I had a kind of over the process of being Muslim decided that I've committed my life to changing the perception of Islam, and raising up the Muslim community. At one point, I was a film producer, I had a film about a Muslim called belaz stand. And it's on Netflix, and I think you guys have Netflix and now in Australia, so maybe it's I'm not sure if it's in Australia, we can check. So below Stan was a story about a young African American Muslim in Detroit, trying to go to college, and the issues he faced, it went to Sundance in 2010, which is a really famous worldwide festival.
And we needed to raise some money. And I had a friend from New York suggest we try out this website called Kickstarter. Yeah. So for those who don't know, Kickstarter, it's probably the world's biggest crowdfunding platform. I'm sure it's the world's biggest crowdfunding platform. And certainly the most famous Yeah. But at that time in 2010, is only about a year on Kickstarter. And I was fortunate just to get into crowdfunding at an early time. Yeah. And what I noticed is, after having done that Kickstarter, then, you know, people started coming to me asking if I could help them with their own Kickstarter and other campaigns.
And over time, I noticed the impact that Kickstarter was having on the creative and arts community in America. So even though like when I did it, you know, maybe funded a few million dollars in projects a year last year, it funded over half a billion dollars in art projects. And that was, that's just Kickstarter. And what's amazing to me about that is this isn't it's not like they took business away from anybody, right? Like banks don't give loans out to artists. People don't invest in artists and an artists aren't nonprofits, so they can't like solicit donations. It's really hard to be an artist. Yeah, yeah, definitely. And Kickstarter has just created this whole new ecosystem
to support creativity and entrepreneurs, and especially in the West, and I wanted to replicate that within the Muslim community. Because we know we have a lot of Muslims, and we've missed a lot 1.6 or 7 billion of them. But despite our size, we don't have a lot to show for it. There's a lot of individuals out there like the you guys yourselves and Peter Gould, I'm sure many people you've been interviewing, but it's really not enough. And the support that they get is just a fraction of what what they really need. And so the idea behind launch good was to create a platform that itself would become an ecosystem like Kickstarter, where any Muslim with you know, great ideas or doing great
work could find the support and encouragement to continue with their work.
Yeah, makes make sense that I can, I can see how projects like launchcode can be able to help artists and business ideas because like when when you're in the stage, and you're early, and it's not an it's not just easy to just go out and get a loan, because at the end of the day, you do need money to start up something. And to me, it's more than just that, right. Like when when I started this, I was thinking we'd focus a lot on artists and entrepreneurs. But we've come to realize it's much more broad, like much broader than that.
And so for example, we have one one of our campaigns that did very well recently was called the Muslim aaRC, Muslim, anti racist racism coalition.
It's not a startup per se, unless you think of it as in the maybe it's like a startup nonprofit organization. But it's an idea that it's time is is is, you know, high nigh within the Muslim community. Again, I can only speak from an American perspective, I don't know what it's like in Australia, but I'm guessing it's not too different. Where, for example, you might look, you know, certain groups within our Muslim community, as particular immigrant groups look down upon, you know, black Muslims or African American Muslims. And it's, there's been this kind of change in in the way people see,
see what the role of Muslims are within society that really excites me. So like we funded a lot of people go to go to orphanages, like in Mexico, right? And it's not, it's not, it doesn't have anything to do with art, per se, or entrepreneurs in and it's not even necessarily religious in the sense that, like, they're going down there to do Dawa. Yeah, they're broadening their scope of what it means to be a Muslim in this world. And that's, you know, contributing, contributing and sharing our great values with the rest of the world. And so for us, that's really, that's what gets me excited about launch kit is we're able to actually change the way people see how they can get a how
they can use their life, while they have it in, you know, in this world, to the benefit of others, and to the kind of finding their own purpose and calling in life. Mm hmm. That's fantastic. Because like, we have any idea I mean, money is very important. And you guys being able to provide that platform to be to be able to help individuals to like fulfill, for example, like how you're giving examples of the the anti racism camp campaign was that or, yeah, yeah, and also like the orphanage in Mexico, I mean, these are really, really important and allows us to share our values as as a Muslim to the world. They're not not just the people that keep taking, but rather we give as we're
supposed to back to the community. And, you know, when I when I was on your website, I saw this quote by the prophets and I said of that, that you wrote, there and
He was saying how the believers like rain wherever he goes, he brings goodness. So Exactly. Say, yeah, that's a lot of the inspiration behind this. It's like, you know, whether we're working within the Muslim community or in the broader community, that just should be our reputation, right? Like, while Muslims wherever they go, they bring a give Yeah. And then adjust your take. And that's fantastic. It's so especially since you're you're able to take the, you're able to make use of the collective power of like, the Muslim community and kind of connect everyone together. So yeah, I see how launch could is kind of like playing that part. So I just want to shift the conversation a bit.
And going back to your early days, you know, the days when you're still studying and getting getting on your feet with launchcode? What were some of the setbacks that you experienced? And lessons that you can take from that?
That's a great question. We probably the biggest setback was the development of the website. So I'm not a developer. I'm not a programmer, I don't sit there and like code the website, so your ideas, perfect. ideas. Okay. I do have a background. I mean, I have a degree in engineering, it's mechanical engineering, and I have basic programming skills.
But what we did initially is we outsource this to some developers in Pakistan. Yeah. Because you don't have you know, we didn't have money. And so it's like, this is the only thing we can afford. And that was really hard, you know, what was supposed to take three months, ended up taking about 16 months.
And so it takes it took a lot of patience early on, especially when you just want to get going, and then you've seen like, all these Muslim, you know, great crowdfunding projects come out and other sites, you know, call that could have been as if we were up and ready. You also realize there's 10 extented, everything has a time in a purpose, right. And so maybe if we'd come out, when I wanted to come out, we would have been too soon, you know, we wouldn't have been able to build enough momentum early on.
So, you know, it's, I just think everything comes at the right time. And I was fortunate enough to have had some previous experience as an entrepreneur. So I know that things never come easy to start. Yeah. And good people and mentors around me that really pushed me to be patient and just, you know, plow forward. Yeah, I can I can relate to what you're saying. Like I remember even us launching Apple Sun Life hackers podcast, the idea was a one year before we actually launched it. So like, it didn't, it didn't happen until a year later. So I mean, there are some things that, like, whenever it launches, the there's always wisdom in it that, you know, just happen on that time. And
I'm sure that you would have noticed that he said as well, that when you launched it was the best time of day. And exactly one of my teachers says that the the only have a lot of the you know, the the close friends have a law, they generally chose two professions. One was farming and the other was business, because those are the professions where you have to rely mostly on Allah subhanaw taala.
And, yeah, being a startup, it's a stark reminder that I mean, everything is just, you know, one thing can sometimes make or break you. So yeah, yeah. A lot. Yeah. So I just, I just want to ask you more about what what you mentioned. With that, with that question. You mentioned something on the topic of mentors. Now. That's actually quite interesting. You, you said that you had mentors, as you were launching, as you were doing this project? Would you be able to tell us a bit about that, and like, how you found mentors, and like how today, I'm sure that they really did help you with like, pushing forward and stuff with your project?
Yeah, so that that's one of the most important things about launch it is the mentors we've had. And the interesting thing is they're not Muslim. Yeah. So it reminds me a lot of the prophet SAW lies, when he was making his hedgerow to Medina, he was in fact, you know, he used a lot of non Muslims to prepare for that journey and to help him to escape. And that's, you know, I think, in similar way, launch good. We really benefited from people here in Detroit, who've been very successful in their own right, with businesses and startups in the past, and we've been fortunate to connect to them. And they've been completely invaluable to us. In the advice they provide, like, sometimes they'll
pay for stuff out of their pocket for us, and we don't give them anything, we don't pay money. We don't have any equity in the company. They purely want to see us succeed. And it's really amazing to me, one that someone would do that, just kind of from the bottom of their heart, and then to it's like, given our mission, like it's like, they're not even Muslim. Yeah, but they really see the value in what we're doing. And they really, they really appreciate the work we're doing. And so they give a lot
have time and energy and emotions to help us grow. Hmm. So how did you actually find your mentors? So we work in a co working space in Detroit 50 businesses here. And when we moved in these guys, one of them is the founder of the CO working space, on the other was one of the early kind of contributors to building the space and in generally helps out a few businesses here and there. And we just, I don't even remember how we got to officially getting them on as a mentor. But at some point, you know, we started meeting weekly, and that just became a formalized relationship. And that was, you know, from maybe two years ago at this point. Yeah. So it sounds like building those
connections and those relationships. And then after that, being able to kind of benefit each other because like, you were saying, how you found these mentors, because they were there at the same co working space. So that's, that's actually quite, quite interesting. Yeah, and, you know, networking is a it's a fine art, because some people waste a lot of time networking. Yeah, like, you can go to this restaurant giving business cards to everyone.
Yeah, right. It's like, you know, you have to like, work on your business, right? Like, on Sundays, less time talking to everybody. But at the same time, if you don't do any network, and you won't find people like this, so it's, it's really a balance of, I think smart networking and making sure that you use your time carefully. Hmm, that's true. Um, so I just want to ask you another question with, with with regards to the way you've been running your platform launch code. Now, you've been around for about three years with a steady growth. And the reason I point this out is because there are so many projects and business projects and community projects out there that coming with great
ideas, but after a few years, pretty much they just fizzle away, like there's no way to be seen. But you guys have been quite consistent, which is awesome. And I want to know, what are some things you've done to contribute to this growth and continue to up your game? Pretty much? That's a great point. So yeah, it's if you look at a growth chart, let's say you start with, you know, $10, like 10 customers, and you grow those customers by
10% a month and another person loses them at 10% a month, even though the difference is like 1.1 versus 0.9, you know, one of those will end up with zero very quickly. And the other one will, after a short time, it will explode. So it doesn't seem like it's growing fast. And but it is. So the goal is really to maintain small but consistent growth, right. So we grow about 10 to 20% a month, which is actually a little bit high. But like when we started,
the total number of projects that we would crowdfund a month would add up to about $10,000 a month. And sometimes it'd be like, 15,000. And then it dropped like 8000. And, you know, you're, you're asking yourself, are we even growing? Yeah. And then around Ramadan, last year, Hamdulillah, things started picking up big time. And we went from, you know, I think the previous eight months, we've crowdfunded about $300,000. And then in Ramadan, which is our ninth month, we crowdfunded. Like, like 800 $800,000. So we made this big jump to over a million. And once we got over a million dollars, then we established like, we became legitimate in the eyes of the masses, for the most
And since then, it's kind of been very consistent for us. And now we're up to like, around between 100 and $150,000 a month in projects. hamdullah.
It's, it's, you know, I would say more than anything, the ability to to be
stubborn, like I want to say patient, but I think is more than patience. I think it's like it's almost like stubbornness, right? That we, we we've been doing this, like I've been doing this for three years, we've been live for a year and a half, we've been making money for a year and a half. And we haven't even paid ourselves still. And you just you know, you have to find other ways to kind of survive and be able to pay the bills and kind of keep bootstrapping. And I think that's what a lot of people don't have patience for.
It's like, Are you willing to, like read? Like, I remember one of the people I got early advice from, who had a startup that sold to Google for, I don't know, maybe 10 million or so. Yeah. He was like, I was sleeping on a couch in someone's garage for a year. He's like, Are you willing to do that? Right. And hamdulillah? Like, it's not even close to the realistic view. Yeah, yeah. But I think in the general startup world, people are willing to really bootstrap and work hard to get to that point. But a lot of times in the Muslim community, like we're not attuned to that, right, because our communities usually usually used to professional jobs like oh, I'm going to be a doctor
or a pharmacist or lawyer or, you know, an engineer something where it's like, the path is very clear. It's like I go to this school.
And then I get this professional degree and I did this internship. And then I got a job like Linnea and has has like a step by step path. Yeah. And as I'm sure you guys know, like startups are not like that. It's like, you think it's linear?
It's crazy. Yeah, it's really crazy. It's really crazy. So, again, my parents are entrepreneurs. And though they're very successful entrepreneurs, and so they've always had that perspective they've passed on to me is that you have to give any startup you do three years in, and you will only then after three years, we really know if it's like, got a chance or not.
And I even saw my mom's business. She started when I was born, which was about 1984.
And she started in, in Asia. So I was born in Malaysia. And that's where she started it. And then back to America after a few years, and it grew. But most of her base business was still in Southeast Asia. And there was a collapse in the economy there the stock market in like the mid to late 90s.
And her business didn't make any money that year. And that was really difficult time for her and most businesses ended up shutting down. And she she kind of pushed through. And then as the economy rebounded, she was one of the few left standing and her business just skyrocketed. And eventually the my dad, like quit his job at American Express and joined her and Mashallah, like they've been really doing well, like the last 20 years. And so, being able to see that and experience that also gives me a lot of, kind of, I think, patience to persevere. Yeah, yeah, definitely. So it's pretty much it's having that patience, but also that stubbornness to, like, keep going, even if you don't
see it quite take off, like you hope to. Yeah, and as long as there's consistent growth, and consistent growth. And I think, I mean, there's gonna be times it might not be so consistent, but
you also, as you know, I think as a Muslim, being able to have a
relationship with Allah and, and trust your heart, right, like the Prophet sola Some said,
you know, like, like, ask your heart. And so there's times like, when I used to be a film producer, it started off really well, right? Like, we went to Sundance, we had all these screenings, and we were like, you know, making this money. And we were doing all sorts of stuff. But my heart didn't really feel great about it. And then after a while, like things started slowing down, and, and I had the idea for launch good. And it just felt like it was time to move on and do something different. And I think as an entrepreneur, it's you also just have to not have that kind of clear relationship with your heart and know that, you know, it, you know, what stage are we at? Are we at the stage
where we need to hunker down and persevere? Or are we at the stage where it's, you know, we had a good run, let's, let's move on to the next thing now.
So that, that that would be kind of like pretty much the answer to say, if, if someone were to ask, okay, how do I know whether I should really quit or whether I should keep going? Because like, you see how some things can be part of each start working and you don't need to quit. But then the other one is, he can be that you just need to try harder to keep pushing through kind of thing. Yeah, exactly. I mean, I think that people provide a lot of these famous examples of like Rovio, which made the Angry Birds game they had, like, I never remember how many games flop like 50 games flop. Before they came. They did Angry Birds, you know?
So if you'd like went by their growth numbers, it might look like well, you know, it's not working. Right? And you should just fold it. Right? And if they'd done that at game number 49, they would, you know, I don't know they'd be might be what rebates wouldn't have come? Yeah, Angry Birds or intercom? They wouldn't be billionaires today, right? Like,
so I don't know what their tool was for knowing whether to keep going or not. I think everyone's a little bit different. But to me, it is important to kind of ask your heart and go with what your gut tells you.
And also, like, I'm on top of that, like being being Muslim, we do have that option of praying istikhara and like asking Allah subhanaw taala for, like, guidance on a particular decision. So Pamela, we have that advantage, man. It's the heart of it's such a blessing. You know, I can't imagine. Yeah, people don't have istikhara. I mean, they're, you know, I mean, obviously, like most of the world aren't Muslim, and they don't have they don't know what this ticket is. They don't have istikhara
and fries, what a great blessing it is. So it's a tool that should be used quite often. At the end of the day. I think important thing for Muslims to remember is that family with your business is not failing in life. Right? Like, if you go to business is not you? Yeah, and and a lot of failure. People people value that, like you learn so much when you fail. And so like Silicon Valley is full of people who fail like every year the majority of startups are led by founders who fail
That, like two or three startups before that. And it's something that's celebrated. And that's something as a Muslim community, we have to get a lot more comfortable with that, like, hey, yeah, that guy like failed two or three times or that sister failed two or three times. But now she's come across like a really good idea with Muslim life hackers, so let's support her. I bet it's true. Like for for our audience who actually don't I mean, there were a lot of like, online projects that we'd have tried to do in the past that did kind of take off, like, what's the life hackers had? So the failures or they just didn't didn't get that? Yeah, that publicity.
I didn't even know that I was just, I was just making a joke, but that's good. I think it's good. That, you know,
it's, it's such a valid point, because the thing is like, like, what gets out there, like on this on the spotlight is like, sorts, a person went to Silicon Valley, and they like, made a killing. And then after that, it's like, all those little guys that just failed. Like, they didn't get any spotlight. But that's the true reality on the ground, though, that people fail more than they succeed. Yes. So you come in with the unrealistic gravity, a, an unrealistic expectation, pretty much. Yeah, in your hand, again, as a Muslim, like, you're rewarded by your intentions. So yeah, definitely, like our intention is to turn launch good into a platform that funds a billion dollars a
year in projects in the world. And if we don't get there, shala, we get the reward of it still. And if we get there, we get, you know, 10 to 700 times the reward or more. So it's, it's all good. hamdulillah.
That's, that's an awesome way to put it. So it's like, either way, it's a win win, win win situation. And we have all these tools that we've been blessed with in Islam, so hamdulillah I mean, it's, it's awesome. Hey, how you actually putting that into perspective. So I'm just to kind of change the conversation a bit. I was actually reading into the whole crowdfunding myself. And I noticed that not all campaigns are successful, like, some don't reach, don't end up reaching their target, whereas others do so in a matter of hours. So my question to you is, how can one create a successful campaign? Are there certain things that you can do to make it happen? Like, what are
people doing wrong? What are they doing? Right? Yeah, that's a really great question. So in general, only about 5% of campaigns hit their goal. So one out of 20
would think it that's an example of not everything succeeds. Yeah, yeah, exactly. And that's definitely not the perception, I think most people's hear about, someone did a crowdfunding campaign, and the raise, like hundreds of 1000s of dollars, and like, Oh, I'm next, you know.
So, so most campaigns don't hit their goal, I actually like to make an analogy to riding a bicycle. So if you've never ridden a bicycle before, most likely the first time you bet on you're gonna fall down. But if you just got a little bit of support, in like training wheels, you would be able to to learn to ride and then you'd be fine. Like, once you learn how to ride, it's really, you know, it's hard to forget. And so yeah, one of the things especially about launchcode, is we are the people's training wheels, right, like every project that comes in launchcode, we work with one on one. And some of this advice has shares kind of advice that we share with projects, there are two things you
really need to focus on when you're doing crowdfunding. One is establishing legitimacy. And the second is building an emotional connection. And if you can't do either of those, you definitely won't be able to raise money. People have to obviously be able to trust that where they're giving their money is going to actually go where it's intended.
And if there's just no emotional appeal, like, why would people donate? So a good example of that is, let's say someone wants to start a construction business.
And they want to raise $100,000 to like, you know, buy equipment, so they can build houses. It's not, there's really no emotional pill there, right. And you can be completely legitimate, but there's just no emotional appeal. And so that's not going to work.
And I think another thing is having realistic goals. So a lot of people do want things like 100,000, or, you know, 200,000 or even 50,000. Most crowdfunding raises about $5,000. And so I think having really realistic goals is important. crowdfunding, I always say the crowd comes for the funding you need. It's more about publicity and engagement than it is the fundraising. Less than 10 or 10% of people that go to your fundraising page will donate. But they're still seeing the page. So it's not really a question of like, oh, how do I get 100 donors? It's, it's a question of what do I want 1000 people to take away from this. It's a time when people will be sharing your project on their
Facebook wall and their Twitter feeds. They'll be emailing it, you have an excuse to call people and talk to people. And so beyond just the fundraising, what's the message you want to get out? And that's what we try to focus with our crowdfunding campaigns is, is what is that message and then inshallah if you communicate that well and has that emotional appeal, in addition to to getting that message out, you're going to be raising money.
Yeah, that's a good, good way to look. Right. So it's not just about the money. It's about the people that you're ultimately serving with this project. Yeah. I mean, one way to look at it, you're getting paid to get incredible grassroots publicity. Right? Like, I mean, you could, like, if you wanted to build publicity for Muslim light Packers, you can pay for some Facebook ads or Twitter ads. And it's like, an annoying ad that's in people's feeds. And they're like, why are you here? Right? It's like block. Spam. Exactly. Right? But if you actually like if it's, Hey, your your, Peter Gould shares your project on his personal Facebook page, or on his on his, uh, you know,
larger profile page.
All of a sudden, people are gonna pay attention because I like Peter goal. He's my friend. What's this thing he's talking about? He's obviously vouching for it. Let me check it out. So it's, it's, you know, that's the cool thing about crowdfunding is really a great way to engage people and build publicity for your, for yourself in your projects. That's some great insight. So what what would say your advice, Peter, for for someone who, their first time they're putting their ideas out there and you know, put them in a very vulnerable position, and they just have that fear? What would you say to that person? Well, yeah, that's great. They have to get comfortable with a fear. And that's
something really challenging, especially for people, I think, from an immigrant background. Yeah, not just amongst Muslims, even amongst non Muslims who come from an immigrant background, because asking for money is sometimes akin to bagging.
And people really struggle with that, you know, it's like, it's like, I didn't come to America, or I didn't come to Australia. So my kids could beg people for money. You know,
it's funny the way you put it, yeah. And that's why we really try to make we try to make things a win win, right? Like, if you're a business, you should be offering rewards that are more valuable than the support people are giving. And if you're not a business, if you're a charity, the way to think about is you're giving people a great opportunity to to gain rewards themselves, like Allah says, In the Quran, were meant to him to mean high being fully enforceable, you know, whatever, you spend a good, it's just for yourself, like it, you know, like when when I contribute to launch good campaign, like, it's, I'm not, I'm helping them, but in reality, they're giving me a chance to help
myself. And that's always been I think the traditional, you know, understanding of charity within the Muslim community, is that it's, we're the ones who are giving the charity are the ones who are really benefiting. Yeah, that's true. That's true. So just out of curiosity, like if you guys have launched many projects, I mean, on your website, right now, it says there's 180 in 17 countries. Now, what is interesting once you've came across, like, just wild ideas, and it's like, wow, this is actually happening kind of thing doesn't have the necessarily be your favorite. But yeah, so that's, that's been probably the coolest thing about Lionsgate as we get to see all these amazing ideas
across the community. That's a cobia, one of them that we just funded. And it's such a small one I'm really like it was their goal was I think, like $3,000, which is small, it's very small.
But the idea is, every month, you get a package in the mail, for your kid with a with some relics from different parts of the Muslim world. And it's called menopause.
And so it's like a subscription service. And one month, you might get like a postcard and a coin from from Somalia. And you don't you know, when we think about Somalia, we think about pirates and, you know, Shabaab, and like all these horrible things, but it's really not so much here. There's so much history there. And it's part of the Luma. And Somalians are great. You know, Muslims have done that I've all the small ones I've met have been really pleasant people. And so it's a chance for our kids to see how broad the law is. And every month it's like, I mean, the examples they gave were like Somalia and Vietnam, and like, you know, one other country, I was like, wow, these are not, you
know, it's not what you would say creative. It's really creative. And it's done by like a house mom, in our house wife, right, like so.
Like little projects, like those are the ones that get me the most excited.
That's such a fantastic way to teach people about, like, where Islam is, and being able to treasure that and appreciate its rich history. I mean, that's a very great project, I must say, yeah, the film was amazing. And it's really I think I'm, I feel blessed to have been an outsider and come into the oma right, like, haven't been a non Muslim and come in. Yeah, and just, you know, because I think maybe we take for granted like how amazing it is, like, you know, I could pop into a mosque in Nairobi tomorrow, and I don't speak their language or anything, but I could just, you know, explain that. I'm a Muslim and I'm traveling from America and I don't I need a place to stay in.
Most likely people would fight over like hosting me. And I could do that in the world. Like, it's amazing. I you know, there's
recently there is a really unfortunate shootings in North Carolina of the three Sunni Muslim students do you sorta
Yeah. And there was a hashtag called Chapel Hill shooting. And that hashtag spread across the world like wildfire. And it became the number one trending hashtag on Twitter four times more than Valentine's Day. And number two,
and that's a Valentine's Day is a big deal, right? And so yeah, it's, I think, with technology, like we've always had those emotional connections isn't oma, despite kind of our downfall in the last 500 years. But with technology, we can actually revive those emotional connections and turn them into action. So I imagine maybe in five years, instead of every, you know, instead of 2 million people sending a tweet in 24 hours, it could be 2 million people each contributing $1. And now we have like a $2 million fund. And you know, in the honor of Do you soon resent? I don't think those things are far fetched at all. Yeah, yeah. So it's so it's, again, making use of that collective power and
using technology to facilitate that pretty much. Oh, yeah, absolutely. This is Yeah, there's a lot of horrible things about the internet. But But I think, yeah, definitely, to get closer to my goals like this is one of the really great things about the internet is it can allow us to connect even when, you know, borders, and international boundaries, or whatever might keep us apart. That's so true. Now, we're just nearing the ending of this in the interviews, I just want to ask you a final series of quick questions. First of all, what are some of your favorite books like your top three? Well, number one, and I'm not going to include the Koran because it's kind of like
a given right? Yeah. Number one is Autobiography of Malcolm X. Okay, so that's the book that led me to to Islam. So it's, it's definitely the number one and there's a line in there. He says, if you take one step towards Allah, Allah takes two steps towards you. And that was, that was a big, big part of my journey to Islam.
Probably number two, is a book called road to Mecca by Mohammed Asad. Okay, you can see I'm, I'm partial to two autobiographies. And now to a story, it's a lot to learn from or autobiographies. Yeah. And I really enjoy the autobiographies of converts. So So Mohammed acid is a famous European convert of Jewish background, who became born in 1900, became Muslim, I think around 20 years old or so in Palestine.
And he just had a very rich life, an important role played a very important role in the development of Islam in the modern world.
And I guess, you know, in those type of books like Malcolm X, or Muhammad Asad, I see people who have left behind a really powerful legacy. And I'm jealous to to replicate that in my own way. Yeah. And, you know, you know, how can I make sure that when I leave this world, I change, you know, I made a change in something that hopefully, you know, Allah is pleased to meet with me in the Prophet systems Pleased to meet with me. So those who inspire me, number three, I don't know. Number three, be hard. I read a lot. So I'd have to think harder about that pass. Yeah, pass. That's okay. Okay. So secondly, what piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to get ahead in life? Yeah, I
think the first thing I'd say is, is what is it, you know, challenge them to what does it mean to get ahead in life, and I think, because I've had some success as an entrepreneur, hamdulillah I think a lot of people come to me for worldly advice. And, but we have to remember that the end of the day, like you can be, you know, you can be Steve Jobs. But if you don't die with the man, like, it doesn't really matter. So, so I always like to call my success. I always, you know, people don't have a strong relationship with a lot invest in that first. Because that's, that's the investment that always benefits you. As far as people that you know, they're on their faith, and they're
looking to get ahead, in more of the worldly sense with their business, or startup or whatever it might be.
I think surround yourself with the right people. So those are mentors. I do. Those are friends. You know, like I have all these friends here, my co working space that aren't Muslim, but they're entrepreneurs like me. And so when we hit lows, they can console you. And they can, you know, remind you, like I remember one time we had our website, I mentioned we had these packs and developers for the first couple years that were really very nice people were very hard to work with. And we had this incident with our website where on Friday, they made some changes and we couldn't collect anything.
donations, like they broke something, and then they left and you can get in touch with them to like Monday. It's a weekend, we could accept donations, we're doing a crowdfunding campaign for a musician who was having a concert that weekend. So it was like the ideal time for him his money, and we kind of blew it for him. And I felt horrible. I felt really, really bad. And my mentor just kind of laughed it off. And he told me about a story where they built these car engine test blocks, and they tested like a couple million dollars into the startup and they got a contract with Ford Motor Company, which is, you know, one of the biggest car companies in the world, and it was a really huge
win for them.
And they, they sent it over. But the person that manufactured the test block, like changed one little thing, and it caused it to catch fire, and it burned down the Ford test facility. Needless to say, that was the end of their startup.
And, you know, he's just laughing about I was like, Well, you know, Bob, he's got Yeah, I was, like, that's a lot worse problem than often I'm having so yeah, you know, when you surround yourself with good people, they're going to help you get through the difficult times and they were to help you find ways to get around them. The developers that we have today who are like really phenomenal. You know, Bob found them for me. And when you have success, they celebrate with you and they make you feel good and motivated to keep moving forward. So the Prophet you know, socialism said rajaji, not really fully on board, I had to continue calling a chemical so some, you know, a man or person is
upon the, the religion or way of life of their close friend. So you know, be careful who you choose to be your close friends.
That's, that's true. That's I'm very passionate advice. So finally, where can people find you online? Awesome. So launch good calm is our website. And it's like launching a rocket but not rockets. you're launching good project. So launch kit calm.
We're at Twitter at launchcode Facebook at launch. Good. Okay, personally,
you know, actually, I'm mostly just use our launch Twitter. You can find me on on Twitter as well, though, a our blog belt. So that blog, so you don't have time for Twitter. You're too busy working hard. Yeah. Yeah, if I have time for Twitter, it's just launched Twitter. And I have it so you can just tweet me there. And then I'll probably be the one that answers. And then you can also email me at Chris at launch good calm, as you can imagine, get a lot of emails, but we try to, we really try to make everyone a VIP and give them attention. So hopefully won't take too long to respond. And yeah, we just love to help any, any Muslim out there that's trying to do good work. And that's what
we're here to support you. Okay, so to at least listeners who are listening to this, or this, that was mentioned will be in our show notes, including the book suggestions, and also the details on how to connect with launch. Good. Chris, I must say thank you so much for joining us on our show and sharing your insights. I I'm sure that there are a lot of things that you mentioned, which are pretty new to some people and some things that you mentioned that would really benefit our audience. So again, I just want to thank you, and thank you for coming on to the show. Thank you. Okay, then I suddenly go, Wow.
So that wraps up the interview with Chris, you can connect with Chris over at launch co.com all these details along with his book suggestions can be found on our show notes, which are on our website, Muslim life. hackers.com. Finally, did you enjoy this interview? Because if you did, please leave a review for us on iTunes. You can do so by going to Muslim life hackers.com slash iTunes. This really helps us get the word out there about the podcast and in turn benefit more people. With that we end the show. Until next time, stay awesome.
So I'm like cool some life hackers. I'm here with the I'm sorry, actually, Professor, how do I say your last name?
Okay, I suppose. Okay. Are you familiar with the President Roosevelt? Roosevelt? Yeah, good. Okay, so you got the last part which is belt in the first part of the block. So block belt, black belt. Okay, perfect. That's it. Okay.