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mespoke is a revolutioinary #Technology platform that with its recent Patent Award is quickly disrupting the #Retail and #AdTech industry.
Sid describes himself as the Accidental #Entreprenuer. By what seemed like coincidence at the time one of his former neighnors was an National Football League (NFL) player and after a short conversation the lightbulb went of causing the ripple effect and what we now know as mespoke
Among the many experiences his life has provided, he describes being a Father as the most important Job Title he has ever had.
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Phillip K. Naithram: Yeah, we’ll Sid Hasan. Thank you so much for joining us today at the DC local leader’s podcast.
Sid K. Hasan: Happy to be here. Thank you,
Phillip K. Naithram: Philip. I appreciate you making the trip. You were actually in town because you spoke at accelerate. Two 20 was
Sid K. Hasan: on a judging panel last night at George Mason in Arlington. Yes. Oh, it’s lovely.
Uh, I was, I was telling a few friends that. Got if I had the entrepreneurial bug at 19 or 20, the world would be a lot different for me. So, I’m very proud of the, you know, the, the, the youth and what they’re coming up with. So. Fantastic.
Phillip K. Naithram: Yeah. Well, that’s accelerate 20, 22 now. It’s funny, right? Yeah. Did you, and so when you were getting started, I want to talk a lot about misspoke and your, your journey through leadership and all the lessons you’ve learned, but did you do anything like that?
Was it almost sort of like reminiscent of your days of pitching? Getting out there and meeting people.
Sid K. Hasan: Yeah, it was a similar journey, a Phillip in the sense, uh, when I left the corporate world, Kind of, um, achieved a certain position where I was afforded to be on some boards. So, it was a natural segue. I was on the board of university of Tampa and one of the kind of curriculums that I chose to, you know, be passionate about was their entrepreneurship school.
So, it was a great segue because I’d started, you know, working with kids and helping them come up with their ideas and go through the, uh, the journey. So, it was a great, it was a great guy kind of stepping stone into. Uh, misspoke. So, absolutely. Yeah. Well, let’s talk
Phillip K. Naithram: about that. So, are you, where are you from Tampa?
You probably this area?
Sid K. Hasan: No, a very, um, kind of typical atypical story. A son of two immigrants from originally from Heather, Bob India started a kindergarten in Rustin high school and Chantilly went to George Mason, uh, undergrad and, uh, um, spent some time in Silicon Valley. Um, worked for a firm, literally up the street up Greensboro drive from here.
Uh, the, uh, very honorable Muffy Zammit enabled me to go to Silicon Valley. And that was one of the greatest things that’s ever happened in my life. How old were you when you went? Uh, I went to Silicon Valley effectively almost 10 years ago, 12 years ago. So I was, uh, uh, 34.
Phillip K. Naithram: So, you were 34 when you went to Silicon Valley and that was 10 years ago.
So that’s 2011, just trying to get an idea of what was going on in Silicon. So, it was in full swing with software and I mean, you know, I don’t think YouTube was quite what it is now at that time. Right. But definitely Google was around. I mean, you know,
Sid K. Hasan: yeah. The, the big boys were in playing on a lot of what the, what the, uh, very, uh, uh, senior folks in the valley.
Predicted what happened in the future kind of was taking shape that cannibalization of the market, where there would be a few left, uh, sorry, very large companies that kind of ran tech and that kind of happened Google, you know, your Facebook, your salesforce.com, um, and a few others were kind of.
Cannibalizing the market and, you know, being the premier entities to kind of, you had to fit into one of those ecosystems to provide your customers with solutions. What’d you major in, in college, a business in communications. Yeah. So, it wasn’t a technology.
Phillip K. Naithram: No, no, no. I don’t. You know, that you were going to end up in technology.
Was that a thing in the house growing up, you know, with your parents? Were they tech people, were you talking about tech? Did you overhear. Any kind
Sid K. Hasan: of, because I know my parents were very hardworking folks at, uh, ultimately, uh, retired, uh, as a real estate folks. And uh, so we have, my mother had a brokerage and the only exposure I had to tech was, uh, through an internship at a very young age.
And then my brother was a telecom, uh, SME here on, on Greensboro drive at good old MCI. So, my brother was probably the guiding light. Towards a pathway and you know, technology and telecom older, older breaths. Yes. How many brothers and sisters? I’m the youngest of four. So, I’ve got a brother who’s a, a telecom person, then two sisters, one sister in Dubai, one who still lives in the area?
Phillip K. Naithram: And like growing up where, where, like, what was it like growing up with your brothers and sisters? Were you guys close? Were, were you always in trouble? Were you kind of like, uh, you know, as entrepreneurs, sometimes a lot of times they go against the grain, even from the start, were you a rule follower or were rule breaker?
Sid K. Hasan: Um, I’d say I, you know, tried to fit in as much as possible, you know, coming from a very strong south Indian family, the youngest is a, is a bit more coddled and spoiled. So, I’ve benefited from being a mama’s boy, but it’s also given me some really good, uh, nature versus nurture qualities that I think are important as a leader or.
Um, motivating others. Um, but yeah, I, uh, I, I loved, uh, the eighties Philip, you know, I grew up in Fairfax city. I delivered the paper as a kid, the Fairfax connection and deliver the Washington post as a kid. So, I was a, there was a. You know, incredible portion of my life that I hold on to very near and dear to my heart.
Still. Did you play sports when you were younger? I did a very active every, every season there was other soccer, football or basketball. So that was very important. Part of me
Phillip K. Naithram: youth team sports are part of it in college too. Or is that something I
Sid K. Hasan: wish, uh, I still think I’m going to the NBA, but I mean, you’re 6, 6, 2 of my, my, my, my parents, I think said, listen, that’s not going to work out, but you, yeah.
You’ve got half a brain. So, you stick with that where they tough
Phillip K. Naithram: on you about grades. And was that always a very much so you were the youngest it’s
Sid K. Hasan: like, look, yeah, very much so, uh, academics as I’m sure you’re well aware as a, uh, cornerstone of, uh, our upbringing as, uh, you know, uh, this generation of folks that have come to the U S to make it better for everyone else.
Phillip K. Naithram: Yeah. All right. Well, let’s so you were talking about how you. This is what you’re doing now, after you left the corporate environment, what were you doing in that corporate environment? You’re in Silicon Valley. Talk to us about how you kind of rose through the ranks and what that looked like for you and what you were kind of what you were learning along.
Who you met, you know, things that can be replicated?
Sid K. Hasan: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Um, I’ve benefited from having parents that knew other folks that were in, you know, influential positions in technology early on. So again, back to Jonesboro Greensboro drive, I. Interned on the other end of Greensboro drive for a company called, uh, T MRI.
It was eventually sold to one of the larger golf gov cons and, uh, Dr. Khan gave me an internship saying you should learn how to do quality assurance. I mean, this is circa 25 years ago, so, uh, I’ve benefited from that. So, it started off as a consultant, Phillip, and just worked my way up finished school. And, um,
Phillip K. Naithram: were you a 10 99 at that
Sid K. Hasan: point?
Like where, you know, I was a, it was a W2 working my way up and well
Phillip K. Naithram: turning the consulting business of how they were like earning those contracts and how to execute on them. You were kind of getting that frame of reference.
Sid K. Hasan: Absolutely. I, um, Kind of just worked my way up and ended up one of my last consulting assignments was the Sarbanes-Oxley act of Congress.
So, I was supposed to be a 90-day assignment. We ended up being there for 60 months and I was the last man standing on that project that essentially stood up the, what is now the public company, accounting oversight board I’m on in DC. So, I left that in, I think a few folks there. Uh, I still hold in very high regard ratio, mid and Troy Jones.
Um, said to me, you know, listen, you, you, you got some other skills that some of us don’t have moved to the business side. So again, back to Greensboro drive, I believe this. Has paved the way for a lot of us and early on, it was, you know, from the mall to Tyco, I think down here Tyson’s is
Phillip K. Naithram: completely different.
Yeah. And even 10 years
Sid K. Hasan: ago. Yeah. So, I mean, if you were, you know, on your way up as a consultant, you probably worked for a company that was headquartered on Greensboro in between Booz Allen SEIC, uh, khaki or, or digital intelligence systems. Took a chance and had a relationship with so many Mahfouz I’m mad who was the founder of a, a billion-dollar company.
We’re just on the street here called diocese. And, uh, he said, listen, it is very different to go from consulting, to delivering co uh, projects to selling them. And I said, no, I can’t be that hard. I’ll try it. So., He gave me a chance. I nearly lost my job because it is a lot more difficult to be the butt in the seat, if you will, versus selling the project and the six-to-nine-month pursuit that it takes to getting it.
So, uh, whether that’s store. Landed some, uh, pretty sizable deals. I think if you were to ask Mahfouz, uh, he would tell you that we landed our first, uh, multi multi-year, uh, MSA with the USBs. So, we unseated Lockheed Martin. But initially when I took them to the idea that we can do it, he said, listen, we’re a small, you know, staffing company at the time, you know, maybe doing 75 million.
He says, there’s no way we’re going to win that. I said, listen, we’ve got a relationship and I won’t give up until we get there. I need you to support me. We landed that, and just kept working my way up and close more deals. And then eventually, um, started to run a company in the inner region.
Phillip K. Naithram: Yeah. So you were, you were building, uh, sales techniques along the way, or that seemed to be something that you had a tendency to go towards and, and, and.
At least that’s what I’m picking up. It wasn’t necessarily the technological skills behind it. It was more the sales technique and understanding people and those soft skills. Were you doing any outside coaching, outside mentorship, outside things to kind of build that skill set along? No
Sid K. Hasan: very insightful of you.
I say this often every time someone brings up an accolade around misspoke or our patents, I tell them, listen, I am only the smartest man in a room if I’m alone, but I think what I’ve benefited from, and perhaps because of my mother and my, my sister, who is a. One of the most influential people in my life, um, is that I, I think I, I benefit from a very strong EEQ, so there’s like unique.
My IQ is as average as they come, but when you blend in average IQ with a very strong EEQ, I think that’s where magic happens. The ability to understand, and perhaps, you know, if you weave in serendipity and alchemy, which I live by, if you weave those in and then have this human touch and human aspect, I think that goes a very long way.
Yeah. So, I, I, in a nutshell, I think. By the grace of God. I think I’d benefit from a very strong ETQ. Yeah, yeah, no,
Phillip K. Naithram: I love that. I mean maybe because EKU is pretty much all I’m working with right now. This is my only skill set. This is what I
Sid K. Hasan: do, the chance that one of us is harder than the other. There’s two of us I’m
Phillip K. Naithram: mediocre at best at math.
Right. Um, and, uh, you know, that’s, but, um, this is what I do well, but I think you’re So, right. That the business has done with people that we know, like in. And you get to know like, and trust people through the soft skills that happens and the technical skills, there are people that are very good at that.
I don’t want to take anything away from those folks because they have the diligence to be good at those things that I don’t have. Right. Um, I’d rather be doing this than doing that where they’re the other way around and we need each other. But, um, you know, when we can, when we can just kind of sit and talk with people, we’re able to make things happen that wouldn’t have otherwise happened.
If we were just trading. Uh, technical information, right? We may miss a lot. That’s why text in. And even, even to an extent, zoom is never as good as being in front of someone to feel that energy, to talk to them, to note, to watch their facial expressions in real life and see that they’re understanding what you’re saying or that they enjoy being around your energy.
And that I think that takes us really far. Do you think that’s a learnable skill if you don’t have it? I don’t want someone listening to this. Well, I’m a great coder, but I really want to be, where is, and
Sid K. Hasan: what do I do now? You know, it’s, uh, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s not the easiest thing to answer, but you’ve brought up something that’s very near and dear to my heart.
I was always a functional person when I was a billable, you know, uh, consultant on behalf of the. I’ve only had a few bosses in my life. So, on the behalf of a few companies, I was always a functional person. And that skill perhaps may be a segue from the EEQ characteristic that I believe is very near and dear to me, is that the functional role on any billable or delivery?
Tech, uh, project Philip, be it a business intelligence, be it software development, be it mobile dev or cybersecurity. The ability to be the liaison between business and tech is an invaluable asset because business folks. And tech folks often don’t speak the same language. So what admins is when you have someone that has enough of the functional understanding of perhaps the database versus the stakeholder saying, I want a system that allows us to have single sign on just swipe pathetically.
Well, that requirement that’s on the back of a napkin. Doesn’t just become technology. I mean, there’s a lot of things that have to be orchestrated in the middle, so that ETQ in that functional aspect is something that I thoroughly enjoyed. Uh, um, you know, I, I think back to my days of Troy Jones, uh, and Sterling before, uh, the, uh, Sarbanes Oxley act of Congress had its beautiful offices downtown and, and in Sterling now where Troy would call these Chinese fire drills.
And I was always picked to attend these. And Troy was a direct report to racial Mitt. And he, and I would always say he had become a very dear person, very near and dear to my heart still to this day. And I said, you know, why is it that you asked me to come? He’s like, Sid, you have this functional brain that we need to be a part of the technical brains.
So, he said, that’s why you’re here. So, thank you for bringing that out. That means a lot to me.
Phillip K. Naithram: Yeah. I mean, and that’s why you said a lot of you explained with what you just said. Like the reason why I love interviewing the CTOs, there’s a lot of CTOs that say the T stands for. Yeah, that’s what they do most of the time.
Right. And, and they’ve all said that same exact phrase in a different way sort of. Right. Yeah. But that they just understand that and that ability to do that fascinates me to be the bridge in the road between those two. Very what seems like very different disciplines. Right. Very different skill sets. Um, but so misspoke.
So, you decided to ha what was that process like leading up to deciding to leave. Structure that has safety and security, probably consistent income because you’re married, you’ve got kids, right. Or, you know, you have a life and a family where did all that start to happen, uh, in the journey leading up to misspoke.
And then I want to get into misspoken how to do something like that and what that feels like and what you learning as far as
Sid K. Hasan: mindset with that. Thank you for bringing that up. And I, I’m not going to use a cliche, but it’s very important that I think. Get the message across for the next generation that you just like the term influence.
I strongly dislike the word influence. Like that is not a proper career path for any youngster. The same could be said with entrepreneurship. I believe the pathway to entrepreneurship is accidental and it truly is where innovation meets. Right. There is a difference as a fundamental difference between innovation and invent.
So perhaps you are, and I’m going somewhere with this, which misspoke is, you know, you’re going about your day and you’re getting a coffee and you see the barista make a coffee and you think my God, the way he’s done this, using the devices and the processes and the orchestration in between, there is some innovation here.
We could streamline this and that’s where innovation occurs. I it’s, uh, I’m no, I’m no, uh, exception. I accidentally stumbled upon an idea. That I couldn’t get out of my mind for many, many years until I did something about it.
Phillip K. Naithram: Well, that feel like to know what were you doing about the idea? Were you journaling?
Are you writing stuff down? Like you have this idea and you’re still working at this point and you’re in a, in a position of high responsibility. Where were you and what were you doing at the time?
Sid K. Hasan: I was in Silicon Valley and, uh, in the east bay. And I’ve benefited from living in a building where all the athletes lived, Phillip and misspoke is loosely inspired by my next-door neighbor who played for the 49ers.
Dimitri Kevin’s number 92. He played with CHAM Billy at Georgia and with the Redskins lineman, uh, defensive end and, uh, Demetrice was at my house one day and I’ll never forget it. And I said to him, you know, it looks like you’ve got, you know, Nike Jordans on that were literally just laced up before you.
And there’s some irony here. And he said to me, he said, you know, I’ve got a contract. And I said to him, you don’t even play. I’m your fourth string. You need first string, second string. Heck you, you need me to get her before you get the call. He was 10th year in and what I learned from our friendship, and then I had moved on, I’ve moved back to DC is that he benefited from two things.
He had the rail drama, uh, Jeremy. AKA Jerry, uh, drew Rosenhaus at his agent as his agent. And he played the game for 10 years, that if you have drawn or Jerry Maguire’s or agent, you get these incredible contracts and nearly every single one of the people on the 52-man roster, I think it’s 52 or 53 right now has a contract with Nike that you have to wear a Nike on the field and they push you to wear it before and after, because you’re a walking billboard.
So fast forward from 2012 to. Go ahead. So the
Phillip K. Naithram: players have a choice as to what cleats they wear when they’re
Sid K. Hasan: on the, I have a choice in the NFL, in the NBA. Do Nike owns the monopoly on what you wear during the games.
Phillip K. Naithram: Okay. So, but if I wanted to wear Reebok and I was in, in, in the.
Sid K. Hasan: In the NBA, you can, because it’s a, it’s a one-off contract, but Nike has a contract for the national football.
Phillip K. Naithram: So, no matter what you like wearing, you’re wearing Nike’s no matter what. And that is with the NFL and the players also benefit from that.
Sid K. Hasan: Yes. So, you could appear demise this by saying, if you go back to the dream team, winning the gold medal for the, for basketball, Michael Jordan draped the flag over his shoulder to hide the insignia or the.
Because of the cause of the stipulations. So, there’s a reason why that was done. He was the only person hiding that. I don’t think I yet. So anyhow, let’s finish that kind of accidental kind of, uh, um, discovery years later, it occurred to me that there was something there around this business. That Dimitri, despite the fact of being literally the last man on the roster still had a $25,000 contract from Nike for merchandise.
All he had to do in return was wear Nike before, during and after the game. So, I then there was that light bulb moment that happens, and this cannot be taught the light bulb. There is no there’s own set pathway where this light bulb is due to go off. It just it’s accidental, but.
Phillip K. Naithram: Do you think that, that, that being, being inquisitive or being open to looking for these ideas is muscle memory.
Like, like if you, if you try to just think up a business plan or an idea every day, are you more likely to start looking for those things in your daily life? Or do you think it’s a natural, innate ability that your kind of just have, or don’t have?
Sid K. Hasan: So now you’ve brought up something that’s very near and dear to me.
I am forever. What Carl Sagan said, a wonder junkie and I, and my son is as well. I thought two things would happen in my life as an adult. I would either be on jeopardy or I’d be in the NBA, neither happened, but I believe my son has a shot at both of them. You brought up something that I think is fundamentally important to entrepreneurs.
The ability to see things differently, question things, break things down, put them back together and say that this is just wrong, but curiosity or the ability to be a wonder junkie as Carl Sagan said, I believe is perhaps. The top, I don’t know, top two or three skills for an entrepreneur, but do you think you, you or a Simon Sinek says the why?
Right. What is your, why? The purpose? It is so fundamentally important to entrepreneurship,
Phillip K. Naithram: but the why is like synonymous with passionate too. Right. But I guess, but do you think it can be learned? Is that something that. You can, you can build upon, right. Or do you just kind of theirs people that are that way not, not right.
And there’s no good or right, good right. Or wrong answer. I just, you know,
Sid K. Hasan: yeah. We, we have an investor in New York and this man is become very near and dear to my heart. Also, I say that term often, because I’m a sense of mental, emotional. It’s just who I am. I’m theirs a giver and a pleaser. Um, this man invested in misspoke without a contract after meeting me for five minutes without a contract, he wired us money and said, I’m in.
So, we went back to ask him. I said, you know, at the time I said, Mr. Lesko, now he’s become like an elder brother. I said, you’ve wired me money. We don’t have a contract. And he said, said, two things I’m going to, you will learn, or I will show you along the way as a one. I haven’t. Too. I don’t think you’re going anywhere with my money.
And I think he also later on said third, my wife would probably spend the money that I sent you, which was sizeable on our next vacation. So very, very successful man, where I’m going with this is grit and perseverance. Those two things. I’m no scientist. I believe that’s something you’re born with. Really?
I don’t know if every man is born equal and I know this may offend some people, but I don’t know if I believe in tabula rasa, a clean slate when everyone’s born. Cause I believe genetically and from a DNA standpoint, we all are offspring of our, you know, the people that have come before us from a bloodline.
And I think some of us are given some gifts that others do not have from a mental standpoint, grit and perseverance. I don’t know. I don’t think can be taught to list to finish out the story about Mr. Lascaux. This man self-made car parts sales went now in a massive way up and down, Connecticut to New York tells me a story.
One day of his mother passing, which was a very sad moment in his life. He said he made all the arrangements paid for everything. Went to her. Funeral was in the shop by like 6:00 AM. Still at work. Those are qualities fill up that you cannot learn at George Mason or at Harvard or at MIT. It’s just something you’re, it’s, it’s a part of your,
Phillip K. Naithram: I agree, a hundred percent.
They don’t teach that in school. Right. But I think those things, at least from, even in my own experience, right. I wake up at four 30 every morning. I didn’t start off wanting to do that and I never want to do it, but I do it anyway to build. Resiliency to it just because I’m tired. There’s no reason to not do it.
And I do this thing that I borrow from Mel Robbins. I don’t know if you know Mel Robbins, but she’s got something called the five second rule, not the thing about the food, but she counts down 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and then she takes action to whatever she’s doing. So, I do that every morning. I take some deep breaths, right?
Like I, I wake up and 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and I get up. There’s no turning back at that point. Right. And I take a culture. Every day, never want to do that. Anthony Robbins,
Sid K. Hasan: Tony Robbins,
Phillip K. Naithram: Tony Robbins. So, I got, yeah, I mean his name’s Anthony, but it’s Wim Hoff. A lot of people talk about that and this isn’t about me, but like the point is that I’m So, purpose.
I’m kind of like, I’m hoping what you’re saying. Isn’t true because I’m purposely taking actions to build resiliency, to build grit so that I have that muscle memory. Built in there that those synapses neurons, that fire together wire together so that they get in there that like when, you know, building a platform like this, building a company, doing things, you’re going to hear the word no more than you hear the word.
Yes. You might only hear one or two yeses, but those are the ones you needed, but you heard a thousand nos to get there, but those thousand words of reasons, Keep going to 1001. Cause that said, you know, that kind of thing, but, but if I’m not in and as younger people, we’re not, there’s no subject in school for that.
Sometimes that’s why I asked you about sports because he played sports and we get that at sports. Cause you don’t win all the time. You might not even start. And you know what, that’s, the guy might be tall, taller than you stronger than you and hits you and that kind of thing. But is that a reason to walk off the field?
Probably not. Cause you’ll never get that position if you do. Right. So, the athlete. Most people that I interview have some sort of discipline around them and it’s either music or sports. And even in sports it’s sometimes it’s team sports. Sometimes it’s, uh, individual sports running or swimming or something.
Right. There seems to be something there that like the discipline. I think so grit and resiliency start with discipline, right? That’s start how you get there. And I think discipline and maintaining a routine is something. If it’s not easy, you got to push yourself. But you cannot, everyone will, because people like comfort more than like discomfort Wilson.
But I think maybe you could, I don’t want to like push back to her, but I feel like I’m hoping that because I’m a guy, I don’t know if I have grit and resiliency and like, what if I don’t, that means I’m, uh, I’m barking up the wrong
Sid K. Hasan: tree. I don’t know. And I say this often to our attorney and our RCO, Karen Stoltz, and Baalbek Monat Jimmy at Polsinelli.
I tell them off. That when I am asked, like, why didn’t you do this earlier? Or why didn’t you make that decision? Now, I’m going to say something that may sound odd to you. I simply tell people one, I will never be the smartest man in a room unless I’m alone to the brain I have today is not the brain I had yesterday.
It goes back to being a wonder junkie. So, when people say, why didn’t you do this? Why didn’t. I simply tell them, look, I’m going to tell you something that you have to think about six times to understand what I’m telling you. And that is simply this. I didn’t know it, then I know it now. We don’t know what we don’t know.
So, I can’t make decisions. That I don’t have answers for because it’s on the job learning.
Phillip K. Naithram: Well, you needed that experience with that neighbor who you couldn’t have planned, that you were going to live next to you. I mean, you picked that building, but you didn’t pick it because you knew he was in there.
No. Um, you couldn’t have planned that experience and you couldn’t have planned the idea you would have had by learning the information he shared with you. Yeah. So, I totally get what you’re saying. Right. But, um, all right. But let’s so, but I want to dig back into that. So, you had this idea, right? The light bulb went off, you have this new investor.
Sid K. Hasan: it was a few steps in between, but yeah. So, what
Phillip K. Naithram: the w what’s going on and are you married at this point? Yes. You’re
Sid K. Hasan: married. You have kids. I have a youngster in your life is likely
Phillip K. Naithram: three years old. Three years old. So, you have a three, so that’s yeah, pretty young getting ready to start, like either school or preschool or something.
Right. Is your wife working too? No. So your wife’s not working and you just move back.
Sid K. Hasan: To the DC area? No, I was actually in Tampa on my last assignment for the digital intelligence systems. And, um, I was asked when I kept telling people there’s this idea that I had this idea that I, I mean, keep in mind, the world was a lot different in 2013 than it is now.
It’s almost a decade ago almost. And, um, I benefited from getting an introduction to a now I talk when I say it, but a man that’s known as the tattooed MIT. So, Brent Britton is our outside counsel. So, he’s got a sleeve of tattoos, but he’s also a mad scientist genius that lectures at MIT. So, I said, Brent, can I come in?
And I want to show you this idea. He said, by all means, that’s what I do. I work with entrepreneurs. So, I went in and whiteboard it in a week later, he said, said, come in, I want to chat with you. He said, what you’re doing is interesting to me. I don’t think it’s being done. And I urge you to do something about it.
So, I said to him, well, what the, what the hell do I do now? I mean, I had never started a company from scratch. I’d never written a B plan. I didn’t have a lemonade stand as a kid. Um, he said, you need an executive summary. You need some co-founders and you need to be planned. And he said, I’ll put all that emotion.
And in fact, he said, I’d like to be along for this ride. So, he came on as our outside. So, it was Brent Britain that validated because it’s wonderful. If your family does your son, daddy, you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. I want to MIT trained IP attorney says, you’re honest, you’re honest something.
You do something about it. Then I said, look, I got some validation here. Let me, uh, me do something about it. Did he
Phillip K. Naithram: give you templates or a place to start? So, so, so you were able to get the note. Did you, did you ever have. Around or people that you talk to and bounce ideas off of, and to even get to this point.
Sid K. Hasan: of course, again, I didn’t see it early on, but I believe if we could tell the youngsters that are in undergrad now or grad school, I believe something the most invaluable thing they can take away apart from the degree is a mentor. Yeah. So, I, in fact, I, I look after at any given time two to four, Yeah, for the call for, you know, check-in and make sure they’re on the right path.
Phillip K. Naithram: Do you find yourself learning from them also that as you help them and as they ask you questions, it’s their questions that teach you lessons, how
Sid K. Hasan: the world is cyclical, Phillip, I mean, there’s no, there’s, there’s, it’s So, the world is one continuum that just goes and you know, everything that is old will become new again.
And every moment returns again in time. Just how.
Phillip K. Naithram: So, misspoke, like what, what does misspoke do then? So, you have this you’re on a, on a great track with this idea. You know, you’ve got a family to look after, but it sounds like things are happening at this point. What’s So, going through your mind. And how do you make the decision to leave one and go to the other, what do you say to your wife?
Like, hey, I’m not a hundred percent sure this is going to work out, but I think. Be okay. Or like, what’s that conversation like? I mean,
Sid K. Hasan: I’m not sure who you’re married to, but, uh, it’s a different conversation in, in the real world. It’s very scary. I mean, and, and, and look, I had rolled up my sleeves and gotten to a very, very comfortable position where no one had to worry.
And, um, she had savings, like, yeah, we had yes, all of the above. But when you, when you tell someone, you’re going from. Standard of living to no money coming in, but money only going out, you know, that, that, that gap, you know, the accounting that their incomes therein lie a problem. When you’ve got more and more debits than credits, then you have devil debits and credits, and I’m
Phillip K. Naithram: sure, you did the division and you figured how many months you had until it’s like, all right.
Sid K. Hasan: We, I w I was fortunate to have some key. Family members around that said, look, we’ll, we’ll go in on this. It may be scary, but we’ll go in on this. So, we had savings and then, um, some key family members that were along for the,
Phillip K. Naithram: were you doing anything to place that fear or right-size that fear? Any journaling, any, like, what did you do with those feelings?
I’m assuming, so, you know, the feeling of impending doom that will set in inevitably when you’re doing anything new, right. Especially something entrepreneur. It’s a natural human tendency. It sets in, what did you do with all that fear? Like the, what ifs and the, in that weasel that’s in the brain. That’s just constantly, like, I like to live up catastrophes that have never happened yet.
And think up rebuttals for arguments that never occur. Who else? That’s just something that happens. Like, I don’t know if you’re like me,
Sid K. Hasan: but know, it’s, it’s, it’s a bit of a conundrum for me while I’m sentimental and emotional and I don’t think I’m alpha, but I think if. When someone doesn’t know me, but meets me, may think I look and sound alpha.
I am not. So, I don’t like struggle. I don’t like conflict and I don’t like change. I know this sounds crazy to you, but I don’t like my habits to change. I’m happy to think about the future being different than the present, because that’s just how it’s going to be. But I just keep it all to myself and I keep.
I guess you could call it a journal on my phone where I’m constantly either waking up, literally waking up in the middle of the night saying, holy moly, we need to think about this, or we need to do this. So, I’ve got a, a running ledger, if you will, on my phone that I keep you type it. Yeah. So, I, I just take notes.
I’ve got a notes folder.
Phillip K. Naithram: And does it give you a sense of relief that. Like, what do you do with the?
Sid K. Hasan: list then? So, so it’ll go on a list then if it’s a priority, if it’s enough of a priority, it’ll go on my reminders. So, they’ll constantly have to look at it like this morning, I’ve got six years on my reminders for this morning, be at Phillips office by X time.
So, it’ll go from a fleeting idea to document it to a reminder, to an action. Okay. Not just how my that’s, how you do it. Crazy brain works.
Phillip K. Naithram: All right. Um, you mentioned a key word. And we haven’t really gotten to what misspoke is yet. So, I definitely want to make sure we get the habits are going to be fun because I love learning.
What are your daily, what’s your, do you have a morning routine or do you have a daily routine or what are your habits to maintain what you’re doing now? Who you are now and how you show up now, but I’m assuming you had to be doing something back then too, to not?
Sid K. Hasan: go crazy. Yeah. So, for us, it’s a, it’s a, it’s, uh, an interesting one now.
We have a kind of co located development, uh, team. So, our development teams have always been in Southeast Asia, so they’re plus nine or plus 10 giving daylight saving time. So, the first thing I have to do in the morning is make sure I go to, I go to WhatsApp and I make sure we have no issues, because if you do the follow the sun, when I’m sleeping, they’re waking up and there’s other issues or no issues or requests.
So, the first thing I do, because if I miss that window, Were there plus nine. I will miss them because they’ll go to sleep. Yeah. Hold on a second. I’ll miss a whole day. I’ll have to follow the sun again. So, the first thing I do is immediately check WhatsApp and then I’ll check email just to make sure we have no issues.
Our public cloud didn’t go down or we didn’t have an API that failed or, or a call of a database is okay. So that’s the first thing I do. And I know it’s probably not the best way to start the morning, but when you’ve got this kind of offshore development team, you’ve got to look into that. So, my morning is a checkdown of digital stuff.
And then, um, I’ve got this, I’ve got this human being in my life. Who’s eight years old, who is the. Best thing that’s ever happened in my life. I literally feel like I have a debt to my son. And, um, so that it’s, you know, breakfast, chitchat with him and he’s got his own shenanigans that we do. So, my day is my Mo first thing in the morning in bed literally is, uh, S these days, Six 15 to 6:40 AM.
Phillip K. Naithram: So, then it’s what three in the afternoon there. Yeah,
Sid K. Hasan: so plus, nine. Yeah, yeah. Plus, nine or 10, depending on where they are that day. Yeah. So, it’s a digital check down, make sure there’s no fires answer questions. And then my little boy is, uh, is up to his shenanigans, which I love. And then it’s a, he’s off to school, right?
Phillip K. Naithram: Yeah. And then, and then your day begins, do you follow any sort of like, are you still working out? Are you still doing sports? Are you still doing yoga and meditation?
Sid K. Hasan: Yeah. Um, I, um, just got back into working out. So, I’m very proud of, uh, my gym time. So, I take it around certain blocks where I know I don’t have where I’ve got, you know, 45 minutes to myself, but that’s a moving target or is it typically an am?
And depending on, you know, if I need to be videos, zoom in the afternoon, I’ll switch to, to get it, to look presentable by the afternoon. Otherwise, I’m audio. So, a lot of our calls are audio based, but there are some that are video-based as well.
Phillip K. Naithram: And did you start that when your son was a lot younger then, but did you start kind of having that system in place early on?
Or is that like a new thing for
Sid K. Hasan: you fairly knew a couple of years now,
Phillip K. Naithram: what, what made that change were, is the company growing and that you felt like you needed to have this new routine? Or what, what brought that
Sid K. Hasan: about? Well, there, there are this kind of, uh, peaks and valleys that we go through where we’re developing and the team is much bigger than it is the core team.
So, at the core team, you know, I’ve got. Uh, phenomenal, um, um, CEO, Karen Stilts whose local restaurant based, and then we’ve got outside counsel and then we’ve got IP counsel. So, the core team, the nucleus team nuclear team is very small, but when we’re developing, which we just finished six months of developing, now it’s a much larger team.
Okay. So. The schedule changes the habits change when we’re developing versus business as usual. Yeah. So
Phillip K. Naithram: yeah, it’s cyclical based on the business. Right? So, so misspoke. What is misspoke? What do you guys do? Like you’re, you’re that neighbor of yours set you on this path? And here you are
Sid K. Hasan: from an optic standpoint, people think we’re a fashion.
And our shopping company. Now that is the fundamental thing that we do. We disintermediate and democratize, uh, influence anyone, and everyone can upload a photo to our platform, use our AI, and we will allow them to create a shoppable link that’s embedded in the content. Our patent essentially creates a pathway to kill the hashtag cause we, and two other gentlemen that are farther ahead of.
Mad seller in New York, who’s been funded by Google or on a path to kill the hashtag. It served its purpose for nearly three decades. The internet came out, uh, 1989. Um, so a lot of the compute power, the inputs to algorithms are just no longer needed because AI. Computer vision machine learning can glean artifacts or metadata from content now.
So let me say this in simple terms, let’s say hypothetical, you uploaded a photo of your outfit, which is stunning by the way, to me. In a split second, we would read your whole photo and we would tell you; we know you’re wearing a, watch, blazer, shirt and trousers. And then if you had some historical data in our database, we would say, we know if you want to tag this Phillip, this blazer that we know based on your patterns in the database for this category, because we know who you are.
We know what category you’re tagging that you’re likely wearing Brooks brothers. Uh, Xian look Isiah, just hypothetically with confidence. We can tell you that this is the brand. And if you say yes, we will publish this inside of our content inside of our app, your photo with a shoppable link inside your photo back to, um, Brooks, brothers.com.
So now, if you think about what Forbes has said about misspoke, misspoke as a company to watch in the world for creating Facebook ads on steroids with one click, someone will go from your phone. To Brooks brothers.com while our algorithm is giving you loyalty points.
Phillip K. Naithram: So, and is that, that’s all, it’s like, sort of like, w I hear that almost like affiliate marketing in a way.
Sid K. Hasan: Absolutely. Because
Phillip K. Naithram: the rupture model, right. Brooks brothers likely they will, someone who buys the blazer that I’m wearing will know that they came from my picture at me spoke. And that’s why they. That’s why they bought that blazer because they saw me wearing it, thought it was cool.
Ordered their size Brooks brothers benefits. Right. So, am I, is it a, do I pay a service to you to be on your platform?
Sid K. Hasan: Um, this is where the democratization happens. We believe everyone’s influential. Go back to the Demetrius Kevin’s he was, he might as well have been 16th string. Yeah. He was never going to get the call, but still had a sizeable contract with.
The irony there is that if you and I were in union square in, in San Francisco, and we saw a certain persona of a man, 6 5, 275 pounds, certain ethnicity wearing the swoosh head to toe, we immediately we’d look over and look back and think.com or a millionaire, celebrity baller or football player. We would think something despite the fact that we couldn’t ask the gentlemen for his autograph, you don’t know his name, but you assume so.
That’s where the light boys came here. Four o’clock well, no, this is in union square in the afternoon. Not on Sundays, not 16 Sundays out of the year, they wear their Jersey 16 Sundays out of the year. That’s it. I’m talking about him in broad daylight on a, on a Tuesday night, the light bulb there is that we are all influential.
And Mr. Knight at, at Nike said, look at Michael Jordan. The subliminal message will be done based on the persona. So now what we’ve done is fodder hashtag that says, sorry, fought a pattern that says let’s embed the hashtag that you would put on Instagram on misspoke, make it a shoppable link shoppable link.
And when your community interacts with your content shopping, sorry, forgive me, make you the influencer or the recipient of. So, consumer to consumer, to business. So not business to business, not business, a consumer, but a consumer that has inspired another consumer. And we send a ticket to the. They’re just getting an order entry ticket while you get some credit or what we call social
Phillip K. Naithram: capital.
Right. And, and so, and so how does misspoke and then,
Sid K. Hasan: so, we are very much an IP play. So, we raise enough capital to get our patents done, to grow the community to enough of a base that flushed out our, our methodology and our business plan. What we have decided to do is just focus on IP and that’s built algorithms, build artificial intelligence and file patents for, for
Phillip K. Naithram: the machine learning to look at the picture and extract.
What type of, how is it doing that it’s is it looking at stitching patterns and referencing other things to know, like these manufacturers generally do.
Sid K. Hasan: Well, the, the, in the old days we used to call it OCR, optical character recognition. Now that’s been revamped as computer vision. So essentially the algorithm uses.
Data points that are at a Latin long or some resolution in the photo and says, here, I believe I see a structure that looks like a sport coat, or here I see a structure that looks like a woman’s hand back, and then it comes back with confidence. It says I’m 74% sure that this is a woman. The second part of the machine learning that you alluded to is done on pattern matching of the database.
Because if you, this is something I’m very important to me, Phillip is that unless you’re God, there’s only one way to predict the future and that is understand the past. So based on your historical pattern matching, we then suggest this, we know who you are. We know what category you’re tagging and you with high confidence, either tag Brooks, brothers for this category.
our product and we suggest those to you. How you
Phillip K. Naithram: do the first one though? Do I tell you what I normally wear? Is there
Sid K. Hasan: a need a bit of data to come up with some suggestions? I mean, it’s just like, if you and I now go to our phones, I guarantee you, you, if your phone is on and is listening, you will start seeing and Prada advertisements on a vertical scroll on social media.
Does that sound at all now? It’s So, the world we live in. I mean, it’s a, it’s an opt-out world, which is quickly changing to an opt in world. I know that’s a mouthful, but it’s a, it’s an opt out world that is changing to an opt in world. So, if you’re Alexa at home right now, doesn’t have the mute or do not listen, turned on or in.
They hear everything well, that, and that, and that leads us to web 3.0 and what the future holds and why we believe me. Spokes tagging enables a core function of 3.0 web 3.0. That is literally around the corner. So,
Phillip K. Naithram: and this is a separate app that
Sid K. Hasan: you download standalone community that is iPhone based, Android based.
And now through a lot of hard work, we are browser based. So, you don’t have to download an app anymore.
Phillip K. Naithram: Okay. So, you can go right on the internet. You can take pictures of yourself and your favorite app outfits upload them to video as well and video. Yeah. And so, what about haircuts and things like that?
Is there any way to?
Sid K. Hasan: we try to stay very, kind of like a skinny offering and perfect one category and that was by choice, um, apparel and beauty. It’s a massive segment. I mean, think about your closet versus you. Garage you. You got one car, but I guarantee you probably have tools and what 200 items in a parable, sorry, apparel things.
You can apply where a hold. So, we started with fashion. We stayed there. So, our algorithms are focused on that. We do believe the opportunity next would-be health and wellness products and, uh, consumer product goods. So, CPG as well.
Phillip K. Naithram: Yeah. I mean, there’s, I mean, it sounds like there’s endless possibilities, but stuff like this, right?
I mean, yeah.
Sid K. Hasan: You know, we hear this often and it’s very encouraging to say that look the art, at it’s at the crux, all we’ve done is enabled anyone and everyone to showcase their love of I hamburger or cheeseburger or perfume. And if someone else is inspired by that to go with one, click back to the merchant of record that could be said for anything, you know, wine, a woman.
Um, lipstick, um, pet accessories.
Phillip K. Naithram: Yeah. I mean, you’ve created basically, like, you know, that’s so YouTube, right? It’s YouTube. Anyone can go on YouTube and create videos right. And tag them and start talking about things that they, that they, they like. Uh, but you’ve created that with basically with fashion, right?
Sid K. Hasan: yeah. I, I mean, I think we, we owe a debt to two men that created this pathway that a lot of us are on now. And whether you like it or not. It’s Jeff Bezos and Craig Newmark of Craigslist. We owe those men a debt. It is, it is. I just recently read this, that if you think about every B to C consumer play, that affects the last mile, it was a category on Craigslist.
Every single thing. It’s a brilliant article. If I find it, I’ll forward it to you. And then if you think about what, uh, Jeff and Mackenzie. 27 years ago, when they left wall street, it’s disintermediation. It’s the ability to provide consumers with access to the system of record or the manufacturer of record directly and cutting out the people in the middle.
Jeff started that with his little company called Amazon. So, Jeff Bezos and Craig at Craigslist are owed a debt to nearly everything we do today. In my humble opinion. Yeah.
Phillip K. Naithram: Yeah. That’s all. I mean, so, you know, there’s one question that I want to make sure that I ask you for sure. Now that we’ve, we finally got to what misspoke is, which sounds awesome.
Sid K. Hasan: Um, well, if you could tell a few billion people for us, we’d So, thank
Phillip K. Naithram: you. Yeah, well, you know, everybody listened to this podcast and I was about it now. Lovely. Um, but you know, I asked a lot of people about, so we talked a lot about the. You know how we deal with the fears. I want to ask, ask every leader about gratitude.
And I ask every leader about what I call the jumping off point. And so, this is a moment in time and it can be described in two different ways, moment in time, where you just don’t know what to do next, but you know, you can’t keep doing what you’re doing, right. Where you have to make a change. And it’s this jumping off point where you just can’t keep doing what.
You don’t know what to do next. And some other people have, have really, when they, when they thought about it, it usually points back to a moment in time where you’re probably either consumed with fear or you look at the time, you felt like it was a horrible experience, a negative thing that was happening, a bad experience.
And now you look back and you’re just grateful for the fact that that happened because you wouldn’t be who you are and where you aren’t doing what you’re doing, if that didn’t happen. But at the time the perception you had was why is this happening? I don’t want this to be. And I’m kind of putting you on the spot, but like, do you think, like, can you think back at any point in time where you’ve had to deal with that thought and overcome that?
Sid K. Hasan: Absolutely. I think if it weren’t for a certain episode in my life to go from consulting to business, I perhaps would not be sitting here with you today. The three was, uh, we were rolling off of a project. It was a very small company, a local company, and a lot of us, uh, several, several people were laid off.
I was one of them got a little bit of a severance, but it, it, it enabled me to take a chance on something called sales and marketing versus billable sale. Sorry, billable consulting. If that wouldn’t have happened. I perhaps never would have had the courage to move to the business side. I would have just been a billable asset, you know, worked my way up 10 99.
Let’s say mate, you know, several hundred dollars an hour or let’s say 200, 250 great lives here in Northern Virginia. But that one moment in time enabled me to have the courage that I otherwise would not have found on my own to step outside and say, if enough people are saying this it’s one person saying it’s like, ah, they may just care for you or whatever it is.
But if enough people are saying the same thing, I said, it’s time for me to make a change, try this thing out. Yeah.
Phillip K. Naithram: So, you took that, that wasn’t your natural tendency, which you did it anyway.
Sid K. Hasan: Do not like change. Yeah. And then over time it’s my mind is different, but in habits.
Phillip K. Naithram: Yeah. But going back to, you know, you were building that skill set and sales by doing it more often.
Constantly putting yourself in a position to keep learning that same lesson or, you know, improve upon that lesson. Um, I’m finding some hope in this. Cause we were talking earlier about like; I don’t think everybody has. And I was like, well, I hope that because I’m doing all kinds of stuff. I don’t, it might, it sounds like it might’ve happened without, you know, without you recognizing that like, hey, like it was happening.
Right. Because without that, I’m sure getting like. Were you married at this time two years ago, still having a job and then coming in and not having a job anymore? It’s definitely, uh, it’ll, it’ll generate some feelings in you. It’ll humble you. Yeah. You know, and, and, but being able to overcome that, work through that and take the next best step that ultimately led you to taking probably 20 or 30 other best steps that led you up to where you are now.
Right. Probably more than that, but those big impactful ones.
Sid K. Hasan: Absolutely. Pivotal, you know, when you’re doing my son loves dominoes. When it, when there’s a fork and a domino path, that one law, that one domino that sets you on a different path, it’s just it’s, it can be magical, but very, very scary.
Phillip K. Naithram: What about gratitude?
Do you, are you so some people are different about this. Some people have a practice around gratitude and some people don’t, I’m a formal, I make a list of gratitude list. It could be my hands and fingers work. My feet work, you know, I slept inside and outside today. Some I’m looking pretty good. Things are going well.
Um, like whatever, you know, start minimal. And then there’s other big things that I’m really grateful for too. But that’s me like, maybe you don’t like, do you how’s that work into your life? And.
Sid K. Hasan: It is a critical part of my life. It’s a critical part of my DNA. I am grateful. Uh, if you had my son on, he would tell you, my father says, uh, uh, God have mercy.
Yeah. Literally my father said it. I say it. I say it every well. I heard one hour before. Yeah. So, I say, God have mercy in Hindi. It sounds a bit different or overdue, but. I say it almost every half hour, hour. My son will tell you. Oh, um,
Phillip K. Naithram: what’s it means for you when you’re saying it? Like, what’d you learn?
Sid K. Hasan: I just am grateful.
I mean, I, I used to be very active on social for obvious reasons with me spoken. Now I’ve got a weekly post where I say, you know, dear God, I’m grateful nearly every Friday, I’ll put up a post and say, I’m grateful, gratitude, paying it forward. As you get to know me, perhaps you will realize. I try to pay it forward, be ready every single day of my life.
Phillip K. Naithram: So, you’re a big act and towards your gratitude kind of hundred percent. Yeah.
Sid K. Hasan: A few of my close friends would tell you if someone does one thing for me, I will likely do 10 things for them in return. Yeah. Gratitude is very important. Gratitude and. Very So, important. Yeah.
Phillip K. Naithram: Well, that’s cool. Well, thank you so much for spending some time with us today, man.
I really happy to hear Phillip. Yeah, thanks a lot. Thank you.