5 Entrepreneurship Lessons I learned from ‘Gus’ Gustavo Fring

Photo Credit:  Ben Leuner/AMC

Gus is my favourite character from Breaking Bad, unfortunately he died in season 4 (Damn you Walter!). Gustavo Fring is the owner of a successful fast food chain known as “Los Pollos Hermanos”, he appears to be humble, quiet and friendly. He is always helping his community and cares about his employees & customers at the restaurant.

But there is a whole other side to him, Gus is a Sociopath Drug Lord and a mastermind behind the largest meth empire.

Gus shows high professionalism and caution in his work. He makes highly calculated business moves in order to compete with other cartels. Believe it or not it was a tough decision for Walter to kill Gus, he loved him and was inspired by Gustavo’s business ethics.

Gustavo’s character had many qualities which are often found in successful entrepreneurs. Here are 5 lessons that I learned from his character.

 1. Customer is King

Although he owns successful chain of 15 restaurants, in season 2 Gus is often found serving food on customer’s table, taking their feedback and making them comfortable at the restaurant. He deeply cares about the customer experience at his restaurant and always train his employees personally to make sure everything goes smooth.

He has dozens of employees at his restaurant for this job but he always prefer to stay connected with his customers.

Even in his drug business he shows adequate compassion for the customer, he hired Walter so that he can provide higher quality meth in the market.

Successful entrepreneurs are often found connecting with customers on personal level. Entrepreneurs such as Brent Oxley, founder of HostGator (recently sold for $250M), believes that the sole reason for his company’s success was awesome customer service that he provided. You may also read this fantastic article by Ron Burley that shows how customer service can make or break your company. 

2. Keep Calm and Listen

Gus was a great listener, he stayed quiet and focused on what others has to say. His successful business moves were a result of his tendency to listen and calculating his approach accordingly.

Good communications skills plays an important role in outlining an entrepreneur. As Martin Zwilling has explained in his article, he say’s 

“Building a business is all about building relationships, and one of the most important elements of a relationship is effective communication. Communication does not happen unless both parties practice the art of effective listening.”

3. Self-Discipline

Gus was the most self disciplined character in Breaking Bad, he had clear goals and he always planned ahead. This enabled him to become a successful fast food chain owner and to become a drug lord.

Entrepreneurs need self discipline to overcome the frustration that comes with the process of building a company. You can’t achieve your goals and milestones unless you have self discipline, think of it as a fuel that fire need to stay burning. 

Remember “Chance favors the prepared mind” — Louis Pasteur

4. Killing your Competitors (Not literally!)

Gus poisoned and killed Don Eladio Vuente including another 10 members of Juarez Cartel, who was Gus’s main competitor and enemy.

Instead of partnering with them in meth production and distribution, he preferred killing them. But this move was a result of long planning by Gus.

Initially he worked with all the other cartels and appeared to them as non-threatening entity to cartel’s business operation. When he saw the right moment, he moved forward and killed all the members of the Juarez cartel.

For example: Look at what Facebook did to Myspace, Google did to Yahoo and Samsung did to Apple. They all are now behemoth in their respective industries and are unbeatable. 

Building a company is not just about the best product or customer service. It’s about building something that stays at top and do whatever it takes to crush its competition. 

5. No matter how smart you are, sooner or later you are going to FAIL

Despite of having an uncanny ability to make highly calculated moves to avoid mistakes, Gus’s demise came by the hands of Walter White.

No matter how badass of an entrepreneur you are, sooner or later you might fail. Failing is as important as succeeding, it gives us a chance to understand how odd events can be tuned into your favor. Failing at something doesn’t necessarily mean you suck, it simply means you have got an opportunity to look at both sides of the table

Follow me on Twitter @mhuzaifaali

Making of Artsly: Past, Present and Future

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It’s good to be back at blogging (after 3 years!).  In last three years I have started a new company, raised capital and pivoted into a more focused domain. In this post I will be discussing about past, present and future of iKnowl.

The Past

We (I and my brother) started iKnowl with a vision that creating/developing educational apps for mobile and tablets should be an easy process for education providers. To develop a mobile app, an education provider would hire a development firm and whole process from development to publishing would take at least 3-5 months, and would cost somewhere around $5,000.

I wanted to minimize the cost and the development time by building a DIY platform for educational apps. Our team worked for 3 months and initial product was ready to be launched, we started signing up some beta users who loved iKnowl’s platform. But after 6 months of iKnowl’s release, I realized that it’s going to fail. We did some iterations and after 6 months, we ended up discarding our product (which was quite heart breaking for our team).

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