5 Takeaways from A Fireside Chat with Fadl Al Tarzi of Nexford University

Fadl Al Tarzi on Fuse

Fadl is a serious joker who loves his family, food, and travel: he is passionate about entrepreneurship, education, and innovation…

He decided to start NXU because; “lack of education is the root cause of most, if not all world challenges.

It is the intention of Nexford to teach more practical skills than theory. It’s an extraordinary concept for those seeking more from school.

We had a conversation with him on Fuse Show and these 5 points stood out to me;

1.The future of employability is going to change…

“If you could tap in and out of talent in a more fluid way, you could possibly increase your efficiency, even your productivity as well”

Fadl Al Tarzi

Imagine being able to tap in and out of talent as you wish…Fadl said doing this fluidly would increase efficiency and productivity. 

The shift towards remote work has allowed companies to hire talent from anywhere in the world. 

This way, startups don’t have to “employ” future talent; you can outsource what you need without compromising the quality of results.

Instead of looking for people with degrees, companies can invest in people with smaller credentials… 

The Takeaway

If you’re looking at the name of the institution where someone went to decide if they’re a good fit for your company; the chances are high you’re churning employees faster than an ice cream machine. 

2.Founders should not stop interviewing

“I really don’t think founders should stop interviewing and be so involved with the hiring process until they’re really comfortable that the culture is really aligned internally and everyone understands what are the values you’re looking for…”

Fadl Al Tarzi

Letting go too soon vs. staying on too long is a common dilemma for many. It is an understandable predicament considering how much is really pegged on hiring the right person the first time!

According to Fadl, you shouldn’t be too quick to hand over the reins. You can only relinquish the hiring role when you’re sure that the culture is aligned internally and everyone understands what values you hold in high regard. 

It’s not about numbers on this one, but confidence. Founders can only grant autonomy to those who can truly own it!  

Most, however, are often caught in a rut on this matter…

Take all the time you need on this; only letting go when you’re entirely comfortable the culture won’t get lost”. You can stop at the 3rd or 100th; just allow your gut to lead on this one.   

Focusing on getting the right people is the right thing for a founder to do!

The Takeaway

For the knowledge industry at least, it all boils down to the team you have! It makes sense then, to take as much time as you need to choose the dream team.

3.Founders got to be a bit crazy!

You can’t be 100% normal and keep going at it. When you’re a founder and your bank account doesn’t have enough for payroll two weeks down the line and you’re still hiring! That’s unusual behavior, but, people do these things and become success stories…”

Fadl Al Tarzi

Isn’t it mostly the crazy ones who get out of their comfort zones and into the often murky waters of the startup world? It’s risky! and exhausting!

You gotta be a little OFF to be a founder!

According to Fadl, the odds are against you as a founder, so you have to be a little more arrogant than normal.

His analogy goes to highlight that just perfectly “founders are the kind of people who’d have no money for payroll two weeks down the line and are still hiring!’’

Starting a company is the wildest ride…Long hours, increased stress of being responsible for everything and just the messages you have to respond to on slack are enough to drive the best of us nuts!

The Takeaway

You need to have the nerve to do what others consider impossible! 

To venture into a world with already established companies or go off the beaten track takes those who are a little off.

4.It’s not a sprint! It’s a marathon

Its not a sprint, its a marathon…the stakes for a founder are so high you’re constantly thinking…what’s the value in a day? It’s very difficult to quantify this at shorter intervals so, you must think in the long term

Fadl Al Tarzi

Founders often go crazy trying to achieve their targets within the shortest time possible… Fadl advises founders to take it easy. You have to play the long game bearing in mind; it’s a marathon, not a sprint. 

The founder of Nexford University says he feels like he’s running five sprints concurrently at any given point. 

It’s easy to feel that way when you’re already wearing too many hats as the visionary, support head, accountant…you’re literally running all departments as a startup founder!

The Takeaway

The number of sprints a founder has to run may ebb and flow but that’s the only constant; several sprints daily as part of one big marathon whose end is startup success (whatever the measure is for ya!

5.Founders must prioritize HR

“If you build the right team and really invest in finding the right folks and then nurturing the right team, there’s nothing more empowering, and, nothing will impact the success of your business more than that”

Fadl Al Tarzi

Fadl says his biggest regret was not sufficiently prioritizing HR. He advises startup founders to build a strong team; without fear of investing in finding the right folk and nurturing them.

It is most empowering and strongly impacts the success of your business. He says,

“Founders focus too much on execution…”

Rather, he suggests that startup owners focus on surrounding themselves with people who “can execute your vision” because it’s the most valuable thing for entrepreneurs to do.

The Takeaway

We may think that it takes too much time and energy to nurture team members but it’s a worthwhile investment. Teams that feel cared for, give back in increased productivity!

The Wrap-Up! 

Fadl advises people not to try working in high school. Have fun and work will happen after graduation! These are resounding words from a founder who started when he was only 18! You should indeed have time for yourself before diving into the addictive world of work.

If you wish to hear more from our chat with Fadl, feel free  to watch the full video here: