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Technology Will Set You Free – Nabeel Mahmood

This “nomad futurist” is shaking up the tech world 

Podcast Summary

Ever heard of a nomad futurist? Meet Nabeel Mahmood – an advocate for the freeing power of technology, enabling us to work from anywhere, at any time. A podcast host, philanthropist, keynote speaker, and more, Nabeel believes in the transformational power of technology. He has over 18 years of experience helping large-scale global organizations overhaul their technology core to create massive growth – including as it relates to Cloud, iOT, Mobility, Big Data and beyond. 

In this episode, Nabeel talks about his success with building a podcast, his education-based NGO work, and the harrowing journey that brought him to become a nomad futurist in the first place:

  • Throughout his life, Nabeel has encountered several near-death experiences. At a young age, he was paralyzed from the waist down after falling off a horse playing cricket. Not letting this stop him, he moved to the United States, chasing the all-too-familiar American dream. After earning that corner office, Nabeel felt that he still wasn’t happy – he laments how every day felt like going to prison. He soon fell victim to several heart attacks and decided that he needed to make a major life change. Upon this revelation, Nabeel moved to Hawaii, where he would soon discover his true self, someone who thrives outside of the office. Prescribing to the nomad futurist lifestyle, Nabeel was compelled to share his message with the world. 
  • Nabeel’s podcast was created to demystify the technology industry for younger generations, hoping to open up IT-based careers for more youth. The podcast focuses on trials and tribulations – both personal and professional – as well as how to keep up in an ever-changing tech industry. After 2 years, the show has gained 250,000 subscribers from all over the world – a real success. 
  • Nabeel’s foundation focuses on education for minorities and women across the globe, particularly in underdeveloped regions with emerging markets. The NGO creates exposure to technology for kids, aiming to narrow down their interests and help build a meaningful skill set – whether that be in mechanical engineering, architecture, etc. By nurturing these professions in underserved areas, Nabeel hopes to encourage people to grow their local economies and make their home a better place. 

Nabeel Mahmood

[00:00:00] Peter Perri: And we are live on Energy Superheroes with Nabeel Mahmood, and he’s calling in today from Fresno, California. He is a nomad futurist. He’s gonna tell us what that means. He’s a podcast host. He’s also started a foundation which has become an NGO. With the focus on women and minorities around the world, some really exciting stuff and big in sustainability as well.

Nabeel, it’s a pleasure to have you on energy superheroes today. 

[00:00:31] Nabeel Mahmood: Peter, thank you very much for having me looking forward to the conversation. 

[00:00:35] Peter Perri: Good stuff. So when I heard nomad futurists, you gotta tell me more about what that means. That is a cool phrase that I haven’t heard. 

[00:00:41] Nabeel Mahmood: It really started by the fact that we live in a global economy and the fact that we should be able to work from anywhere at any time.

We talked about as. As technologists, we’ve talked about the ability to be remote. We’ve talked about a global economy, but we have never really practiced it. I took that on personally because of a couple of flight changing events. I’ve only died a couple of times and we can talk about, as we progress whereby I hadn’t needed to leave California, I needed to leave the rack race.

I needed to move away and I wanted to be on an. And the only way I could have done that was because of the world that I live in. And that’s the technology world. He’s the reason why being a nomad now.

[00:01:22] Peter Perri: Interesting. So when you say you died a couple of times, you’ll have to tell me more about that. That sounds inspirational and it inspires curiosity at the same time.

[00:01:31] Nabeel Mahmood: So 18 and a half, I was paralyzed from waist down for nine months. Used to. Cricket and polo fell. The horse broke my left leg compound fracture, L one three L three were infused. Couldn’t move. I was told I could never walk mine over matter, convinced myself that I was gonna get out of. It didn’t want to be on crutches.

Wanted to be on my feet. Did that moved to America. Got involved in the rat race of the corporate culture and totally lost my voice. I was following the American dream, the white picket fence the dogs and living on a golf course and the fancy cars and all of that fun stuff. And Six and a half years ago I was able to achieve everybody sorry.

I was able to achieve everything that I wanted, that corner office that we have so dreamt for the power of managing people and being a part of a large company. Yes, I was there, but I was not really happy. I felt like going to prison every day. And ended up with a couple of heart attacks. I was flatlined.

I was dead for four minutes and 19 seconds. At that point in time, I said, I need to make some major life changing decisions and hence packed my bags and moved to Hawaii. And that’s where I really started to discover myself who my identity was and who I am as an individual. And. Then, life had been great and in discovering.

So I felt that I needed to actually embrace my voice. I needed to be who I am and share my message and vision and tell people the way things are versus sugar coating it because that’s what we are supposed to be doing. That’s what the culture teaches us. Don’t say the right wrong thing. It might offend somebody.

I’ve learned to tell it the way. That might be painful today, but in the long term, it won’t be anyhow long. It was short. It was I was actually playing in a tennis tournament in New Jersey June of last year. And ended up with a cardiac arrest resulted in other heart attack and walked away with a quadruple bypass.

So this is me nine months after with a new titanium sternum and all fully. Renovated heart and valves. Gone through the medical changes and some serious trauma in my life, medically, physically, emotionally. I figured that I’ve got bought my legs in the grave and I’ve gotta leave a legacy.

I’ve gotta do it for somebody else. I’ve gotta help change the world. And in order to change the world, I’ve gotta change myself. I’ve gotta change my approach. I’ve gotta change the way I’ve grown up in this society and what society has taught us. And that was the birth of Noma futurist. We are gonna tell you what’s going on in the world and we wanna break the barriers, right?

These fake personas that we have of people that we aren’t as executives in this industry, they need to be. You know what? I grew up with a mom and dad and in a culture that a man is supposed to be strong. You can’t have tears in your eyes. That’s what I grew up with. You’ve gotta stay strong when you’re managing large enterprise, you’ve gotta stay strong.

You’ve gotta believe in yourself. You’ve gotta create this image of strength and power. You know what, I’d rather be wonderful. I’d rather tell people the way I feel. Because, and they can see through me, they can see through my eyes and they’ll believe me. 

[00:04:45] Peter Perri: Incredible. Yeah. We hear a lot about this word vulnerability.

And you had to, as you say die a couple of times to get to that point, how do you get to be vulnerable without having to die a couple of times? What is that mental journey like to get to that place where you can be vulnerable? 

[00:05:01] Nabeel Mahmood: I can’t really speak to it because I have not experienced it. I believe if I didn’t have these life changing experiences, I would still have lost my voice and I’ll still be a part of the rack race.

In my scenario, it was these life changing events that defined me and made me the man I am today. Otherwise I would be still doing the same thing, unfortunately.

[00:05:18] Peter Perri: Yeah, I think that’s super honest for you to say that because it’s, it is difficult for people to have to go through the hardship and the changes.

Nobody really wants to go through it, but in the end to be able to say that you come out better on the other side is a really amazing thing. Let me transition. When I heard that you were a podcast host, a lot of people ask me, how do you become a podcast host? And we’re pretty new here, but you’ve been doing it a while now would love to hear, just walk through the journey of how you came up with the idea and then how you go through it and keep your listeners engaged and grow your audience.

[00:05:55] Nabeel Mahmood: So I’m not a podcaster by profession. I don’t even know if that actually is a profession. However growing up as a kid drama theater was something that I was very interested in. Not something that I actually wanted to pursue. I was an athlete. Two different, two different directions, but it was something that was very exciting growing up.

Anyhow, when I ended up into the practical life of being a professional it helped whereby I was able to get in front of the audience and speak and convey and get my message across. As a part of my job it’s been public speaking has been, a significant part of my job and. It’s been very technical over the years.

Like we talk about technical stuff like, oh we’ve got this API or we’ve got this new technology. It’s all fun and dandy. But they’re all rehearsed. And being on the circuit for 20 years of my career, I started realizing that it’s just all people I would go to about 35, 40 conferences of the year and speak at these event.

All what I would see is the age gap, getting bigger, and bigger. I did not see very many younger generation or people out there and told me one of my close friends, Phil Colan, we’re sitting at a conference in Hawaii. We just got done speaking at this conference and we were having a fight. And it came about that.

There aren’t very many young people in this industry at every event that we went to the year before. The average age was mid forties. Where is all the young people, where is all the young talent? And we are ready to hand off the batons to the younger generation. They’re not even here. So we just jokingly said, let’s start a podcast.

Let’s just try to demystify technology, make it easier. Let’s just voice our opinion and let it not be about technology. Let be about trials and tribulation and how great this industry is and what this industry is. So it was really born as a pilot project two and a half years ago. And how, or why have you been successful?

Is because we have been very transparent. The imperfection has been the perfection for us. So if you hear the dogs barking and the cows marrying and the children screaming in the background, there’s no H. Redoing our Hollywood effects of making that sound very exotic. It’s real. That’s what you. That’s helped us plus we’ve made it a very clear point that our platform is commercial freight.

So it doesn’t matter who you are and how big of a company you work for. We wanna learn about you. It’s about you, your trials and tribulations, your journey to be becoming who you are as well as, how do you learn on a daily basis? The industry that we are in is evolving. It evolves by the minute. So how do you keep up?

And. What I found out is that a lot of these folks, a lot of these executives in the space end up being very vulnerable and people that I’ve known for decades, I’ve learned things about them on our platform that I would not have otherwise now.

[00:08:53] Peter Perri: Very cool. Where do you distribute your podcast?

I think a lot of people like to know that they’ll record it and then distribute it to certain platforms. What has worked for. 

[00:09:02] Nabeel Mahmood: So we distributed pretty much on every platform. We’ve got our own website nomad It’s our platform for news, for, any press releases for pretty much audio content for now.

It’s also available on the likes of Spotify and Google and apple and any other platform that there is. So we are fairly, very open. We’ve made sure that’s available in every country. So as of right now, we’re in about 69 countries. And roughly about 250,000 plus subscribers. Ah, that’s 

[00:09:31] Peter Perri: incredible.

And so in two years that’s a really rapid growth. Do you think that the international markets has been a big factor in contributing to that growth or is it mostly in the us? 

[00:09:41] Nabeel Mahmood: International market house has been a big factor. I think the us market for us is roughly about 54, 50 5%. The remainder is actually really international and it’s emerging in fiduciary markets.

That’s interesting. You’ve got the markets like South Africa, for instance you’ve got markets in, in, in Asia that I would’ve never thought that anybody would be interested in listening to what we have to say, but it’s cool because it, it validates.

Technology is going to those markets. Africa is the last connect, in my opinion. And guess what, those people are not going to make the mistakes that we have over the last four decades of computing in America. 

[00:10:19] Peter Perri: That’s amazing. And you bring up technology. And I started in digital marketing, digital media that, that segment in the late nineties with era.

And then I transitioned into the energy industry in 2000 and. And I’ve noticed over time, more and more technology is applying to energy and sustainability. Could you comment on that trend of movement of technology towards climate energy? Sustainability? 

[00:10:44] Nabeel Mahmood: Yeah. So in the data center world, we are energy hogs.

At least that’s what we have been. And there is a reason for that. Primarily because of the fact that a lot of the design that we are still practicing are about four decades old. The mindset is that old the younger generation has not come into this space to question the way we have built these environments before the mindset that we’ve had in a typical build out would be let’s build a massive infrastructure.

Let’s build a massive building and they will. Computing would come well, that’s needs to be changed. It needs to be more modular. It needs to be more sustainable. It needs to be more scalable and we don’t need to build these massive infrastructures. So that’s become a challenge. As I look into the future I believe that, globally speaking, 30% or so the energy over the next five years is probably going to be in computing.

A part of the issue is that there’s a lot of stranded power. There’s a lot of wasted energy. We have overdesigned these infrastructures, they’re under provisioned underutilized, and we are wasting a lot of energy. 

[00:11:57] Peter Perri: Yeah. So how do we overcome that? And who do you see leading the way in that regard?

Have you seen some certain, either nations or companies that are really stepping forward to change? 

[00:12:08] Nabeel Mahmood: How do we overcome that is for starters creating this awareness that this is an issue and it’s going to be a bigger issue. If we don’t take care of it today, foundationally, we need to change our thinking, how we design, build and support these environments.

And that comes through education. Secondly, The technology platforms need to change as well. The initiatives that we currently have, whether it be EPA or any other body in America or any other country for that matter, the monetary needs to be addressed. So right now I was actually on a call earlier about carbon emissions and utilization metrics.

And they’re like let’s just throw some money at it. They do it right. We’ll give ’em a. Yeah, they’re gonna bandaid it. They’re gonna put a bandaid on it, fix it. Our numbers are all great because we have fluffed something up. Like they apologize if we train somebody, but at the end of the day, the culture, whereby we constantly put bandaids on things needs to change.

We need to get down to the root. We need to get to the foundation of where the problem exists. And how would you feel if I say, instead of me giving you an incentive, we are. Find you . And but at the end of the day, I think what’s most important. Out of all of it is that we need to have a standards body that needs to define the standards and set up the right expectations, whether it be a public and or a government body, but these environments and infrastructures need to be audited on a regular basis.

Whether it be a data center or a supplier to a data center or anybody that’s in the manufacturing business standards need to be practiced and developed on a global basis. That’s the starting point. 

[00:13:43] Peter Perri: Yeah. That makes total sense. And what do you, who do you think is the best body to do that?

And how do we make it happen? Functionally? 

[00:13:50] Nabeel Mahmood: In my world, I would say I saw for. Could be a good starting point. Tia could be another good starting point. As long as they’re accredited institutions, I’m good with it. I can’t expect something from, Joe down the street to come up with a standard because, he has got nothing to hold up to, but Tia and ISO are two standards that I speak very highly, often, very fond.

[00:14:13] Peter Perri: Makes sense. Let’s transition a little bit to your foundation work. You mentioned that you have a foundation and I think a lot of people in the audience would be curious to know about how do you set up a foundation? How do you get that off the ground? I talked to business executives all the time that wanna make a difference and wanna get into the nonprofit world.

How do you go about that? 

[00:14:34] Nabeel Mahmood: It’s actually in America, it’s quite an extensive process. Oh my gosh. It’s like pulling teeth and rabbits outta the hat. Fortunately we had good help good legal counsel to help set that up. There’s a lot of tools available. You can go to so legal zoom, my company works or whatever.

I think there’s plenty of platforms available that we can set it up, but be very mindful that you’ve gotta be able to follow the process throughout a lot of forms for us to get a five, one C three process was roughly about six month long process. And that was engaging the right people to do the right thing and follow the right process.

Believe me if I would’ve tried to do it on my own using any of these tools that are available online I would’ve been lost in the amount of forms that you’ve gotta fill out. So I would say and highly suggest seek. Good legal counsel, good accountants. And let ’em do the work. It might cost a little bit, but it’s absolutely.

[00:15:26] Peter Perri: And so how long has your foundation been operating and tell us about where you’re focused. 

[00:15:31] Nabeel Mahmood: We got our five, one C three status in December of last year, end of December, early January. So it’s been roughly about four and a half, five months. We have been working on developing programs and we are, as a matter of fact, just starting awareness to raise.

Our core focus is education and education for minorities, education for women with a keen focus in underserved underdeveloped regions around the world especially in emerging markets. I wanna make sure that we are able to provide tools and education to kids in areas and give ’em an opportunity.

And it’s also about exposure and experiences. I give people an example of tiger woods. I’m not sure how many people are golfers, but if you’re, if you’ve got a following base of executives the example is that tiger woods is a legend. He’s a legend because. He focused. He’s a legend because his father did not take him to a sea candy store and said, you’ve got 24 options to choose one from and oh, by the way, go play all of the sports.

They were very selective in what he was exposed to and he picked a sport. He found his passion and he worked his tail off and he is tiger woods. So the same concept applies over here. Stem is very wide, so it’s great. We need. However, I’m a firm believer in narrowing that down to a focus.

And in our scenario, we want to expose kids to these professions, whether it be electrical, mechanical structure of networking, coding whatever the case might be, but we wanna have them identify what they’re passionate about and start narrowing that focus so we can build on their skillset. That’s really what our foundation is about.

Get him close to what they’re passionate about. See, I’m a great example. I I fell into technology purely by an accident. I would’ve never thought that I would be a technologist in a futurist. I was supposed to be an athlete. I was supposed to be running the field and signing autographs right now.

 And here we are, we’re talking about bits and bites. So again, right place, had a good basis of education, but didn’t go to school to become an electrical mechanical engineer. I could do all of that. I’d probably do it better than most, but that’s not what my core was. So it really comes down to is exposure education.

[00:17:52] Peter Perri: Gotcha. So have you guys developed a process to take those students through in order to get them down to where they can find out, what is the specific area within technology that they’re ideally suited? 

[00:18:04] Nabeel Mahmood: Yeah. So we are working on that. We are currently working with Northern Virginia community college and Institute of technology.

There’s a few other programs that we are engaged in and going through some trials. We recently hosted about 50 kids in Austin, Texas. We brought kids from high school and college. As a matter of fact, we took a very different approach whereby we’ve got all these sub-verticals within our industry from legal to real estate.

Architects to engineers. And I turned the tables around and have the kids question all of these professionals as to why are they doing what they’re doing or what do they like or hate about it? And that was a very good starting point to give ’em an opportunity to start asking questions. And that’s probably one of the ways that they’re gonna be able to figure out what they what do they want to be when they grow up?

It’s like one of those things, like my dad was a great example and a major influence on me without being a major influence on me because he would do things, he would go places. He would talk to somebody in certain way tone and he would say certain things and Those were life lessons.

Those were exposures that I got ex and experiences that I got exposed to a very early age. And then they sat deep in my roots and looking back at it. Now I was getting all of this education without getting education. And I was asking all these questions without asking all these questions because of this exposure that I got as a.

If we can narrow that down and make it more visible to the kids where they can start asking questions and be a little bit more curious then I think we can shorten that life cycle and they can get an early start 

[00:19:41] Peter Perri: now. Incredible systematizing that process of almost it’s almost like mentorship and allowing the kids to find a vocation.

At the right age. So they don’t just wander around. I think a lot of kids now, they don’t even want to go to college because they think they’re gonna take on a bunch of debt and they’re not gonna learn anything that’s meaningful. And we, as the older generation will criticize the kids, but the kids are smart and they’re very practical and they can see what they, that they don’t know necessarily what they should do, but they can see what they should not do.

Real quick. And so it, there is a a crisis, I think, within higher education, both in terms of the costs and in terms of the relevance to what you can bring to the world today. So I think you’re tapping into that trend, which is super admirable. How can companies, cause we have a lot of, let’s say both startup companies and bigger companies.

How can they plug into this and be able to hire the top talent? Because it’s definitely a gap right now where people can’t actually can’t hire the people that they want particularly in these stem fields. 

[00:20:42] Nabeel Mahmood: So it goes back to foundation. We need to change I believe one of the challenges that we’ve got in the time that we live in is that we are very reliant on technology.

We have lost that human inte. In talking to a lot of my peers that are involved in human resources and staff orientation or hiring people. It’s amazing to learn that they rely, which is actually good for us in a way that they rely on these platforms that are fully automated. So you might be the right person with the right qualifications, but you are not a SEO expert.

So when you fill in your application, the computer. Now, Peter, you don’t fit it you’re out. Whereas in the old days, somebody would pick up the phone and have a quick conversation with you. They might call and say, Peter, come on in, let’s have a face to face. How do we fix that? I think the human intelligence is as important.

If not more than artificial intelligence. And just for your users and listeners, I’ll say there’s nothing artificial about artificial intelligence. It’s only actionable intelligence. Computers are not smarter than us. They will never be smarter than us. Remember that Elon Musk. 

[00:21:57] Peter Perri: A hundred percent agree. And that’s one of the beautiful things I think of this new interaction where we’re on zoom and teams in these other areas.

Because I think prior to that, you’re right. The web was text based and you mentioned SEO. People could game the system by putting in certain keywords here and there, but then when you’d actually get in front of ’em and talk to ’em you find out that they really don’t know what they’re. And so I think now these meeting platforms have allowed us to connect on a more human level.

It’s not as human as face to face in person, but it’s a lot more than email and over the computer. So it is a nice I think outcome maybe of the pandemic of everybody getting on these platforms makes it. To connect. Tell me about somebody that you’ve connected with over these kind of platforms that surprised you and what kind of a, an impact it had on you, whether it was through your podcast or another way where you never met him in person, but it was like, wow, you had a big impact through meeting them.

[00:22:55] Nabeel Mahmood: Oh my gosh. He just put me on the spot here. I would say Dave Tempkin the CIO for Netflix. 

[00:23:02] Peter Perri: Wow. Very cool. Yeah. And was it through the podcast or was it another site of a meeting? 

[00:23:07] Nabeel Mahmood: Actually the introduction was made through the podcast and I was told that’s a gentleman that I need to actually have a conversation with and have have him on the podcast.

As a matter of fact, you know what, now I would say Vincent serv would be the gentleman.

It was incredible experience. Not that I’m putting Dave time Kim down now, but I just remembered Vincent sir is the father of internet. And he was he came to our platform. He was recommended by somebody and he HES a man that I would like to actually meet in person. Now we have had several conversations on the virtual environments and what an incredible.

What he’s done for computing, what he’s done for networking and just what he’s done for humanity, an incredible person. 

[00:23:52] Peter Perri: Yeah. And I think so those kind of interactions to me what makes being a host so incredible is that you get to meet these people that you never thought. That you would’ve been able to meet.

So I, I want to go back to this whole idea of podcast and talk about, so we met over LinkedIn, I believe and we scheduled this call. What are you seeing in terms of LinkedIn? I see a lot of guys on LinkedIn that, let’s say five years ago, LinkedIn was just like, basically a resume without a lot of interaction, but all of a sudden from where I.

I’m seeing the platform grow. What have you seen on that or other platforms that you’re excited about? 

[00:24:28] Nabeel Mahmood: Latest certainly has grown over the last few years. I think a lot of good stuff’s come out for the last two years, especially. But it’s also concerning. It’s getting very sales heavy people talk about the number of impressions they get on a post or the number of connections that they have and all these bragging rights.

It’s it’s a little frustrating from that perspective. It’s been good for me because I take the time to read up on someone’s profile. And if I met you, I’ll connect with you. If I haven’t, then I wanna learn about you before I actually do my network. So it’s how you really manage it.

There’s goods and bad to everyth. It’s how you manage it. I’m not gonna know a hundred thousand people there’s no possible way. My close knit group is probably going to be 10 people. My circle of friends is going to be maybe 20 people. My circle of acquaintance is maybe be a thousand or so, and everybody else is just noise.

And it’s difficult to keep up with it. You gotta be very careful and not have the fear of missing out and you’re not getting enough impressions and people are looking at it. They’re not liking stuff that can be a little nerve wracking. So use it to, to what this platform was designed for, in my opinion.

And that’s really about networking and you. Don’t use this as an overselling platform. I actually got a call from a financial advisor today, but I found you on LinkedIn. Do you wanna buy services from me? No, I really don’t. so there’s pros and cons. I like the platform. I think it’s from a professional networking perspective, it’s the best tool available out there.

And it’s actually, back in the day they used to say something around the lines of six degrees of separat. Now it’s less than a half a degree of separation. You can find out about people very quickly. 

[00:26:07] Peter Perri: It is incredible. So you mentioned your inner circle. I gotta touch on that.

How do you decide who’s in your inner circle and what are you looking for? Is it people that have you known a long time or what do you look for in your inner circle? 

[00:26:21] Nabeel Mahmood: Yeah, primarily people that I’ve actually met. I am still the old school. Even though this is what we do for a. Still the old school.

I wanna shake your hands, look in your eyes. I wanna see how real you are. Are you full of it or can I trust you? And conversations we’re gonna have virtually or, physically being present in front of each other are they going to the same? Is the experience gonna be the same?

There’s a lot of trust in getting into that inner circle. 

[00:26:45] Peter Perri: No for sure. And one thing I hear from a lot of our listeners are in venture capital or their companies starting up. And a lot of times they have to tap into their network in order to either raise funds or take a business to the next level.

Have you ever worked with your network on investments or other types of businesses together, or do you keep that network on purely a friend’s level? 

[00:27:08] Nabeel Mahmood: No I have. And yeah, make an investment. You’ve gotta know people. I would tell you this if an opportunity comes up it might be the next Facebook or Twitter or Tesla.

If somebody tries to sell me that on a virtual environment, it will be a hard, no yeah it’s a hard, no, for my network as well. It’s very difficult. Yeah. know over the last two years there’s been a lot of capital that’s been spent. There’s it’s high risk. Of course, you’ve gotta do your due diligence, but I wanna shake your hands.

I wanna look right in your eyes. I wanna hear your voice. I wanna hear the peaks and values in your voice. I want to hear the stutter. I wanna see the level of confidence that you’ve got that believe that you’ve got in yourself. 

[00:27:47] Peter Perri: Yeah. So you had mentioned Africa when we previously talked, and this is an exciting area of investments, which is why I’m transitioning there.

I’m seeing more and more activity and buzz around, investing in Africa, both in terms of sustainability and projects and a little bit on the venture side. Could you talk to what you’re seeing in Africa and opportunities you see there? Absolutely. 

[00:28:11] Nabeel Mahmood: So Africa is a lost connect. That’s when the world is connect.

that’s when we’ve got the internet bubble. That’s the future. I call it the golden Sparrow the, the gold rush whatever you wanna say that’s where things are gonna change. It’s the last frontier, whatever you wanna call it, that’s the land of opportunities I believe.

Why? Because nothing has been done. They’re not going to make the same mistakes that we have over the last four decades of computing or industrialization in countries like America. They will have had the opportunity of leadership from primary markets like us, and they’re gonna do it right.

They’re gonna do it right the first time. Why do you 

[00:28:52] Peter Perri: think that sounds extremely hopeful. And what is it. About the, is it the culture? Is it the mentality? Why do you think they’re gonna be do, why do you think they’re gonna do it the right way? 

[00:29:03] Nabeel Mahmood: Primarily a lot of those investments are coming in from markets like us.

So we’ve been thoughtful and careful, and we’ve made all those mistakes and we’ve lost a lot of money, so we are gonna be thoughtful and careful. Of course there’s bureaucracy and politics and corruption and whatnot. It’s gonna hold things back and we might suffer a little bit, but ASRA is designing, building, implementing technologies.

You’re not going to make the same mistakes that we have from a sustainability perspective if you’re doing brick and mortar buildings, you probably might do tilt ups with green material. For instance, our reading about wind power the other day. So there’s a way about changing the turbines.

You. That they don’t look ugly. They’re not noisy as we’ve got in the us or primary markets. There is a better way of doing that. There’s better technology to do that. That is really referring to the fact that the technology and platforms that we’ve got in place, they’re not gonna have to go and suffer through that.

[00:29:56] Peter Perri: No for sure. And you also mentioned wanting to give people an incentive to stay in their markets, as opposed to migrating into the primary markets. And that’s part of the goal of your NGO. Talk more to that. Yeah 

[00:30:11] Nabeel Mahmood: I’m an immigrant to America again, right away from home and came to America.

I had no idea what I was gonna do out. Other than be in movies or be a sports agent like Jerry McGuire? That didn’t work for me because I had zero interest in American football or baseball. Never got to sports and I couldn’t sell anybody on something that I didn’t believe in. You can’t really have what do we call it?

World series when you don’t play against anybody else?

anyhow, that was me being funny. Yeah I think if I had the opportunity to be where I grew up and be able to do what I’m doing today, considering if was, if it was nice and warm and tropical as well, that would’ve helped. But if I had the opportunity to end up living where I was, I would have been able to give back.

The economy that was a part of me or the culture. That was a part of me. We all moved to America or we moved to UK or primary markets because it’s an opportunity to make more money or have a better quality of life, which is great. And being an immigrant to America. Of course I welcome everybody out here.

And I would but why can’t we do that locally? Why can’t people stay and grow? Their economies locally and support their economies and do something better for, they, they should all travel, but they should be able to do something better for themselves and their countries. So that’s really the goal.

And and how do we go about that is by creating and giving them an opportunity education, experiences, and exposure and supporting what all of us have been doing, but at much bigger, 

[00:31:41] Peter Perri: Yeah. So you mentioned Jerry McGuire. I gotta throw out the show me the money phrase, right?

So yep. In those kind of markets, I think the show me the money is gonna be a big part of it. How do we encourage investors to come into those markets and to invest locally, and then not just take the returns right out of the market, back to their home markets, but reinvest it then locally, 

[00:32:03] Nabeel Mahmood: if you think short term, you’re gonna have short term gain.

Play the long game. Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Bitcoin is a great example. Those that actually played the short game, cashed out, selling all of their Bitcoins for a pizza. those that didn’t are billionaires today. 

[00:32:23] Peter Perri: That’s a great example. So I always think there’s gotta be some other type of capitalism in order to get people to think about this long game, there has to be some sort of hybrid system. I always, I’ll plug our local supermarket here’s company called Publix within encourage the whole audience to look into it. But. They’re a private company, but they’re the largest by revenue company in the state of Florida and all their employees are shareholders.

And so the decisions they’ve made in staving off Walmart and some of the other big players that have come in have been successful. And the communities invested in the company, the employees are invested in the company and it’s been a model that’s allowed them to keep the money locally, both in the state and in the local community.

And I just feel there’s gotta be some sort. Third way of economic system that leverages the benefits of the incentive structure of capitalism, which is of course the greatest in the world, but then also allows people and encourages people to take this longer term view so that we can have money stay locally in these communities, as opposed to being all the returns going to these absentee shareholders.

[00:33:32] Nabeel Mahmood: Yeah. The best way is to do that is engage people, local, hire local, that’s where hopefully we can get to that point in time and let them invest locally. Absolutely. You start pulling the money out. That’s when the challenge begins, look at what the British did to. In Pakistan in the 1940s.

They started extracting all the minerals. They started extracting all the gold, that’s what killed their economy. And they have been struggling ever since and other, not that I’m actually putting them monarchy here at question, but now the colonies, all the colonies. Because, putting that in perspective, as capitalist they extract. Yeah. And I think 

[00:34:12] Peter Perri: yeah, to the it’s and it makes total sense because throughout history whoever had the power was able to extract the resources, but we’ve come to this connected place in the world. Now we’re all looking around and thinking, what, how can we do right by everybody?

Because I think people are thinking more about this long game. That you mentioned. So to that end, have you read any books lately or been influenced by anybody that’s helped shape your thinking around this all that you’re doing, because it’s a it’s tremendous amount of activity. 

[00:34:42] Nabeel Mahmood: Yeah, so the most recent book I read was three cups of tea.


[00:34:48] Peter Perri: I haven’t read it. Can’t say I’ve read it. So tell us about that. 

[00:34:52] Nabeel Mahmood: Yeah. So this gentleman, actually, he is a pharmacist out in America, not to give it all away, but he decides to go and climb Mount Everest and he misses it the first time. It, the second time, and then somebody save saves its life.

People that had absolutely nothing gave everything. To make sure that he gets an opportunity to live another day. And he starts this foundation and he’s promoting education in the Himalaya. And through that process, one thing that I learned was one cup of tea and acquaintance, two cups of tea, a friend, three cups of tea, your family, and you do anything for your.

[00:35:32] Peter Perri: Wow. And yeah, the mentality of the people over there is so different. As you mentioned, three cups of tea. And I think on the happiness index, it’s one of the happiest people in the world as well. Absolutely. 

[00:35:43] Nabeel Mahmood: Yeah. It’s less is more I’ve become a no matter over the last six years, I’ve changed a lot of my life, but I was a student tie guide with High cut hair like yours.

To, to now looking like I probably might be on the streets of San Francisco but less has actually become more it’s a much better state of mind and you are happy at least I’m happy. Being a nomad, I’m happy. With not having to worry about things.

And that comes with being able to give back and I’ll leave it with this. So when I was actually on the operating table being cut open, right before I was being cut open the only, I was very peaceful and the only thing that struck me was that if I come out of this, that would be because of something that I’ve done for something for someone.

And, hopefully someone’s praying there. I’m not religious by any means, but that did occur that thought did occur. That, hopefully I’ve done something good for somebody that I’m in their thoughts and prayers. After I came outta the surgery, I was on life support for 48 hours.

Not knowing if I was gonna be able to make the cut, but you know what, looking back at it, if you do the right thing, thing is gonna happen to you. It’s karma. 

[00:36:51] Peter Perri: Unbelievable. Yeah. And that’s one of the things we all share in common, right? Is that we’re all gonna face that moment at some point in our lives where we have to look at, am I gonna stay here on this side?

Or am I going to the other side, wherever that might be exactly. Yep. Not to put you on the spot, but where do you think that is? 

[00:37:13] Nabeel Mahmood: Oh, my gosh. Everybody asked me that question. I’ve not seen the bright lights yet or anything. It’s total darkness, but it’s very peaceful, at least for me. 

[00:37:23] Peter Perri: Absolutely. And I think peace is what we’re all looking for, is whether we’re working really hard in our industry to try and make money, or we’re doing a nonprofit, or we’re doing a podcast, all the things that you’re doing, I think everybody does want that piece that piece in their lives. 

[00:37:40] Nabeel Mahmood: Exactly. Yep. 

[00:37:43] Peter Perri: So I think the last thing I’d like to ask you is to that end around piece is what advice could you give the audience?

Whether they’re taking a path similar to yours or staying on the corporate track, how do you get that piece on a day to day 

[00:37:56] Nabeel Mahmood: basis? What live life like there’s no tomorrow. And if tomorrow comes live again, that with the, that, with the. 

[00:38:04] Peter Perri: Unbelievable. I think that’s great advice. Navil. Mamu calling us in today from Fresno, Colorado.

He’s a Noma futurist, but I don’t think that phrase captures everything that he’s involved in. He’s got a foundation, a podcast, and involved helping women and minorities around the world. Navil, it’s been a pleasure having you. How can the audience get in touch with. 

[00:38:25] Nabeel Mahmood: Quite simple, or foundation.

You can find me on LinkedIn at Nabeel Mahmood. That’s my Twitter handled as well. N A B E E L M A H M O O D. But please make sure no sales people. 

[00:38:40] Peter Perri: No sales pitches. If you’re gonna, if you’re gonna reach out, you better have something interesting to say as far as adding value. And I’m sure that maybe you’re looking for interesting guests for your podcast.

We’d love to have you back on anytime and we appreciate you being here. Thanks, Nabeel.

[00:38:58] Nabeel Mahmood: Well, thank you very  much, Peter. Appreciate it. All right. Okay. Hopefully it was fun.

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