Hamza Khan

Digital strategist and entrepreneur making a splash in higher education. I talk about hip hop, hustle and higher education.

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Hamza Khan

hip hop x hustle x higher education

Dreaming Without Gurbaksh Chahal

Posted on April 27, 2014

abuse

I always felt out of place at family gatherings. Other than Aunt Zarina’s husband Rasheed, no one else understood the idea of a digital agency. Growing up, there wasn’t an easy answer for the question of what I planned to do after graduating university. My dad wanted me to be a doctor and my best friends were studying to be lawyers and accountants. And there I was – coding, designing and creating. I was the kid going left when everyone around me was going right.

And so I had find career role models outside of my family and friends. Fellow UTSC alumni like Dev BasuSatish Kanwar and Arjune Selvarajan as well as professionals like Bhupesh Shah and Divyan Selvadurai began to fill that void. Entering my final year of undergrad, I needed greater foresight. Where were the South Asian titans in my field? It was great that Indra Nooyi was running PepsiCo and Vikram Pandit was running Citigroup, but where were were the South Asian marketing mavens and media moguls?

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Zero Inbox Thirty

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Confession: I shamelessly hang up on telemarketers. Ain’t nobody got time for that. For similar reasons, I don’t play around when it comes to dealing with emails. Each day I clear my inbox with the tactical precision and brute force of Seal Team Six — I drop in, neutralize inefficiencies, extract action items and quickly evacuate. Why with the militant approach, you ask? I don’t believe email to be real work. I see it as no more than an inefficient system of reallocating priorities. Within one year, I’ve gone from dealing with nearly 200 emails/day to less than 200/week, while increasing my output by nearly 400%.Here’s how to reclaim the the time needed to get in the zone and do actual work…

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DMX Is Necessary

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At any club that spins hip hop, there’s a particular moment that happens in the middle of the night – and very little has changed about that moment since 1999; everyone instinctively knows that it’s time to turn up when the DJ drops the timeless anthem that is DMX’s Party Up. At first, the revelry is interrupted with the signature summon: a morse code-like sequence of triumphant horns blaring against a steady MPC kick pattern pierced by sharp hi-hats and shrieking gym whistles. This alarming cacophony of sounds primes partygoers for the losing of minds that will momentarily ensue. The cheers drown out, the club braces itself for the drop and then the energetic battle-cry of DMX channeling Ric Flair - “WOOOOOOO!” – gives everyone the green light to absolutely lose it. For the next minute and a half, fans of Tyga and Tupac alike (I pray that they’re mutually exclusive) proceed to bounce in unison and rap at the top of their lungs in a euphoric trance.

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