Mahmoud Khedr is not your average twenty-one-year-old. He’s an immigrant, a college student, an entrepreneur, a public speaker, and one of the most honest people I know. He’s lived in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and – as of 2008 – the United States. Since then, he’s interned at Google, Facebook, and Echoing Green; he created the Entrepreneurship Club at the City College of New York and co-founded two companies - a food delivery solution named Runr and Flora Mind, a startup focused on educating the youth in mental health and well-being.
Mahmoud’s resume is obviously insanely impressive, but what really made me want to talk to him was his maturity and honesty. I initially saw Mahmoud speak at a conference. I was so impressed that I read one of his LinkedIn articles, entitled "21 year old Muslim Egyptian Immigrant Entrepreneur: 21 failures, 21 successes, 21 goals.” I was so blown away by how vulnerable and ambitious the article was that I decided, for the first time, to reach out to someone I didn’t already know and ask them on the podcast. And I’m glad I did.
Just like in his talk and that article, Mahmoud keeps it real in the episode as he discusses his experience growing up in four different countries, being bullied during school for his faith, how he’s dealt with rejection, and how his “what’s next” attitude has allowed him to do so much in such a short time. Mahmoud is definitely someone to look out for in the next couple years. I have no doubt that he’ll continue to inspire and make amazing things happen, and can’t wait to see his impact grow.
00:00 - Intro | 2:51 - Mahmoud explains what it was like living in four different Arab countries as a child | 6:30 - How Mahmoud’s dad navigated the workforce to help his family | 8:34 - The biggest lesson Mahmoud learned from his father | 10:28 - Mahmoud explains what it was like growing up with so many siblings | 11:50 - What the transition was like when Mahmoud moved to the USA (pizza story) | 14:49 - How Mahmoud was bullied for being a Muslim and how he chose to respond | 20:56 - The stereotypes about Islam that Mahmoud attempts to defy | 24:26 - Why Mahmoud felt like so many of his applications were rejected | 28:10 - How Mahmoud deals with rejection | 33:12 - Mahmoud’s “What’s next?” attitude and how he picks new projects | 36:22 - How Mahmoud tries to balance his ambition with the need to sometimes say decline opportunities | 41:41 - Mahmoud explains how he used to give up his values and beliefs to please others | 44:43 - The books that have had the biggest impact on Mahmoud | 47:59 - The person that has had the biggest impact on Mahmoud | 51:07 - The advice Mahmoud would give to his younger self | 52:41 - Why Mahmoud is so willing to be vulnerable | 56:53 - Some of the kindest things people have done for Mahmoud
Where to find Mahmoud:
Music credit: Lee Rosevere's "Southside" (adapted) (CC BY 4.0)
Camera: SoundJay's Camera Shutter Click 08