CEO End of Year Thoughts

As the year comes to an end, I have found myself thinking about entrepreneurship. Particularly, what makes an entrepreneur? While reading Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (the founder of Nike), I came across a quote that really resonated with me.

…when you add some new thing or service to the lives of strangers, making them happier, or healthier, or safer, or better, and when you do it all crisply and efficiently, smartly, the way everything should be done but so seldom is—you’re participating more fully in the whole grand human drama. More than simply alive, you’re helping others to live more fully.
— Phil Knight, founder of Nike

During 2017, I have seen our Zileej team apply the essence of this quote in our everyday work to build our first three brands: 5Pillars, making learning about Islam fun; Salam Sisters, dolls with a mission to motivate young girls to dream big; and SmartMuslim, wearable tech enabling users to understand and improve their spiritual habits.

This year of hard work and entrepreneurial spirit shown by each of our team members has started to pay off, alhamdulillah. 

Our first production of the new range of 5Pillars games have been completed, our Salam Sisters doll range is about to go into production, and our most secretive product range—SmartMuslim—will be revealed very soon. 

As we enter into a new year I wanted to express my gratitude for a number of things:

1. Guidance from The Most Merciful. 

Decisions need to be made on a daily basis and at times the right decision is not always clear. Like all startups, we have had (and continue to have) our fair share of challenges. However, the key is not to focus on finding a way to exist without challenges but rather finding a way to keep pushing through and growing with those challenges.

We will continue to put our complete trust in Allah and we pray for His continued guidance and mercy and ask Him to always keep us sincere in our efforts.


2. The Zileej team & their families.

To be the leader of such a talented team continues to be such a humbling experience. Our team is mostly virtual and spans over 10 time zones from Lima in Peru to Sydney in Australia and one of the challenges we face as a global virtual team is coordinating our meetings.

Many times our team meetings fall outside of traditional working hours but, thanks to everyone's commitment and the sacrifices of their families, having an occasional call before sunrise or after midnight makes it all possible.


3. Your feedback.

Throughout the year we have been sharing updates on our product development with you and with each update you have given us constructive feedback that kept our creative team on their toes. Your feedback is such an important part of our product development process that we consider ourselves as building products with you rather than for you.

Never underestimate the power of your comments or suggestions so please continue to send them!


4. Our distribution partners.

We are extremely grateful for your belief in us and our ability to continue creating wonderful products and experiences that we hope will bring lots of positive benefits to communities across the globe, inshaAllah.

We are committed to standing side-by-side with you and we look forward to the exciting journey ahead.


2018, here we come, bismillah!


— By Ansarullah Ridwan Mohammed, CEO