Temur Akhmedov lives by the dictum of the late English poet Robert Browning: “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp.”
He believes people should always explore their passions, that they should set their goals high. That’s reflected in his personal life, where as a recent convert to athletics he has chosen to train for a marathon, and reflected in his work for STE Capital, a venture capital firm he founded.
Blessed with proven skills in asset management, computer science, programming, and law, Temur Akhmedov is keenly attuned to technology and the latest innovation. He is also known as a disciplined, passionate businessman who prefers long-term thinking to quick wins.
Temur Akhmedov learned how to function in the business world from his father, Farkhad Akhmedov, a self-made Russian businessman who made his fortune largely in oil and gas. The younger Akhmedov shadowed his father, CEO of the family office, beginning at the age of 14 and in 2012 assumed the role of advisor to his father, a position he held until 2021.
In that capacity, Temur Akhmedov oversaw a multi-billion-dollar portfolio and managed all the family assets. He also managed the venture-capital arm of the family office, STE Capital, beginning in January 2016.
Known for his candor, he embraces this mantra: “Know your worth. Know your value.” He is also forever cognizant of the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, the late American essayist and poet: “Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.”
Where did the idea for STE Capital come from?
From the growing space in technology, which finds the world veering ever nearer to things like the metaverse, a virtual world where one day it might be possible for people to gather and engage in all manner of activities. Technology is rapidly evolving, and our company wants to be on the cutting edge.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I start each day with a double espresso, just to get the blood pumping, and after catching up with news and emails head out for a workout, as I am training for a marathon. Then it’s on to the office, and when I get home at night I tend to stay in, well aware that abstaining from alcohol on weekdays enables me to be fresh and focused the next day. I also fast a few days a week in order to hone my concentration.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Anything to do with technology and innovation. We are in a rapid technological advance. The 18th century had the Industrial Revolution, the 19th century brought railways and electricity, the 20th century planes, cars, trucks, and medicine. Now we are making vaccines in a little under one year and moving from downloading an MP3 song overnight at home on 56k to having millions of songs/videos available instantly on the cloud. Still ahead are planes that run on hydrogen and dairy products that can be made in a lab. The wheels of progress are spinning ever faster.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Trying to get six-plus hours of sleep a night. Otherwise forget being productive. Bad sleep results in less energy, which leads to bad decisions and less productivity. You’re not going to run your car with no oil or gas (or electricity!). Additionally, getting into sports in the morning – whether running, cycling, swimming or anything else – is great for mental health.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Learn as much as you can. Research and analyse everything. Get some work experience as soon as possible. I was extremely fortunate to have parents of means, but the flip side is that being born into such circumstances can negatively impact one’s ambition and drive. That was admittedly difficult for me to develop at that stage of my life. I did not choose who my parents were or what I was born into, and I am grateful for the comfort that I had – but it is important to set up your own kids to try and be independent and able to sustain themselves.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Engage in sports, because it can clear your mind. And try to do it in the morning, at least two times a week.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Don’t look for short-term wins. Try to think of the long term, because easy come, easy go. I’m trying to be a marathon runner. I’m trying to look at the next 50 to 100 years.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Greed, when I was 18,19. It’s cognitive bias when you think you know everything from your first experience. (Like all these people in crypto at Stage One – they think they know how to beat the market. Once things turn upside down, it’s difficult.) Everything comes with experience, I’d say.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to impact our world in various ways, and I can say without reservation that it has changed the face of real estate. Smart devices – doorbells, thermostats, appliances, lights, window coverings, etc. – have become all the rage, and my feeling is that we are just scratching the surface. Those who are able to anticipate what’s coming next will certainly be ahead of the game.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
This was a bit more than $100, but an Apple Watch. It helps you with fitness, tells you to get up, and records various metrics that help keep you motivated & fit.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
All of the Salesforce products and especially Slack, which I was using before it was bought by Salesforce. I also use a German program called StarMoney, which helps you keep an eye on all your finances. You can link all the bank accounts, and we can see what’s coming in, and what’s going out. The Microsoft suite is also very useful.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“The 48 Laws of Power,” by Robert Greene. It has historical examples squeezed into bite-sized summaries for anyone to read.
What is your favorite quote?
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
– attributed to Voltaire
- Data-driven insights are a key to business success.
- Discipline and passion will always trump all.
- Pursuing long-range goals is more beneficial than settling for short-term wins.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.