Nadia Boujarwah is the co-founder and CEO of Dia&Co, a digital-first shopping service with more than a million users. She launched the company in 2015 to address a lack of stylish clothing options for women who wear sizes 14–32.
What is something you’ve learned that you lean on daily?
The power of consistency. When you’re an entrepreneur, it’s like being in a time warp. So many things happen in such a short period of time, and there are so many opportunities to re-apply the lessons you’ve learned. If you can come up with a few rules to follow consistently, the results will be outsized.
What one piece of advice would you give someone starting a company?
It takes a long time to do extraordinary things. That doesn’t mean you’ll move slowly—the pace is fast. Often very fast. But that’s the funny thing about entrepreneurship. When you’re starting out, you measure success in inches and feet. Then you wake up one day and realize you’re running a marathon.
What small change has made a big difference in your life?
I moved to an apartment that’s near the office, and now I walk to and from work. It’s remarkably inspiring to be out in New York City in the morning, before the stores are open and the streets are crowded. It’s still peaceful, and there’s a palpable sense of anticipation. Then at the end of the day, I use the walk home to decompress.
What don't you know that you wish you knew?
I wish I could read more quickly. English is my second language, and I think I still read with a desire to comprehend every single word. The upside is I remember almost every word.
What books are on your nightstand right now?
There are several! I’m often guilty of starting a book and then jumping to the next one before I’ve finished the first. Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography is still waiting for me on the nightstand. I think it’s fascinating to see inside the lives of iconic leaders. I'm also reading Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, which is about robustness and what sustained success actually means. I find his ideas really interesting.
When did you realize you were wrong about something?
In an environment as fast-paced as a start up, you’ll be wrong and right many times every day. One thing I’ve realized is that worrying about every decision is probably the single most detrimental thing you can do. You make hundreds of decisions every day — how many of those can’t be undone?
A mistake that’s easily corrected probably isn’t worth spending much time deliberating on. It’s liberating when you realize that being wrong is just a step toward the right answer. Instead, the key is to prioritize the few big decisions that you do have to get right the first time. This outlook has allowed me to work much faster.
What unit of time matters the most and why?
A single sleep cycle. Every time I wake up, it’s a chance to try again, do things differently, and perhaps do them better. I often go to sleep thinking, “This will be so much clearer in the morning”—and usually, it is. Setting something aside for the night is so helpful. It’s a chance to reset and find a new way to solve a problem or make progress against a goal. Plus, you get to sleep!
- Be wrong about the little things
- Stick to a few rules
- Sleep is your superpower
— Nadia Boujarwah, Co-Founder & CEO, Dia&Co