Hamed Wardak is formerly from Afghanistan, born the boy of Defense Minister of Afghanistan, Abdul Rahim Wardak. He attended Georgetown University in Washington D.C. from 1993 to 1997 where he was elected valedictorian of his graduating class. Wardak was also acknowledged as an International Rhodes Scholar in 1997.
After completing his tenure at Georgetown, he returned to his native Afghanistan to see if he could employ the contacts and opportunities that the United Stated allowed him to in turn benefit his home country and his fellow Afghan brothers and sisters.
Hamed worked as Managing Director for International Operations for Technologists, Inc. from 2004 to 2005. Technologists, Inc. operated as a contractor for the United States Government engaging in business development efforts in conjunction with the US Department of Defense and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Under Mr. Wardak’s leadership, Technologists, Inc. generated $44 million in design and build contracts to benefit Afghanistan.
In addition to his role at Technologists, Inc., he was one of the original eight founders of the Campaign for a US-Afghanistan Partnership (CUSAP). CUSAP was formulated as a nonprofit endeavor that leveraged the contributions of both Afghan and American citizens to work on the goal of sustainable and secure prosperity for Afghanistan and its citizens
Utilizing his business acumen and contacts shaped during college years, he created “Ludas Athletics,” an apparel brand designed to complement the human form.
Most recently, Hamed has gone into music production and you can find him performing at musical events under the banner of “Valen of Wicked.” His new brand of techno meets culturally-infused beats is winning him great acclaim in the NYC music scene and around the world.
How did you get started in this business?
Music has been a very important part of my life since I was a child. I have always wanted to be an artist and have wanted to express myself through music for as long as I can remember. I found the techno world recently and when I discovered this genre of music, I knew that this was the combination of artistry and mathematical science and technology that I could really make a statement with. Valen of Wicked came from a dynamically personal place. I can say that the reason the music production company/division ended up with the name Wicked has everything to do with my collective past experiences, those both good and bad, but even more to do with SOUND that I currently creating with my music.
How do you make money?
I DJ at clubs and venues around the world. I am currently working on my first complete album to be launched later this year and I am hoping that with my club following and a few big names joining the album to collaborate might sell enough albums to be lucrative.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
I was profitable the minute I decided to start making the music. Every dollar that comes out of the music that I make is just icing.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
As an artist, I think that you are constantly doubting every creative decision that you make, but I spend so much time learning new skills that come what the advent of new technology and perfecting the skills that I have learned before that my doubt grows smaller and smaller as my skill set and my confidence in my work gets stronger.
How did you get your first customer?
I relied on people that I have met within the industry earlier to give me a platform to share my music when the time was right and by nurturing those contacts in a positive way I was able to reach out and they gave me the space and the venue and the time to share my techno music with the world.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
It is most important to research and plan your entry into a marketplace. First Impressions can be everything and you want to make certain that you are making the absolute best impression every time you hit the marketplace with a brand new business. Plan and create a fearless strategy for your business and then take those big steps forward
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
The toughest decisions are in the music. I grapple with the various sounds I need to cut or add to make every song exactly what each ought to be every single day. As a song takes form, every one of those decisions is a tough one.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
Every artist must have the discipline necessary to focus and craft their art to completion. I am the entrepreneur of every sound and as I create every measure of sound and music if I am not honest and revealing the truth every single day, then my business is not moving in the right direction and I am not growing as an artist.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
The moments I got a ‘yes’ from certain big names in the music industry who have chosen to collaborate with me on my album were definitely great and exciting as moments go, but I will never forget the first time I got to perform live as Valen of Wicked.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
Hopefully tons of new music and tons of moments to share it with the world. I’m excited about it all because I truly love every day I get to do what I do.
What business books have inspired you?
I would recommend reading “High Tide” by Arch Hades. The book is poignant in regard to comprehending healthy love. Maybe not a business book per se, but a book all humans should read.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Reserve time for you and to do what you love. It will bring you true joy and that is when you can be at your best for others. There is a time and a place for everything.
Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?
I will help as much as I can. Contact me on my blog website at www.hamedwardakblog.com or at my new techno music-focused blog www.hamedwardakmusic.com. I can respond to all inquiries from there.