A relentless founder, and writer, whose entrepreneurial journey began with the brokerage of rare turtle morphs
Here’s my story
My first side hustle
When I was thirteen, my parents bought me a pet turtle, a 20-gallon aquarium and supplies. Like many other Gen Z’ers, I launched a side hustle—a small business that started with a YouTube rabbit hole. My specialty? Carmel Pink Albino Sliders, which are rare morphs of turtles.
From the ages of 13 to 16, I cut out a foothold as the middle-man negotiating 5-figure turtle transactions. I found a local San Francisco breeder mating for specific rare phenotypes. I quickly found my spot in this niche industry, buying turtles and selling turtles to aquarium enthusiasts across the country. Luckily, UPS and FedEx ship reptiles.
An eye for niche markets
When my turtle breeder retired, I moved on to raising chickens and growing saffron. The story of raising my chickens and saffron is a lot less interesting, but I’ll say this, the skill I learned most was knowing my niche market, even if on a smaller scale: neighbors for eggs, Iranian immigrants in the US for Saffron.
Purely out of curiosity and a desire to “build” with what I could at the time, I gained some of my earliest skills that launched the 3 companies I founded and am lucky to be a part of today still.
A passion for storytelling
I began writing about the agriculture industry while raising chickens. Initially, I got a lot of rejection letters when pitching my articles to publications. But I kept refining my work and eventually landed my first yes, an article for The Huffington Post.
While I’m no longer focused on agriculture, I majored in Environmental Studies at Colorado College because of a passion for the environment; this led me to discover a passion for autonomous positive change: eco-systems.
My journey started while growing up in the Silicon Valley, where I was fortunate to come from immigrant parents who were successful in their pursuit of the American Dream: my father as a business-technology executive, and my mother as a leading philanthropist for the Iranian Diaspora and middle-eastern women holistically.
They inspired my sister and I to chase both social impact through a business lens, working to build sustainable solutions for root problems.
Milan is a 3x founder focused on building sustainable businesses that drive positive social change. He is currently the CEO of Audo, building alternatives to traditional education and work by creating effective learning and earning opportunities. Milan also founded and serves as chairman of the world’s first vetted, anonymous publication, The Doe. With a focus on investing in culture, Milan co-founded the artist-friendly record label Guin Music. He also strives to encourage solutions through storytelling and narration of civil discourse in his writing for Entrepreneur, The Rolling Stone, and his web series, NextPlay.
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Founder. Builder. Innovator.
Now, at 23 years old, I’ve spent the last five years building three companies that all aim to create positive impacts in people’s lives by re-imagining how systems work entirely. My mindset is to approach solving societal problems at the root causes, by installing systems to automate positive change over time.
Milan is the sole founder of NOTA, the world’s first anonymous digital publication seeking to restore civil discourse. Providing empathy through anonymous, vetted narratives, Nota expertly curates and shares the stories of everyday people whose voices are too often ignored.
Audo brings together a skill set curriculum with a robust marketplace, providing Gen Z with the tools and resources to take control of their futures by embracing an innovative path for education and career growth.
Milan is a proud co-founder of Guin Music with his sister, Misha Kordestani, an artist-friendly record label conglomerate. Guin Music currently services a roster of 10 artists, while building a full artist-first-ecosystem focused on artist development, artist investment, music production, and artist marketing.
Now, while I may not be a turtle hustler anymore, I am still a writer, in addition to operating Audo and advising my other companies. As a writer, I aim to share the lessons I’m learning throughout my personal and professional career by contributing on Entrepreneur, Rolling Stone, Forbes Business Council (YEC), and on my blog here. I’m also currently writing my first book, I'm Just Saying (coming March 2023).
Finally, when I catch some free time, I like to interview fellow eco-system builders with a focus on impact, at NextPlay. The hope is to inspire other people to work on impactful projects, and to drive support for the builders working to make our world better.
Why am I doing all of this?
My mission is to improve the lives of others by building self-maintaining mechanisms across multiple industries to promote positive change.
Everyone encounters moments throughout their lives, un-timed, where they question what they’re doing with the limited amount of days they have to live. Since I was a child, I hated the feeling of boredom, likely because my mother instilled in my sister and I that with so much access and privilege, to claim boredom would be a farce. Now, the real question is, how do you balance and fill your time to prevent boredom? Probably some balance of spending time with the people you love, doing the things you love, and making money to sustain it all.
So really, when I think about my approach to “why” I do what I do, it’s to create opportunities for other people to love what they do, while creating positive change in the world. I strive to employ as many people as possible, to work in ecosystems where their deliverables ladder up to tangible positive impact on lives.
A passion for civil discourse
I started writing while working on one of my early agriculture ventures and was fortunate to become one of the first teen writers for The Huffington Post in 2016. The experience uncovered an unfilled niche in the publishing industry: vetted, anonymous, publishing. With a drive to publish the stories of the unheard and burst people out of their echo-chambers with jarring first-person accounts, I became obsessed with researching civil discourse, and creating solutions to re-build civil-discourse during such divisive times for our society.
Through my work with NOTA, my own writing, and my upcoming book, I'm hoping to teach the skills and inspire the conversations for individuals to engage in civil discourse around the most challenging topics of our time.