Safwan Shah - Episode 079

“The way that I look at it is that we have to have a crazy aspiration in life”

Electrical Engineer. Entrepreneur. Lecturer. Silicon Valley Founder. Rocket Scientist. Conscious Capitalist. Author. Speaker. Cricket Fanatic. Humble Human. Founder of Payactiv.

The world that we live in is such a transient place. Countries, people and cultures are forever evolving. Maybe more importantly, what we need to be aware of, is the cycles in life. What were once great dynasties, are now forgotten era’s and their once grand and vast cities, are now dilapidated ghost towns.

Our guest this week, Safwan Shah, is a man who understands everything to do with the importance of looking after humanity. He strives to serve people, to care for them and provide them with security, dignity and savings!

Safwan Shah - Founder of Payactiv

Safwan, was born and grew up in Pakistan. His Dad was an electrical engineer and moved around the country a lot because of his work, which meant that Safwan got to taste and learn about the various micro-cultures in the different provinces.

Like a lot of young men in Pakistan, he was and still is a cricket fanatic and would spend countless hours playing in the streets. He was also a massive bookworm and would spend much of his time with his head buried in all the old classics.

Safwan first attended University in Karachi, before heading over to the US, to complete his Masters. While doing his PhD, he worked on fascinating and groundbreaking projects for NASA, trying to research things like, how to make plants grow in space when there is no gravity.

After his PhD, he was suddenly struck with a huge debt that he hadn’t anticipated. U.S. student debt! Fortunately, he was able to get advice on how to manage and pay off his debt and start building up a credit rating.

Safwan is a man who thinks outside the box and likes to connect the dots between maths, economics, history and music. He took the lessons he learned from NASA and used them in the ATM software business he built called, Infonox. He sold Infonox in 2008 and slipped quietly into retirement…

But playing golf all day, made him feel like he lacked meaning and purpose in his life. Then, one day, after sitting in a cafeteria and seeing people ‘not paying’ on their way out and learning that the costs of their food or coffee were deducted from their pay, spawned an idea that led to PayActiv.

PayActiv provides employees timely access to their ‘earned but unpaid wages’. His mission is to empower financially stressed, lower-income workers with the tools to achieve financial resilience.

We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did.

Let’s find out what it means for Safwan Shah, to be Ridiculously Human.

Your fellow beings,

Craig and Gareth


Background, Context & Reference

Connect with Safwan Shah:






Safwan’s book: It’s About Time

Discussion Links


Reader’s Digest

Afghan transit trade


Russian invasion of Afghanistan

NED University of Engineering and Technology

University of Colorado Boulder

Controlled Ecological Life Support System – CELSS

Apollo 13

Chobani Yogurt

Whole Foods

UBI – Universal Basic Income

Conscious Capitalism

People Discussed:

Leo Tolstoy

Jane Austen

Geoffrey Boycott

Imran Khan

Louis L’Amour

Tom Hanks

Books Mentioned:

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne

Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Places Mentioned:

Karachi, Pakistan


Music By

The Bambuseae Rhythm Section – Check them out here

Simon Van Gend Band – Check them out here

Right Hook Request


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