Allan Isfan is a co-founder of FaveQuest, a young start-up. This blog covers start-up topics.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Why are blueberries called blueberries when they are actually purple

When I started this blog, my intent was to share the experience with you as it happens. It has been mostly good but this week was quite challenging in Isfan start-up land.

It has felt like a physical and emotional roller coaster. First of all, with both my wife and I being completely self employed, we rely on our customers to actually pay. My own consulting helps pay the bills and fund my crazy start-up dreams. All of our clients got messed with POs stuck everywhere and no money coming in. That would have been fine had the treasurer (me) for Isfan Solutions Inc. (our consulting firm) not made an inputting error when paying our payroll taxes online with way too much money being wired to the government. Several faxes later and explaining the situation to the entire staff of the federal government, it seems things have been rectified and a cheque is on its way. The POs have also been greased and that is all now groovy. Crisis managed. Moving on. Mental note ... check the cash-flow numbers in the spreadsheet for the start-up and get someone else to do payroll ... Cindy Loo ... I'll be calling you.

This week has been characterized by a crazy schedule with some great really great meetings but I found myself literally running from one meeting to another. Here is the play by play for the last couple of days.

Wednesday: Drop kids off at school bus in the morning, pick up my partner, drive to Montreal, meet with a great entrepreneur for lunch, rush and arrive late to meet and greet with a great VC (downtown Montreal ... yikes) ... literally running from a far away parking lot to the building the VC is in. I can't believe we managed to be late for a first meeting with a VC, especially one you really think highly of. If you are reading this S.F., a million apologies ... it is not a reflection of the respect we have for you. Head back to Ottawa, call home on they way. My wife got stuck doing some urgent work for one her clients (executives at the biggest tech company in Ottawa ... you don't say no) so I swing by Harvey's to pick up dinner for everyone. Pull in to the garage and two of my sweet girls, having heard the garage door opening, greet me jumping up and down screaming daddy! daddy! daddy! and hand me a note telling how much they love me and how much they missed me. How absolutely awesome ... one lucky guy. Scarf down dinner, tag team with my wife to finish homework and get the kids to bed, head upstairs to my office, do a few hours of work for a customer then flip into start-up mode till 2:30am. Come up with some great stuff ... all worth it. A dip in the hot-tub with a beer is well deserved I think.


Up early and take daughter to school for basketball practice, help coach her team, then head downtown to meet with a lawyer versed in trademark and copyright to get advice on the legality of what we are doing. Looks pretty good but answers are not definitive enough .... get contacts to follow up with though. Head back to west end to meet for lunch with one of my partners and a great exec that is interested in what we are doing and may team up with us. Realize I have to rush off to Skypoint for a 1pm meeting, take off to Skypoint, running through the parking lot and making it there 5 minutes late. Have a fantastic meeting and meet a couple of people with extensive experience and success in the web 2.0 space ... excellent connection and advice. Pick up my wife from one of her clients (sounds like Midol), meet kids at school bus then take them to singing and piano lessons, including my own singing lesson. Spend evening on some wicked idea for one of my clients and flip back into start-up mode. Tough to get up this morning but a double cappuccino kicks things into gear before I meet with my personal trainer this morning.

What does this have to do with a start-up blog? Quite a bit actually. Unless you have so much money it doesn't really matter what happens (not my case), some suffering and stress for your passion is normal and expected. If you can't handle it, you're no entrepreneur. As a successful guy told me this week, you have to be prepared to be figuratively naked alone in the forest ... that's what it will sometimes feel like. Another told me "the happy plan never happens" you'll wake up many morning with you credit card maxed out and wondering what they hell you're doing.

It is always darkest before dawn and I know the sun will come up so there is absolutely no giving up. Compared to the stress and fear my parents had to deal with leaving a communist Romania with two you kids in tow and nothing but a couple of suitcases, to start a new life in France and ultimately Canada, this ain't nothin! I've been taught to work my ass off, persevere and never give up. I'm supported by a fantastic wife and kids, a network of developers and executives as well amazing new people I'm meeting all the time that believe we will make it and are willing to help for little or nothing in return. I don't see how we can fail as long as we keep being smart, creative, agile, organized, focused and hard working and not being afraid to shoot high while asking for help when needed.

Next week will be wilder than ever as I head to Barcelona on Sunday for the 3GSM conference. Wow. As I'm thinking about all this, and chomping down on some muffins my six year old made last night, one of the girls asks "why are blueberries called blueberries when they are actually purple?". I have no idea but my six year old suggests we google it!


Allan Isfan

PS. If you are in Barcelona for 3GSM and want to hook up, please shoot me an email @ You should also be able to contact me on my cell at +16138635844.

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Anonymous Mike Hogan said...

There's nothing better then the feeling you get when you hear "daddy, daddy, daddy" especially when you can hardly wait to get home to see them. Keep up the great work Allan!

7:35 PM


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