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

Sunday, June 24, 2007


getting over the fear of a start-up

Marc Andreesen (of Netscape fame) wrote an excellent blog recently listing the top reasons not to do a start up. He was really bang on ... An excellent read with many other fantastic blogs and comments In the end it is either in you or not but how do you know? Most often, fear clouds the judgement and people don't do what they really want to do. Once you do away with the fear, you think more clearly.
When I think about my own situation, I can point to so many people that gave me confidence. This ranges from my own parents who always had incredible courage leaving a communist country with two kids and absolutely nothing else. My parents had incredible conviction and perseverance. I still remember being seven years old (just before we left Romania) and my dad signing me up for a bike race in the 10 year old group. I had a crappy bike but he ran beside me the whole way giving me so much strength I actually won. They didn't want to award me the cup because I was too young but there was no way my dad would give up until they did. I still have that cup.
The extensive list also includes my wife who has supported me since we started together when I was in grade eight! Don't know what she saw in that skinny guy with big hair and a pack of smokes rolled up in his cut-off tee shirt. Glad she stuck with me ... not sure where I would be without her. After I quit my job a Ciena a year ago, she agreed to start Isfan Solutions Inc with me even though her own graphics company was doing just fine without me.

It also includes strong bosses who would not put up with crap forcing me to aim higher while also checking with my wife to see how I was doing when I got Myasthenia Gravis as we were about to have our first child and I could barely stand, hold a fork or even swallow. As I decided to leave Ciena, several of the executives as well as some of the original founders of Catena encouraged me as they continue to do. A couple of them even got me consulting opportunities which helped me get through the worry of at least some income while I pursued my dream of creating a great new start-up. It made putting in the resignation letter that much easier.

Since I left, Leo Lax from Skypoint Capital gave me the opportunity to join Skypoint as an Entrepreneur In Residence. It has been a fantastic learning experience and has opened up a new world. I now have amazing partners and advisers that keep me on my toes every day. They are all much better at what they do than I would ever be and I am extremely fortunate to be leading such a fantastic team. People always recommend to surround yourself with people that are better than you and I certainly have managed to do that.

I recently had the third annual Isfan Palooza in our back yard, complete with a live band by the pool and later around the bonfire. We must have had close to 100 people or so, with quite a bunch sticking around by the bonfire late into the night.

Many of these were ex Catena people and it reminds me of the amazing times we had, especially when we hit critical milestones: the first ASIC out of the fab and working in the lab, the first time we made a phone call or streamed a video through our new product, the first tradeshow, the first customer and so on.
We are now pitching MYDYO to VCs and I certainly get the feeling it will be a long hard road which is not a surprise. We will get there but continued support is always helpful. I am a lucky man indeed. When we hit it big, I will have many people to share our success with and those that know me certainly don't doubt it will be a good time.
Allan Isfan
PS. Come find me on facebook and check out the photos of Isfan Palooza

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Anonymous Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

9:42 AM


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