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

Monday, November 19, 2007


thoughts from NewTeeVee conference

I attended the NewTeeVee 1 day conference in San Francisco last week. The conference was put on by Om Malik and his team. It was a very intense day that started at 7:30am and ended a little after 8pm with very few breaks. Although tired, it was great to squeeze this into one day.

First of all, hats off to Om for all the great guest speakers and panelists ... a pretty impressive list of people. These events are perfect for networking and I got in as much as I could in one day. It had a real grass roots feel to it that I hope is maintained through the years

The key things that becomes clear day in and day out working in this space is that online video is not TV. Anyone that tries to make it like TV is doomed to fail. The web continues to be a short form video snacking environment and will continue to be so for a while. What really hit me at the conference is the real emergence of high quality, edgy made for the internet type of content created by what may seem to be amateurs. Well ... these amateurs are really funny and they are getting support from many great new online media companies like,, and many others. These companies are helping produce and distribute this new content while also helping these aspiring actors, writers and directors make money.

I already read way more blogs than newspaper articles and I stopped being interested in TV long ago. I don't really know if we are at a tipping point but we may not be far. I predict that this new "pro-am" movement will get significant momentum and will become a major force to be reckoned with. The writer's strike is going to add fuel to the fire by forcing many of the extremely funny pros that write for shows like The Daily Show to create their own online shows and many will eventually make this a full time gig. I also wouldn't be surprised if we begin to see some serious market consolidation in this space and a new media goliath starting to form challenging the major big guns like NBC.

Here is a picture of some of the stars of tomorrow at the end of the conference that was capped by the Web Video Celebrity Game Show. From left to right Lindsay Campbell (, Veronica Belmont (, Zadi Diaz (, Hayden Black ('s x-rated teen diary), Casey McKinnon (, Heather Gold (, Rober Scoble (, Kevin Rose (, Yuri Baranovski (, Eddie (not sure what show), Justin Kan (sittting down,

There are many more great online shows and can't list them all out here. For FaveQuest, this is great news because it provides us access to lots of great fresh content. All these guys syndicate their content in multiple places and we hope to be one of them. How exciting!

Tune in to the next blog for more predictions

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girl power

I'm a guy so it may seems strange to be writing a blog on girl power. For some strange reason, I struck me this week that the new media space I'm in has many women in positions of power and I think that is really cool. As the father of three girls, I'm always happy to see women succeed in life and in business. It gives me hope that they will have all the chances in the world to do whatever they want and prosper.

My own mother was an Electrical Engineer and got head hunted often ... even causing us to move back to Europe for a while when I was 12. Meme si Paris was great at the time they didn't have flavored chips, sliced bread, toaster, peanut butter, cable and we had an 800cc mini austin. Fortunately, we ended up back in Canada.

While I'm sure it continues to be difficult for women in business, new media seems to be a place where women prosper. My wife started her own freelance graphic design business straight out of school and it has been doing very well with blue chip clients right from the start. While at the NewTeeVee conference, I had the chance to observe a few panels and the women pulled no punches ... very strong, knowledgeable and capable. Later in the week, I had to pitch to a major media company in Toronto. All the executives I had to present to were women.

It also struck me how the women I spoke to are more interested in their customers and the experience they have with their products than the techie wiz bang stuff. They don't seem to care how the stuff does what it does ... as long the end result is positive from a customer and business perspective. Pretty refreshing since that is ultimately what matters.

Check out the next blog on thoughts about the NewTeeVee conference.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


back in San Francisco

Back in San Francisco almost exactly a year after I posted from the exact same table overlooking the bay and alcatraz. A few people thought I had lost it ... Got a little poetic. No maniacs are rowing against the wind this time ... All is sunny and good and i'm sipping in some san pellegrino water ... Have a vc meeting this aft.

About a year ago, I was basically on my own but things quickly took off when I got back home. I now have some great partners and we are about to post the second version of our facebook ap that is getting better and better all the time. Our company name went from EarCandy to MyDYO and finally to FaveQuest which should stick for a while. We are also engaging with some real customers and hope to close on some trials in the coming weeks as we start beating the drum on the FaveQuest facebook ap.

Our biggest issue is funding. Self funding this puppy has been fine so far but we will end up having to wave goodbye to some important opportunities. It would really suck if we had to turn down business. Speaking of which ... gotta head out and get ready for the VC chat. Wish us luck. I'll be posting live from the NewTeeVee conference in San Fran. Here are some pics I took yesterday while in town for a VC meeting.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


living inside of Facebook

In my last posting, I indicated that we had launched our application on Facebook on September 30th. I held a small launch party at my house with friends and colleagues to show them what we have been up to. There was lots of interest, many questions and cool ideas ... a night I will remember. The ap was launched for friends and family and we have been getting feedback that is getting folded in gradually with a major update coming out very soon, including a name change. We will eventually be posting into the FB directory in the near future.

So what are we up to? Might as well tell you since it is out there.

We are building an advanced media personalization engine with fun social functions. What the hell does that mean? It means that we get to know you as best we can, with your permission and input, and go out and find relevant content we think you will like from dozens of sources and millions of videos. We organize the videos in channels and wicked themed worlds (a couple of releases away) and make it very easy and fun to share with like minded people. You get great content without having to hunt for it.

Facebook opening up to third party developers was a godsend. Imagine the following examples. I'm into sports cars (at least dreaming about them) so I had that in my FB profile. Our ap found lots of great videos from a fantastic show called Top Gear that I had never heard of. I also got to check out an electric car that beat the pants off a Porsche and a Ferrari. I'm also from Romania and it discovered a freedom anthem that I thought was great ... something I definitely would share with Romanian friends and family ... a good excuse to reconnect with my culture. There is much more to it than that of course but that is the essence ... we get to know you and drop great relevant content from all over the web on your lap.

I can't divulge everything since we are in the middle of developing some pretty cool proprietary things, including something we call "the blender", but at least now you know generally what we are up to. If you want access to the application, let me know.

I am writing this from a hotel room in Toronto which I have been visiting on a nearly weekly basis. Next week is insane. On Monday, I'm in L.A. speaking on a panel, Tuesday I head to San Francisco hopefully for some VC meetings but ultimately to attend the NewTeeVee conference started by Om Malik on the 14th. I fly back to Ottawa on the 15th only to zip to Toronto on Friday for a major meeting with a big media company. Saturday is my youngest daughter's birthday and Saturday night I breathe and have a pint. Yikes!

If you are going to be at the NewTeeVee conference, please let me know. If you have a million dollars burning a hole in your pocket, also let me know. I have included a video below to inspire you.