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

Sunday, December 09, 2007


The three Ps I care about Passion, Permission, Personalization,

When starting a business, you need to define the things that are going to make up the fabric of your company. The shorter the list, the better. The list a bit longer than these, but to keep things simple here are my three Ps for FaveQuest: Passion, Permission, Personalization.


Passion has always been the main driver behind anything I do and I look for that everywhere. I look for passion in myself, my team and our customers. People on my team have been spending countless months with no pay and it wears thin after a while. There is just no way to go on without passion when you are working this hard and sacrificing so much.

The products that we are building, naturally, are also about passion. It doesn't matter if your passion is knitting, mustangs, traveling, music, collecting mustard, butterflies, aliens, horror movies or anything else. Whatever the passion, people seem to become irrational when it comes to their passions. This is a good thing and we encourage it. People are also sometimes compelled to tell the world because their passions define who they are. This is also a good things and we encourage it. This is the energy that FaveQuest is tapping and it is a tough, but golden vein to find.


Maybe I've been drinking too much Seth Godin kool-aid but I think permission is critical. One of our missions is to find stuff you will like (we like to call them faves ... very original). We could guess based on stuff you do while surfing normally but we find that creepy. It isn't for everyone but we prefer to ask you what you want and give you the chance to provide us feedback so we do better. It requires a tiny bit of effort but we think this is good for everyone. Some people won't want to bother ... and they won't be our customer. I told Pandora I like Pink Floyd and U2 and it rewarded me with great music. It was worth it.


This is where the world is going. Permit me to share an nice analogy one of my partners came up with. Imagine that you walk in to your local video store and the clerk asks you: you're a good customer and we would like to provide you with personal VIP service by assembling a video rack just for you every week. It would save you time and we could also bring in some rare movies you might like. You say yes (duh), let them know what movies you have enjoyed in the past, and next week you walk in to find a rack with the name "Allan's Videos". Some obvious titles that you definitely like but also a few surprises. You're in and out in 2 minutes and now you're walking out with two movies instead of one. When you return the movies, you tell the clerk what you thought of the movies. You are happy and the video store makes more money so they are happy. You never go anywhere else to get videos, you tell your friends and the video store is now renting more movies to more people.

Imagine now that instead of a video store, we are talking about a website with media and your company makes money by having people come to your site and consume (duh ... that's nearly everyone ... a good thing). Personalization, done properly, has been proven to easily pay for itself.

You tap an irrational passion, get permission and fan the flames.

These are the three Ps we care about: Passion, Permission, Personalization

More on personalization and other subjects very soon.

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Blogger Daniel Lemire said...

Regarding recommender systems, you may enjoy one of my recent posts:
Google Recommends Blogs: Another PageRank?.

8:32 AM


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