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

Friday, March 23, 2007


stumble the net

Very quick post as an ad on. After trying to sleep yesterday (i.e. last night), it is now tomorrow of yesterday. My brain being mush at this point, I decided to stumble around the net. More specifically to stumbleupon the net. This is absolutely genius. You basically tell the system some topics you are interested in and keep hitting stumble and it takes you from site to site.

I tend to use this when I'm burnt and want a laugh. On the first try, it brought me to the following site

It is absolutely hilarious ... if you don't laugh, you're dead. I've been playing around with this for a while and keep forgetting to share it with you guys. I hope you enjoy it.

This was created by a couple of guys from Calgary of all places!!! Way to go hosers eh!

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Thursday, March 22, 2007


Asbestos Underwear and the VC Ring of Fire

Going into the VC ring of fire. Read this blog with the Johnny Cash Song "Ring of Fire" playing in your head and imagine the object of the love is a start up.

Ring Of Fire Lyrics

Love is a burning thing
and it makes a firery ring
bound by wild desire
I fell in to a ring of fire...

I fell in to a burning ring of fire
I went down,down,down
and the flames went higher.
And it burns,burns,burns
the ring of fire
the ring of fire.

The taste of love is sweet
when hearts like our's meet
I fell for you like a child
oh, but the fire went wild..

I fell in to a burning ring of fire.....[etc]

Well .... that time is now. Dates are being nailed down for a VC roadshow. I expect to have at least 3 or 4 major pitches between now and the end of April. That's nothing as far VC road trips go but it is still scary since this is the first time. No more kid gloves ... I'm expecting to come out somewhat burnt but hopefully not too bitter and ultimately successful.

There is so much to think about ... burn rate, advertising vs subscription, founders, founders, founders, advisers, patents, validation, a detailed spreadsheet that tracks everything including coffee stir sticks and toilet paper, tax credits, what makes you truly different and can you defend that, patents, partners, go to market strategy, value chain, marketing plan, sales plan, development costs and on and on and on. Add some of the consulting work to all that and the relaxation we had in Disney last week seems like months ago.

When I started this, I knew it would get crazy and have some ups and downs. I can't say that it has been easier or harder than expected though I'm entering the hardest phase imminently. We are actually aiming for a seed investment under $1M which should theoretically be easier to achieve since there is less risk. However, I falsely believed that the expectations would be lower. My expectation was that I would have to pull together a great team around a good concept and growing market. A detailed description of the concept coupled with some validation in the form of "sounds very interesting ... it could be something we would deploy because of reason X, Y and Z" from some key industry people and we're off to the races. Silly and naive. The way I perceive it, you have to plan on being just as prepared as you would for a $5M A round. The only difference is that the VC is not taking as much of a chance ... you are lowering their risk. I'm probably exaggerating a bit but not much ... but I'm not taking any chances.

It is enough to drive you to drink. The 2 AM trips to the hot tub with a glass of Drambuie are becoming a nearly daily event to clear the head and it actually works quite well ... I should be able to claim it as a tax deduction. To add to the joy, a very recent change in the founding team has led to some pieces of the puzzle falling back in my lap to scramble. Fortunately I was able to pull some favors and draft some excellent help but I hit a real low for about a day this week. This was followed by clinching some fantastic partners I've been hoping to get to sign on to the advisory board and another major exec that could really help fill out the team ... a fantastic guy ... back up to a high. Basically this week has been a roller coaster.

I was the QB of the football team in High School and I must admit I wasn't a fantastic one though I did have some great moments. If my center, good ol Fraser, got stomped on, I would ultimately feel much pain, especially on a very wet late October with mud in nearly every orifice. Things seem to hurt a lot more when you are cold and wet for some reason. I don't like pain and fortunately Fraser covered me most of the time, a big boy who ended up in RCMP I think. You have to be able to count on your team and I'm working very hard to ensure I have very good pigs and not chickens. Sometimes one is disguised as the other ... why did that pig just lay an egg??? hmmm ....

Having said all that, even though I'm exhausted and whipped, I'm more pumped than ever. I have managed to polarize some people who don't think what I'm doing will work or that people won't sign on in the quantities required. Of course, I have many on the positive side but the negatives is what I need right now to polish things. I have asked a number of knowledgeable people to sit through my pitch over the next couple of weeks and hammer me as hard as they can. Be difficult, a devil's advocate, ask nasty questions ... whatever ... tell me I'm crazy and dreaming. I best get some calluses before go time on April 10th. This is one of the reasons I have invited many of you to a big bash (other than an excuse to party with lots of fun people) on April 14th. I really need the input of the general consumers, and especially women who don't get easily swayed by cool wiz bang stuff. Plus its a good excuse to party ... not that I need one mind you but this way at least it is a tax deduction.

Well ... heading to bed before tomorrow for once ... must find my asbestos underwear.


Allan Isfan
CEO, MYDYO (as in My Radio + My Video = MYDYO in case you are wondering)

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Thursday, March 15, 2007


wiki miki

Wow ... it has been a while since my last post. When I start getting emails from people sounding worried about the lack of posts lately, it is probably time to get back at it. Things have been crazy since my last post about 3GSM in Barcelona. I was running around on start-up stuff as well as some new consulting work helping CLECs with some FCC petitions ... interesting new work, and then a quick trip to Disney World with the family. Yikes!! Good times on all fronts.

First a couple of quick words on the land of Mickey Mouse. I've been so busy lately, my wife wisely figured it was time to get away with the kids for some R&R. We stayed on the Disney property at a hotel called the Beach Club. Other than the sucking sound of an industrial vacuum on our wallets, it was fantastic. The bar made an excellent Pina Colava and the pool actually had sand in it, including a sand bar for the kids to play in, a small lazy river and a waterfall. Someone accidentally turned up the heat and the entire pool was hovering near 90 degrees Fahrenheit by our last day! I'm sure I saw dollar bills floating up in the air where someone had written JESUS in the sky with an airplane ... I'm not kidding ... about the Jesus part.

An entrepreneur can never flip the switch to off .... the hamster is always running though I managed to get him into a steady jog rather than the mad sprint he is usually in. Actually, I usually have three hamsters running at the same time ... two of them work hard to bring in money so that the third one can live his dreams. Anyway, Disney is a great place to observe American society at work. One thing is for sure ... American's sure know how to entertain. They nearly get you crying at the "Believe" killer whale show at Sea World with the whole "young kid sitting on the beach carving a whale tale out of wood reaches his dreams of becoming a trainer at Sea World". It is not just a "killer whale jumps out of the water" trick show, it is a full dramatic production with huge rotating screens and all. Another amazing show is the new car stunt show at MGM ... absolutely incredible and very well done.

Ok ... as usual, you're wondering what the hell this has to do with start-up stuff. As I said, an entrepreneur is always "on", even if the hamster is in a slow jog sipping on a pina colava so there is a connection.

I have been on a major deep dive recently to investigate "the power of the crowds". There have been many huge successes in the last number of years that really highlight the extremely social nature of human beings. Some excellent examples you may have heard of include MySpace, YouTube, WikiPedia, Digg, eBay, CraigList, SecondLife, Blogs, LinkedIn .... I could go on and on and on. Not only are people interested in connecting with others but many of them spend an insane number of hours creating, posting and rating content. It is true that fewer than 10% of the people actually contribute ... probably closer to 1% actually ... but when you consider the entire wired world that 1% ends up being a very big number.

While on the way to Orlando, I picked up a great new book called "Wikinomics, How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything". I highly recommend it ... a very well written book by a couple of guys from Toronto of all places (Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams of New Paradigm). I'll definitely try to hook up with the authors next time I'm in Toronto as this is a critical component of our start up.

I'll share some more about this in future posts as this is a major trend that will impact all of us. Speaking of social, I'm announcing a big party at the Isfan residence in mid April. It is mostly a social affair but I will pull together a bit of an "open kimono" session at the beginning and share with all in attendance a bit of what we are up to. If you are interested in attending and are not on my evite list, please shoot me an email and make your case ... I'll take it to the judges to earn you a fastpass (don't tell anyone).


Allan "back to reality" Isfan
Entrepreneur In Residence, Skypoint Capital

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