Having faith and being confident in your ideas is important but not at the expense of creating something no one want to use.
Born in Montreal, Canada, François Patry is the proud father of two bright young girls and is now living in Sherbrooke, a small city in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. As an early entrepreneur and web adopter, François has been working in the multimedia industry since 1998. He has been part of numerous development teams and has helped the creation of many platforms which are still on the market today. His extensive experience in web and advertising agencies has put him in contact with a lot of different industries. From design through programming, marketing and team management, François learned throughout his 18 years of experience a tremendous amount of knowledge that allows him to bring success to any project he undertakes. As the founder of Fifome, a platform where people can ask their friends for help while searching a product, he decided to use all his knowledge to replicate the normal purchase decision process of millions of shoppers and takeover the social shopping challenge.
Where did the idea for Fifome come from?
The idea came after hearing a lot of my friends and colleagues asking advice for buying products. I realized there was a need for a platform that replicates this chain of influence which is driving a lot of sales. Recommendations from friends and family remain the most credible form of advertising.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I get up at 6 AM and run for a coffee before doing anything else. Mornings are highly productive and focused on closing unfixed issues from the previous night. The rest of the day is the best time for me to plan and prioritize work. Spending that time mid-day to take a step back gives me the clarity I need to know where to put my efforts next. My night shift starts between 8 and 9 PM and is mainly for a development sprint until midnight or so.
How do you bring ideas to life?
For an idea to become reality it needs to be put in context and nurtured with passion. My first step in this process is rapid prototyping. The initial feeling when looking at a prototype will guide the next steps for making it a reality. Planning is good but building is even better. I’m not afraid to iterate ideas quickly. Getting feedback from continuous delivery is how things really come to life. The most important thing is to be deeply confident that it’s the best idea you have ever seen. Your ideas cannot be greater than the confidence and efforts you put into it.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
AI (artificial intelligence) is fascinating for me. There are more and more products out there using AI for simple tasks. These intelligent systems will evolve and take more place in our lives. The key to success will be to use them wisely instead of widely.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Coffee of course… Seriously, I will say that it’s the fact that I don’t take any notes. Taking notes actually brakes my natural way of thinking. I’m much better at listening to ideas and concepts because it helps me grasp every little detail. It’s not for everyone because it takes a good memory and I like to use mine as much as I can.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I come from a graphic design background so one of my first jobs was to work for a firm to develop an eCommerce system. Although my responsibilities were limited to producing templates which was pretty boring, it gave me the chance to start learning HTML and ASP. I then used that foundation and moved on to learn PHP and Swift. This job was a turning point in my career because it’s where I started being able to create a product from A to Z. It’s important for me to have the freedom to take an idea and right away be able to make it become a real feature or product.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
To be honest, I don’t think I would change anything. I am where I am in my career because of my past experiences and the people I have met along the way. This has allowed me to grow both professionally and personally. Even if I had made the jump to becoming an entrepreneur sooner I don’t think it would have made such a big difference.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else to do?
Constantly reevaluate yourself and your business and see where you can improve. There’s nothing worse than being stuck on an idea just for the sake of it and there is no harm done in admitting your wrong to move forward. It’s important to get as much feedback as possible from as many people as you can. That valuable information will help you break boundaries and allow your ideas to take shape. Having faith and being confident in your ideas is important but not at the expense of creating something no one wants to use.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Fifome is a social shopping app so it was a no-brainer that social needed to play a big role in the ecosystem. From the start we integrated with Facebook because it’s one place where people often reach out to their trusted ones. Being able to login and invite friends or having the ability to post your searches are all features we implemented from day one.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
As pretty much every entrepreneur knows, it’s rarely the first idea that becomes successful. I’ve had a lot of projects burst into flames but you need to keep your head up and try again. I have learned from every product I’ve created and now take more time looking at the market before investing time and money.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I am still looking at what would be the next Google. When will we see a product that reinvents conventional search engines? Google has made some great improvements to their system since the beginning but I would like a team to come up with a radically different way of approaching the biggest tool use worldwide.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I’ve just recently bought a pair of Nike indoor soccer shoes. They are the weirdest thing on earth because they offer pretty much no protection at all for your foot but they make you feel so cool when you wear them.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
We use Trello for our backlog and to keep track of on-going projects. Slack for communication and Xcode for the actual App development. Trello and Slack are easy to setup and use. Xcode is Xcode, it’s the beast that makes the product come to life.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Mobile Usability from Jakob Nielsen. It’s not an original choice but for me it’s a book I always return to. Because of my design background user experience is really something important for me. The scientific approach of Jakob’s analysis goes beyond theories which is really essential for user experience.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Seth Godin is the type of analytical thinkers I love to follow. He is a well-known author with radical views and theories on different subjects.