by Ali Ghafour on January 4, 2014 - Comment(s)
How long does memory last?
There are lots of types of memory. The memory in our brains, our hard drives, our DNA, a carving on a tree or a rock. All these forms of memory are distinct not because of the things they store – that doesn’t matter, but how long they are stored for and how its contents are read in the future. Here some forms of memory with their pros and cons, and some ending thoughts on how to pass on this storage long after the world has ended. Read the rest of this entry »
by Ali Ghafour on November 3, 2013 - Comment(s)
I had an funny/interesting conversation with our product manager Gus at viafoura this week. It was early morning – we just got in and no one had coffee. He asked me in a joking tone: “Hey is google working for you?” and we both just laughed and I said, “Make sure your are connected to the internet”.
I thought about it a little more and came up with so many reasons why Google could not be down, and it MUST be him making the mistake. I was thinking: “Of course its not down, its google. Check your internet, call Rogers (the ISP), check your network card, buy a new computer, did you reboot?”.
by Ali Ghafour on October 28, 2013 - Comment(s)
When I heard the saying: “Work Hard, Smart and Fun – You Can’t Pick Just One” I wanted to break this down some more. I wanted to see what it’s like in each of the scenarios:
1) Work Hard Only
A lot of first time entrepreneurs fall into this category (and the work fun only category), but it is dangerous to only work hard without having fun or being smart about it. You could work hard heads down and spend months on a product, idea, sales lead or client only to realize they have no impact on the larger picture – you should have added smarts. Or maybe you worked so hard and you got that right product, client or lead but you burned out and pissed off all your employees. Neither approach is sustainable.
by Ali Ghafour on October 22, 2013 - Comment(s)
When I read the title of this post: “10 easy things that will make you happier, backed by science” I loved it right away. For a few reasons.
It is a short, catchy, leading title – which is hard to do. A title (and the picture) are the number one reasons someone decides to click through or not. But I digress.
I really love it because of the content. Happiness is very important to me. I have a whiteboard in front of my bed for the last 10 years with 7 things I want in my life. #1 is to be happy. This article gives easy (really easy) tips, and to top it all off, its backed by science! Who doesn’t love science?!?
I’ll let you read the article to get the details on the science to back it up. Here are the 10 tips, and how It has affected me: Read the rest of this entry »
by Ali Ghafour on October 14, 2013 - Comment(s)
Recently, I have had a few friends working in other industries (legal, government, large consultants) ask me about the startup day to day, and what it is like.
if I had to summarize it in one word, it would be this: Rewarding.
You just feel like you get stuff done, get to work with passionate people and you learn a lot.
There is a blog post on 17 tips on working at a startup (from Dharmesh Shah Founder of Hubspot). I wanted to call out 6 that resonate the most with me:
by Ali Ghafour on July 24, 2013 - Comment(s)
What is the role of a CTO? This might seem like an obvious question, but anyone in this role knows that its not as clear cut as other traditional roles such as CEO, COO and CFO.
I have done a lot of research on this topic to ensure I am always growing in my role. In doing research, I like to refer to people and companies I look up to, because for them to be successful, they must be doing something right!
I have always looked up to Amazon. They do things that you never expect them to do (selling books online, cloud computing?!?) and are very successful at it. Here is a very well written blog by Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon, on the role of a CTO http://www.allthingsdistributed.com/2007/07/the_different_cto_roles.html
He summarizes it well (please do read the article) as 2 types.
1) External Facing Technologist / Big Thinker
2) Infrastructure Manager / Technology Visionary and Operations Manager Read the rest of this entry »
by Ali Ghafour on July 12, 2013 - Comment(s)
The last few weeks at viafoura were very busy. We had a lot of large client launches, one of them being the CBC.
The CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation – see wikipedia link) is near to our hearts at viafoura because they are Canadian like us. CBC is the oldest existing broadcasting network in Canada, first established in its present form on November 2, 1936. That makes me very proud that they picked us.
The viafoura team is a smart bunch and very passionate about their work. They are artists in their own disciplines. Artists in database scaling, code writing, interface design, client support. You might think, how is writing code or supporting a client art work? Here is how:
by Ali Ghafour on June 5, 2013 - Comment(s)
I read a great blog post by Alexis Ohanian titled Getting Things Done > Grade Point Average
It talks about a point that I always knew: Your grades do not matter as much as getting something done. I intuitively knew this while in school taking computer science. I had friends who had horrible marks, but they were the smartest technical people I knew. Then there were others who somehow got the marks but could not solve simple undefined problems.
I think the biggest benefit of school is that you are surrounding yourself with people that want to do great things (learn, contribute to society) but you can also find these types of people at meetups, conferences, IRC rooms, etc. (you just need to be resourceful).
I have seen so many promotions, new clients acquired, money raised, etc from being resourceful. These people navigated waters unknown and got things done. This quality I strongly feel out weighs a persons marks. If you also have interpersonal skills – you have a killer combination.
On a final note, I love this quote:
“You are the average of your 5 closest friends.”
Surround yourself with great, passionate people and you WILL do great things.
by Ali Ghafour on May 9, 2013 - Comment(s)
We announced today that we have a second office in New York. This is exciting news for us, as it is our first second home from home.
New York is a hot spot for media companies and an up and coming investor community as well. I have been to New York about 10 different times, and the size of it always impresses me. I find the people nice and quirky at the same time.
I’m glad I live near the porter airport so a flight is just a walk away!!
by Ali Ghafour on March 16, 2013 - Comment(s)
If you are in the tech industry, you surely have heard the term big data. But why is it that we are talking about it so much, when data (and large amounts of it) have been around for a while (i.e. more than 5 years)? We had big data systems that dealt with weather prediction, storing medical records, google searchs, inventory systems, etc.
Big Data has indeed been around, but now it is not restricted to the likes of IBM and Google, it has become cost effective for ‘anyone’ to do.
There are three things you need for big data. Read the rest of this entry »