Thursday, October 16, 2014

We started something, now what?

As wife and I sit in these free upgraded seats to Business Class on @QatarAirways (thanks guys!) on our 15 hour trek for a 3 day beach holiday on the east coast of Sri Lanka, I am compelled to think about how I got here and where I’m going. And by ‘here’ I mean in life. I am compelled to write...

It’s no mystery to my close friends and family that I’ve enjoyed a tremendous, privileged life. My family has been number 1 with giving their all to ensure I get and stay on the right track to stand on my own two feet. I love them all for it, but most importantly I am grateful to be born into this life the way I was. No regrets, no change necessary, thank you very much.

What does any of this have to do with this article? I’ll get to that. Meanwhile, let me reminisce please.

Growing up was always interesting. My sister, Zaiena, a fashion designer, and I are only 4 years apart, while my elder brother, Adnan, is 17 years my senior. Irrelevant in the grand scheme, because he’s as much my brother as any brother could be to anyone; in some ways even better. He really helped me grow up and for that I am grateful. Not enough has been documented about him and his life, one of success, failure, humility and realization. I have learnt infinite amounts just watching him and that may be a big contributor to where I go eventually. I’ll always love him for the unconditional love he’s given me, unconditionally.

My father, without a doubt my model on character and perseverance, chose to chronicle his trials, tribulations and triumphs in a book. I’ll never understand the intricate manner in which he planned and secured our futures with his hard work, almost so infinitely, but without a blemish on his professional career.

Let’s not forget the kindred spirit who bore me for 9 months + 2 extra weeks to bring me kicking and screaming into this life, my beloved mother, who has seen her fair share of challenges – but championed her way through like it was nothing. She could have had a lot more, and still can.

I’m of a different generation than my parents; one where the internet began and now considerably dominates our existence …to…the…core! Just ask my wife. “Put down your phone when I’m talking to you!” She couldn't be more right; I'm so engrossed in all things digital.

The internet, such a wonderful wonderland, where so many Alice’s and Caterpillar’s live. A place we where we seek all our answers, ask all our questions, make many of our friends and share our experiences with. It could also be seen as a void or black hole that sucks in but doesn’t ‘give out’ so to speak. 

Yet here we are, in an era where 5 year old Whatsapp can be sold for a mere $19 billion US; peanuts for a guy who started a simple ‘hot or not’ kind of website. Now, 10 years on, makes headline news when recognizing small eastern European countries by simply adding them to a drop down list. So much power and still not as corrupt as the wolves running our many countries? Strange… or is it? I wonder.

So what is it that sets apart the many wannabes, has beens and are going to be’s? What is it that I can do with my 9 year old idea that has now evolved into so much more than I could ever have imagined? Part of it is creative imagination; part is the support from friends and family. The rest is really just a belief in something so important for me that it’s hard to walk away and ignore it any longer.

Without striking overzealous comparisons with the likes of Facebook, foona review started off as a name for something that I hope will, one day, set a standard that food can abide by – moderated and presided over by the general public, or foodies. Everyone asks how it will do something different. Depends on what they consider the norm. 

Do we have a platform that truly engages the foodie sense of individuals that is built over time, with a lot of love, care and attention? Much like how we are raised, so are our senses and abilities developed to differentiate between what is good and what is bad. Food is no exception – and I think a lot of food poisoned individuals can testify.

What does my family have to do with it? Everything! Them, my friends, my neighborhood, the cities I visited and lived in, all have a major influence on my perception of how good food should be. They are my credentials.

Can you tell me that there is a perfect measure for this, covering everyone equally? I doubt it, because in my 35 years, I haven’t seen any. Sure there are a dime a dozen sites that offer the same functional features, but I'm talking about behind the scenes thinking, philosophy. I think we can try and establish them, but standards are but the thoughts of many put together in a cohesive environment, usually becoming influencing factors for the decision of others. Who better to offer these standards than the buyers themselves; you and me alike.

At foona, the technology that we use to do what we want will continue evolving, but a great idea can stay great for eternity, if its utility is continually realized. Kind of like a light-bulb. No, foona is not a light-bulb and I will not be credited with making Edison turn in his grave. It was merely a light-bulb moment. I’m just saying, even the most meaningless idea can someday shape our every decision, if executed well. 

In the meanwhile, I have some work to do. I hope that you will continue sharing your thoughts, ideas and, most of all, criticism, about how I can make it better for you. My wife is committing to guiding me because she sees how far I am from where I want to be, with all these scattered pieces of thoughts floating around me. 

If I fail, at least I tried and tried again. 
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