Introducing Yan Simard

Yan Simard woke up one morning in 2010 with a splitting headache and an idea.  He doesn’t remember the source of his pain, but the idea ended up changing the course of his career.  The idea was actually a memory of an idea he had about five or six years before, but now smart phone technology had progressed to a point where now the idea was feasible.

Yan spent two solid days crafting and designing and was left with the basic components of ZapTap.  What’s ZapTap?  It’s software that connects brands to customers in retail environments.  More specifically, ZapTap allows brands to create a customized experience for customers interested in a product.  The software gathers information on consumers as they shop, in a respectful way, and lets brands better know their customers.  Imagine you are an avid snowboarder who is interested in buying a GoPro camera to show off on YouTube.  If GoPro was a ZapTap client, you could get personalized content and videos showing other snowboarders using the product.  Next your friend, the rock climber, stops by the GoPro stand, and this time he gets content geared for cliffhangers.  Not only does ZapTap inform a brand to its buyers, but consumers can now make smarter buying decisions.  It’s a win-win.

Within a year of his headache inspiration, Yan had incorporated a company, quit his day job, and found angel investors to get his idea on the move.  Now ZapTap is working with major players of global business, most of which Yan cannot disclose, but one being one of the world’s foremost automakers from Germany. *hint, hint*

Yan is quick to dismiss the perception of tech start-up entrepreneurs as the rockstars of the 21st century.  Sure you can come to work with flip flops on, but if you get into business for the sexy lifestyle as soon as you encounter your first problem, it won’t be cool anymore.  Many who don’t have the focus and dedication would quit, without ever knowing the satisfaction of steering their own fate.  There are ups and downs with being a tech start-up, but volatility is definitely not boring.  Yan constantly keeps his eyes on the prize, both for himself and for his investors, with the goal to becoming the greatest company in his sector, or acquired.

In this episode

Greg shows of his new raspy jazz voice.  Yan lets us know what it takes to be a successful tech start-up, and how to avoid distractions of new ideas while remaining focused.  Yan also tells us how he was able to gain investment in a province where he wasn’t originally from and had few contacts in.  Greg is reminded that if you want to be the best in the world at something, you need to remove distractions and focus.  He also ponders, how many great ideas never come to fruition because of lack of confidence or other distractions.  Dave believes that one day Yan will be able to try some of his other ideas, but for now his discipline will make him a success.


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