Ali is a manic guy. Just listen to him, “sleep is my biggest distraction from work. It’s really hard for me to manage. Like I want to stay up every night and work on it and then I’m tired in the morning and I’m trying to figure out how to form that balance so I can work more and still not have red eyes.” What could possibly be so important that he’s sacrificing his health?
Ali has had his share of good jobs before. Ali is the creator of the (in)famous BrickBreaker game on the RIM Blackberry. “I think I’ve destroyed a couple thumbs myself,” he laughs. He’s also done user interface design at Microsoft. However, neither of those plum positions appealed to him. He craved the challenge of starting a business from scratch and growing it huge.
The kernel of the idea was straightforward. His father is a pharmacist at Guelph. Originally, Ali started by selling a few products online from his father’s store, and unexpectedly things just took off. As Ali says, “we just started seeing people coming in without really any marketing. Hey, this is kind of neat, this is fun, it markets itself. People are ordering at midnight and when I’m not even in the store. It became really fun that way. So we just added products and added products. We have 5,000 now and we’re still going.”
That was enough, and so now CanadaHomeHealth has become his passion. As he says, all day and night,
All I think about is scale; I want it to be big, and that’s important for me, for the staff that work with me, and just for the project goal in itself. I just want to see how can you make something out of a garage become something that people have heard about.
I really like what I’m doing. This is the first time I’ve ever been in a job where this is what I want to do. This is the kind of job I like. I love the relationship I have with customers all over Canada. I love managing the stock. I love the fact that it’s changing every day and that I’m right into the code but right into the business and the PR. Oh, I love the fact that it’s really overwhelming! I always want to be in that state. So I’m worried that one day this will become stable and then it won’t be fun any more. That’s something that I worry about.
I haven’t seen someone who wanted it more than Ali. He’ll get there in the end, no doubt. Let’s just hope he takes better care of his own health.