Grype - Farhad Khan
You started Grype Solutions nearly 9 years ago, after working in the technology and communication sector. What approach to digital marketing does Grype provide clients that wasn’t present before?
When we started the company we thought we were going to change the world. You have all that passion and energy when you are young. Slowly when you get into the grind of running a business day to day, you realize that the world is bigger than you thought and that you can only do so much. The one mission we always had was to have a meaningful impact on the people’s lives we work with - that includes both our clients and employees. If we cannot put a smile on a client’s face and solve a problem for them to make their team stronger, we think we failed in that project. With that goal in mind, we have always tried to be a solutions provider instead of being just a web development agency or a marketing agency. There are many web dev shops and many marketing agencies out there, but not many focus on helping a client grow by helping them with a wide range of capabilities and delivering a functional solution. Of course we are not the only agency that does that, but this is what we think our biggest strength is and what makes us unique.
You describe Grype as a “mission driven” agency. Can you explain how this is part of your process and the projects you work on?
We believe that our work should improve lives and create opportunities. There are many other boring ways of making money, and we could easily do that. Making a lot of money was never the primary intent of our company. Our goal has always been to do meaningful work and make money as a result. If you help a client grow, they will be more than happy to pay you for your services. So every project we take on we need to see a sense of purpose in that project. Our ideal clientele are businesses that have a clear sense of purpose, and not for profits that are the faces of change in our community.
The digital age has changed the way people interact with government corporations and non-profits. How does the work that Grype does impact your clients?
One of the core services we provide is to build digital web based tools for organizations to provide better services to their users. You will be surprised to see how many organizations still do not understand the meaning and value of customer experience. They either do things by consensus or provide tools to they users that are easy to provide. This results in a subpar customer experience. If you just turn the table and start by thinking about what your customers experience, you can build services that are far superior. Our ability to understand our client’s clients and solving their pain points with digital solutions is the biggest impact we have on our client’s organizations.
When you aren’t busy building websites and digital experiences or working with your team of talent what do you do to relax?
I love spending time with my wife, family and friends when I am not working. We have a pretty low key life outside of work. There’s always so much happening at work that unless I have a calm and quiet at home, I wouldn’t be able to recharge and be ready for the next day. I find that recharging your batteries every now and then is very important. When you have a clear mind your productivity goes up exponentially. I am also very active, I exercise everyday. I play badminton in a local league. I am so passionate about badminton that I feel like I can’t breathe if I miss my games for a week.
You ran a half marathon! Will you ever run a full marathon?
I find that long distance running is a great way to build your stamina. So I was actively training to run a marathon. Then I realized that running was only building my physical endurance without improving my cognitive abilities or reflexes, and it became a bit boring after the half marathon. So instead I am focusing on playing more competitive badminton. It’s a very fast game requiring you to make decisions in split seconds, quick movements and requires an insane amount of focus. So I don’t see myself running a full marathon any time soon.
You recently launched a Podcast. Can you tell me a bit about that and where we can find it?
Our podcast is a way for us to learn more about our clients and gives us a platform to share meaningful client stories with the rest of the world. We work with many highly talented people at our client’s companies, some of them in D level, some in C level. We see them doing incredible things, making impossible decisions and sometimes bring about changes in the society that you and I can only think of. These stories need to be told so that they serve as inspiration for the rest of us. You can find our podcast at https://grype.ca/podcast. If you want to speak on our podcast or know someone who should, please feel free to reach out.
What does relationship building and engagement mean for Grype?
As a digital agency our business lives on building relationships with our clients and prospects. We have been quiet in the local business scene for a few years, but we are starting to get more involved with our community this year. Our podcast is giving us a chance to connect with many great people in Ottawa and we also just started a meetup group called “Digital Sense Ottawa”. We will host events and talks that will fuel the digital growth of local organizations. You can join the group at this URL.
Do you have a favourite lunch spot?
I want to mention two restaurants that we frequently visit, first, Mongolian Village West, they offer a very unique dinner experience, it’s a must try if you haven’t been there before. Second, Kotchin Kitchen on Dalhousie. This one is an Indian restaurant and you go there at your own risk! They offer bold and spicy Indian dishes that you cannot find elsewhere in Ottawa. If you love spicy food and want to challenge your taste buds, give it a try.
How has Ottawa supported Grype?
Honestly, when we started our business, the entrepreneurial scene in Ottawa was pretty grim. Founders wouldn’t help each other, there weren’t many local hubs for founders to hang out. But over time that changed a lot. I am grateful to several Ottawa entrepreneurs and organizations who have helped us grow. The first is the Lead To Win business accelerator founded by Prof. Tony Bailetti at Carleton. We probably wouldn’t survive our first year of business if it weren’t for his support. Prof. Bruce Firestone, founder of the modern day Ottawa Senators, was also a great inspiration during our early days. Lastly, Greg Kells, President of Sunbelt Business Brokers, has been a great support in recent days. Greg’s advice has helped me avoid business landmines that I was about to step on.