Canada's Top Productivity Hacker Ferhan Patel

Canada’s Top Productivity Hacker: Ferhan Patel



Name: Ferhan Patel

Hometown: Montreal, Quebec

Occupation: Payment Rails

School: Concordia University- Bachelor of Computer Science, Richard Ivey School of Business EMBA


Do you think school played a big a role in developing your business?

School helped me hone my organizational skills, however I don’t know it played a major role in developing my business, but it did help me refine some elements.

Although I completed a Bachelor in Computer Science, I realized during my undergrad that I did not want to be a coder. I was quite good at it, however I actually enjoyed designing and building products.

The MBA was a personal milestone that I wanted to achieve. I selected Ivey Business School for its academic strength, but also more importantly the caliber of talent I would be able to network with.  Building a strong network was a key takeaway from my MBA experience.  I was also able to leverage my time at Ivey to help shape the direction for Payment Rails.

Why the switch from company 1 to your current company?

Although I was part of the founding team, and helped grow the organization to where it is today, after 10 years, I felt it was time for a change.   There were new technologies and innovations that were emerging that I believed would be a catalyst for my new venture.

After 10 years, I was ready for a fresh start, and hopefully learn from all the mistakes (I’ve made many) that I made during that time, and build on that for my new startup venture.

What kind of tools do you use to stay productive?

Microsoft Excel and Slack. 

I would say a tool I can’t live without is Excel.  I use it for practically everything.  I use it for brainstorming, planning, scheduling, financials and even product prototyping.

What’s the biggest difference between Ferhan in 2005 vs Ferhan today?

In 2005, I thought hard work and a great product would be enough to be successful.  However, as time progressed, I realized that there was another factor that is also equally important.  Networking and Relationships. People like to work with people they like.

As a new startup, working within your community, getting support from your peers goes a long way.

How do you get into focus mode?

I don’t have any particular ritual.  I just need to be out of my home, and then I can get into the zone.  I put on a headset, and get “in the zone”.

It also helps to have a particular list of action items (in excel).

How do you like to network?

I think it’s about building relationships.  When meeting someone for the first time, I will try to get to know the person, and if I can, I genuinely will try to help them without expecting anything in return.

During my MBA, this was something I really was conscious of, and where possible, I would assist my classmates where I could.  I believe this played a major factor into why I was selected as the class Valedictorian.

We should strive to build relationships, not contacts.


Where does your motivation stem from?

I have a burning desire to succeed.

To me, failure is an obstacle – not the end result.

Listening to a motivational speaker is nice from time to time, however, it doesn’t make me more motivated to succeed.

I always ask myself: Why am I working so hard every day? It’s not because I just enjoy working. It is because there is a goal I am trying to achieve in 4-5 years from now.

Also, another catalyst for my drive is to prove the naysayers wrong.  I take the feedback and criticism to further motivate me to succeed.

Hard work will lead you to success. True or False?


Just because you work hard doesn’t mean you are going to succeed. Its part of the equation.

If you work hard, but you have a terrible idea, you will not succeed.  If you work hard, but you don’t have the right market opportunity, you will not succeed.

There has to be a direction and strategy and vision.  I love working with hardworking entrepreneurs, as long as they know how to take feedback well.

 “I’ve made it my mission to help people as much as possible. If I cannot help them, I will try to refer to them to someone or do my best to help the best way that I can. I need to close that loop off.” -Ferhan Patel

Is there anything you want to leave us off it?

Go out of your way to at least do one good deed per day

Be genuine to one another. Get to know one another. People like doing business with who they like.

Don’t just help someone because you are expecting something in return.  People can see through fake people most of the time. Do it genuinely and if something does reciprocate, be thankful.


Special thank you to Ferhan Patel!

From the Influence Digest team.

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