Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneurs are Robert Deckelbaum and Philip Barrar, who created MyPiece to connect Montrealers with the absolute best restaurant deals in the city. Here’s what inspired their work and where they see themselves in five years…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your jobs in a nutshell.
R. MyPiece is Canada’s first deal find application that is 100% free for both restaurants and users. Like our other company, Eat It Up Media, we use the man to get people what’s theirs! I’m the creative/strategy boy.
P. I see myself as a builder with a passion for technology that likes to take the pieces of a puzzle and put them together to add value to someone’s life.
What was the inspiration for this career route?
R. Through the development of Eat It Up we found a hole in both mobile marketing and the restaurant industry alike. Typically, with platforms like Groupon, restaurants only receive 23 cents on the dollar after fees, and from a marketing perspective mobile is number one on everyone’s radar.
P. I am very big on action. Being an entrepreneur gives you a new challenge every day and really allows you to see the results of your work. There is nothing better than meeting someone for the first time and to know that they love using a product or service that you came up with.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
R. The best part of my day lies in overcoming challenges, creative strategy, and creation. The worst part of my day lies in overcoming challenges, creative strategy, and creation.
P. The best part of the stuff we do on a daily basis are the human interactions, working with our team, satisfying the restaurants we work with, and interacting with our users (on both a positive and negative note); it makes everything in the business come to life. The most challenging part of the business is maintaining a well-rounded lifestyle. We often find ourselves sacrificing a friend’s birthday, a date with the girlfriend, or a night’s sleep in order to accomplish the things that we find just can’t wait.
What is one sign that you’ve each seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
R. Sneaking out of bed at 4am during my honeymoon in Vietnam to respond to emails so my wife didn’t know.
P. When my work day consisted of working all day long conceptualizing the ins and outs of MyPiece – except that my workday would start at 1 in the morning.
Where do you see yourselves in five years?
R. Operating a global media empire.
P. Doing a business deal with Elon Musk.
What is one major challenge that you’ve each had to overcome in your careers? How did you overcome it?
R. As an entrepreneur, my hardest challenge has definitely been learning not to micromanage and trust in others to help grow our businesses. When you start a business you have to do everything yourself, but in order to grow a business you have to learn to let go and trust your team.
P. The choice of becoming an entrepreneur rather than taking the typical career route that my friends were taking and my family was routing for. Turning down various job opportunities.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
R. I think being able to create equals happiness, but money keeps score of your creation.
P. Success will come to me when I am able to manage a proper work/life balance while still choosing the career path of an entrepreneur
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
R. Signing our first media deal with RBC; getting a national advertiser validated everything we worked so hard to create.
P. Firstly, it was with my very first company where I witnessed a ski patroller using my software to treat an injured kid. I saw that the products that we were building truly had an impact on people’s lives. The second would be seeing the media coverage that MyPiece has been getting, which showed me we built something which was truly fulfilling a need.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
R. In school getting 99% is perfect, but in business it’s a failure.
P. Just get out there and do it, the only better time than now was yesterday.
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your time?
R. With beautiful my wife Kim and baby Teddy, doing anything with my extended family, skiing, snowboarding, surfing, water-skiing, wake boarding, and lots of cooking/eating.
P. When I am not working you will find me working or coaching other entrepreneurs, travelling for long weekends with my friends, or at dinner and a movie with the girlfriend.
Where are your favourite places to travel? Why?
R. Essentially anywhere with waves or deep powder; Peniche, Portugal and Nelson, BC.
P. Somewhere where I can wonder and explore. Drop me anywhere and within the hour I will tell you where all the cool things are you need to see, and introduce you to various locals I made as friends.
If you each had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
R. Simon & Garfunkel, America.
P. The Final Countdown. In high school during our c++ programming class we would all load this song onto our computers and blast it at the same time, It became a tradition of sorts. Now I use this song to pump me up and remind me of where it all started.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
R. I’d own a B&B and my guests would have to eat what I cook, when I want to cook it.
P. I would own a small snack bar on the beaches of St. Maarten half the year and take the time to explore the world the other half of the year.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
R. I support CJA, the JCC, and pleasehelpme.ca. It is very important for me to support organizations whose donation to giving ratio is above 90% and have direct impact on the communities they support.
P. I really support CharityWater because the work that they do really has an impact on peoples’ lives. Also, I love getting involved with our local community. You can see some of the work we did recently with 5-days for the homeless on our MyPiece instagram account.
What to you is notable?
R. Realizing that there is as much to learn from a beggar on the street as a billionaire on a jet.
P. Doing business and making a positive impact on this world are not mutually exclusive.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
R. Android, 100%.
P. I am the complete opposite. I have been an Apple lover for as long as I can remember.