We recently had the pleasure of interviewing TiE-DC Charter Member and Board Member Frank Islam. We found it enlightening and are sure you will to!
1 Now that you sold QSS, what’s next for you?
Right now, I am focusing on leveraging the capital I received from the sale of QSS in the investment world. Even though the market is volatile right now and the economy is looking a bit dismal, I believe there are some opportunities for a patient investor. I am taking a long-view on things and have developed some core investment strategies with my team that we have started to implement. For example, we have established some new funds that are focused on secure debt and on certain specialized asset-backed plays. I am enjoying this because I can use the business skills I developed through running QSS in evaluating prospective investments and making them stronger.
2. What are your thoughts on the economy?
It’s tough out there right now. I was lucky to have exited QSS when I did, but there’s a lot of people out there who are suffering because of tremendous greed on Wall Street, poor governmental oversight and bad judgment by many different groups I think that it’s going to be tough going for the next couple of years, but there’s no reason to panic because there will also be a lot of new opportunities to invest in or build new enterprises. This is a moment when entrepreneurs can really make a difference by demonstrating confidence in the underlying components of our economy and investing in developing or struggling businesses that continue to show potential in this difficult time. Patience is also necessary to get through this well.
3. What specific goals, including those related to your occupation, have you established for yourself?
In all things, my main goal is to enjoy what I do while doing things that have a positive impact on society. So, I approach everything from this standpoint. In business, I chose to build a business that I enjoyed. I surrounded myself with good people and never let the culture and tone of my company get diluted in the interest of making a few extra dollars or taking shortcuts. If people enjoy what they do and the people with whom they work – success is much more achievable. Similarly, when I see things that are not right with the world, I want to fix what I can. So I am involved in both politics and philanthropy – two major change agents. Through this, I hope to make a positive impact. I keep in mind that pursuing happiness is what even our founding fathers’ considered to be the ultimate goal. From a business perspective I always wanted to create a great company where people would be proud to work and that delivered excellent service to its customers. I think I accomplished that with QSS. Now I would like to provide support, both in capital and advice, to emerging companies trying to accomplish the same thing. . I also want to help people who don’t have the same opportunities that I have.
4. What did it take to attain your goals, and what steps did you take toward attaining them?
The most important thing in achieving your goals is to develop a well thought-out plan and stay focused on executing it. They say that the whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going. It’s easy to get distracted by the latest buzz, but if you keep a laser focus on what you are trying to accomplish, you will get there. So, for example, in creating QSS, like everything else, I created a plan and then stuck to it. I followed common-sense business practices and managed to not get sucked into the flavors of the day, like Dot-Com companies or some of the other technology oriented companies. When I say common sense, I mean that you need to ask yourself, “what does the customer want”, “how can I deliver it,” “how do I keep them happy” and “what is likely to be their next need.” Then, you have to budget carefully and plan for as many contingencies as you can. Same thing goes for other goals, though maybe the questions you ask are a little different and you are budgeting time and energy instead of money.