Our first Man Of The Week for 2016 is Paul Davidescu, a local talent who co-founded Tangoo Entertainment Inc, a website and mobile application that allows users to consider moods and occasions to create the perfect dining experience in social settings. What started off as a mere idea to bring the right people together, Paul and his team have taken Tangoo to new heights where they have been featured on Dragon’s Den and CTV, to name just a few. Paul’s obsession with people and inspiring others to connect drove him to tweak his approach to growing Tangoo, where today he is an active member of the UBC Alma Matter and is constantly looking to see how he can integrate the next generation of talented and driven students into shaping the future of Tangoo and the dining experiences in Vancouver.
You can also listen to our interview with Paul on the ManTalks Podcast.
What do you do? (Work):
I’m the CEO of Tangoo, a free iOS app that matches your mood to the perfect restaurant experience. We work on fulfilling our mantra of creating memorable connections both between people and between consumers and businesses.
Why do you do it?
I am obsessed with bringing the right people together in memorable ways that make them happy and inspired to help each other make a maximum impact in the world. One of the most accessible and genuine ways to bring people together is by breaking bread at the dining table – something we all have in common.
By inspiring people to safely break the status quo of where they go out, we help them create new experiences that result in more memorable stories between themselves and the connections they most value in life. Deep relationships are a function of shared stories and with the tap of a button we provide a turnkey solution to create these micro-stories on the go, never settling for less than a memorable outing.
Proprietors are constantly looking to connect with the right customers by providing the most memorable experience possible. However, without being able to easily differentiate their brand, market to the right people, and build a relationship with customers, they are drowned in the competition. By focusing on the positives, Tangoo helps restaurants uniquely market what they do best today to the people that most appreciate it. We help them do it intelligently and safely without compromise of their brand.
How do you make a difference in the world? (Work, business, life, family, self)
I make a difference in the world by inspiring and connecting people.
I believe that inspiring people is best accomplished through leading by example and sharing how others can do it as well. You can demonstrate impact both through business success but also through storytelling to show people that success is also well within their reach if they follow their passions. By running a business that allows me to maximize impact to all my stakeholders coupled with the opportunity to be able to tell my story through amazing mediums like ManTalks, helps me do my part to inspire.
Connecting people to inspire each other:
Connecting people I believe is the ultimate way I make a difference. Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of making people’s social lives better, I have had the privilege of getting to know large amounts of people in meaningful ways. This has allowed me to connect the dots quickly and introduce people in ways that add high value whether it is meeting an entrepreneur with the same problems, a new friend in a new city, or a mentor who has already tackled a challenge they are facing today.
Nothing helps someone conquer uncharted territory more than by connecting with someone who has either done it, or is doing it right now. People need each other for inspiration and knowledge and I believe there are still many ways in which this process can be streamlined.
What are 3 defining moments in your life?
1) I was broken down by anxiety and self-doubt in my first year of business school. It was a dark time where I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it out. With support from my close network and a newfound trust in my body to pull through this hard time, I became more humble, open for help, and confident in myself.
2) Tangoo didn’t start as a mobile app, we started by bringing people together through progressive dinners that involved people connecting across multiple restaurants in one evening. While this aligned with our mission of creating memorable offline connections between people, the business model wasn’t scaleable. We decided to pivot and reinvent the old model to go mobile coincidentally the night before a 300-person pitch at Launch Academy Demo Day – sometimes pressure makes you do bold things. We were terrified but determined to go all in. To our surprise, we won Demo Day and proved to our peers that big risks do pay off. Nothing better equips you to take on big risks than a magical experience like this.
3) Dragons’ Den was defining because of the profound learning and personal growth process it took us through both leading up to the pitch, all the way until it aired across Canada. Firstly, the process of learning our business inside out and pitching to increasingly bigger crowds of people across the community made us stronger than we would have ever imagined. To have seemingly “failed” on the show by not making a deal, we took it as a challenge to prove to people that before our airdate seven months later, we would ship our product and raise more investment at a better valuation off the show than on it. It all came together on November 26, 2014 in front of our 500-person Dragons’ Den viewing party. The episode was luckily cut in a flattering way and people were inspired by the way we used an uncertain and seemingly negative situation to fuel us to new heights. It taught both our team and community about the power of a positive attitude.
What is your life purpose?
To connect and inspire people. I always ensure that the way I make a difference (covered in question #4) in my day-to-day life connects with my underlying life purpose.
How did you tap into it?
As mentioned earlier, I have been lucky enough to tap into it through Tangoo am able to connect and inspire my team, customers, and partners. Through media and great community word of mouth, I have been able to share my journey so far through media opportunities (listen to a recent one on Roundhouse Radio) and public speaking opportunities. Nothing is more fulfilling than sharing my story to observe how it inspires current and aspiring entrepreneurs to break through their challenges and uncertainties.
Who is your Role-Model or Mentor?
I have many mentors who guide me in different angles of life and through different types of problems. This is one great benefit I have been able to get from meeting so many inspiring people. On the personal end of things, it has to be my brother Jon, cousin Sam Sosa, and parents who are very grounded on many personal aspects I fight to improve while I balance them out with a demanding business. There are too many to count on the startup end of things but to names a handful who have been particularly instrumental, they are: Cameron Stewart, Henry Heeney, Peter Smyriotis, Steve Bell-Irving, Severine Arnaud, Mike Tan, Jayesh Parmar, Sean Pacey, and Nigel Tunnacliffe.
Mentors who inspire me and whom I have not all met (yet) are people like Tony Robbins & Tim Ferris (personal growth innovators), Brian Chesky (Airbnb CEO), and Simon Sinek (TED Speaking legend whom I was lucky enough to meet this summer).
Do you have any daily habits? If so, what are they?
If I have a productive week with not so many late-night events I like to get an early start with the following routine:
– Up at 5AM
– Drink a big glass of water
– 20 minutes of reading
– 90 minutes of focused attention on something that requires intense focus and/or is very uncomfortable to do like accounting, writing business plans, goal setting or a blog post.
– A swim or run followed by 10-minutes of body weight exercises before my shower
– A healthy breakfast complemented by an episode of How I Met Your Mother
– 5-10 minutes of meditation
Throughout the day, I try to make sure I listen to a podcast as I am walking in between meetings and when I am stationary waiting for a bus, I’ll read a book or tune into what’s happening in current events. It’s an amazing way to optimize your time and learning.
I am a very introspective person and find that handy journaling apps like Day One help you gather your thoughts to be able to look back to observe how much you have grown. Now, these are all mainly habits of how to be ultra productive but ones I am working on now are how to stay in touch with my personal needs and support network around me. 2016 will be a big opportunity to build better habits in my personal life that might be overshadowed by my professional life.
When do you know your work/life balance is off?
To be honest, it’s always going to be a bit off when you run a startup. But times when I realize it’s getting a little out of control are when I feel overwhelmed, stressed, and angry. I also hear about it from my network through patterns of feedback that seem to best process in my brain when I start hearing something more than once…it’s super important to take clues from your body and from your daily interactions with people to keep this in check.
Vulnerability is a challenge for most men – share a vulnerable moment from your life with us.
Vulnerable moments are usually your most defining ones. Besides the vulnerabilities from my 3 most defining moments I shared earlier, I have had various pockets of them ranging from breakups, bullying, breeches of trust from people I have brought close into my team, and scary moments of overexerting myself physically.
What did you learn from it?
If I had to boil them into a theme it would revolve around the idea of learning how to make personal growth hacks. Moments of vulnerability that look inescapable make you much more grateful, careful, and confident than ever before after you manage to survive them. I see vulnerabilities as prime opportunities to grow as a person and also to have a strong reason to open up your mind to new people and resources the world has to offer.
If you are or were going to be a mentor for another man, what is one piece of advice you would give him?
One can be a mentor to people in so many ways so this is a tough thing to boil down to one thing. Most of my mentoring experiences have been around helping early entrepreneurs get off on the right foot so I commonly find that there are understandably many insecurities and uncertainties an entrepreneur has to overcome. I usually advise that they do the following:
– Find out your Why. What drives you? What makes you passionate? This must be your north star.
– Don’t play hero. There are many people and resources out there happy to help and pay it forward only if you ask. Learn how to ask.
– Focus on always growing as a person. It’s essential to do before you can expect to really grow your startup and life happiness.
– Turn problems and vulnerabilities into opportunities and learnings. If you don’t, they will never go away.
– Find things that make you feel happy and empowered and don’t forget to make them habits.
How do you be the best partner (Boyfriend/Husband- past or present)
This is a question I hope to build great expertise in soon, as I have not been in any long-term romantic relationships. However, from the experiences I have had with other kinds of partnerships, it’s all about growing together, being empathetic, and not being afraid to be vulnerable. The best partners know exactly how to help each other grow and pull themselves out of tough situations. At the same time, it’s about being spontaneous and being able to create great excitement out of everyday things such as going out for dinner – thank goodness there’s an app for that 😉
Do you support any Charities or Not-for-profits? (Which one(s) and why?)
This is an opportunity to recognize some local Vancouver startups that are managing to do some amazingly innovative things with social entrepreneurship to inspire giving from the masses. One’s I have had the greatest opportunity to personally follow are Change Heroes, Chimp, Whisky Wisemen, and MealShare. Whether it is crowd sourcing how the masses builds schools or how they fight world hunger, what I love about these social enterprises is how they have made it incredibly fun and easy for the masses to give back.
If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
This was fun to Google. I would say a mashup of Bon Jovi’s “Its My Life”, Corey Hart’s “Never Surrender”, and R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” sums it up pretty well.
Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
As I start to reach the tipping point in both my business and personal growth, I see myself continuing to power Tangoo and/or similar companies like it that focus on solving problems around discovering experiences, dating, personal growth, and helping startup companies reach their potential. I would like to take my public speaking, mentoring, and self-publishing passions to new heights and to different parts of the world.
On a personal side, I see myself making great strides in giving back to my body through increased triathlon training and personal development. I also would like to unleash the travel bug I caught when I lived in Barcelona by travelling the world with those closest to me to continue to build our relationships and the micro-stories that bring us closer together.
What legacy do you want to leave for future generations?
I believe that ones legacy is a result of how much impact and inspiration they leave behind. I hope that through my commitment to create companies, stories, and schools dedicated to connecting people and fulfilling human potential, my legacy will be one that inspires others to work towards making theirs count as well.
What One book would you recommend for any Man?
How To Win Friends And Influence Others – Dale Carnegie. A classic handbook for you to know how to manage and understand people in the most basic of ways. An honourable mention is to read Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi which talks about the importance of managing your network – see the rest on my reads on my Goodreads.com profile.
If you know a Man that is making a positive impact on the world, we would love to hear from you! Contact us at [email protected]