It's not surprising that the head of one of Canada's leading online publishing companies starts every business day by writing letters to his children, five-year-old Avery and two-year-old William, and posting them to their personal websites.
"I've done it now for two years straight without missing a day," says Ted Hastings. "I have spent a lot of time on the road for work and therefore don't get to spend as much time with my kids as I would like. So I decided I would buy their respective domain names and each day I make sure I write them a letter and let them know I've thought about them."
Mr. Hastings graduated from Waterloo's Wilfrid Laurier University with a degree in business administration and joined Deloitte & Touche as a senior associate in 1997. He earned his chartered accountant designation in 1998, and passed the International Uniform CPA qualification exam in 1999.
But Mr. Hastings says it was his parents - his father, the lawyer, and his mother, the teacher - who enjoyed their traditional careers but encouraged their "over-achieving son" to pursue something with fewer boundaries.
In 2000 he joined a sales and distribution software company, Endgame Systems, then a similar organization, Global Beverage Group, in 2002. Five years later, he became the president of Geosign Corporation. When American Capital bought Geosign and formed Moxy Media in Sept., 2007, Mr. Hastings was named president and CEO and helped increase the company's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization by 375 per cent in 2009 over 2008, he says. The company now owns and operates more than 300 consumer information websites.
"The online marketing game is probably the most dynamic marketplace you could be operating in," he says. "It changes every day. It's very difficult in that you don't have your typical customer base because you're interacting with millions of people through a website. That's a difficult thing to accomplish, which makes it interesting and fun."
High-tech also dominates Mr. Hastings' volunteer work mentoring start-up companies.
"That's where I can add the best value to my community . . . helping them with their business planning, financing, their strategies, their customer acquisitions."
Mr. Hastings is an avid weight lifter and at one time was ranked one of the Top 10 power lifters in Canada in his weight class. He tries to make it to the gym every day, but says he is still struggling with his work-life balance.
"I think I've taken two vacations in the last decade and one of them was my honeymoon, so I've still got to perfect that," he says.