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  • Intelligent Shift

Coffee Shop Questions Vol. 1

And we are back! Be honest, you didn’t think we’d post again. Really excited because we are rolling out a format we’ll use from time to time and next time you can take part. It’s simple- we went to our favorite coffee shop and just asked each other a question we wanted to know the answer to. If you have questions, we will answer them next time. Send them to and let us know if it’s a question for the group or a question for a specific person.

Here we go- Alissa drew first and got Matthews.

Alissa to Matthews: One thing I have always admired is how you and Wendy have made it a priority to keep a healthy balance between work and life. When your daughters ask you why you decided to start your own company, what do you tell them?

Matthews: I tell them I made the leap because A) I was leaping with two good friends who I grew up with professionally and B) I had 100% unwavering support from my wife and parents. It’s funny; I’m doing work from home more often and they see that, and they always come up and ask what I’m doing...they’ll say: “Daddy, you doing work for Intelligent Shift?”. It’s hard to describe my answer, but I tell them, it’s not really “work,” there needs to be another name for it, like a hobby or something, but I’m doing something I want to do, and am 100% vested. I need a noun to describe what I’m doing because “work” is not right.

Matthews to DeFede: Where did the name Intelligent Shift come from?

DeFede: [laughs] You’re asking that cause you know the answer. The name was the last of about 100. The first name we liked was ABW (A Better Way) Consulting. Seems so bad now. No chance to get that domain anyway. Then 50 later it was Phoenix XY. Alissa even had a cool logo made. I really liked that one. One day I realized XY Chromosome would sound male dominated and that killed Phoenix. Intelligent Shift was a play on Smart Change and the domain name was available. I find it funny that plenty of people comment on the name. Some say “why did you pick that?” But no small business owner does. They know how hard it is to find a domain. I like it . . . a lot actually, and so does my Mom. That's most important.

DeFede to Alissa: You always take time to help others learn. What's a surprising lesson you would teach others after two months?

Alissa: Taking on the challenge of starting a new company means that we are essentially building a really great team. I am not sure how surprising this lesson is, but who you surround yourself with matters. We are building a company which means we are building a team, a long-lasting team. Over the years many people have come to me with a challenge or needed advice at a career decision point and most times it involved problems with the environment or people. I generally do not give my opinion, but ask people questions to get them thinking versus just telling them what I would do. One key conclusion everyone has come to is that the people and the team matter. Now, more than ever, as we build Intelligent Shift the team environment we work in matters.

We really like this format. If you don’t, tell us how to make it more interesting. And again, send questions to Thanks for reading!

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