Looking back on your childhood, there must have been a time when you sailed the ocean as pirates, battled the curse of Dracula, or took on the adventure of finding the hidden treasure – all within the borders of your home. The sky was the limit because everything was just about having fun. As adults, we often reminisce about “the good old days”. We find ourselves always wishing to be how we once were when all we ever did was play, eat, sleep, and play some more.
A former Disney software engineer has now turned this childhood wonder into a reality. With a few credit cards and little bit of savings, George Albantov co-founded Quest Factor. He eagerly joins me for the fourth Hundred Hustle video. Hundred Hustle is a program I created under my YouTube channel that headlines incredible entrepreneurs. I will be engaging with these business people to talk about them and their companies.
For as long as he can remember, George has shown great interest in computers and software programs. From taking apart desktops at 14 years of age to skipping college and going straight to the job market after graduating from high school, his passion for technology followed not far behind. He firmly believes that every person’s life is unique, and does not need to observe any single template or process.
While doing what he’s best at in the IT industry for the past six years, George wanted something new. He was constantly trying to come up with a business scheme, briefly considering a class brewery or candy shop. Finally, it all clicked when he went to Moscow for a vacation. He decided to meet up with a close friend, who owned an escape the room company, and was introduced to the world of escape rooms as a first-time customer. He liked the concept, and saw its potential in the Washington market.
After immense hard work and collaboration, Quest Factor made a name for itself in the greater Seattle area when it first opened in 2016. Unlike the other escape the room venues, Quest Factor offers a unique and complete immersive experience with each room having its own enticing story, an astonishingly detailed setting, and the most mind boggling puzzles. Rather than simply trying to break out of a locked room, you are drawn to the quest that needs to be followed as you overcome the challenges within the time constraint. It’s like starring in your very own novel or movie adventure.
Originating from Japan back in 2007, escape rooms have grown extremely popular all over the world; but it wasn’t until around 2013 that it started making noise in the western countries. Even Quest Factor had to branch out to two other locations to keep up with the demand of the business. With escape rooms popping up left and right, I wanted to know how George stays ahead of his competitors; however, he doesn’t believe in true competition… at least not in this particular industry.
He explained that the nature of his business could only cater to one-time customers. Even with his half a dozen quest rooms, a customer would eventually go through all of those and come to a stand still. In as much as he would like to provide the best experience with every visit, realistically, there is a considerable limitation. To overcome this hurdle, George put high regard on collaboration to survive the maturing market. Currently, he is working with others in the same field, like Conundrum Escape Rooms, to maximize the potential of their services.
With each room meticulously designed and crafted, I was hugely impressed to learn that at least three of the present rooms were completely created by him and his team from scratch drawing inspiration from several books and movies. Seeing the rooms up close and personal, it only made sense that a single room can take up to three whole months to finish. The amount of detail used, from the script down to the props, can easily be compared to that of a movie set – it’s truly extraordinary!
Just as with other businesses, George and Quest Factor is just getting profitable. He confessed that this is because they didn’t squeeze out everything from the company right at the beginning. All of the money they generated simply went back into the business, and this enabled them to set up the same services at different locations within their two-year run.
George has one other goal to pursue with his company, and that’s to bring back the people from their virtual worlds into the real world once more. He would like to remind them the value of socializing and cooperating in real life.
“My advice for the younger generation is to think about your dreams… think about where you want to be and what you want to achieve. No matter how hard the process may be… whatever you expect will be twice as hard.” – George Albantov
Lastly, George would like to emphasize the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people in order to stay grounded and disciplined. They should be able to stay true to you, support you through the hardships, assist you on how to become more successful, and to help you become a better person.
Blunt Blitz is the part of the show when I ask the guest a series of blunt, maybe awkward, questions that have to be answered as swiftly as possible. Although a little reluctant, George was all game for it. He was even kind enough to indulge my request for a song when I heard about him being a singer.
To know how it went down, and to hear the charming voice of George Albantov, be sure to watch the full version of this interview here.
If you want to get to know George more, you can visit his LinkedIn profile, or reach out to him through his Facebook account. In addition to this, you may also go to the Quest Factor website for more information about their services and promotions.
As always, the full episode of this interview is accessible in my YouTube channel. Please don’t forget to subscribe, like, and comment! For more videos and updates, you can check out my Facebook, and follow me on Instagram.
I will be available to contact through any of my social media platforms if you want to be the next featured guest in Hundred Hustle. So what are you waiting for? Get in touch now, and we’ll start shooting right away!