NAME: Ahmed Reza
MARRIED: Yes, to Ameena for 10 years
CHILDREN: Hana (12), Hamza (6), Hafsa (3) and Haider (1)
YEARS IN BREVARD: 3
On a typical day, what types of tasks and responsibilities do you tackle at TrepHub?
TrepHub is a startup in it’s own right, so every day is interesting. It can be as calm as helping a few startups out, connecting some people and I’m out by 8 p.m., or as hectic as working on marketing campaigns, managing people, analyzing opportunities for the local community and taking a nap on the futon at the office because driving home doesn’t make such sense.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love interacting with some of the most amazing people on Space Coast, watching them grow and seeing businesses grow into their own. It almost seems unbelievable to me that I have the privilege of being in the midst of it.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
The opportunities are tremendous. There’s always so much happening. However, our resources are limited and we can only focus on so much at a time. I often have to decide between many good opportunities for TrepHub and the community, and I hope that those decisions are the right ones for the not just for TrepHub but for the community at large.
Why are you passionate about what you do?
Life is too short to just chase after money. TrepHub is about people and helping to enable them to be their best, for their benefit and the benefit of the community. To me, the promise of what I do is about making things better for us as a community through cooperation and collaboration. And it’s more than just words – the existence of TrepHub and the companies that have been enabled because of it is proof of the kind of people the Space Coast has, and we believe the innovation and companies coming out of this area is just the tip of the iceberg.
What do you love most about the Space Coast business community?
I love the fact that it is a community. The relationships go beyond business. The same folks I might do business with are the same I volunteer with. Being a bit biased towards tech, I also enjoy the fact that a lot of the businesses in the Space Coast are tech businesses.
What do you hope to accomplish this year?
For TrepHub, we would like to ensure that the rapid growth we have been experiencing is sustainable by organizing more leaders around our community. We’d like to see more cross-organization cooperation in making business happen on the Space Coast. Of course, secretly I’m also hoping that some of our tech companies become runaway hits and hopefully don’t run off to Silicon Valley. But, we’d also like to solidify our ties with the Silicon Valley Community. My co-founder Brandon is taking the first steps to tying the two communities together a bit more.
What would you tell the younger version of you to do differently?
Hindsight is always 20/20, but I’d tell myself not to put off doing things like starting a non-profit until later. Logically, you should make money and then do good things with your money. In reality, you can start at any time. Even if you don’t have money to help the causes you believe in, you can volunteer your time to making the changes you want to see in the world. Sure, it might not have a huge impact, but it’s the only way to truly be happy knowing you’ve done everything you wanted to in life. As you have more means, you can pour more into your passion, but if you put it off until later, you may never do anything about it and that’s a surefire way to regret.
Where do you see TrepHub going in the future?
I hope TrepHub will become more of a catalyst for startups and entrepreneurship on the Space Coast. That means enabling more connections and projects and maybe getting a more formalized education process and enabling funding for startups.
How do you see the startup community blossoming in Brevard?
It’s very exciting to see the startup community blooming on the Space Coast. We have some of the smartest people in the world. I think the startup angle is a little different for most people here to envision, but it is happening, and some very exciting companies are growing up right here. I see that pace accelerating as more talented people come to the area, thanks to all the existing tech companies that are already here.
How do you balance the various roles and responsibilities in your life – in and outside of work?
Many thanks Tim Ferris for his advice on getting an assistant. It seemed fancy at first, but realistically, it’s the practical thing to do if you’re juggling more things than one person really should do. The important thing is to be persistent. While taking on too many things on your plate may be overwhelming at times, persistence means they will all get done at some point.
What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve been given?
After my dad passed away, I was pretty lost. I had a lot of material things, but felt really unfulfilled with what I was doing and where life was going. I was fortunate enough to get some time to talk with Michael Milken (I’m a Milken Scholar, so it’s one of the perks). He told me that the only important thing is to be very happy doing what you do. Be the best and make the changes you want to see happen in the world. Don’t worry about the money, because that will follow.
That bit of advice changed how I look at everything. It eventually led me to starting Coders Hackers & Founders Meetup, which eventually led to TrepHub and me breaking out as an entrepreneur on my own.
What pieces of advice would you give to entrepreneurs just getting started in Brevard?
Let go of preconceived notions of entrepreneurship; it’s a tough journey, in ways you wouldn’t expect, but well worth it. The most surprising thing is the sense of camaraderie amongst entrepreneurs, even competitors. Much of the lessons I’ve learned are counterintuitive, so plug yourself into a community and find mentors who have been there and can help in your path. It’s a journey, and one of the big rewards in my view is the amount of personal growth that can happen regardless of material success from the business.