How I got here…

Co- founder and CEk of Wash­men

Gulf Business - - CONTENTS -

RAMI SHAAR Co-founder and CEO of Wash­men

ED­U­CA­TION

I’ve al­ways been good at maths, but hated read­ing books and hav­ing to ab­sorb a ton of re­dun­dant in­for­ma­tion. I think that’s where I started de­vel­op­ing a true love for hack­ing re­dun­dancy and get­ting straight to the point. I wouldn’t read long books, but from a short sum­mary I was able to de­bate with struc­tured ar­gu­ments with any­one – in­clud­ing the teacher – and chal­lenge the com­mon view. I’ve al­ways loved chal­leng­ing the sta­tus quo – or even shock­ing it. Af­ter study­ing at the Amer­i­can In­ter­na­tional School in Riyadh, I moved to ion­treal to earn my bach­e­lor of arts at Con­cor­dia qniver­sity in bi­nance.

AP­PROACH

I’ve al­ways been an in­tense per­son, and if there is some­thing I don’t know, I will ob­sess over it to the point of know­ing the ins and outs. I won’t quit un­til I can hack my way through what­ever that is. phat’s what hap­pens ev­ery sin­gle day at Wash­men. I had no clue about run­ning a laun­dry busi­ness. I had no clue about build­ing apps. I had no clue how to find proper in­vestors, how to build a team, or cre­ate a struc­ture. I had only very ba­sic no­tions of mar­ket­ing. But that clue­less­ness was fuel. I ac­tu­ally started ap­pre­ci­at­ing the feel­ing of not know­ing what to do be­cause it’s a lot of fun to hack and find your way around in any cir­cum­stances.

HIGHS AND LOWS

kne of my all-time lows was ac­tu­ally while I was still an em­ployee. Any­one who knows me will tell you that I can’t deal with of­fice pol­i­tics. Dur­ing one of my jobs I found my­self work­ing un­der unin­spir­ing lead­ers and un­for­tu­nately my pa­tience is ex­tremely lim­ited in these kinds of sit­u­a­tions. Wash­men gave me a ‘light at the end of the tun­nel’, be­cause I knew that by be­com­ing an en­tre­pre­neur I could re­ally take my fate into my own hands. iy suc­cess would not de­pend on the ar­bi­trary judge­ment of some­one else, who some­times proves to be much less re­source­ful than you are. iy high is prob­a­bly right now. Wash­men is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a crazy growth and we are bring­ing the busi­ness to new heights. Stay tuned for some big things that are about to hap­pen.

MY S TART

Af­ter fin­ish­ing my de­gree, I started my ca­reer in in­vest­ment bank­ing at ior­gan Stan­ley. phat’s where I learned how to get things done and work un­der ex­treme pres­sure – it was a tough place to start a ca­reer. It was not un­til I joined SwiCorp lri­vate Eq­uity that ev­ery­thing I learned at ior­gan Stan­ley started to make sense. I started to find my own style of get­ting things done, to struc­ture my think­ing and to avoid re­act­ing un­der pres­sure, de­vel­op­ing in­stead a sys­tem­atic ap­proach. When read­ing the news about peo­ple start­ing their own busi­ness, I had some ad­mi­ra­tion and wanted to start my own gig as well. But I wasn’t sure what, or how to do so ex­actly. kne day, when I had an ar­gu­ment over the phone with a laun­dry ser­vice, I had a ‘eu­reka’ mo­ment. If an app had dis­rupted the trans­porta­tion in­dus­try, why couldn’t another app dis­rupt the laun­dry busi­ness? phat’s when I first thought of Wash­men. I tried to poach some­one from qber but in­stead she con­vinced me to join qber to nail the fun­da­men­tals of an app-based busi­ness. Af­ter one year at qber, I was ready to take the leap of faith.

DOS AND DON’TS

Never say you don’t know. When some­one in my team says this, it drives me crazy. If you don’t know, fig­ure some­thing out. A re­sponse is bet­ter than lin­ger­ing around with­out know­ing what to do. uour so­lu­tion might not be per­fect, but at least you made the ef­fort of com­ing up with some­thing to solve the prob­lem. Never stop ques­tion­ing the sta­tus quo, chal­leng­ing it and telling your­self that it’s pos­si­ble. Erase the word im­pos­si­ble from your in­ter­nal vo­cab­u­lary. I’ve seen many bright guys de­bil­i­tated by that word. phey are much more knowl­edge­able than me, much more qual­i­fied, but they are stuck in their own cu­bi­cle of fears and in­se­cu­ri­ties be­cause of that word. phat’s prob­a­bly why I love the pop­u­lar sports brand’s slo­gan: ‘im­pos­si­ble is noth­ing’.

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