[00:00] Podcast begins - Houston Startups Showcase a City on the Rise
[01:48] Evolving tech & understanding work-life balance with Gustavo Suare
[07:18] Behind the scenes of success & stress in a startup
[14:01] Defining career moments & managing stress with Samra Nawaz
[19:39] Finding advisors & mentors as a startup founder
Interviewer: Gustavo Suarez, Founder & CEO of Trez
How has the tech industry in Houston evolved since you founded your first business?
35 years ago, when Chris began his journey as a tech founder, Houston looked a whole lot different. The startup ecosystem was nearly nonexistent and there were no resources for founders like Chris that wanted to learn more about running their own business. Instead, Chris had to bootstrap his way to success, running his businesses out of his home and working to build the network he needed to thrive. Now, Chris is pleased to see the Ion and other startup resources come together and create a leading startup ecosystem in Houston.
“I think that's evident from the turnout [at the Houston Startup Showcase]. A lot of activity, a lot of startup founders. There wasn't anything like this available for me when I started my first company, even my second company here in Houston.”
What lessons have you learned in work life balance?
As a father, Gustavo has struggled to manage the demanding schedule of being both a parent and a founder. For Chris, spending time with his children and his wife was a major priority for him, but came with necessary sacrifices. Chris explains that spending time with your family is a huge stress reliever and that founders all need to work on their own work-life balance. Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone, but with proper systems in place, Chris is confident that founders can be successful while keeping their eyes on the important things in life.
“Entrepreneurship isn't for everyone. It is a huge commitment for anybody and there is a lot of stress involved and there's a difference between getting a paycheck on Friday, versus how am I going to create enough money to give a paycheck to 10 people, 20 people, 100 people?”
Interviewer: Samra Nawaz, CEO & Co-Founder of WellWorth
Can you pick one defining moment from your early days as a founder?
As a tenured founder, Chris can point to many moments in his career that stand out as turning points and defining moments. One in particular that stands out is the decision to open an international office for Softeq. International IT opportunities lowered costs, expanded reach, and defined the company’s future. Chris explains that it was one of the toughest challenges he’s ever faced, but that it more than paid off in the long run.
“I needed a lower cost option and so, I decided to open an office in Eastern Europe, in Belarus actually, which was definitely a challenge, but it did define the company and now, we're an international business with offices in four countries and developers in over 22.”
How do you manage stress as a founder?
Chris admits that in his earlier days as a founder, stress management came easier and impacted his health less. Now, Chris works to prioritize healthy eating habits, exercising, and spending time with his family to relieve some of the stress of being a founder. For Samra, pickleball and playing games is the perfect escape for the hard days of running a startup. No matter what, founders need the right coping mechanisms for the ups and downs of the tech industry and the trials of making a startup successful.
“A lot of it is just an attitude of like, this too shall pass. It’s just really understanding that you're gonna get through the day, but I think that also balancing that with family and spending time with your kids is a big stress relief as well.”