13 years ago when alex decided to start his first company i was still super excited using my first computer, typing away on microsoft word(Microsoft word 95 i remember..Oohh them days i cherish), challenging my friends on how i fast i could type without looking at the keyboard, Anyways this shows how long alex has been involved in the internet start-up.
Hi Alex, Welcome to YHP, Tell us about your company? What position do you execute in the business?
I am the president and founder of T35 Hosting. Our company provides free and paid hosting services to almost a million members world wide. Our services range from ad-based free hosting, to feature-packed cPanel paid hosting.
Can you give us some background information about yourself?
I have been involved with internet start-up’s since the mid 1990’s and currently have almost a dozen different ones I am working on. T35 Hosting was actually one of the first “projects”, and it is still around and successful to this day.
Alex you’ve definitely been around for a while, what do you think you’ve done to keep up to pace with the new technologies and innovation from 1997 when you launched your first website?
It has definitely been a very busy time over the last 13 years. Technology and user demands change in an almost real-time environment and it has been a real challenge to keep up. A true testament to this is that out of the dozen or so free web hosts that were around when we started, almost none are left today (especially with Geocities closing it’s doors this year). To keep up we have always promoted a policy of close communication with our customers and we try to grow and adjust with their changing needs.
How long would you say you work on average?
Most of T35 Hosting is automated these days, so I only spend about 2-3 hours a day managing it. I also spend another 4-5 hours/day on the other projects I am working on.
What is the most challenging aspect of what you do?
The most challenging part of my job is trying to decide where to take the company to keep up with customer trends and demands. It’s my job to find out which features are important and which are just fads that will come and go.
In your industry, what is the hierarchy like?
Web hosting like most web-based industries are very flexible and differ company from company. There isn’t any standard hierarchy that is set in stone.
I mean you have over a decade in the internet world, what would you say has been the most crucial thing you’ve learnt?
The most important lesson I have learned is that you have to stay on your feet. The internet world moves at the speed of light and if you aren’t keeping up with trends and new developments, you will not succeed.
Do you think there is a difference between your generation and the upcoming generations of
I think the younger generations are more entrepreneurial then ever before. Kids of all ages are becoming aware of all the opportunities that are out there (especially with the web facilitating many of those). More and more young people are exploring the internet, making websites and making money online. All of them are entrepreneurs and represent a colossal change over how the previous generations thought and acted.
Do you think that a work-life balance – having a successful career and having a successful family life – is realistic?
Yes, having a work-life balance is more attainable today then ever before. With running your own business, you usually have huge flexibility and the ability to make your own hours. But even in corporate culture, telecommuting and working at home a day a week is starting to take hold which creates a huge boost in work-life balance.
Do you think it is possible to be able to devote time to friends and family while trying to be a successful entrepreneur?
Yes, being a successful entrepreneur doesn’t mean dropping everything else in your life. Like any other profession (and perhaps even more so), you can always create a good balance.
What are you looking forward to as the new buzz on the web?
The new buzz online is how we connect and share information with each other. The web is becoming more and more of a tool for sharing ideas, reviews, and everything else. Even major brands are starting to take notice and beginning to monitor and even control their online presence and what people are saying about them online.
Do you have any plans to expand your business in the near future?
Yes, while the US markets are somewhat competitive (especially with hosting now competing with profile sites like facebook and myspace), there is still a lot of opportunities overseas. We plan to continue our expansion into several overseas market including Asia and South America.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on several different start-ups including an image sharing site, free hosting directory and much more.
What’s been the most crucial thing you’ve done to grow your business?
Making our customers happy is what ultimately drives our business. Over half of our customers were referred by other customers.
What motivates you, especially during down-times?
I’m motivated by the fact that our business provides a free service and a free way for people to get their website and ideas online. Almost a million customers and organizations rely on this service and it’s something that always motivates me. We always strive to meet their expectations and help them succeed.
What do you do to relax?
My personal hobby is to travel and to go and explore new places where I haven’t been before. This helps me relax and find new perspective.
What should we be expecting from you in the future?
There are several new start-ups in the work, some that I have mentioned here and some that I am not at liberty to discuss. Watch for the new developments in 2010 though.
Do you have any tips for young entrepreneurs out there?
Yes, my greatest advice is to go out there and try and try again and keep trying. Never give up on your ideas or your dreams. The key to entrepreneurship is perseverance.