Steve Glaveski is the founder of HotDesk, an online platform for connecting entrepreneurs, start ups and small businesses with unused office space that is affordable and professional, and helps to build a collaborative environment where people come together to network, share insights and help each other succeed.
Steve is a first generation Australian of Macedonian descent, born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. Before he ventured out to become a fully fledged entrepreneur, he worked as a management consultant and risk professional with Ernst & Young and the Macquarie Group respectively.
When the running of HotDesk offers him a reprieve, he performs business advisory duties for fellow tech startup StikTag, works on a side passion project in the sports nutrition industry, blogs on all manner of things at SteveGlaveski.com, and writes the occasional piece for Shoestring.
When he’s not immersed in the world of business, he’s probably at the gym, jogging at the beach, checking out new bands or enjoying some quiet time over a drink with family and friends.hotdesk.com.au @steveglaveski @hotdeskau
Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?
HotDesk evolved out of a concept I had called ‘Popupshop’. Popupshop was essentially a casual retail leasing platform. My own frustrating experiences looking for a casual retail lease in order to test an earlier business idea, prompted me to come up with the concept back in 2011 sometime.
From there, my observations of technological shifts such as remote working technologies, the emergence of activity based working, the rise of coworking, and behavioural shifts towards work being something you do, not somewhere you go, resulted in my taking the initial Popupshop model and applying it to office space.
With crowdsourcing applications such as Freelancer.com and ODesk making it super easy and cheap to develop a beta website and test your idea, I decided to take advantage and dive in after several years of toying with various business plans in my spare time while still gainfully employed.
Please explain your business model.
I am evaluating our business model on a regular basis and believe that it is a living, breathing thing rather than a stationary lamppost. Currently, HotDesk takes a cut on bookings made via our platform. We also offer dedicating marketing services for shared office space operators and coworking space, which includes blogging, content marketing, social media marketing, search engine marketing and mail-outs to our large database of budding hotdeskers.
What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next three months?
Without giving away too much, I am working on a shift in our business model. The prospects of which I am very excited about. While I am not a huge event buff, I do like to hit up the occasional Startup Grind fireside chats, Silicon Beach drinks and Lean Startup meetups, all in Melbourne. I attended Sydstart in 2013 which was a fantastic event and hope to check it out again this year.
How do you make ideas happen?
By getting started. It sounds easy but it is even easier to dream up 20 big ideas and do nothing about any one of them and deliberate for months (or years) about the best path to market. Build a prototype, test it, listen to your market, evaluate the responses and decide your next move. You’ll never develop a silver bullet in business from the confines of your mind.
What does your typical day look like?
I get up at 6 and hit the gym before grabbing a high protein breakfast. I cannot stress the importance of exercising and eating right enough to get the most out of your days. I try to get to my desk by 8:30 at the latest.
As a big believer in the law of diminishing returns, I always take a lunch break (away from my desk) and go for at least a 20 minute walk so I can recharge and refocus in the afternoon.
I tend to try and avoid email for the morning and work on creative and strategic tasks without interruption and save the afternoon for more mechanical tasks. I can work from anywhere between 8 and 14 hours a day, depending on how inspired I am, but I don’t work for work’s sake. There is a difference between being busy and being productive.
I also try to pencil in meetings for one to two days a week tops so that the rest of the week is free for actually working.
What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?
I’d like to say access to funding but I was fortunate enough to get funded within three months of launching my beta, so I guess I’ll have to say developing your brand. You could have the best idea, the best product, the best service, but without brand awareness you go nowhere. It takes time to establish a brand and the challenging thing has been having the patience and persistence to keep moving forward despite the, at times, painstakingly slow growth.
What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?
Not really a new idea but somebody, anybody, should commercialise the hoverboard from Back To The Future. It would be a goldmine. If we can put a man on the moon…
What people/companies/organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry at the moment?
Anything that supports the collaborative sharing economy is a good thing. Whether it’s GoGet, AirTasker, Roomz or OpenShed, the behavioural shift from ownership to sharing means incredible lifestyles become much more accessible, facilitated by decreased costs and augmented by the elimination of wastage and benefits for the environment. Platforms such as HotDesk also facilitate collaboration, networking and in some cases innovation, through the bringing together of people.
What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?
Successful businesses do one thing very well…marketing. They can make people want to buy a product or service purely because it’s been marketed well and makes people feel good. If they can use their marketing dollar for good and market philanthropic events the same way, it could only have a positive outcome. Proof of this is Movember – it is a fantastic example of what excellent marketing can do for a charity.
Speaking of affecting social change, is there a particular charity you’d like our readers to support?
Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers.
Name 3 Australians we should follow on Twitter.
I tend to follow companies rather than individuals but I do like to have a giggle at the relentless and sometimes incessant tweeting of Soundwave Festival and now Big Day Out promoter AJ Maddah – @iamnotshouting.
Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?
You can never do with enough help. Interns in the online marketing, lead generation and sales space would be great. We’d also welcome some coding interns with open arms.
We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about startups, marketing, social media, accounting, monetization, product development etc. What would it be?
One question I’d love answered is to see how my organic keywords are performing in search. Google Analytics withholds this information for top performing keywords.
What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?
Café: Brunetti’s on Swanston St, Melbourne
Restaurant: Hunky Dory’s on Bay St, Port Melbourne (the seafood salad with quinoa rocks after a day at the beach!).
Bar: While it can get a bad wrap, Sydney’s Establishment is always a bit of fun. Alternatively, when I’m feeling rock ‘n roll, I can’t look past Melbourne’s Cherry Bar on AC/DC Lane.
We thought it would be cool to crowdsource an annual prize to award to the interviewee’s choice (each person interviewed gets one vote) winner for the year’s best interview. Are you willing to kick in a prize?
I’m willing to offer the winner a free week at any of the spaces listed on HotDesk, where they can meet new people and do some networking. Hey, I’m also single so if the winner is a woman, lunch at Hunky Dory’s. Only kidding, I save Hunky Dory’s for the second date!