Meet the ReadyForZero Team: Bobby

Meet the ReadyForZero Team: BobbyAt ReadyForZero we strive to always be available and accountable to our users. That’s why we personally respond to every e-mail that’s sent to our support inbox and why we have our pictures on the About page. Now we’re sharing our stories here so you can get to know the fun and diverse people that are working hard every day to make ReadyForZero better. We hope you enjoy these interviews – and don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Our next interview is of Bobby Boughton, Office Manager and Head of HR. Bobby’s been with ReadyForZero since nearly the beginning and has helped scale the company from a 4-man shop to the 10+ team we are today. A more appropriate title would probably be “Jack of All Trades” since he takes care of nearly anything and everything ReadyForZero needs to run on a day-to-day basis. When Bobby’s not at work he spends almost all of his time in athletic pursuits. Read on to learn more about the person who keeps the lights on here at RFZ.

What were you doing before ReadyForZero?
Before ReadyForZero I was working for the Mondavi Center at UC Davis and various theater companies. I was a stage carpenter focusing on rigging and stage management. I worked in theater for a few years, taking a year-long hiatus to move to Truckee so I could spend all my free-time skiing in Tahoe.

Why did you leave Tahoe?
It was great taking some time away to focus on my skiing, but it’s really hard to make a life up there and the real world was calling. I wanted to come back and get a real job so I went back to Mondavi Center and started looking for something new.

How did you find out about ReadyForZero?
I found out about ReadyForZero through Loren (Director of User Experience). Loren is one of my oldest friends – we’ve known each other since the 2nd grade. I knew he’d been working on this project for awhile and about the time they were closing their Series A he said they were going to try to do some hiring. So I came out to San Francisco for a day to hang out with Loren and he showed me the office and introduced to me (Co-founders) Rod and Nacho. Over that week I sent my resume. A week later I was dropping a friend off at the airport and Loren told me to come in for an interview. So I stayed in the city and had lunch with Loren, Rod, and Nacho and when they finished the fundraising they brought me on.

What was it that made you want to take this opportunity for ReadyForZero?
I knew Loren had been working on it so I could trust that this was a company that actually wanted to help people. I liked the product, loved the mission, and was always interested in doing some sort of philanthropic work, so this was right up my alley. I never was the type to want to be a lawyer or a stock broker working only for the money. I always wanted to do work that had a positive social impact.

I went to college at the University of Bristol in the UK and considered studying law, but ended up liking my philosophy classes so much that I majored in it and studied it in graduate school. However, I realized the PhD program I was in wouldn’t open that many more doors for me than a Master’s degree, so I decided to turn in my thesis after one year and was awarded a Master’s degree. I hoped to take a lecturing position at Sacramento State University, but like so many jobs in education, it ended up falling through thanks to the recession of 2008. I looked into the Peace Corps, Americorps, and the Navy – but none of them recognized my degrees since they came from a school outside of the U.S.

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So when I found out about this opportunity I knew I wanted to get involved. It’s really exciting for me to be able to help people and to build a company from the ground up without having to feel like a cog in the wheel.

What are you most excited about for the future of ReadyForZero?
I’m most excited to see the company keep growing and having a positive impact. The more it grows the more people we can help. It’s also exciting to see the debt paid down growing and as that scales we know we’re having even more of an impact. From this side it’s also fun to see the company grow and more people get involved – to watch the ReadyForZero family grow so to speak.

Speaking of that, you’ve been a huge part of ReadyForZero’s growth. Tell us more about what you do.
Well, I was the 4th employee and brought on just after we had gotten investment, so it was my job to help the company scale up. That includes moving us to a bigger space (unlike the one-room office we started off in), equipment, hiring, building systems, and building an infrastructure to become a successful full-fledged company with employees. I like being the jack of all trades because every day I come in and don’t know what kind of question I’ll have to answer or the problem I’ll have to solve.

You’re also a jack of all trades when it comes to sports! So let’s hear the gamut – what sports have you been most competitive in?
Yeah, I suppose athletics of all sorts interest me! When I was in high school Loren and I played a lot of paintball and ended up becoming nationally competitive. Random I know, but we were actually pretty good. The team I played for actually won the world cup of paintball for two years running! That was how I spent most summers in my youth. In the winter it was skiing.

When I went to University of Bristol I played rugby on the university’s rugby league team for three or four years. Which was a bruising experience to say the least. I also did a lot of cycling. Right before moving back home, Loren, two others, and I rode from the south of France all the way up to England. It was an exhausting 3,000 mile trip, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat. When I moved back to the US I focused in on skiing and cycling – including mountain and road biking. I also completed in time trials – courses where you get on a bike and ride solo on flat ground for as fast as you can go for about 20 miles.

My real passion though is skiing, I’m a die hard skier and always will be. I don’t care what the conditions are like. It could be a blizzard or minus five degrees and I’d still ski, knowing the snow will be the best then. Nothing in the world will stop me from skiing during the winter.

So if you could get Rod to purchase any game for the office, regardless of cost or size, what would you pick?
In-house bobsled run. It just looks like a good way to perk up when coffee stops working. Maybe that’s too big to install in the office. Alternatively we could just host the company on a mountaintop and we could take our breaks in the sled!

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  • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

    What a great interview! And a great photo, too. Among the many other things Bobby does for ReadyForZero, he’s also made time to write some very insightful blog posts, like this one: http://blog.readyforzero.com/invest-or-pay-off-debt/.