At 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 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 everyday to make ReadyForZero better. We hope you enjoy these interviews – and don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below!
We’ve met the team members – now it’s time to meet the fearless leader of the pack! From an impressive start to an even more impressive journey, CEO Rod Ebrahimi has a genuine passion to help people and a strong drive to solve problems. Read on to find out more about ReadyForZero’s Co-founder & CEO!
How did ReadyForZero start?
Ignacio and I had applied for Y Combinator, which is an accelerator program here in the Bay area that’s run by Paul Graham. We actually applied to the program with a totally different idea which was unrelated to ReadyForZero. It was a social media, news, and aggregation service. We decided midway through it probably wasn’t a very interesting idea or worthwhile to build a company around. We kind of poked around and saw that our other friends were struggling to pay down their debts and so we decided – being the tech guys and getting these questions – to build something online. We wanted to build a software that would solve their problem.
What were you doing before that?
I started my first company at 16. I was recruited out of high school to Silicon Valley and so I was working at a different start up and doing something completely different. This has kind of always been the thing I’ve wanted to do – to find problems that are worth solving and use technology to solve those problems.
What has been the most gratifying moment at ReadyForZero so far?
For me, it’s the team. When I wake up in the morning or think about how far we’ve come, I always think about the people we’ve attracted to join the team. That’s the most powerful thing. I think if you plant the right seeds in the beginning, it becomes easier and that’s the most exciting thing for me.
Of course part of feeding into that growth is feeding the team! So what’s your favorite place to grab lunch and what do you get?
It’s a Jamaican place all the way down by the AT&T park. Its outdoors and it’s really a great spot. I usually order the special, which is always different, but I think the last time, for example, it was a spicy fish sandwich. And I also order iced tea.
If you could add anything to the office, what would it be?
On the practical side, I would like a space where we can carve out time to be alone. That helps me concentrate. On the impractical side, I would like to have a giant LCD where we could watch movies.
We have some big sports fans here – did you ever play sports?
I played every sport for a little while. I played tennis. I played basketball. I did karate for the longest time. I did gymnastics. I liked basketball, but then I realized you have to be tall and that didn’t really help me very much. I also did acting, which is not a sport…but I was an extra in Karate Kid 3. You can pause the video and kind of see me.
Wow! Any other acting ambitions?
I also auditioned for “Home Alone” as the main character. That was the height of my acting career, that audition. I was so nervous that I literally didn’t say anything. I had to memorize a set of scripts – which I didn’t do – and then there was a panel of people. They asked me all these questions and I said nothing. It was a 30 minute interview and they felt bad for me and let me go. So I wasn’t the best actor.
Any plans for the future?
I’d like to do more stuff outside and fishing is at the top of my list. I only went once this year, I think, maybe twice, but next year — more of that.
If you had your choice, what’s your perfect climate?
Because I’m kind of a California kid – I’ve lived in San Diego, Santa Barbara, Huntington Beach, and San Francisco – I think I would live somewhere on the coast of California. It’s a little cold up here so I’d like it to be a little bit warmer. Living in San Diego was kind of the perfect combination. It’s right by the beach. You can get away to the desert or the mountains if you want to, but the weather’s perfect.
So would you rather visit Hawaii or Alaska?
Hawaii for sure.
Do you have a thing that you always take with you when you’re traveling?
A Kindle, that’s my number one thing. I read a lot, so that’s my companion. Having one actually changed my reading behavior, too. I used to be one of those readers where you start a book you’ve got to finish it before starting anything else. Now I have four or five active books. It’s more fun to me that way now because you just pick whatever mood you’re in.
Now it’s time for some quick fire questions. Ready?
Bagels or donuts?
Bagels. Wheat bagel. Cream cheese. Or wheat bagel with egg whites and cheese.
Dogs or cats?
I grew up with dogs. I’ve never had a cat.
What’s your favorite place in San Francisco?
Palace of Fine Arts.
And last one, what is your favorite ice cream flavor?
I like cookie dough. Recently though, I’ve been doing coffee ice cream. I never used to like coffee ice cream, but maybe it’s because we just drink so much coffee here!
What about cookie dough and coffee ice cream? Wonder if that would work…
Let’s try that. I like that…
An innovator right up to the end – including ice cream! We’ll keep you posted on if we follow-up with a ReadyForSubZero ice cream shop.