Ever wondered who is behind Trust Square? Read all about the people behind Switzerland’s preeminent technology hub in this interview series.
We kick off our “meet the team” series by introducing Thomas Meister, Trust Square’s General Manager and driving force.
Q: Tom, why did you join Trust Square? With your background in retail, with leading positions at Media Markt and Migros, how comes you became the GM of a tech driven co-working hub in the middle of Zurich?
A: The main point that made me want to go into a start-up environment was to move away from classical management and into entrepreneurship. You read a lot about the gap between a manager and an entrepreneur but you only really know what the gap is when you become an entrepreneur yourself. By joining Trust Square, I joined an exciting tech environment, with fascinating people. Trust Square has a diverse and broad audience in the middle of Zurich, in an up-and-coming industry, these are the main points. The urge to realise and implement something myself is what drives me.
Q: What do you like most about working in such a diverse environment?
A: Complexity, flexibility, dynamics. You always have fodder for the brain and have to constantly realign yourself. But there is also the pressure to reinvent yourself again and again. One year in a start-up feels like five years in a corporate environment - in terms of dynamics.
Q: What does a work day look like for you?
A: Very different, I'd say 30% administrative work. In a start-up, you do a lot more yourself, even in my position - from Powerpoints to Excel sheets, I do everything myself. About 30-50% are discussions and negotiations with potential partners, suppliers and other contacts. Between 20-50% is people's business - meet&greet!
Q: What do you do when you are not at work – how do you manage to find the all-important work-life balance?
A: Well, if you work in a startup, it's not your job, it's your passion. And if someone tells me they have to level out their work-life balance and work in a start-up, then I recommend they go back to the corporate world, and enjoy your fixed weekly hours. The beauty of start-up life is that you can manage most of your time yourself, because you are responsible for your own success. If you work more and more efficiently you are more successful, whereas have more success, if you work less you can't complain if you don't have success. And if biking or a visit to the Kunsthaus or the apero in 4 is more important to you, then it's your decision.
Q: And what do you do when you are not at work?
A: I spend time with my kids, try to do some sports – which at the moment is not very often, ride my motorcycle and used to regularly do Crossfit.
Q: Anything you want to add?
A: I think people today should have more courage to realise their own ideas. A lot of people have extremely great ideas, but the implementation of the idea only begins when the first point is put on paper. That's where it starts. For many, this is a great opportunity. You get to know yourself and your environment very quickly and in a new way when you try to realise something yourself.