Interview With Amarit Charoenphan, CEO of HUBBA

Interview With Amarit Charoenphan

Amarit's passion and life's work is to create a better world where people work with passion, meaning, and purpose while actively supported by an inspiring community and ecosystem.

He is the Group CEO & Co-founder of HUBBA, the Hub of Global Creators. They are Thailand’s 1st and largest coworking space and community which is targeted to serve 12,000+ members by the end of 2016. 

He is also the Co-founder of Techsauce Media, Thailand's leading tech media, which is best known for Techsauce Global Summit, Southeast Asia's 1st Global Scale conference that will be attended by 6,000 attendees on July 28 - 29, 2017.

If you hear the word startups, coworking, and Thailand in one sentence, chances are someone will mention HUBBA. That's where they want to be, the heart and soul of the Thai startup ecosystem and coworking community.

an elephant in the jungle of indonesia

What are the best things about coworking compared to a traditional office space? 

I don't think a coworking space and a traditional office should be compared to one another anymore in 2017. One place is just a place to get work done, the other place is a place to make new friends and grow your business, to collaborate and find your co-founders and teammates, to find inspiration and energy, to learn and develop professionally and personally, to be productive and best of all, to live your life according to your life's mission. 

A coworking space with the right community, design, and management unleash a hidden energy that creates innovation, technologies, and life trajectories. An office space is just a dumb commodity that gets the job done and where you leave at 5 pm sharp.

Do you host events for your community?

We love events and we are very proud and confident to be the coworking space that organizes the most number of unique and interesting events in Thailand (last count: 30 events per month across our entire network and counting). 

We love organizing events and seeing our members and attendees have an unforgettable, life-changing experience at HUBBA Events. It is the only full-service dedicated events company under the HUBBA ecosystem that aims to provide our members and the greater startup community with opportunities to build and scale their startup.

This is done by connecting our members with co-founders, mentors, and investors, and the chance to hack an MVP and pitch to investors via our flagship hackathon series, HUBBA Stadium. They can also connect with global thought leaders, industry titans, major corporations, and venture capitalists from across the world via conference such as Techsauce Summit. This event is co-organized in conjunction with our sister technology media company, Techsauce which was attended by over 3,500 delegates in 2016. 

We've highlighted some of our favorite events here:

Furthermore, we also run HUBBA Academy which is the first institution under the HUBBA ecosystem to provide experiential education services to our members under the #LearnReal concept. Project-based workshops and classes are taught by highly curated specialists and real-life practitioners aiming to provide HUBBA members with the skills and experience they need to be able to improve their businesses, find high-growth employment opportunities in fast-growing careers or connect with startups and clients within the HUBBA community and network to grow their business.

a good view of dozens of rice terraces

What is your favorite coworking space you have been to in a different city?

Hubud in Ubud, Bali is probably by far the most unique, cozy, and community driven coworking space that we consider as our peer and equivalent to HUBBA. Every time I visit the space, I learn something new, I feel refreshed and energized and I fall in love with the city. Perhaps it's something in the mountain air of the Bali mountains?

What is working best for your marketing right now?

What's working best for our marketing right now is that because we have so many fans and followers that have come through our space, the sheer amount of people that just organically engage with the content by liking, sharing and commenting is phenomenal. I would never imagine that there would come a day when one HUBBA post may garner up to 10,000 likes and 2,000 shares.

What is your biggest differentiator compared to other coworking spaces?

HUBBA wants to not just be any other coworking space, but our mission is much greater than that. We want to be an organization and a platform that aims to create a thriving ecosystem of products and services that allow entrepreneurs to achieve happiness, productivity, and success in their entrepreneurial journey. HUBBA’s mission is to create a better world where people work with passion, meaning, and purpose while actively supported by an inspiring community and HUBBA resources to grow and become successful, both personally and professionally through the various products and services in our ecosystem such as Coworking Spaces, Events, Academy, Mentorship and Media.

Therefore, at HUBBA we are building a community management and real estate technology platform that creates stunning workspaces, a vibrant community, events and educational experiences and business services that have served over 12,000 members from across the world. 

a transportation vehicle in the streets of indonesia

Our name comes from the word Hub and the Thai word บ้า, which means crazy!

What is the toughest decision you've had to make in the last few months?

To go slower, to have more patience. Contrary to popular belief, sometimes you need to learn to crawl before you can run in a startup. If your company, your team, your process is not strong and you try to grow, you will fall and waste more time, energy and resources. I have learned this the hard way, and only until now have we realized that had we did things by the book and not fallen into the startup hype, HUBBA would have grown much faster, bigger and more sustainability that where we are now.

If it was possible, what advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

My advice would be to spend more time coding, reading, experimenting and feeding my curiosities and less time partying and following what other people are doing. We all have the same amount of time in a day, but until you run out of time do you realize how precious every moment is.

Favorite place to travel to?

My favorite place to travel to is any place with friendly people, a cool startup scene, a community driven coworking space and amazing food! Some of Bali, Chiang Mai, Beirut and anywhere in Japan are some of the first places that come to mind :)

What are some of the best things about your coworking community?

Some of the best things about our coworking community is when there is such a Product/Market fit that our members and staff love the business and the coworking space. The community loves HUBBA as though it is their own business, or sometimes refer to it as their "baby". I love it when I see our members take their own initiative to mentor one another on their own, take guests on a tour of the space, bring their kids to work with them and volunteer to organize meetups and close the space for our staff. I love seeing our staff work tirelessly all through the night to finish a project, put in extra shifts and volunteer to help out in events, drag their bodies on an all-nighter bar crawl just to keep our community going. It puts a tear in my eyes every time I see someone that loves my business as much as I do, if not more!

What book are you most likely to give as a gift?

My favorite all time book to give as a gift is actually a book I was given as a gift by a friend, Yoseph Ayele who is the CEO at Edmund Hillary Fellowship (EHF). The book is called Big World, Small Planet by Johan Rockstrom and Mattias Klum. In the book, the authors vividly show how our actions are now threatening to trigger "tipping points" that could derail the Earth off into a falling cliff without a turning back point. It's a masterpiece of a non-fiction book: rock solid science, amazing photography and riveting storytelling to share the latest insights on the necessity, possibility, and opportunities presented by a new development paradigm - abundance within planetary boundaries. 

As a Buddhist, I believe that we are very lucky and fortunate to be alive in this day and age of startups, coworking space, and accelerating innovations but I want the world to be around for my children to see as well. Protecting what we have left and leaving the world in a slightly better place that we inherited it from our parents by living within the Earth's limit. Using innovation to fix some of the wrongs and be prepared for the worst feels not like a nice thing to do, but it's the most important action we should take within our lifetime.

What is your favorite app or online tool?

I love any tool that allows me to stay connected with our community, our team, and our followers. Since we never found the right tool for us, the HUBBA crew decided to build our own that is unique to our community's need. I can already sense that it will be my new favorite app and tool in no time!

Amarit Charoenphan of hubba speaking in an event

What was the best event that you recently attended?

One of the most amazing experience is in fact not an event or the conference itself but the post-conference excursion. I recently came back from Next Growth Conclave, Nepal's largest tech startup conference held in Kathmandu. While it may seem like another tech conference, one of the thing that struck me deeply was the passion that the organizers had for trying to use startups and the event as a platform for socioeconomic development. 

Despite still reeling from the devastating earthquakes, the post-conference experience is in my humble opinion, is still the peak of all post-conference excursions: a mountain flight around Mount Everest! To be able to see one of the world's greatest landmarks up close in one of the places where you least expected there to be a startup community is really inspirational for me. It just goes to show that if the Nepalis can do it despite going through such a massive devastation, then you can succeed to build a startup anywhere in the world.

What business would you love for someone else to start?

I would love for someone to start a business that attempts to solve climate change at a mass scale, like Elon Musk's Tesla and Solar City. I think the world needs another 1,000 Elon Musk and then we would be in a much better place that where we are now today.

What advice do you have for new business owners? 

Learn fast. You can never be prepared enough when launching a new business. It's how you react to failures, crises, and learn from them. Iterate and improve yourself and your business every day and how fast you can do that is what will separate you from mediocrity.

Twitter: @aimamarit

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