Interview with Oscar Hedaya, Founder of SPACE

by Wills Joe
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Interview with Oscar Hedaya, Founder of SPACE

Space founder Oscar Hedaya grew up with a passion for technology, and he’s now bringing that passion to your home or business. Hedaya graduated from Rutgers Business School with a degree in Business Management and Finance. Over the years he was a vital part in developing a number of innovative technologies that are now widely used in our everyday lives, such as touch screen gloves, electric mobility, and more.

Where did the idea for SPACE come from?

Oscar Hedaya: As with any new technology, innovation results from a void. I noticed a missing element in today’s safes, and after spending more than 18 months in development, I found a way to incorporate todays “smart home” technologies into a better way to protect your valuables; and the idea of a smart safe came to fruition. Similar products on the market were either poorly crafted or didn’t possess the features that the modern user would be searching for. Worse of all, every safe on the market looks like a safe when they should be completely discreet. I finally crafted The Space Safe with his blend of passion, beauty, and skill set, resulting in a one-of-a-kind safe – perfect for any home or business owner. Best of all, The Space Safe is just the first of a long line of smart home security products that will be offered by Space.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Oscar Hedaya: I have always found that depending on your role, the hardest part of the day is the first 2 hours because you are playing catch-up for the emails that came in overnight. Time management is extremely important and for some it’s difficult. My recommendation is first thing in the morning, create a to-do list for the day and literally plan it as best as possible before jumping into anything else. In my earlier years, I would rate the importance of each item and make a to-do list. Although I couldn’t get to everything on my list that day, if I prioritized accordingly, having the unfinished tasks overflow to the next is fine, depending on their importance. If someone is waiting on a response from you and you know you can’t respond that day, let them know when they should expect an answer. Unless absolutely necessary, I never make a meeting before 10:30 am, so I can make sure everything from the morning is set for the day and I can give my full attention to the meeting. Again, make sure to prioritize properly, and if your workload is too big, there’s no harm in asking for help or hiring some assistance.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Oscar Hedaya: I believe in jotting things down, and for me I find that writing things using a pen and paper let the juices flow better than typing it out. If you walk into my office, you will always see a notebook and pen on my desk. I have had some great ideas and some terrible ideas that come out of nowhere. On my desk I also keep an “idea notebook” and if the idea is at least a decent one, I write down every single detail, because when it’s fresh and you’re in the zone, your mega processing brain kicks in. 97% of those ideas never come to light, and every so often I’ll flip through the notebook to reassess or see if another idea triggers. Annually I have about 3 great business ideas. It is extremely important to make a full assessment of any idea before pulling the trigger. You’re one person, so don’t split your time unless it makes sense. Always remember, if you are working on one thing that means you cannot be working on something else; so focus and make sure it’s worthwhile.

Personally I carve out whatever time I need from my schedule to jot down everything about that idea. Budgeting time or money is the most important; prepare a basic budget and if it makes sense, move to the next step, and if it doesn’t, keep it in the notebook; variables change over time. At times I form basic budgets and after digging deep into all the costs, I realize some businesses will never succeed.

It’s important to know your strengths and your weaknesses, and if you can partner with someone you trust and they can offset your weaknesses, do it! What some people don’t notice is they’re biased to their ideas, so if you have some friends you confide in, run the ideas through them. You may find the idea is either worse than you thought or better than you expected. Don’t waste your time if you don’t believe in the idea, and most importantly always believe in yourself and have a good support system. I will only speak to people I know will support my endeavors but give me an honest opinion; that way it’s my decision if I decide not to run with an idea.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Oscar Hedaya: Growing up, my father always brought home the latest innovations. He would express that technology was the future, and it would always play an important role in people’s lives. Because of it, I was always very tech savvy. Tech, gadgets, and innovation is a trend that excites me the most. People are amazing if they apply themselves, and I love to see how people’s creativity and ingenuity create amazing products in one of the largest industries. Clothing companies won’t change your life, but technology will and has in every way possible.

The blind can now see, the deaf can now hear, and exoskeletons can now help the disabled move.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Oscar Hedaya: There are four things that make me more productive:
• I always try to eat late, because after eating I slow down, and until I eat, the hunger makes me move much quicker.
• I always make sure my offices have a window; without it I feel like a prisoner. I want to know what time it is outside and have it be my decision if I stay until 11pm or not.
• Music for me is my muse; I am able to hone in on anything, and good music gets me pumped and motivated. Without it, sometimes I lose focus and find myself multitasking and jumping around too much. It’s not for everyone.
• I have always been a night owl, and some of my most creative moments are at night. At times I work again after dinner and with zero interruptions I sometimes notice it’s 4am.

Coffee is a big one for people. I don’t drink it, but I definitely see the benefits of coffee. When I’m on it, I feel a huge surge of energy, focus, and confidence. For me I like to think of it as nitrous, and don’t want to use it unless I need it, because I definitely don’t want to be hooked on it.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Oscar Hedaya: I was always the type who if I believed in something, took whatever risks I had to; whether it was money or time. I’m an 8-80 type of guy; it’s all or nothing. If it’s not worth the time, it’s simply “worthless”. As you get older you realize that things you were once afraid of are now meaningless in your everyday life. Be confident, don’t overthink things; just go for it! The worst that can happen is either someone says no, or it doesn’t work out, and you could very easily just move on to the next thing.

I don’t want to sound cliché, but time is not on your side, so don’t waste it. Learn from every experience and if you can no longer grow in that place, move on. Life is funny; you have a very limited time here, and with it you need to make as much money as you can in your best years so you can be your happiest and live a good life in your later years. The best advice I give people is never stay stagnant. If you feel underappreciated or aren’t getting paid enough, then move on because someone else will probably pay more. Follow your gut. There are no wrong moves in life that you can’t fix.

Always be careful with people and situations. If something is too good to be true, 99% of the time it is. Unfortunately some people are manipulative and great salespeople. Never jump into something blindly; always assess your situations before diving in, and if you’re not sure, ask someone you trust.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Oscar Hedaya: It’s super important to make sure you take time for yourself. Travel, take off from work, refresh your soul and body as often as possible, even if it’s just a weekend getaway or an hour drive away. Don’t ever use an excuse like “I have to work,” because you will always have to work, and if you work for someone else, you can always find a replacement job if they can’t understand the importance of life balance. Live your life as best as you can and make as many memories as you can. No one ever said on their deathbed, I wish I worked more.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Oscar Hedaya: Your business is like your garden. If you don’t constantly feed it and tend to it, it will die. Competition is what creates innovation and grows your business. Try your best to always stay one step ahead, but never be dishonest or lower your quality, because that will only hurt you in the end. At the end of the day you have one name, so make it mean something.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Oscar Hedaya: Know your strengths, and if you don’t, ask someone close to you to tell you what they are. Always focus on your strengths, and don’t spend time working on things you aren’t great at; find someone else that can do them for you. If you are just OK at something, don’t waste your time on it. Find experts in your trade so you can grow the best you can from them. Don’t forget, your entire life you have created a network; use it to help you grow.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Oscar Hedaya: Focus on what’s actually important and make sure you value your time. Always hire people to do simple jobs that are time consuming. In one of my businesses I was worried about costs, so I personally handled my customer service; this was a big mistake. At the peak of holiday season, I received so many questions that it took over the entire day, and instead of selling, I was responding to basic questions. This is when “your time is money” started to make sense. I was working an entry-level job when in this period in my life, my time was more valuable than that, and I could have used that time wisely to sell my product; opportunity cost.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Oscar Hedaya: As you know by now, I am extremely drawn to technology, and I believe if you find something that’s unique in the market that has some benefit to consumers, that is a business worth diving more into. At the end of 2018 I found a product that I loved. We’re told that the globe is covered by 71% of water, yet 97.5% of that is salt water (not drinkable). The biggest issue is that over 2.1 billion people don’t have access to drinkable water supply, which is a basic commodity. So how do we take today’s technologies to solve the issues around the world? You’ve seen the largest companies in the world provide internet to places that didn’t have access by using drone or satellite technology. For water, I found a technology that took the humidity in the air and would convert it to drinking water, and I decided to bottle that water. The idea offered pure, clean, delicious water to anyone, anywhere. The world has both limited and limitless resources, why waste the limited ones?

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Oscar Hedaya: It’s scary to think that today $100 can be spent so quickly and on almost nothing memorable. My grandmother always said, spend your money wisely, because anyone can spend money, not everyone can make it.

I loved my wired headphones and actually had a few pairs lying around in several places. So it’s funny to say, but the best $100 I have spent professionally is for sure my AirPods. I recommend anyone who doesn’t have a pair to go purchase one. Having phone calls with your AirPods is one of my favorite things to do; I don’t even answer a phone normally anymore. I have actually gifted several AirPods to people, and everyone loves them.

I love giving people gifts and surprising them. I love seeing their reactions and appreciating something that they had zero expectations receiving. It’s funny, you could spend $300 at a beautiful restaurant with someone, and the next day it’s forgotten, but if you get a person a gift for $50 that they weren’t expecting, they’ll remember it forever and appreciate the gesture. Is this paragraph stupid?

When my grandfather, who is one of the greatest people in the world, (and I’m not saying that because he’s mine) turned 94 this year, I spent $100 on a custom cake for his birthday. For 8 years he had to use a cane, and as a hobby he would walk into antique stores all over the country and purchase super unique canes. When he turned 92 he was no longer able to walk or buy canes, so I decided that buying his birthday cake in the shape of a cane he owned would be appreciated and nostalgic for him. …and it was 😊.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Oscar Hedaya: WhatsApp desktop is one of my favorite apps. By having the ability to respond instantly to people on my computer, I find myself picking up my cell phone only a handful of times a day, and I find myself being much more productive.

My second most-used app is Lightshot; it’s a screenshot app. With it, I am able to screenshot a select area on my screen, and then put arrows, lines, boxes, or text, which is super helpful if I am trying to describe something to someone that needs to be adjusted.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Oscar Hedaya: One book that I read long ago called The Gaslight Effect stuck with me forever. It was the first book I read on Kindle, and now I’m forever hooked on the Kindle. Walking around with Kindle’s digital dictionary is great if you don’t have good vocabulary, and you can highlight any part of the book you would like. My favorite is that I always have a book with me; whether it’s on my iPhone or iPad, I can continue where I left off at any moment. I’m a slow reader, but I’m a huge advocate of reading, and I try to read at least 6 books a year. There are times I get very into reading and read 4 books in a month. My recommendation is don’t read something that bores you, even if it’s not relevant to your life. Find your genre; mine is fiction. The effects are incredible; reading calms me and it also excites me.

David, one of my best friends at the time, recommended The Gaslight Effect; I don’t remember much about it but what always stuck with me –and I’m paraphrasing– is always assess your situations before panicking. The example I remember them using in the book was if you are someone who fears flying and doesn’t like turbulence, don’t panic and jump to a conclusion, especially when something is out of your control. Instead, look around and evaluate the situation. The only time you should worry about turbulence is if you see the flight attendants running to their seats and buckling up. I don’t remember the point they were trying to get across, but I made my own.

What is your favorite quote?

Oscar Hedaya: My first job out of college, I worked at a men’s wholesale clothing company. I always loved to work and I quickly rose through the ranks. Within 6 months of working at this company they demoted my superior and they gave me his position. I felt horrible, so I went to my boss. He told me the reason he was demoted was because he wasn’t as good and that this is life: “eat or be eaten.” It stuck with me forever; if you aren’t at your best, someone else will be in your stead. So keep up in everything, especially your work.

Among my other favorite quotes are:
• Please all and you’ll please none. I loved Aesop’s story “The Man, the Boy, and the Donkey.” Please read it.
• The best hidden things are hidden in plain sight.
• Clothes make the man. Naked men have little or no influence on society. Mark Twain couldn’t have said it any better. Strip everything away and we are all the same. It’s what we wear that make us important; kings, police, judges, pilots, suits, etc. For me, make your mark on the world and wear it well.
• The day you can stop working is when you no longer need to introduce yourself.

Key Learnings:

Oscar Hedaya:

  • Work hard, but don’t work pointlessly. Everything and everyone has value, make sure you maximize yours and align yourself with others that can help you in your weaknesses. Don’t waste your time on things that don’t have value. Assess things properly.
  • You have limited time in your life, especially in your workdays. First thing in the morning, work on a to-do list based on your tasks’ priorities. Once you have that ready, then you can jump into your meetings and work. This will help lower stress levels and maximize efficiency.
  • Work isn’t everything. Find a balance in your life and make sure you are happy. Take days off and be with friends and family. If you aren’t happy at work, then change positions. If you aren’t making enough money, then you either aren’t working hard enough or you are getting taken advantage of, and if it’s the latter, then find a new position.
  • Be honest, be generous, and never cut corners at someone else’s expense. At the end of the day be yourself, and the version of yourself you’re happy with.

Originally published on Ideamensch.com

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