We had the good fortune of connecting with Rami Zeidan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rami, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Perhaps I am conditioned from my training as a student of economics & finance, but fundamentally I evaluate the risk-reward relationship of every micro and macro decision and historically in a financial sense. I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I had initially taken a very financially risk-averse approach to entrepreneurialism – I started out in the investment world where the skill set is broad enough to narrow focus later without career trajectory set-backs. Doing so allowed me earn a great living before I had 100% conviction in an entrepreneurial endeavor. When my brother passed away a few years ago, my perspective on risk shifted a bit. Not necessarily with the cliché “life is too short to be risk-averse” mentality, but rather that being so risk-averse was in itself not rewarding and a manifestation of a lack courage and self-confidence (for me). My brother was a humanitarian and a doctor and was giving so much to the world and worrying about finances as secondary. The outpour of love from all avenues of his life after his death made me feel that the real risk in my life would be to not make, or at least aspire to make, a positive impact on the universe and human lives. So in the end, while I’m still moderately risk-averse, I’ve calibrated my definition of risk & reward to be less financially oriented. While sure, the fear of financial failure is a very real motivation, but not nearly as motivating and fulfilling as chasing this beautiful chance to make an impact – starting of course with the amazing people that I work with.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We’re a tech-enabled hotel brand & management company; in essence a modern day Marriott started out of Silicon Valley. In short, I’m passionate about creative problem solving and being of service to a bigger picture. I don’t like to think I have a career in hospitality per se, but rather that Life House is solving a bigger problem in the travel & real estate ecosystem and we use software and new ways of thinking & doing to solve those problems. Re-thinking an entire B2B2C industry is no easy task and while it has been quite an ambitious undertaking, we’re pleased with the progress we’ve made. The genesis of Life House stems from a collection of both my unique personal and professional experiences. The former contributed to solving a consumer problem and the latter solving a business problem. On the personal front, I was fortunate to have been a son of Lebanese immigrants in a pretty homogenous Minnesota, which translated to me being hyper aware of how I was perceived and understood and accepted as a minority. This led me to build a brand that celebrates the core of what travel is meant to be about – discovering our collective sense of belonging to the universe, which can bring a tremendous amount of meaning to a life. On the professional front, I was fortunate to have had a wide array of jobs that allowed me to understand the entire ecosystem from real estate investing & lending, to brand building and interior design, to operations etc. I’ve learned too many lessons to count here and continue learning each day. As the company’s mission was derived from personal and professional experiences, my evolution as a Founder and CEO has also balanced personal and professional growth in a circuitous way. Perhaps some of the most important lessons I’ve learned are related to how to balance trust (in a process, in people, in life) with effort in scripting the controllable aspects of an outcome.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I dedicate most of my time to my job these days, but there still are some things that feed my soul that I can’t give up. A perfect day for me is mostly outdoors and I don’t think Miami gets enough credit for its access to nature and the outdoors. Coming from New York I gravitate less to the food and drink scenes and more to the ocean. I would start a weekend with a long run near the water – whether loops around Brickell Key, the beach or one of the causeways, you’re bound to see some sort of wildlife if you look in the water. Then off to Virginia Key to rent a paddle board and if its not too windy venture out of the lake and into the open ocean. I’ve never been and not seen at least a manatee, a sting ray, or a turtle – if you’re lucky you’ll see dolphins or maybe a shark :). Then to Soho Beach House for a day at the beach. It can be quite busy, but I like to recuse myself to a less busy section with a book and quick access to jump in the ocean and go for a swim. If not Soho, rent a boat with some friends and anchor in the bay or venture into the open ocean and go for a swim in the clear water. There’s nothing that makes you feel more connected to the universe than free diving in the open ocean and trusting that we’re all just a small node in a very big network. After freshening up, head to Lagniappe for a bottle of wine and cheese board and of course for dinner head to Layla – our quaint modern middle eastern restaurant, bar & lounge discretely overlooking the Collins Canal. Layla refers to the story of Layla & Majnun – which is known as the middle eastern version of Romeo & Juliet (it opens in late March).
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My investors and my colleagues at Life House. One of the most beautiful things in this world is a foundational belief in a human’s potential and I’m forever grateful for my investors and colleagues for their belief and trust in me.