Co-founder and CEO of jalebi.io, Zohare Haider is on a mission to help restaurants streamline operations to increase marginal income on every order they craft. An entrepreneur, passionate about solving the broad range of F&B challenges in the region, we caught up with him to find out what a typical day in the life of Zohare looks like!
1. What time do you usually get up?
My son’s baby monitor is my alarm clock, so we’re usually up together around 7 am.
2. Do you eat breakfast? If so, what time, and what do you eat?
The most important meal of the day that I adopted too late in life. I’m a stickler for minimizing decision-making and automation, so my breakfast is the same 2 boiled eggs, some fresh fruit, cranberry juice, coffee, and some fresh feta cheese, with an occasional indulgence of a slice of sourdough bread. Saturdays are cheat days, so we go bonkers with waffles, pancakes, omelets, and parathas. I’m also taking my daily Omega 3, 6, 9, and multi-vitamin supplements.
3. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Check on my son via the baby cam.
4. What would your day be incomplete without?
Seeing my son and maybe reading him a book or ten, after he has breakfast. If he sees me before, his routine goes down the drain for a while.
5. Who do you live with and what part do they play in your day?
My wife of 15 years, 3-year-old son, nanny, My wife is my rock (for whom I am a helium balloon), my son is my purpose, my nanny fills all the gaps and keeps the system in motion.
6. Do you have any pets and what part do they play in your day?
8-year-old golden retriever Juno, 14-year-old ragamuffin Bucket, and 3-year-old (psycho feral) Arabian Mau named Pluto. They are all great listeners. Sadly, they are equally good talkers, which can become noisy.
7. What are your main responsibilities?
As a person, to be kind and considerate, even when others are not. As a father, to plan far ahead so my son’s support platform to launch his life is ready. As a husband, to be there, share in equal parts, and be accessible, always. As a CEO, to be thinking ahead, provide clarity and guidance and prepare for disasters and ways to protect my team and vision. As a founder, to keep asking questions and wondering “ what if?”, and to participate in the ecosystem with my experience and knowledge.
8. What do you do in the morning?
Basic hygiene (of course), catch my son before school or park (depending on the day), coffee and breakfast with my wife, then start work. I might catch the days headlines on my google newsfeed or check email before to see if there’s anything pressing, but try and avoid engaging in conversations until my family routine is finished. My official work day starts with a “ Good morning “ greeting on our general slack channels for all my companies, although I am only actively involved in jalebi.io.
9. How do you end your day? What’s the last thing you do at night?
Think about the day, what I did well, what I could have done better, think about my top 3 things for tomorrow, good night to my wife, a few minutes of cuddling with my dog, and cats, check on my son’s room temperature, then lights off.
10. How often do you check your emails and messaging services?
Countless, but I’m trying to control it using tools like focus mode, work/life balance functions, and mental health improvement apps on my phone.
11. Who do you speak to the most during the day?
My Business Ops lead, my chief product officer, my wife, my marketing ops lead, my market launcher, and country GMs.
12. What advice would you give other founders about getting the best out of their day?
Pick your battles, delegate work and hire professionals as fast as you can.
13. What advice would you give to other founders, generally?
Focus on your why so you never forget who you’re building value for. Fundraise as a tool to power your business’s arsenal, not your next headline on Techcrunch. Most importantly, Believe in yourself. If you don’t, how can anyone else?
14. Does the structure of your day change on the weekends? If so, how?
Saturdays are sacred and dedicated to my son and wife. That’s my weekend.
I work Sun – Thurs (for KSA/Oman) and Mon – Fri (UAE/Pakistan)
15. What’s the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
Give attention to detail / follow your passion, the money will follow – my dad
You get what you put in – Vijay Tirathrai, Techstars
16. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a founder?
If you’re not willing to do it yourself, you can’t expect anyone else to follow your lead
Plan your burn with a 15% margin of error (meaning operate with -15% of your actual cash in hand)
Egos are dangerous, question your motives and trust that you didn’t get where you are by accident.
17. Where did you get the idea for your startup?
Always wanted to solve for the food industry, but we arrived at our current business model through trial, and error, extensive market research, continuous customer discovery, and market validation, then investing heavily in our instincts.
Through extensive questions, critical thinking and co-creation with experienced restauranteurs, we ended up building what we have.
18. Tell us something you couldn’t live without that helps you at work?
My MacBook (is that an acceptable response?) and an external monitor to help manage my cervical spondylosis.
19. Who inspires you and why?
Friends for 30 years. Together for 17 years. Married for 15 years. Ran a business together for 7 years. Been parents for 3 years.
Because she tolerated me and my eccentricities through all of that and apparently still loves me.