Entrepreneur is the job title du jour on everyone's lips, but although everyone wants to be the master of his own business domain, not everyone makes it happen. One Houstonian who has walked the walk is Daniel Martinez of PlatformIT, a networking and educational organization that brings helps young professionals establish and build their own successful brands.
I've been to several PlatformIT events and have learned a lot of valuable information. I sat down with the Martinez as he sheds more light on the his style, the brand and the business scene here in Houston.
Houstonia: Tell us about who Daniel Martinez is.
Daniel Martinez: Daniel is a... Sorry, I just can't talk about myself in third person. I'm 25, born and raised in America, the land of opportunity. I'm a college dropout and still reside in the southwest of Houston, but that doesn't define me. What does is that I wake up every morning with one thing on my mind—success. I live and breathe that mentality. I am an entrepreneur who is looking to change the way we connect with things and people in order to achieve what we want. That's basically it.
How would you categorize and describe your personal style?
Simplistic. I have never been someone who leans towards flash. I'd rather stay true to my mood.
What are you favorite menswear brands?
I really like Scotch & Soda. It's something about the fit that gets me coming back for more. Comfort-ability mixed with durability. When it comes to shoes I live in Cole Haan, great American classics that are infused with Nike Air technology, which is a great recipe for me.
What that you go to item in your closet?
My Scotch & Soda jeans.
What was your last stylish purchase?
A Burberry forest green trench coat.
Who are your style icons?
Steve McQueen, Daniel Craig, and Kanye West, not in any particular order.
What is your favorite social media medium?
Right now I'm in between Twitter and Instagram. I use them both differently.
Tell me about your favorite menswear experience in your life?
My favorite experience has to be the first time I went to Vegas for the Magic trade show. Going from the trade shows to the nightclubs with all these individuals who have a passion for fashion was a little surreal. It's just different. We don't have that here in Houston.
What is PlatformIT?
PlatformIT is a brand I co founded with two friends of mine (Fredy and Ahrif). We started by hosting events at Aloft Hotel where we would bring in successful local entrepreneurs to give advice and share their stories with the Houston entrepreneurship community. We also host social hours sponsored by Remy Martin where we bring in local bands to play some tunes for the crowd as they network with other Houston entrepreneurs. It’s a great event for those interested in entrepreneurship and startups. We have big plans for the brand this year. It’s going to be a fun experience.
What can we expect when we go to one of your events?
This year we are changing the format a little to resemble that of a TV show, like a round-table discussion. You can also expect to hear some great music, have some great drinks and just an overall productive vibe.
How do you define success as a business owner?
When we surpass one’s expectations that is what success is to me. When clients tell someone their problem, people tend to only hear what they are saying and not their true needs. For example, let’s say a man comes into a bike store wanting to buy a bicycle for his son. My focus is to understand what he really wants. The father’s true intentions are that he wants to see his son happy, smile as he teaches his son how to ride a bike just as his father did with him. I need to try to envision my customer’s (client’s) preferences or specifications to understand what I need to do to make it happen. That’s the end result I strive to accomplish. That is what I would deem a success in any business.
What are your goals for yourself and the company over the next 3-5 years?
My goal is for PlatformIT to become a brand that entrepreneurs trust and lean towards when looking to advance in the field of entrepreneurship. From a TV Talk show to interactive conferences, our goal is to provide the tools that allow entrepreneurs to reach their breakthrough.
What is the single most critical talent you possess in your role as a business owner?
The ability to put out fires. This is a must in business. You’re only as strong as you are when things come crashing down or to a halt.
If you were to design the perfect team, what characteristics would those people have?
Hustle and drive. That’s all I ever really look for. I’ve met many people who are qualified and others that aren’t but make up for in enthusiasm and ambition. Those qualities go a long way and are so valuable when it comes to building a dream.
What skills are required in your position on a day-to-day basis?
Organization is the biggest one. I don’t think I would accomplish anything if I wasn’t organized in my own way. Most people have a set schedule with only a number of things to do day-to-day. But when you have multiple appointments, priorities, or responsibilities every day, not being organized can be the death of your progress. Calendars, planners, and notepads are tools that I don’t take for granted. It’s a great thing to keep my thoughts and days in order.
How would you describe the business professional scene in Houston?
It’s closed off. One thing you have to understand is that many of the business professionals in this city are of a much older crowd, a crowd that is not entirely devoted to engaging with like-minded individuals. Of course I don’t speak for everyone, but the exciting thing about the younger group of businessmen and women is their enthusiasm and incessant need to learn new things. I think we’re in a transition period—lots of great ideas and movements will be emerging soon.
Do you have any words for the current and future entrepreneurs out there?
Your greatest success and prosperity in business will come from your ability to create your own breakthroughs. No one else going to make you a success other than yourself. Believe in yourself and your abilities.
The next PlatformIT event, "Why Start a Business in 2015” is Jan. 30 from 8 to 11 p.m. For more information follow @PlatformIT on social media.