Day in the life of: Jamie Hodari
The Industrious CEO on schmoozing landlords, working out and starting his day the night before
Jamie Hodari, CEO of the co-working company Industrious and an avowed night owl, actually begins his day an hour before the clock does — planning out each workday starting at 11 p.m. the night before. That helps Hodari, 38, remain confident about prospects for the company he co-founded in 2012 even after last year’s sudden and dramatic downfall of co-working giant WeWork cast a pall over the entire sector. Hodari said his role has become progressively more outward-facing as Industrious has grown and changed its business model from leasing space to focusing on partnerships and management contracts. And the firm continues to expand — doubling in size annually for the last six years — now boasting locations at 215 Park Avenue South by Union Square and 594 Dean Street in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, plus recently opened spots at 31 Hudson Yards, 325 Hudson Street in Soho and 1411 Broadway by Bryant Park. It also has outposts in 46 other cities, including Miami, Los Angeles and Chicago. That growth has led to several partnerships, including one with Equinox that ultimately led Hodari to start working out for the first time since ninth grade, when a high school soccer coach’s vow never to let him on the field led him to quit sports and exercise for about 22 years. Hodari got married in New Orleans in January with a wedding that featured a karaoke contest, a scavenger hunt and a trivia contest, along with flamenco dancers and a Latin jazz band.
11:00 p.m. I’m a night owl, so when I think about a workday, I have this 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. slot when I always work, and it’s not really like wrapping up the work of that day. It’s like preparing my thoughts for the next day, so the day really starts the night before. I’ll also try to get some writing done then that really involves deep thinking, synthesizing complex issues or company strategy. I find I’m so much better at that once the city is asleep. Part of the reason for that is I’m not a morning person.
1:00 a.m. I’ll do some leisure reading. I read 90 percent fiction and 10 percent business books. I don’t totally know what it says about me, but I find a novel is more likely to make me more engaged at work.
2:00 a.m. I go to sleep. I usually get about five and a half hours. I will say the nights where I’ve gotten seven to eight hours of sleep, I feel amazing, but five and a half works for me as well.
7:30 a.m. I wake up. A few days a week, I’ll go to the Equinox right near our headquarters. We started doing this big partnership with Equinox last year, and I was spending a lot of time with its CEO and president. They were on my ass about how I had never been to a gym before, and they convinced me to start working out. I’m not running the New York City Marathon anytime soon, but I’ll go two or three times a week.
9:00 a.m. I go to work. The morning is mostly made up of internal meetings — either executive team meetings, investment committee meetings or one-on-ones with various executives. I’ll also spend mornings staying on top of emails — I finally cracked the code to staying at inbox zero — and interviewing people. The company has doubled in size every year for the last six years, so hiring has been a major part of my day for a very long time now.
12:00 p.m. I go to lunch with a colleague. Union Square has got to be the testing ground for every fast casual or mid-priced restaurant in America. I feel like we’ve been here for two years, and I still haven’t tried half the restaurants within two blocks of us. My favorite place is probably a Japanese restaurant called Ennju.
1:00 p.m. I’ll head out of the office for a few external meetings. Industrious used to do what other co-working providers do, which is sign leases with landlords. Two years ago, we stopped doing that and moved to doing only management contracts or partnership agreements with landlords, which requires a lot more interaction and face time, and usually they’re not coming to you.
4:00 p.m. I work out of, tour or just spend time at one of our New York City locations. It’s important to be with the product to see how your customers are experiencing it. I need to observe — see what the pain points are, see what’s going well — and I find that engenders a lot of new ideas or leaps forward in strategy.
6:00 p.m. I’ll go out for drinks with an investor or landlord partner. That used to be one day a week, but now it’s almost every weekday. We usually go to Boucherie if it’s Union Square, or if it’s uptown I really like a Japanese jazz bar called Tomi Jazz. I think our industry — outside of Industrious — has at times had an adversarial relationship with landlords. In order to combat that, it requires more pure relationship-building time than would otherwise be the case.
8:00 p.m. I’ll have dinner with my wife or friends. I would say we cook way more often than the average New Yorker. We used to have a more modern apartment in Cobble Hill, and then we moved to this old wooden house in Prospect Heights that just feels cozier and more inviting, so we’ll usually cook.
9:00 p.m. My wife and I go to trivia night a lot on Tuesdays, either at Building on Bond in Boerum Hill or at Franklin Park in Crown Heights, and we go to a comedy show once or twice a month. I’m almost 40 — that’s life — and I do feel like there’s a little bit of this “last hurrah” of getting to do a lot of exciting and interesting stuff in New York. I suspect, once we start to have children, that will change.