We check in with Ramon about his inspiration and vision for THRIVE | Coworking, and the power of hybrid workspace done right.
Q: How did you get your start?
A: I come from the Bronx. I didn’t have a lot of stuff and grew up hungry to prove myself. And the easiest way to do that is make a lot of money. My parents, I don’t even know if they made it to high school; I helped my dad learn to read. So after I came out of college, business school in Boston, my parents got a little cash out of a re-fi and let me borrow almost all of it. Then I drove a U-Haul down to Pensacola, Florida, moved down and started investing.
Q: And how did that go?
A: I realized, damn, life isn’t just about chasing prestige and money. My next company is going to be one that’s just a powerful force for good, something that’s inspiring, that’s purpose driven, where we can create a culture and a community within it that just shines. And I was inspired to help other people see that truth. So I came up with this mission statement: To leverage the power of enterprise as a force for good and to inspire others to do the same.
Q: How did you come to the idea of coworking?
A: A buddy of mine told me about coworking in 2014 and I was like, holy crap, this makes sense. I see what’s happening here — people are going to be able to work where they want. I sold my last company and started a prototype space in downtown Alpharetta, Georgia. The idea was to have really engaging, irresistible environments, with super-cool community managers, unique, homey-but-eclectic design, and do it in these walkable, revitalizing downtown markets. Because most office space is delivered in really boring places, but when you have the choice to work anywhere, you’re going to work in a place where you love to be. It’s as simple as that. And since the founding of the company in 2015, we’ve really refined what it is that makes us different and why we feel like we matter and the work we do matters.
Q: Why does it matter?
A: Look at the marketplace. What do people need right now? They have this craving for experiences. People spend a whole lot more money now than they ever did before on experiential things. And then there is a loneliness epidemic. It’s strange, the more connected we are digitally, the lonelier we start to feel. We kind of think these digital connections create relationships when actually they are something that separates us. And the third thing is purpose — everyone is looking for purpose.
Q: What role does THRIVE play in the post-pandemic work landscape?
A: In a world where your office-space needs have to be flexible and on demand because everything is so unsure and so many people work from home, in a world where your employees are craving engagement and desperately looking for purpose, we’re the perfect partner because we’re experts in that. We want to bring companies in, provide solutions for all those things and help them to do more with their business. And if we can execute on all of that, the good that we can do, the business that we can build — it’s going to be profoundly inspiring and successful.