He Said She Said is a biweekly column featuring life stories and advice from influential and successful people of their respective industries. Learn from the top so you can make your way up to join them. If you know anyone who you think should be featured here, email and let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Tomas Laboutka is the co-founder and CEO of HotelQuickly, an app that lets you book rooms last-minute at a discounted rate. On average, the site lauds to be able to offer a price of at least 28% lower than any other sites on the net. Tomas officially launched the app in Malaysia late last year, on November 21, 2014.
HotelQuickly is available in 14 different countries including Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Macau, Cambodia, Laos, Macau, Australia, and New Zealand. The free app is available in six languages and for Android, iOS, and BlackBerry 10 devices.
We got in touch with Tomas and asked him a few questions for our first installment of He Said She Said!
What are the top 3 lessons you’ve learnt from your experiences?
1. I quickly learnt in school that your education spans outside of the classroom. I was very focused on getting a business degree, hoping to gather all of the skills I needed to work in business, but I learnt an invaluable amount through starting my own businesses in my free time as well. Some things are better learned in the field, where real failure is a possibility and you have to find out how to succeed without a manual.
2. Another lesson I learnt was that there is no best way to launch a startup, you just have to start working and go. We didn’t start HotelQuickly with millions in the bank. We all made sacrifices to come together to work on this way to help people experience rewarding, spontaneous travel. It was the culmination of our extremely dedicated work that lead us to where we are today, not some magic piece of advice.
3. It’s important to learn your “why” or your “purpose” early on, and it will be easier to work toward your goals. This pertains to both your business and your personal life. At HotelQuickly, we really emphasize our company purpose so that everyone knows what their efforts are working towards. Having an overarching purpose in my personal life has also helped me see that all of this hard work is part of a bigger plan. It’s easy to stick to routines when they are fun, but it helps to have a reminder of my “why” during less fun times like long nights at the office or hearing the alarm go off at 5 am.
What’s 1 main principle you live by each day?
Mark Manson has a fantastic principle that I live by called the “Just Do Something Principle.” What the principle comes down to is that no matter what tasks or goals you have piling up before you, you have to start with something, anything.
When we started HotelQuickly, we knew that we wanted to become the best top of mind mobile solution for last-minute travelers, but it was a massive undertaking at the beginning. We didn’t let that overwhelm us, and instead took things one step at a time. Whether it’s making one phone call or answering a few emails, I know that things will start to work out if I just start making things happen.
Tell us about 1 unforgettable regret you still hold on to. If you could turn back time and do it differently, would you and how/why?
I’ve actually been thinking about regret lately. I recently read excerpts from Bronnie Ware’s book “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying” that made me consider how I would feel on my deathbed. I definitely combated a lot of the things I was unhappy about a few years ago by following my dream to move to Asia and joining the founders at HotelQuickly, so I don’t have a lot of things I’d do very differently as I like how things turned out.
I don’t know if I would classify it as a major regret, but I do wish that I would have diversified my studies at university to incorporate more hard skills. Looking back now, it would have been great to learn how to code in school. If I had the chance to change things, I would have taken more tech-related classes.
We would like to thank Tomas for sharing these insightful experiences with us. It’s certainly important to understand that everything starts with a single step and it is important to learn through doing, as he did with the HotelQuickly app.
Personally, I think the “Just Do Something Principle” is worth a try. Amidst the hectic life, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and to simply give up, but breaking down your goals into something more manageable and handling things one at a time is the right way to go about it. Overall, I think it is vitally important to just do something instead of lamenting over the amount of unfinished work and moping about.