Jimena Durán is in charge of marketing at Zomato, an online restaurant discovery service and social network for foodies with presence in over 100 cities. They provide detailed information (scanned menus, pictures, map coordinates, user ratings & reviews) for over 12,000 restaurants in Toronto. Zomato users can interact, rate and review restaurants, follow other foodies, and create a trusted network of people whose opinions they value, all based around their common love of food.
We caught up with Durán to find out what it’s like to work for a start-up.
SDTC: What does a typical day look like for you, starting from when you wake up – to heading to bed?
My day starts at 7.30 am. Before jumping out of the bed, I check my inbox (by default) and answer anything urgent. Then I take an energizing shower and eat a big breakfast. I’m at the office by 8:30 a.m. (after a 3 minute hike across the street). It couldn’t be more convenient!
I like finishing each day with the feeling that I’ve done everything in my power to ‘get shit done’ (our mantra). I like strategy, but I love action. I usually schedule two to four meetings per day, later in the morning and early in the afternoon. The remainder of the day, I reach out to as many people as possible and try to keep myself active on as many social networking platforms as possible. It helps me stay up to date and feel part of this vibrant city. In the evenings, I try to attend as many meet ups and events as possible. I find it to be the best way to connect with interesting people.
I don’t work for a corporation; I work at a start-up, where you need to wear many different hats. Circumstance leads and change is embraced. If something isn’t working, we change it. I’ve always believed there is a secondary route that takes us to the same place. That’s why I don’t have a fixed routine. I am always aware of what it is going to happen; it just doesn’t happen the same way everyday. That’s the fun part!
As a good Spaniard and foodie, I have dinner close to 9 p.m. If I don’t have a good dinner, I feel my day is not complete! It is not weird for me to send out some mails before going to bed. By 12 a.m., I am probably dreaming about something nice!
What made you want to get into this line of work?
To be honest, I never pictured myself doing what I’m doing. I always liked working with people, and I love challenges! But the truth is, somebody else pictured me doing this and I followed her lead. I am a versatile individual and take opportunities as they come. I guess that’s how I got into this line of work.
What attributes should one cultivate to do this job well?
Confidence: You need to believe first and foremost in yourself, then in your product. This faith will give you the energy to push harder everyday.
Perseverance: Never throw in the towel (unless it makes sense, of course). If there is a will, there is a way.
Positive thinking: Remove negative energy. Stop yourself from saying ‘no’, and focus instead on ‘how’.
What’s your favourite part about your job? Least favourite?
My job isn’t a job at all, but rather a lifestyle. There are two types of jobs in this world; the kind where you want to leave at office and the kind that you are happy to take home with you. Zomato is the latter, it is a part of my life. I am part of an amazing team, we share a vision and we work together as one to achieve our goals. I am fortunate to work with some of the most brilliant and charismatic folks on the planet. I also get to meet many interesting and versatile characters along the way.
The least favourite part of working at Zomato is rather circumstantial. I am far away from my family and friends; at times it can be quite difficult. But I do get to live in fabulous cities like Toronto. I couldn’t be more grateful.
Describe a situation that you’ve encountered in your life where you realized you needed to make a big change?
Five years ago I was dreaming awake with my partner about the ideal company to work for. Our conclusion was that we needed to create one ourselves. We took the entrepreneurial route, and I believe there is no turning back. We happily stumbled upon Zomato a couple of years later.
Being part of a start-up is like being part of a family. Everything you do makes a difference; people depend on you and you on them. I feel that I give as much as I receive, that balances everything else out.
What’s your most memorable project/work-related experience to date?
I will always remember my first trip to India (where Zomato is based). It was definitely an experience, to say the least. Since then, Zomato has given me the opportunity to live in many countries (South Africa, Brazil and now Canada), get to know very unique markets and travel in an unconventional way.
Do you have any warnings for peeps who want to get into your industry?
We all have our own experiences. I believe the most creative thing you can do these days is to just be yourself, go simple. Then the real magic happens.
What do you see yourself doing five years from now?
I like to think that I have no idea. I could be doing something completely different within Zomato, I could living on a different continent, who knows?! The only thing I know for sure is that I’ll keep working with passion, wherever life takes me.