Five Questions For … Station Houston CEO John “JR” Reale
Houston— For John Reale, the CEO of startup co-working space Station Houston, family ties bind strongly. A little more than a week ago, his first child, a daughter named Juliana, was born.
“I was telling her a story about my grandfather,” says Reale, who is known as JR. “It was a very emotional moment, to be able to talk to my daughter about one of my greatest heroes.”
Reale credits the work ethic he saw exhibited by his extended family, who all lived near one another in Staten Island, NY, with shaping his hands-on approach to entrepreneurship.
Reale received a formal introduction to entrepreneurship at Boston’s Babson College but detoured to a Wall Street career before renewing his passion for startups once he moved to Houston at 25. (He’s now 41.) “I realized that this passion that I have for the capital markets was that I loved building stuff,” he says. “What I wanted to do was focus on the companies.”
His first foray, a Brazil-based ethanol startup, fell flat, Reale says. But that didn’t diminish his enthusiasm for entrepreneurship. “I found in this whole concept of Station a way of marrying my passions for entrepreneurship and helping people build a community,” he says.
In this week’s “Five Questions For …, ” Reale speaks about work-life “convergence,” being fearless about learning, and knowing when to concede that a startup is not going to work. Below is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation.
Xconomy: How do you relax outside of work when you want to tune out the noise?
John Reale: I don’t believe in work-life balance. I believe in work-life convergence. The person that I am at work is the same person I am when I’m not at work. I am who I am whether that’s good or bad for people; that’s just what it is. So I like to make work fun, and I like to make work about things I love doing, so it doesn’t feel like work.
But when I’m not at work, I’ve got like two things, my most favorite things—besides, now, my daughter, and wife and family and friends—I have a love for watching soccer. I’m a big Inter-Milan fan. I don’t get a lot of time to watch it. My favorite band, Kasabian, is based in the UK. They were playing a show in Italy … Next Page »