Staff & Training

On Being a Young CEO And My 2019 Commitments

Ryan Chan

A quick background

During one of my first interviews as an employer with a candidate, the very first question they asked me was “So, how old are you?” 

I was shocked, surprised, and didn’t know how to respond back. I shrugged it off and redirected the question by asking, “Why do you wonder?”

At first, I thought this question was a “one-off” and came off defensive about answering, but as we continued to interview, hire, and grow our team, this same question kept getting asked. When I look back, I realize that they were often* (however, occasionally not) asking from a position of excitement rather than doubt in my experience.

So to answer those that asked the question in the past, I am 27 years young, graduated from Cal Berkeley 6 years ago, and recently got married.

This is my wife and I on our wedding day 6 months ago-

How this relates to building a world class company

Age is just a proxy for experience, I get it. We all use proxies to help us with the complex decision making process — whether it’s a school you attended to determine education or jobs you’ve held to determine subject matter expertise. But it’s not always everything, nor should it be. I admit that I don’t have nearly the same level of experience as the the folks we bring on to our team–and that was designed with a purpose.

However, I understand that my role has three main objectives to building a world class company.

My Personal Commitments In 2019

1. Hiring and Empowering Our Team

Each and every individual on our team is, without a doubt, better than me at their role. For example, it was quickly apparent in the first month that Garris, our Director of Sales, knew way more about how to build, teach, and motivate sales team than myself– thank you Garris! We’ve always hired that way and will continue to hire this way.

However, it also goes a layer deeper–if they’re already better than me, how do I continue to help them progress, be better, and advance their career? My commitment to each individual is to enable and empower them with the resources to continue to be better.


2. Setting and Supporting Cultural Values For The Company

I care deeply about our cultural values as a company. It affects the way we treat each other, our customers, and how we make decisions. These three values embody myself as an individual and each and every employee that we hire.

  • Customer Commitment: We treat our customers the way we’d like to be treated. We anticipate their needs, actively listen to their requests, and care deeply about creating value for them.
  • Dedication to Progress: We understand that UpKeep and the UpKeep team always have potential improve and be better. We continuously develop our software n a way that helps our customers grow. We know individuals are not the sole factor of success – teams are. We strive to improve as leaders and teammates everyday. As a team, we acknowledge mistakes, humbly embrace feedback, and pursue experiments with zeal.
  • Gritty Resourcefulness: We offer solutions, even if that means trying something new, in order to further the goals of our organization and customers. To honor our commitments, we face hurdles head on and think creatively to solve any problems in our path.  When faced with the question, “Can we do X?” our instinctive answer is never simply “no,” it’s “no, but we CAN do Y instead.”

3. Creating The Vision

The vision for UpKeep is simple–to empower maintenance teams to become twice as productive. We’re on a mission towards creating a simple solution so maintenance teams can drive data driven decisions to take actions and improve productivity.


Some Final Thoughts

I don’t shy away from my age nor my experience level. I know that if I continue to be the leader that is dedicated towards my own progress, am committed to our customers, and share the grit that our team has to go through the learning process, we’re going to build a world class company–one that changes lives of maintenance teams around the world.

These are the three things I hold myself accountable every single day at UpKeep.

If you’re looking for your next opportunity, come join us at UpKeep! We’re hiring 🙂


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