Saad Alam is the 31-year-old cofounder of Citelighter, an edtech startup that creates a research and writing platform for students to help them construct bibliographies.
Based out of the Betamore incubator in Federal Hill, Citelighter — which relocated from New York City to Baltimore over the last year — is used in 2,200 schools, said Alam.
This is how he works.
What’s the first thing you do every day before doing any startup-related work?
Thank God for good health, my family and my friends. After, its rise and grind.
How often do you check your e-mail, and do you use any program to get to “Inbox Zero“?
I check my e-mail every 30 minutes unless I am in the middle of an important task/conversation and then refuse to touch it. I have to answer anywhere between 100 and 150 e-mails a day, and delete about 200.
How do you keep track of your revenues and expenses?
We use QuickBooks.
When you need to take a break, what are you turning to?
Hah, there are no breaks during the day. Early-morning gym sessions a few times a week and then I work straight through the morning until midnight many days. Every other weekend I take some time off when I visit my family.
Where do you turn to for founder’s inspiration when you’re feeling low?
I have to self-motivate numerous times a day. Being a former athlete, I love to watch “How Bad Do You Want It?” on YouTube. I am very fortunate to have the best family and friends who are always giving a helping hand and pushing me in the right direction.
My co-founder is much calmer than I am and when we talk, which is numerous times per day, I’m always recharged.
I am also blessed to have the greatest job in the world in that we impact students and teachers’ lives. I hear success stories every day, which really gives me the fuel to keep on going.
What’s your gear?
I live out of my work bag so I make sure that it accommodates everything. I am a huge TUMI fan since I feel like I can fit another universe within it. MacBook Air, Beats by Dre (single best productivity-related investment I have made), Apple earbuds for conversations, and obviously an iPhone.
What’s one time-saving tip you have?
Take a moment the night before and look at your schedule. Prioritize what you need done and make lists. (Trello might be one of the greatest assets here.) I am huge fan of using my morning workout to bring my iPad and catch up on reading in the morning. Just don’t stop.