In a time when small businesses find it hard to flourish, UCF alumnus Julien Meyer proves that it can still be done, even at a young age.
Meyer graduated from UCF in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in hospitality and event management. The 23-year-old is the CEO of BlurtBox, a company that allows customers to share feedback with businesses in real-time. Meyer is also a member of Rosen College’s Hospitality Management Industry Advisory Board.
It is because of Meyer that Rosen’s College of Hospitality Management is hosting a competition aimed at helping current students develop their entrepreneurial ideas. Competition winners can receive up to $5,000 to help start up their own business venture.
Meyer sat down with the Central Florida Future to provide insight into his life experiences, success and failures.
CFF: Tell us about your experience at UCF. Why was it the right school for you?
Meyer: In my opinion, UCF is the greatest place on earth. I’ve visited tons of universities, been all over the world at this point in my life, and I’ve realized there’s something special about being in a community like UCF and Orlando. It’s the tourism capital of the world. People spend their whole life trying to get here, and it is our home. UCF was the only school that crossed my mind. After six years of living in Orlando, I believe Orlando, thanks to UCF, is the next Silicon Valley.
CFF: Have you experienced any turbulence or failures along your pathway to success, and if so, how has it made you stronger?
Meyer: I have failed numerous times in the past and still do. You need to fail. Failure is really just a learning experience. Some people are afraid of it. When you do fail, you are now a step ahead of anyone else that hasn’t tried yet. Every time you get through one of those failures and you have a little success, it’s all worth it. The only real failure is not trying.
CFF: Do you have any inspirations or role models?
Meyer: My grandfather. He was a Puerto Rican immigrant and was in dire poverty. He stowed away on a ship and ended up coming to New York. He was living on the streets, working any job and saving money. My grandfather doesn’t have the name of Steven Jobs or Elon Musk, but to me, he is right up there with them. Not because he made billions of dollars or changed the world, but he worked his whole life starting from the bottom. At the end, he just gave it all away.
CFF: While most of your time is devoted to your business, what do you do like to do for fun?
Meyer: I haven’t been asked this question in years. I do love to spend time with my family and do my best to stay fit, but I genuinely like to work on a business. It’s fun for me. My favorite thing in the world is reading a book that contributes to something I’m doing at work, or working on my website. I also watch documentaries constantly. I love what I do for work, and so does my team.
CFF: How much success do you attribute to your team and those around you?
Meyer: 99.999 percent, rounded up. I always feel awkward when someone compliments me or gives me an award because you have to recognize how many people went into that. There are so many people on the sidelines and the shadows, but it’s your team that goes with you through the good, bad and ugly. At the end of the day, you can’t be successful without being appreciative of the people who helped you get there.
Marc Sznapstajler is a contributing writer for the Central Florida Future.