J. Kelly Hoey

Innovator Insights: Alex Merrell, Founder & CEO of TREC, DJ @alex_merrell

Name: Alex Merrell Title: Founder & CEO of TREC, DJ Twitter: @alex_merrell

Alex Merrell has done what most of us dream to do: turn a hobby into a successful career. Alex has always loved finding and sharing great music, and that has organically grown into a career, travelling the globe DJing high-profile events. The jet-setting life of an in-demand DJ has been the spark for her other venture: an app-based social media platform for frequent travelers. Alex is also a member of Dreamers // Doers, a highly curated community of high-achieving trailblazing women who come together to support each other on their entrepreneurial paths. The community encompasses a diverse mix of female founders, women working at startups, and other female creators, change-makers, and influencers.

Me: Why are you an entrepreneur?

Alex: My parents have both spent their lives as artists and entrepreneurs so I knew that it was possible, and the question of doing something I loved as a living was always posed as a “how”, rather than an “if”. I crave stimulation and challenge. I like collaborating with people but being my own boss. I’m good at making sh*t happen.

Me: What problem would you like solved?

Alex: This year I am launching TREC, a social platform that allows us to connect through shared travel calendars and socially curated city guides. The project stemmed from frustrations with the social media platforms that are currently available and their propensity to leave us feeling isolated despite the illusion of connectivity. I want to actively participate in a movement to use technology as a tool for creating true connections in real life where they wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

Me: Advice you’d wished you’d had or had followed?

Alex: Never cut your own bangs.

Me: What does success look like for you?

Alex: Success for me means accepting the responsibility to create and sustain happiness and fulfillment for myself and others. True happiness, not the kind that was stolen from someone else, or the rush of validation from flattery, or the situational exhilaration that comes when everything is going my way. The ability to be grateful, optimistic, resilient, productive, and kind when things are not happening the way you intended is possibly the greatest tool you can have in your arsenal.

Me: Who are your heroes?

Alex: My father has been my hero my whole life. He is my lifeline, my mentor, and the most profoundly compassionate, spiritual, grounded, brilliant person I have ever known. I’m very lucky to have a bond with him that is strong enough to allow us to give each other constructive criticism that helps us grow and learn through challenges. The impact he has had on my ability to create a life I truly love and am proud of is immeasurable.

Me: What is your best discovery?

Alex: A strong commitment to health is the best way to maintain discipline in the rest of my life. I’m on planes every week, at events most nights, and it’s always easy to have another cocktail or skip another gym session. I’ve spent the last few months making sure to get five hardcore workouts in a week wherever I am in the world, and keep my diet as clean as possible. I’m sharper, more productive, and significantly more energized.

Me: What would the title of your biography be?

Alex: Be Your Own. It’s something I used to say as a little kid and my dad loved it so much that he made a shirt for me with the phrase in my writing and a star I had drawn. What was probably a misspoken “be yourself” means even more to me now as a concept. It’s a reminder that the best answer to whatever you’re striving for lies within. Acceptance, love, happiness, a savior… Be your own.

Me: What is your biggest regret?

Alex: I am a firm believer in seeing missteps as learning opportunities and never giving in to regret, as it really is a useless emotion. We are not here to be perfect, we’re here to improve. Accountability is extremely important to me, but accepting regret means continuing to live within one’s mistakes. It’s smarter to invest my energy in moving forward, made wiser by my experiences, than dwelling on the past.

Me: Anything else we should know about?

Alex: TREC for iOS launches this Winter! Download it for free in the App Store.

This post originally appeared on Kelly Hoey’s website. Keep up to date with Kelly’s latest Insights by signing up for her Innovator Insights newsletter.


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