Meet Kelsey Ruger

Meet Kelsey Ruger

As part of our interview series this summer we talk to founders, staff members, guest speakers and mentors. This week: RED Labs class 3 mentor and guest speaker Kelsey Ruger.

Kelsey is the Vice President and Chief Experience Officer at Knomatic where he is in charge of executing strategy for Knomatic products, services and communications. He has extensive experience in UX/product design, digital marketing, and design. He has been building web and interactive solutions for years. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Houston where he teaches design thinking and user experience.

Why are you involved with RED Labs?

“Hesam made me do it,” were the first words out of Kelsey’s mouth, but upon further consideration (or maybe from fear of threat) he listed some other reasons. Kelsey is a UH graduate and has been a part of the entrepreneurship community since he graduated. RED Labs gives him the chance to give back to UH and do something he really likes - helping to build new things. He likes teaching and helping other people growing their business and their careers.

Describe your experience with RED Labs in three words.

Fun, inspiring & educational.

What advice would you give to someone considering RED Labs?

The number one thing you can learn in college is how to generate income. Entrepreneurship isn’t just about starting a business, it’s about how business works. Most students are taught how to build a product. Not a lot of people understand that products have to make money. RED Labs will teach you a lot of things that are applicable outside. Just starting a business will help you in life no matter what you’re doing.

What got you interested in entrepreneurship?

At 15 years old, I got introduced to the idea that if you are enterprising and aggressive, you can go out and make your own own money. The concept of free enterprise is what got me interested in entrepreneurship. Overall, some of my best jobs have been with startups.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Honestly- “treat people the way you want to be treated” is not a bad lesson. If you treat people well, it usually works out. Also, be a good judge of character.

What’s the best part about mentoring startups?

I like to see how people grow and change. It’s good to see people take the lessons and go and succeed,because that means you’re doing something right.

What song best sums you up?

Almost immediately, his employees answered with “B*tch better have my money” by Rihanna, but upon further consideration they decided it’d probably have to be a mash up of a lot of things. Ultimately they couldn’t decide on one song, but said that if one song were to sum up Kelsey it would probably be some Michael Jackson song.

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