20 Under 40: Zamir Khan

Meet Zamir Khan, 39, founder and CEO of VidHug and one of our 20 Under 40 Class of 2020 recipients

AS A SOLO operator, Zamir Khan stared down the ‘viral moment’ as the popularity of video platform VidHug exploded almost overnight. Connecting with community and trusting his instincts, he is leading one of the city’s newest and most exciting tech successes.

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What’s your biggest business achievement?

In March of 2020, the world changed and the problem that VidHug — a platform for surprise group videos, for things like birthdays or special occasions — solves was suddenly a problem that ­everyone had. We saw our traffic grow from a few hundred to well over 100,000 visitors per day. Over the course of a few weeks, the business went from one-person, part-time operation to a thriving startup that should probably be staffed by up to a dozen team members. The phrase ‘building the airplane while flying it’ couldn’t be more apt in this case. Each hire — we now have a team of six — came in and had to drink from the proverbial firehose in their role. They handled it amazingly and have taken VidHug to heights I never dreamed of.

“Don’t worry about the destination. What you’ll remember are the people and the journey. Take the time to appreciate them both” ―Zamir Khan

What about your biggest business obstacle? And how do you face up to it?

As a product-­focused founder, that part of the business comes naturally. Not much else does. Marketing, sales, recruiting, operations and more are all areas I continue to learn on the job. Left unchecked, that inexperience can lead to doubts, indecisiveness and even bouts of impostor syndrome. Meeting this challenge means seeking out and listening to mentors and building a team with strengths in areas we need, but also learning to trust your gut in making and owning key decisions.

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What has the Covid-19 ­pandemic taught you about yourself and your work?

When the ­circumstances demand it, we’re all capable of rising to meet new challenges, finding another gear and reinventing ourselves.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to a young you?

Don’t worry about the destination. What you’ll remember are the people and the journey. Take the time to appreciate them both.

What books have you read lately?

Almost all the books I read these days are with my children. During Covid, we have, at any given time, about 50 books on loan from the library. I love reading with them and reading out loud with silly and dramatic voices. From The Chronicles of Narnia to illustrated Frozen spin-offs to board-books with our toddler, I’m still a kid at heart. 20 Under 40: Zamir Khan Zamir Khan 20 Under 40 Interview by Kieran Delamont

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