Marathons in Antarctica and virtual D&D: meet Tram
Ever wondered how a CEO becomes a CEO? Well, that’s not what we cover in this article. We don’t talk tax returns, we don’t talk future plans. For a taste of what to expect, we asked Mart ‘Tram’ Abramov – CEO and co-founder of TaxScouts – to tell us something, anything interesting about himself.
“Nothing. There is nothing interesting about me, whatsoever. I am completely impassionate about accounting, taxes, and the tax preparation industry in general.”
You have been warned!
None of us here, I believe, like, love or have any emotional attachment to the industry that we’re in. For me, the thing that makes me do what we’re doing is the pain, suffering, horror and dread that is associated with the tax industry.
Being able to solve a problem by building something: whether that’s building a team, building a product etc. is what’s really exciting. We’ve found that almost a quarter of a billion people in Europe face the same pain every year – and there are a gazillion reasons why this dread of taxes should not exist.
I’m a geek by definition. What I like about what I’m doing is, if you do a good deed like helping a friend do their taxes (which I did because I worked at Intuit for a year), it makes you feel good, right? With TaxScouts, we’ve figured out a way to do a good deed at a massive scale. There’s no reason why anyone in the world couldn’t have their taxes done for them every year and all at very little cost.
We’re at the start of a really amazing journey. To be able to say that we have a really good shot at solving this problem, this is the thing that gets me excited. Basically, solving problems. I’m the kind of guy that likes solving problems.
The clichéd startup
TaxScouts is a startup in every sense of the word: we’re growing fast, we’re trying to solve a big problem, we’re being backed by world class investors who believe in our mission, and we’re based in Shoreditch. We’re also founded by three white guys all from similar backgrounds in terms of education and experience. We are such a cliché in so many ways.
In other ways though, I think that we’re quite atypical. We’re not like Instagram or an AI-based startup. We’re old fashioned; we see a practical problem and how we can fix it for millions of people. I think I’m most proud of the varied backgrounds of the people in our team. We have people from at least four continents.
But again, that’s also a startup thing. You have a more cosmopolitan group. So basically, yes. We’re as cliched as a startup can get.
Let’s talk downtime
Most founders do very little outside of doing their work. The major downside of being a founder is that most of your waking hours go into doing that. TaxScouts helps me to take care of my mind: to keep it stimulated, to talk to really cool people from different industries, having a cool team that I would otherwise never get to meet. But how can I switch off so I can come back with a fresh mind?
I like to run. A lot. I’ve had a long goal to run a marathon on every continent. I’ve done the US, Africa (a marathon in Sierra Leone two years ago – it was 45 degrees and that was my first marathon ever which I didn’t train for properly. Me and my best friend decided to book tickets and I was dead. But it was amazing.) and Europe. I’m still to do one in Australia, one in Asia and I know that there’s one in Antarctica.
Otherwise, I just go running to clear my mind. This is really random but once I was running on the high street and I was thinking about the companies that are popping up. There’s a strict correlation between industries that are being disrupted and the ones that were prevalent on the high street at some point. Many years ago, every corner had a minicab stand, a lettings agent, a bank – and there actually used to be quite a lot of accounting firms…
Anyway, that was completely random. So, I like to run, I like to kitesurf, and I’m a huge fan of science fiction.
Sci-fi, fantasy and isolation
My favourite book is Cryptonomica, hands down. It’s called the geek’s bible. It’s really difficult to read because it’s about 1000 pages total, and it’s written in a way that means most people aren’t ever able to finish it.
I also used to be a huge fan of Lord of the Rings when I was a kid, then when I was in uni, I played Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) with my friends a lot. Actually, since the quarantine and not having anything to do at the weekends, I reached out after 20 years and said let’s start doing Dungeons and Dragons over Zoom. It’s basically an excuse to get drunk with friends over video call. We’ve been doing this for the last two months every other weekend.
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