Yaron Rosenblum, co-founder and chief executive of Canvas Offices, on how he got started in property, his top book and album picks, the superpower he wishes he had and his number-one travel destination.

Yaron Rosenblum

Yaron Rosenblum

How did you join the property industry?

Believe it or not, I started out in music production alongside my brother, Oren. As the business grew, we had plenty of unused space going to waste in our recording studios. We decided to let this space out, and I fell in love with the idea of creating homes for businesses. We sourced our first building in Shoreditch, east London, took our existing team with us and the rest is history.

What does your job entail?

My job involves pushing sales and our brand within the property sector and beyond, captaining the Canvas ship towards growth. On top of this, I am closely involved in acquiring the buildings we transform into office spaces, and have a direct influence on their design.

What do you like most about the property industry?

Finding great spaces in underused and poorly treated places and making them special again. So many buildings out there have perfect foundations for greatness but have been treated terribly for so long. I love bringing them into the 21st century, and seeing the process through from concept to these buildings becoming homes for great businesses.

And what do you dislike most about it?

I dislike seeing how badly treated some buildings are, and how some office providers create unpersonalised services. Some competitors piggy-back off the latest fashions to justify creating easy-to-scale ‘fishbowl’ offices that do not reflect the uniqueness of each business, brand and its people’s needs.

What would you change about the property industry?

Greater personalisation is needed. People increasingly want a more bespoke service from their office providers. After all, workers are not drones; they are people who thrive off being in environments where their comfort and enjoyment are put first. Providers need to recognise this, and treat businesses the way they deserve to be treated.

What barriers or challenges have you overcome?

Proving the flexible office market’s legitimacy. When we started, landlords did not understand our model, given that it was still in its infancy; but now they do really get it. Creative people need a specific product and service that the traditional commercial market did not understand, nor did it have the unique expertise required.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am really proud of the organisation and culture we have built at Canvas. We have a team of amazing people, all working hard towards the same goal, and the customer satisfaction that comes out of this is a pleasure to see.

What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?

Seek advice and find the right people to work with. Discover your own voice within the big noise and learn who you really are. Identify your own USP and do not copy others for the sake of it – you will not bring anything new if you do. Have a win-win mindset; just because you won something does not mean someone has to have lost. Focus on creating a positive environment and organisation.

Cultural recommendations 

Something to read:

Even though it was written more than 20 years ago, it is amazing how relevant The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida still is today. It helped me to much better understand why I am doing what I am doing, as well as who we are building our product for.

Something to listen to: 

I love the improvisation and freedom of creation that the album Blue Train by John Coltrane – and jazz music generally – offers. These are qualities that I have transferred to both my life and work.

If you could have one superpower: 

If I could have one superpower, I would love to be able to fly. The freedom of going from one place to another in the blink of an eye and seeing everything from above would be exhilarating – just think how much time I would save not getting caught in traffic.

Top travel destination: 

My number-one travel destination is Israel. It is the place I call home, and it is where everything started for me. Family and friends are my number-one value in life, so getting back to see them is when I am happiest. And, of course, there is the weather and the sea as well.