JUNE 22, 2018
Episode 21 – Fostering Supprotive Startup Communities
Joshua Baer from Capital Factory
In this episode, we’re excited to bring Joshua Baer, Founder and CEO of Capital Factory, to the studio. In this episode, we talk with Josh about Capital Factory’s unique approach to fostering connections within their community, and the journey a startup takes once they walk through the CF doors. Capital Factory provides the space, mentorship, connections, and resources needed for first-time startup entrepreneurs to scale their businesses.
Read the Transcript
Lisa Graham (00:00):
Hi, my name is Lisa Graham, and I’m happy to welcome you to another episode of the Change The Rules podcast. I have my co-host Dan Graham with me. And today we are speaking with Josh Baer. Josh is the Founder and CEO of Capital Factory, a coworking space and tech accelerator, which has become the center of gravity for Austin’s startup community. And thank you so much for being here, Josh. I wanted to talk to you about the community you’ve built at Capital Factory, because people ask me a lot like, ‘Oh, the coworking space.’ I’m like, yes, it is that, but it is also an accelerator. You guys also invest. How do you describe Capital Factory to people?
Josh Baer (00:36):
We are fully buzzword compliant. We are an incubator, accelerator, coworking space, fund, event space. We do lots of different things. But really our goal is to be the center of gravity. A place where everything comes together to help lift up, hopefully, the entire startup community here in Austin. And so probably the way that most people find out about us is they come to some event there because we have tons of events going in there. Every day, there’s a bunch of different events going on there. And one of the coolest parts of it is it’s not like we organize all the events. It’s all different people in the community coming to put on and to do their thing, but we’re able to help support that. And then when you get serious, it’s a place where you can work. And there are desks and offices and coworking and free snacks and conference rooms.
Josh Baer (01:19):
But the reason you work there is because of all the people that are there. Because you’re hoping to meet someone that’s going to be your co-founder or going to be your first investor or going to help you grow your business. And then the mentor network is really the soul of the place. That’s kind of why everybody’s there. And then our fund kind of sits on the side of that and we get to watch everything that happens, and we meet all these people and have all these interactions with them. And then through that figure out which ones we should go invest in.
Dan Graham (01:43):
I feel like center of gravity is almost an understatement at this point, in terms of just being an accurate descriptor. I mean, there’s so much thought leadership, so many things happening all the time in the space and, and with the mentors and the other professionals that have kind of collected around the brand. I’m curious when you think about, and it’s growing, and I know we’ll probably talk about that. But if you were to kind of sum up what is the mission of Capital Factory, how would you describe that? Where do you see it heading? What do you want to accomplish with it?
Josh Baer (02:20):
It’s like uncomfortable silence. I get asked that all the time. And, it’s just, honestly, it is the mission. Like we are doing it. It’s to create this place where things happen, where people connect. It’s all about people connecting and meeting and the things that come out of that. I’ve done a lot of events and programs and other things like that, and one of the things I’ve learned is the most important thing is to get the right people in the room. And if you get the right people in the room, then usually great things will happen, because that’s what great people go do. And so a big part of Capital Factory is getting the right people in the room so that the serendipity can happen so that people can meet, and connections can be made. And that to me is really what it’s about. It’s about connecting people together. And so, you know, as Capital Factory has become a business, it wasn’t really ever meant to be a business. I woke up one day and realized it was a business. Oh, wow, 50 employees. And, you know, like we have to pay rent next month.
Josh Baer (03:20):
But you know, as that kind of all came together, one of the things I’ve also realized is most businesses, they celebrate, they bang the gong, when somebody closes a big deal. That’s like what they recognize, what they honor, what they reward and different businesses work different ways. And Capital Factory, what we celebrate is when somebody makes some awesome connection. Like that’s what we brag about. That’s what people on the team kind of beat their chest and be like, ‘you know what I did, like, I got this person in front of that investor’, like, ‘Oh, I got this person to go pitch at this big event. They’re getting a lot of exposure there.’
Dan Graham (03:50):
So you’re banging a gong every five minutes?
Josh Baer (03:53):
There’s a lot of banging going on.
Josh Baer (03:57):
That’s what we celebrate. That’s the why. That’s what we’re excited about.
Lisa Graham (04:01):
Yeah. Can you talk a bit about the founding of Capital Factory? When you think of all the people that were there at the beginning with you, they’re all people who are also pillars in the startup community. So can you talk about how you all came together and how the founding of Capital Factory came to be?
Josh Baer (04:20):
Sure. You know, well, first of all, like Capital Factory is a startup itself. And in many ways it’s pivoted and it’s had, in my mind, different phases with different founders, and there’s been so many people involved in helping to create the community and everything that’s there today. But it really started at the beginning with two other people, Bryan Menell and Sam Decker. Which happened to be two of the first people that I went to to talk to about this idea. Actually, Brett Hurt was one of the first people. And he was like, I’m really busy building BazaarVoice. Maybe you should talk to Sam. And that was how I met Sam. And I knew Brian. And so we started kind of cooking on all of it together. And it was somewhat inspired by Y Combinator, inspired by the 2008 market crash, the housing crash, and a little bit of feeling out of control.
Josh Baer (05:07):
Like the world was changing around us. So what could we do? What could we go change? And also a feeling like, well, if this really is the bottom, if this is a local minimum, then well, there’s nowhere to go, but up. So that’s actually a great time to go invest in companies and start companies and things like that. So those things were kind of all coming together in 2008. And then we really had just reached out to all the best entrepreneurs that I knew who are also somewhat, kind of, angel investors. And those were people like Jason Cohen, and Mellie Price, and Yvonne Tacchini, and Mikey Trafton, and a lot of other great people that were involved. And Kip McClanahan was just leaving his last entrepreneurial business. He was starting to invest, he was talking to Silverton, but he hadn’t joined yet.
Josh Baer (05:49):
It was like amazing. You know, in hindsight, 10 years later, how all of these things grow, and now he’s obviously one of the top VCs in town. And so really it was just me reaching out to a handful of people I knew and then kind of one step more. It was like 10 people I knew. And 10 people they knew. And we had our 20 mentors and our kind of start to it. And that ran the program for a couple of years. And then we had the chance to open up the space. That was in 2012 and that was really like another start. And at that time I think of it like bill Boebel, who really wasn’t there at the very first beginning, but came in really around then, and really was my co-founder in opening up the space and creating the place that we have now and making all of that happen.
Josh Baer (06:30):
And there’s a funny side story about that in San Antonio that goes along with it. And then Gordon Daughtery already had really just got involved at that time. And we really reinvented the accelerator program at the same time that we opened up the space, and Gordon was just a critical part of that. So I really think of him as a co-founder also. And so, over time, there’s lots of different people that pitch in and help and I’m sure there’ll probably be more.
Dan Graham (06:58):
And I want to hear the funny side story. You just kind of dropped that and moved on.
Josh Baer (07:13):
Yeah. So, Bill Boebel was the founder of a company called Webmail.us, which was an email hosting business. Interesting connection for us, because my first business was an email hosting business that we also both bootstrapped. My business was email marketing. He was providing email accounts. So, I was the dark side. He was the light side. I made up for it later. So he had built this business and he sold it to Rackspace down in San Antonio. And, so he sold it to them probably, I think, in 2011 or around then. And Rackspace was really investing in San Antonio and growing it. One of the founders of Rackspace and primary investors is Graham Weston, whose a big real estate owner in San Antonio, and was really focused on helping to grow San Antonio. And so he said, ‘Bill, you know, I want you to move down to San Antonio and, you know, be part of the team here.’
Josh Baer (07:57):
And Bill is the nicest guy you’ll ever meet, but he’s also very direct, very candid. And he wrote a really candid letter to Graham saying, you know, here’s why I’m not gonna move to San Antonio. And I’m moving to Austin instead. And you know what, here’s what San Antonio is lacking from an entrepreneurial community. And Graham read that letter and it really got him fired up. And that is what led him to go start Geekdom, which is an incredible entrepreneurial community in San Antonio. And when Geekdom tells the story of this starting, they use Bill’s letter. They put it up, they X his name out and they put up this letter. And the funny thing about it was, Bill left that, and then came and helped me start Capital Factory. So Geekdom and Capital Factory started just about the same time.
Josh Baer (08:48):
But they’re kind of linked in that way. And so I happened to be, you know, again, talk about time passing and different people in different roles. So I happen to be down in San Antonio, meeting with the new CEO of Geekdom, David Garcia, who became the CEO in the past year or two. And he’s giving me the Geekdom pitch, like an intro kind of thing. And he starts off and he tells this story and he puts up this letter and it’s up on the screen and it’s blacked out and I’m like, ‘I know whose name goes there.’ And I told him the other half of that story, how Bill then came to Austin and helped start Capital Factory. So I think of Geekdom and Capital Factory as always being very closely linked and we’ve always been great friends and partners. But Bill’s mark is on the beginning of both of those.
Lisa Graham (09:35):
You had mentioned earlier that the reason people come to then work at Capital Factory and stay are these connections and to talk with people. How have you seen that manifest positively? Like what are some examples of people? You know, they’re working really hard, so when they pick their heads up, who do they see? What has come out of that?
Josh Baer (10:00):
Sure. So, I think of it as like engineering serendipity. How do you make sure that people connect and things happen? And so again, that starts with getting the right people in the room, right? And them having something in common. So, it’s how do you balance having diversity and yet some similarities, something in common. And so everybody at Capital Factory are focused on technology and entrepreneurship. Now those are two pretty broad buckets. They cover a lot of different things, but they all have that in common. And that means that everybody you bump in and talk to, they probably are working on something or might know somebody who might be able to help you or connect. So that’s a really good starting point. What that results in and the really the buckets that I think about, it’s co-founders, first investors, first mentors, first customers, first employees. All five of those things are just so important. And the right one of them completely changes the trajectory of your company and everything you’re trying to go do.
Josh Baer (10:52):
It’s not an incremental effect. Like the right one of those things, you went from zero to one, from one to 10. It’s an order of magnitude kind of change. And so that’s really what we’re focused on is making those kinds of connections. And those kinds of things are worth it. Those make a huge difference. And so finding your co-founder. That’s really hard. And that’s where you want to be in a community with a lot of like-minded people. But that’s also changing all the time with new people coming into it. And then finding a mentor. Finding someone you know that you can talk to, who you really respect, and look up to. Whose kind of seen this movie before and they know what’s going to happen next and they can kind of coach you through that, because it’s so hard to begin with. You know, it’s really helpful to have someone to talk to. And then obviously those other pieces, you know, customers and investors, you know nothing happens without those.
Lisa Graham (11:46):
And so in terms of getting those folks involved — the investors, the mentors — you have some structure around that. Can you talk about how that is structured? And how you have them interact with some of these startups?
Josh Baer (11:56):
Yeah, so there’s lots of layers. And like I said, there’s ways to engage for anyone to come to events and community events happening there and meetups. And there’s events going on that we don’t put on that other people do that also do some of those things. But then the first part becomes when you really become a member. And as a member, everyone at Capital Factory has access to an online website called Union. It runs not just Capital Factory, but actually lots of different entrepreneurial communities around the world. But what it creates is a place where all the startups, all the entrepreneurs can see all the mentors. And all the mentors can see all the startups. So everybody has a profile. And then the mentors sign up to do office hours. That’s really what it means to be a mentor at Capital Factory is that you pay it forward. That you volunteer your time to try to help other people out.
Josh Baer (12:41):
And most people come in and do it once a month or every other month. But with hundreds — we have over 200 mentors — that means every day, there’s a dozen people there doing office hours. So everybody that works there can look at this calendar and they can super easily just go grab a spot to meet with someone and see if they can help them out. And the way they help them might be that they’re an expert at something. It might be, ‘Wow, they really know a lot about SEO or about sales or about some problem I’m having.’ But another way is just through their network. Through making connections. And every one of the mentors has their own big network of people that have worked for them and people that they’ve worked for and people they’ve worked with and people they know. And that’s a big part of what they’re doing is tapping into their networks to try to help make connections for people.
Lisa Graham (13:25):
Yeah. I love when we were talking with a mutual friend of all of ours, Tanya, and she was like, the way Josh can do meetings blows my mind. That he can get such an effective meeting out of 30 minutes and really help somebody. And so when you schedule your time as a mentor that way, did you do that because when you have a limited amount of time, people really get down to what they need to talk about? Or what’s kind of your philosophy on mentoring and allocation of time?
Josh Baer (13:57):
First of all, it’s just a personal thing. And I think different things work well for different people. And that’s totally okay. Not one thing should have to work for everybody. And some people walk into mentoring at Capital Factory, like our friend Tanya, and it just kind of blows their mind. They’re like, ‘Oh, how do you focus? How do you pay attention to anything there’s too much going on? I need a quiet room. I need time to prepare. I’ve gotta take notes after I’m done.’ And there’s a lot of value in that. But for us mentoring, a big part of it is like speed dating. Again, we’re all about connections. And so if you really hit it off with somebody, nothing prevents you from going out to lunch with them, from having some other meeting with them, or from booking a conference room.
Josh Baer (14:42):
But when we’re doing “office hours”, as we call it, when we’re helping connect people for mentoring, it’s speed dating. We’re trying to help them find the right people. And so one, having it be shorter is more efficient. It allows you to meet people quickly. It’s fun for the mentors when they come in. And it kind of, you know, where we are doing speed dating, not every meeting is going to be a fit. And having an hour long meeting with somebody whose not a fit might not be that much fun. That might get, you know. But you can spend a half an hour with anybody and help them and try to connect and be useful.
Dan Graham (15:11):
Thinking about the question you asked earlier of sort of what are some examples that have come out of Capital Factory? I can just give a couple from my own personal experience. People that I met first at Capital Factory. Jason and Heather at WP Engine or people that I met through the Capital Factory Network.
Lisa Graham (15:26):
As a mentor, or as an investor, or?
Dan Graham (15:29):
A couple of these as mentors. But also just, you know, these collisions that happen while you’re in the space and just hanging out. Ricky with Saatva, which has exploded.
Josh Baer (15:38):
I just ordered a soft foam mattress for my Dallas spot.
Dan Graham (15:40):
Awesome. Blake Garrett with Aceable, who I’m in EO with now and we talk frequently. And even Chuck and Mario with SpareFoot. And these are all companies that have basically been incubated or started at, or had some portion of their beginning at Capital Factory. It’s been amazing for me.
Josh Baer (15:59):
So another key thing about the mentoring process that I think is really different at Capital Factory versus most other places I’ve been is anywhere else I’ve been to go do office hours, because this happens lots of other places, they go and they get me a very nice room. And they put me in the room. And I sit down. And while I sit there, different people come knock on the door. And one by one, I have my meetings. It’s very efficient. It’s very professional. It’s very focused. And there’s a lot that makes sense about that, but I’m kind of off somewhere and all I see are the people I’m supposed to go meet with. And at Capital Factory, we have a special part of the space that’s the mentor area.
Josh Baer (16:38):
And it’s an open area with probably six or eight round four-top tables where four people can sit and talk. And that’s where mentor office hours happen. And so if you have office hours, you get assigned a table. You got a little flag on the table with your name on it, which means that it’s noisy in there. And so you actually can’t really overhear what everyone else is saying if you’re not trying to because it’s noisy anyway. But there’s a lot of people in there and a lot of energy and a lot of commotion. I think the energy is great. But more importantly, that’s part of where you get the collisions. One of the mentors walks in and they go to sit down and they see some other mentor that they haven’t seen for a couple of months and they go, ‘Oh, hey,’ and they go connect with them.
Josh Baer (17:17):
Or they’re talking to some entrepreneur and they say, wow, you know, have you talked to this other mentor because you should really talk to them. And they’re like, no, I haven’t talked to that mentor. Well, actually that person’s right there. Let me grab them, right? And they pull them over and they make that connection in-person and they introduce them. And that kind of thing happens at Capital Factory all the time. And that’s part of what happens from, you know, even while there may be trade-offs to how efficient it is or how focused it is, what we’re trying to optimize for is the connections. And so for that, you don’t want to go hide somebody in a room. You want them to see everybody else. And you want people walking by to see it happening and realize what they’re missing out on. Wow. I should be part of that. How come I’m not doing office hours? Wow. That person they’re getting to meet with Brett Hurt. Bob Metcalfe’s over there meeting with that person. I want to meet with those people.
Lisa Graham (18:01):
Yeah. And one of the things I love about talking with you is you’re very excited and clearly love what you’re doing. And the last time you and I talked, you were talking about y’all’s latest expansion to Dallas. Can you talk about how that came to be and what stage Dallas is in right now?
Josh Baer (18:19):
Sure. Well that’s my main focus right now. We’re getting ready to open our new Dallas location in just a few weeks. And yeah, that’s part of our bigger vision for really helping to try to do what’s worked so well here in Austin and extend that to all of Texas. Because Texas has a lot of those same characteristics and is such an exciting market. And while Austin has a lot going for it, Austin’s great. Austin doesn’t have all the different pieces of the ecosystem that we really need. And neither does Dallas or Houston or San Antonio. And that’s part of why working together. Actually, I think we might. And so when you look at the different rankings, obviously Austin, every time they make a top 10 list, Austin’s like the top of a top 10 list, whatever it might be.
Josh Baer (19:07):
So Austin has been doing really well and definitely one of the top places for startups. And the Kauffman Foundation, which does a lot of studies each year to compare and rank different entrepreneur communities, it says that Austin is consistently one of the top cities for startups. And Texas is one of the top states for startups. But if you think about where are all the big companies in Texas. Really, none of them are in Austin. We’ve got little kind of side headquarters here and things like that. But corporate headquarters, there are about fifty Fortune 500 companies in Texas. And half of them are oil companies out in Houston. And the other half of them are in Dallas. And that’s where American Airlines and Southwest and AT&T and Toyota and lots of other companies have big headquarters. And many startups need to do business with big companies.
Josh Baer (19:58):
They’re a great channel and set of resources for these startups. And then also when you think about where’s the money in Texas. You know what, the money in Texas isn’t in Austin either. The money, the real estate money, the oil money, and the traditional wealth in Texas, most of that’s in Houston and Dallas also. And so we think that by connecting these different cities together, we can get the synergy flowing where now we’ve got the money flowing around Texas, and we’ve got the big companies helping to support the startups. And then through that really make the whole system work better. Now we actually, we didn’t go to Dallas looking for startups. We found a whole bunch of great startups there. We’ve had probably a dozen participate in our accelerator program. We’ve made a number of investments already. We’re definitely going to invest in startups in Dallas and in Houston and in San Antonio and all over the state. But the real reason for doing all this was this recognition that, you know what, while we may have plenty of startups going on down here, the ecosystem is bigger than that. And Texas as an ecosystem, when we look at all four of those cities is really hard to match anywhere in the world. And we think that’s a huge opportunity that a lot of other people are missing out on.
Lisa Graham (21:04):
And the partnership is with The DEC, is that right? And is it Trey Bowles that’s up there?
Josh Baer (21:09):
Yeah. And it’s actually in each of the other three cities — Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio — the first thing we did was try to identify great partners that were local that we could work with. Because we know that as much as we want to help catalyze all of Texas, I can’t be in four places at once, right? Like, you know, like I’m still Austin. And so we need a partner.
Josh Baer (21:33):
We need a partner whose Dallas. We need a partner whose Houston. We need a partner whose San Antonio. And fortunately, there were great partners to go look to. And so the first place we went was to Trey Bowles and the DEC, the Dallas entrepreneur center in Dallas, where they already had a great community going, but that also saw that they could benefit from being connected into what’s happening here in Austin. In Houston, we’ve been working with Station Houston, which is another great entrepreneurial community there. The Texas Medical Center, which is part of their whole health innovation program, and a new space opening there called The Cannon, which is another great entrepreneurial community on a different area of Houston. And then, not surprisingly, in San Antonio we’ve been working with Geekdom. And we’re still trying to figure out how we get to El Paso.
Josh Baer (22:18):
It doesn’t quite fit into the bus trip methodology that the other ones do. But we’re thinking maybe with Southwest or American Airlines, maybe we get a charter plane to take us out there. But we’re really looking at how do we connect together all of this Texas ecosystem. Because Texas, if it were a country, as our governor loves to remind us, we’d be the 10th largest country in the world. That’s a big economy. That’s a big opportunity. We get 2% of all the venture capital. That’s the arbitrage. There’s something missing there. And you think about where the trend is going. It’s not like things are getting worse. Things are getting better. All of Texas is booming and growing. We’ve got four of the fastest-growing cities, four of the biggest cities, four of the top technology hubs, amazing universities. Great people moving here. Talent moving here. Big companies moving here. The money’s got to follow.
Lisa Graham (23:06):
And in terms of investments, I have this stat in front of me, that last year Capital Factory made more than one investment per week. So how do you keep up a pace like that? Or is that the goal? Is the goal to be giving out money that frequently and that often?
Josh Baer (23:24):
Yeah, so we are the most active investor in Texas. And, as you saw there, we made over 50 investments last year, more than one a week. And that is a crazy pace. But the reason we can do that is because we’ve been building up this network now for more than 10 years. And so, actually, while it may feel like you might think like, wow, you must be meeting people and making all the time. Usually by the time we invest in somebody, we’ve known them for up to over two years and been working with them for quite a while. And they’ve either had a company that’s been through our accelerator program. Maybe they’re one of our mentors whose been mentoring and now they’re starting a new company. Maybe with another one of the mentors. Such that we’re in the spot, that by the time that suddenly becomes urgent and there’s that time to invest, we’ve already known them forever.
Josh Baer (24:09):
And we know all this stuff about them. And we’re in a great spot to be able to make that decision and invest. And so it is a pretty crazy pace. But for us it doesn’t feel like we’re making any rash or rushed decisions. We’ve got a long history with the people that we’re investing in that we’ve been working with. And we have so many data points. We know so much about the companies because we live with them, right? Like I’m there everyday. Like I know who’s working hard, I see what they’re doing. We then they interact with the mentors. They do office hours and I get a text message from Brett Hurt saying, ‘Hey, have you seen this company? I just met with them. They look real interesting.’ Or maybe, you know, Matt on the Notley team sends me a message, ‘Hey, have you seen this company?’
Josh Baer (24:47):
And we have all this feedback coming in from all these other places such that, again, when it’s really time to go invest, we know which ones we should do. And then another part that kind of makes it the easy out for us as well is we don’t lead rounds. So we’re not setting the terms. We’re always participating along with a lot of other people. I’ve joked with Venu over at Live Oak Venture Partners and sometimes he gives me a hard time. He says, ‘Josh, you know, man, I’m so jealous because you get to have the fun part of being a VC. He’s like, I have to say no to 99% of the people that I meet, but you get to say yes to everybody.’
Josh Baer (25:24):
And part of what he means by that is just that our model is designed such that we can invest much more broadly. And we don’t have to do the hard parts of negotiating the term sheet or arguing about what the price is or doing all the legal work. Like, we review the legal terms, but we’re a co-investor. We don’t get to change them. So it’s just yes or no. Do you want to participate? And so that makes it a lot more fun. I get to meet great entrepreneurs. Then I just get to write them checks. I get to skip the whole like negotiation, doing the legal work, all the other kind of stuff that happens in between that isn’t as fun.
Dan Graham (25:55):
So with such a large number of companies coming through this space, large number of mentors and advocates for different startups in different phases, how do you kind of decide where you are going to write those checks?
Josh Baer (26:07):
Sure. You know, honestly, we have all this data coming in and we just do the things that are obvious. When you have this much view across all the startups that are there, it’s pretty clear which ones stand out. And so to start with, the easy decision is if one of the great partners that we like Silverton or Live Oak or other local investors, if they’re leading a round in a company that’s one of the companies that we know and we’ve worked with, we are very likely to want to go invest alongside them. Because they’ve gone through their vetting process. Because they’re getting a big round of capital to help them go further. And the same thing with other outside investors from outside of Austin. If Mike Maples at Floodgate, or if Shasta, or Chicago Ventures, or First Round Capital is investing in an Austin company, we know we want to be part of those, because they’ve already gone through a whole bunch of hurdles to meet that point.
Josh Baer (26:58):
And then the next step is really looking for momentum. We’re looking for companies that are growing. That are hitting clear milestones. That are growing their revenues. That are attracting other great investors to be part of it. We look at the talent moving around, because we’ve worked with so many people, so we see great people joining those teams at that point. Like I said, it’s usually pretty obvious. And if it’s not obvious, everything just slows down. So it’s like, we can move super fast when everything’s working really well. And if not, then we start to slow down. And we’re more likely to just try to be helpful. And that’s a hard conversation to have with entrepreneurs sometimes where it’s like, ‘Hey, look, you know, this isn’t the right time for us to invest.’ But we still want to help you. And there’s lots of ways we can help. We want to help you get to the point where we can invest. But, unfortunatley, we’re not your first investor. We’re really your last investor. We’re going to help you get all your stuff together so that we can then participate as part of a larger round of funding.
Lisa Graham (27:55):
Okay. So one of your mottos and you wear it on a shirt is “I help people quit their jobs.” And I love that. And there has been a big shift. I think becoming an entrepreneur has become more of a thing. It’s become more acceptable in a way, right? I think there’s a lot of opportunities to do that. Do you see that trend shifting or changing? Or do you think that this is going to be how a lot of people view their work as they start to grow up? Like is this what people are going to start doing more so than just finding a traditional 9 to 5?
Josh Baer (28:24):
You know, I remember when I was growing up in the eighties, my parents all wanted you to be a lawyer. It was like, you know, lawyers, doctors. Oh, you’re gonna have a good job. You’ll make good money. You’ll be in a good place in society. It was low risk was a big part of it too. And I think the world has changed a lot since then. We have a lot of other role models. We have the Elon Musk’s of the world and Mark Zuckerberg and other people that young people look up to and say, wow, I can go do that. I can become an entrepreneur and I can kind of set my own destiny and I can go change the world. And also with the trends in employment and the gig economy, and the fact that, you know, that young people are very likely to have many different careers over the course of their lifetime.
Josh Baer (29:07):
And that the nature of work itself is changing so much. I think that for many people, it’s really the right choice to be able to be entrepreneurial. However you go do that. And to think about yourself as a company and as a product. And how do you make yourself strong and sustainable. And give yourself lots of options. And be a lifelong learner. Someone that can teach yourself new things. And all those things kind of fit in with being an entrepreneur. So yeah, I think it is a trend that’s growing, not shrinking. I think we’re going to see more and more people choosing these kinds paths. And more and more, it’s easier than ever to be able to set your own path. And it’s something that feels good. It feels good from the “teach a man to fish” versus “giving them a fish” perspective. You know, empowering people to be able to do things for themselves.
Josh Baer (29:55):
And so it’s funny, I have a niece and she’s getting ready to go get her first job. And, you know, we talked about what kind of things she could go do. And it was like, well, you know, she could be a hostess at a restaurant. She could probably work some other kind of retail job or something like that. And I’m sitting there thinking like, well, what are all the things you could go do on the internet or to be your own business? Like you’re really into photography. Like why don’t you go shoot stock photography and upload it to Getty images or iStock photo and see if you can make money off taking pictures and uploading those? Or could you go be a blogger? Or like, you know, do something else? Even at a young age, it’s easier than ever now to go start your own business or do your own thing. And I think, like I said, that’s just going to be an increasing trend.
Lisa Graham (30:46):
I love that. I’m gonna get on your calendar for 30 minutes. We’ll talk through it. Thank you so much, Josh, for being here. It’s always great to sit down and talk with you and explore what you’re doing all around Texas. And if you guys want, you could read Josh’s Texas Startup Manifesto. It goes into the startup ecosystem in the state of Texas. It’s a really great read. And we encourage all of our listeners to get involved by going to the website and sign up for a tour and browse a list of dozens of events at Capital Factory each week. It’s right in the heart of downtown Austin. The Change The Rules podcast is sponsored by Chez Boom Audio. Chez Boom Audio is the leading audio post-production company for TV, film, advertising, audio books, and podcasts in Austin, Texas. And we’re so honored to work in their studio with the wonderful Shayna Brown. You can find her studio at https://chezboomaudio.com/. And the best place to find Capital Factory info is at www.capitalfactory.com.