The Startup Junkies Podcast

The Startup Junkies podcast is hosted by Jeff Amerine and the team at Startup Junkie. We’ll cover topics ranging from getting started, planning, growing your business, proving your concept, leadership, marketing, exit strategies and so much more. We’ll interview business owners, entrepreneurs, experts and people we think will bring value to our audience. Subscribe, and together we'll take your business to the next level.
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This is the Startup Junkies Podcast. These are the stories of the people that are afflicted with creating the next great products and services that are going to change lives - not just in America, but worldwide. We're going to tell the stories of the next great beer producer, products and apparel makers, and the stories of people that don't accept the status quo and that want to make things better. 

Welcome to the Startup Junkies Podcast.

Nov 16, 2015

In this episode we set up a booth at the 2015 NWA Technology Summit in Rogers Arkansas. The NWA Tech Summit is put together each year by the NWA Tech Council & the Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce. This episode is a break from our normal format in that we interview several people including high school students, entrepreneurs and a New York Times best selling author.

Note that Jon mistakenly refers to the President and CEO of AT&T Mobile & Business Services Ralph Del Rio, in fact his name is Ralph de la Vega. Our apologies to Mr. de la Vega.

Our guest in order of appearance:

1:50 Joyce Grippi, Founder of Grippi Business Solutions

8:15 Mary Lewis, Executive Director, Accelerate Arkansas

20:55 Bentonville School District Ignite PSC Program Students Aikman Ewalt, Castle Kerr, Ernesto Santos

29:50 Louis Patler, PH.D. New York Times best-selling author, speaker and consultant, President of The B.I.T. Group

Thank you to the Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce, the NWA Tech Council and all of the folks who made the summit a success.

Our contact info:

Jeff Amerine
Startup Junkie Consulting

Jon Cadieux
455 Media Group, LLC

Nov 9, 2015

Omid started as an electrical engineer and is now CEO of Ascendant Dx, a proteomics company focused on bringing new diagnostic tests to market. Currently they are focusing on tests based on newly discovered biomarkers for breast cancer and childhood diseases.

Omid is an experienced executive, entrepreneur and inventor. He has spent the last 18 years bringing new products and businesses to market in fields ranging from photography, medical imaging, and microprocessors to graphics, healthcare information technology and genomics.

He specializes in finding markets for new technologies, or finding new markets for old technologies. Specially, if it involves developing new business models, and new corporate structures.

He is also an expert in intellectual property strategy development.

Omid is Entrepreneur In Residence at University of California at Los Angeles and has done Personal Genomics Research at Harvard Medical School

Jon Cadieux
Managing Director
455 Media Group, LLC

Jeff Amerine
Founding Principle
Startup Junkie Consulting

Nov 2, 2015

Currently Mike Poore is the Superintendent for Bentonville Public Schools. He officially assumed this position on July 1, 2011. Mike began transitioning in the spring of 2011. He is excited that his vision for Bentonville Schools closely aligns with a community that seeks to be the best in all that they do. Under his leadership, the school district has opened 3 new schools and has plans for 2 more schools to open, Bentonville West High School in the fall of 2016, and our 11th elementary school in the fall of 2017. Bentonville Public Schools consistently ranks as a top performer in academics, arts and athletics

Mike is leading the way by forming partnerships with the business community in a STEM program called Ignite.

Idea was Hatched:

  • National, Regional, and Local employers need graduates with professional skills and certifications
  • Employers feel that young employees are not work-force ready
  • Workforce of tomorrow must know how to collaborate, innovate, and communicate

Ignites Basic Concept

  • Partnership with K-12, Business Community, and Higher Ed can yield an approach that prepares students through rigor and support
  • Give students projects that are meaningful and that capture their passion and they will exceed expectations
  • Students learn best when they can explore and when they are backed up in their learning with highly trained business and community leaders along with a strong instructional leader
  • Ignite empowers students to be co-constructors of their education and leverages community resources to support learning.


  • Ignite will use our own campuses and satellite campuses to support this project based environment. We also hope to eventually have a regional career tech center.
  • Bentonville Schools is in the process of delivering to six community needs with the following professional strands: IT Solutions, Logistics Management, Construction Trade, Culinary Art, Med-Prep, Digital Media/Global Business Solutions
  • Ignite is becoming a reality as a result of multiple partnerships with both small businesses as well as the largest organizations in this community.

To learn more about the program contact Mike at

Contact Us:

Jeff Amerine

Jon Cadieux


Oct 26, 2015

Lacie Bray is a co-founder and business manager at Ozark Beer Company. She is originally from Rogers, Arkansas, but left the area after college. She returned in 2010 by way of raft guiding in the Rockies, teaching in Chicago, and a stint gardening in South America. Her diverse background has equipped her with the invaluable skills of perseverance, a positive outlook, and creative problem solving. All of which serve her well in running Ozark Beer Co. Her favorite adventures these days involve her 18 month old son. To learn more about the brewery or get in touch with Lacie, visit

Ozark Beer Company is a manufacturing brewery located in Rogers, Arkansas. We opened the doors to the public in November 2013. Our beer is available at over 125 locations throughout Benton and Washington County as well as our tasting room at the brewery. In the Ozarks, hard work makes honest people, and here at Ozark Beer Co, hard work makes honest beer. We are rooted in a deep tradition of independent, spirited people who live their lives with a resilience and humility rarely seen anywhere else. In these mountains and at OBC, hard work isn’t what we do, it is who we are.

Jeff Amerine

Jon Cadieux

Oct 19, 2015

Core Brewing & Distilling Company started in September of 2010. The founder, Jesse Core, began production on a 1-barrel RIMS brewhouse with 8 small fermenters. Our first client was Kingfish in Fayetteville. By 2012, we expanded our brewhouse to a 4-vessel, 25-barrel brewhouse with 4 x 25-barrel fermenters and 2 x 25-barrel Brite tanks. Demand quickly grew, and Core expanded again by adding 10 more 40-barrel fermentation vessels and 5 more 40-barrel Brite tanks. / / Our growth has occurred due to consumer demand. At Core, we understand that quality is vital. If we produce consistent product of high quality, demand will grow. Additionally, Jesse has established a culture of humility and hard work putting the emphasis on the customer. We are good people making good product. In 3 short years, we have grown from 0 to 500 barrels of sales in a month. Our product is found in over 400 locations, and we have won numerous awards. The mascot of the company is a wiener dog. His name is Barney. He was a gift from Jesses mother, and Barney was a special member of the family for over 19 years. / / Jesse Core, Core Brewing Co.

Oct 12, 2015

Cole Thornton is the owner and founder of Gadget Grave in Fort Smith AR. Gadget Grave repaired more than 45,000 devices over the past 5 years and are continuing to see a steady increase each month. Cole manages day-to-day operations, online marketing, and growth planning. Gadget Grave has grown into the industry leader in Arkansas.

They have been in business for over 5 years and have bootstrapped it the whole way. With less than $12,500 in startup funds, they have been able to generate over $5,500,000 in sales to date and they continue to grow and expand into new markets.

Oct 5, 2015

Papa Rap is a Latino Motivational speaker for parents and students.

His messages go from parent involvement in our schools and communities to student success by making the right choices in life.
He will be speaking on the show about Arkansalsa. (

ArkanSalsa Fest is an eclectic art and music festival to raise money for scholarships and to inspire community leaders. The festival celebrates the rich diversity of Northwest Arkansas by bringing people together and offering them a chance to meet new amigos/friends while listening to music, dancing, eating delicious food & visiting with local nonprofit organizations and businesses that benefit us all in our area.

Al Lopez, AKA Papa Rap (

Jeff Amerine
Startup Junkie Consulting

Jon Cadieux
455 Media Group, LLC

Sep 28, 2015

Michael Paladino CTO & Co-Founder of RevUnit talks with us about his business and some of the lessons he's learned since starting his company with CEO & Co-Founder Joe Saumweber. Headquartered in Bentonville they have guided their company through a rapid startup just three years ago and continue to grow.  

Sep 21, 2015

Jeff Clapper talks with us about 8th & Walton and how in just a few years his company has become the leader in Walmart Vendor training. "It's important to me to help other people". Jeff company culture, how his families support is so important and the challenges of running a small business. 

Jeff Clapper

Jeff Amerine

Jon Cadieux


Sep 14, 2015

Kelly Miller shares his story of not only running a successful software development company but how he helped build one of the top startups in Northwest Arkansas.

Sep 7, 2015

Intelligence engineer, Tom Tessmer of Integrated Insights joins us to talk about the complex nature of retail intelligence, branding and story telling.

Aug 31, 2015

We talk with Hayseed Ventures COO Scott Andrews. Hayseed Ventures is a VC Production Studio located in Northwest Arkansas. They are actively working to change the face of startups in Northwest Arkansas and to cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship in beautiful downtown Fayetteville. 

Q : What do you do?

Scott: We are a startup that starts startups. We are a venture studio, with a team of 7, we partner with early stage companies and help them raise funds. Our goal is to work with 6 to 8 companies a year.

Q : Who is John James?

Scott: He is a physician by profession who likes to build businesses. He figured out how to arbitrage keywords back in the 90s with google adword traffic and became a huge portion of it, he built Grill Stuff and started Acumen brands (monetizing facebook).

Q: What is your competitive advantage?

Scott: Customer Acquisition. We understand the process of getting the data, analyzing it and creating the economic machine that drives it.

Q: What are some of your current portfolios.

Scott: We actually have 5. One is the Q-Ball, it's a quiz ball reloaded. We built the content behind the machine and then built a SaaS business around it and built an online platform for it

Q: What kind of companies you work for?

Scott: A company that is early but has some tractions, some customers and some revenues.

Example: Menguin (Online Tuxedo Rental)

Q: Your model, how it is different from venture fund or from incubator or accelerator?

Scott: Its kind a mixed of everything. Our revenue is like a venture fund. We are co-founder.

Q : How did you come to work for Hayseed Ventures?

Scott: My interest is to work with a lot of different engineers and to continuously learn and learn about new things.

Q: What advice could you give to entrepreneurs who might want to talk to Hayseed?

Scott: Any entrepreneur needs to understand the problem they are solving, If you have specific interest or understanding, turn into competitive advantage.

Q: What do you look for entrepreneurs or businesses to work with?

Scott: We have a checklist and the top 3 are: Can we test this quickly? Can we reiterate it quickly and can we do it cheaply? And aside from these, we also identify if the business is a 10 million dollar business, if not then it is not something that we mess with. Does it have a clear customer acquisition strategy?

Q: Why should entrepreneurs come to Hayseed?

Scott: With a team having different brains, you get a lot of experience thinking about you all the time and you get a lot of contacts. An accelerator would introduce you to a lot of people and say go figure it out; a venture capital groups would say here’s the check, go figure it out. We’ll say come work with us, we will help you figure it out. We are hands-on and we’re teacher, not doers. We will teach you how to run your social strategy, how to manage your website and how to raise capital.

Q: What needs to happen next to make this whole Northwest Arkansas rock and roll?

Scott: I think we need to continue the path that we’re going, we’re starting to create density. Find ways to retain talents.

Q: What is your message to big companies, why do they need to care about this startup things?

Scott: I think that when we do better, they’ll do better as well. They’re going to be able to attract more talents and provide more service to them.

Q: Why should they come to this region?

Scott: This region is the Silicon Valley for retail. You’ve got Fortune One and everything that supports it. There are vendors and world-class educational institution here.

Our contact info:

Jeff Amerine

Jon Cadieux

Aug 24, 2015

Bryon Western and Jim Lewis of Little Bird Systems talks with us about the internet of things.

The Product

  • Rapid Commercialization System for the Industrial Internet of Things - lego building block approach to building electronics 
  • Difference from other companies : Giving the very quick path from the bench-top prototype to something that they can commercialize and take to market.
  • Internet of Things - trend in industry that connect electronics to any physical object, measure data on such object and perform an action on that object.
  • FOCUS : Industrial Market
  • Bandwidth Discipline - optimize protocol - system that are not highly bandwidth thing 
  • Sale Cycle -  Up to a year from completion of development cycle (which takes about 18 months to 2 years) for them to get back or realize income

The Business Model and How Money is Generated from this product

  • GOAL :  To move people from that bench-top prototype  to a 2nd stage ruggedize prototype (mass produced unit) - provide service to create their customer electronics - sell them the hardware they need to sell their products to customers

(JIM’s Perspective on what they do) 

  • What is the market? 15 Trillion dollar market 
  • Glad to have partners with business intellects

How to startup a company (based on their experience)

  1. Laying plans - what is the market? how to approach the market? what would set you apart from someone else? 
  2. Getting everything in place - operating plans, financial model 
  3. Opportunity to make difference in the world, in the industry you are attacking 

(BRYON’s Perspective on what they do) 

  • Be involved - hire people who can contribute 
  • Entrepreneur Programs could help you operate the business - adding technical knowledge
  • CEO vs employee in the startup : As an employee, you have to deal with every aspect of the business - keeping contacts - inform the people what you are doing and Delegating tasks - trust people that they can also do what you can do 

ADVICE : Creating a company Based on Technology 

  • Get a business person - somebody who have worked with technology - if you explain something to somebody and don't they get it, it is not their fault it's your fault - practice the skill of simplifying things and communicating it to people 

What’s the future of Technology-based businesses in Arkansas

  • Prediction: 2020 - 50 billion devices will connect to internet - whereas right now 90% are not connected.
  • What’s right in Arkansas as an area of startup technology companies? 
    • A lot of Manufacturing and Agriculture is going on so the advantage is you can get first hand information from people who needs the solution
  • For Arkansas to grow with technical startup companies/businesses
    • companies must be responsible for specifically defining what is to be done to be a technical startups (e.g. execution of invention assignment agreements) 
    • Research areas must be confined to such specific business that they are in 

Our contact info:

Jeff Amerine

Jon Cadieux



Aug 17, 2015

Jeff and Jon talk with a local brewer, Lee Robinson, Founder and Co-Owner of Bentonville Brewing Company.

A Discussion with Micro-Brewer Lee Robinson of the Bentonville Brewing Company

Q: What is the difference between nano and micro-brewery?

A: It’s based on volume production, what you can do annually. How many barrels a year - in Arkansas it’s 500 barrels a year is a micro-brewery. However this number increases every year, the bar keeps on raising for what can be considered as micro-brewery.

Q: How do you sell your beer?

A: We self-distribute and we don’t go through distributorship because that means a lot more costs,a lot more kegs and lot more inventories to get a good percentage of the keg.

Q: Your run your own tap room? Where is your tap room?

A: Yes, we run our own tap room. Its over here at 1000 Southeast 5th St in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Q: What is your background? Is that where you met Gavin Edwards (co-owner)?

A: My background is actually finance and real estate. Yes, we have worked together in real estate over the last few years, he was a realtor and I was a loan officer. He came into the brewery a little bit later in the game. It was me and another friend of mine who started it.

Q: About your brewmaster, how long he’s been doing it?

A: About 2 or 3 months now. But before him, we brought in a guy who is experienced so it is from that person where our current brewmaster has taken his technical background from.

Q: When you guys decided that you wanted to do this, how did you come to an agreement? Who’s gonna do what? What does the partnership look like and all that fun stuff?

A: A lot of handshakes and verbal. We do have a new operating agreement now but that’s probably one thing that we should have defined more clearly early on. We should have written out in detail what and whose role should it be because many would not do the roles they said they would do.

We did some other things, trading equity for work and build-out and stuff like that but it didn’t quite go as we planned but we all got it done in the end. I did all the licensing with the TTB and ABC, a lot of stuff, I didn’t know about. You can read all that stuff online but depending where you live at, you will have different circumstances to go through in getting a license.

Q: Now that you’re in the game, are you getting a little more confident with all that works, getting the traffic, getting the brand out there and all that?

A: Yes, we’re very excited how things are going so far. Our first brews were actually very good beers.The first time we had a bad batch, they got messed up, we got the wrong yeasts and we just flushed it down the drain.

Q: What do you think the outlook is for craft brew?

A: I think it’s very positive right now especially here in Benton County and in the Little Rock area, there is a lot of growth happening, there are a lot of breweries coming out.

Q: How has it been so far? Did it meet your expectations? Exceeded?

A: It has met my expectations. Right now, we’re paying the bills so that’s pretty good. We’re not really into real profit yet.

Q: When you get to capacity, what’s the plan? What will you do to expand?

A: That’s where it gets a little risky to me. We can add a little more areas and space but we will soon outgrow that space and that’s gonna be the next challenge - what we are going to do, should we stay in this small craft brewery or do mid-size brewery and that is where the risk will come in.  It is something we should plan and think about thoroughly.

Q: Are you going to can as well?

A: If we decide to go, we need to move to another facility. That maybe an option for us.

Q: What do you think about some of the labels that are out?

A: Sometimes more is less, that is my personal opinion. I would like to keep it simple and basic and focus on the beer.

Q: What’s keeping you up at night?

A: Right now we are trying to maximize production and also manage accounts, making sure to keep all accounts that we have. And also, what beer to produce.

Q: How many different types of beer that you have now?

A: We’ve got 5 different types.

Q: Do you guys offer anything other than your own beer?

A: We have some wine in our brewery. We have some brewed coffee from Airship coffee. We’re looking at local root beer.

Q: Are you having fun?

A: Yes, I really enjoy starting business and running them day to day

Q: What about cleaning and water quality?

A: The whole brewing process is cleaning. Brewing is not difficult, it's a lot of hard work, taking good notes so you’d know what you did right, what you did wrong. And making sure that everything is very clean so you don't get infections. With the water quality, we run it through a carbon filter and we treat it with different salts to balance the water to the beer that we’re gonna make.

Follow Bentonville Brewing Company on Facebook

Our contact info:

Jon Cadieux

Jeff Amerine



Aug 10, 2015

In this episode, we are joined by Startup Junkie consultant Jayshica Amargos. She joins us in a fun conversation about business partnerships. 

How to Put Together a Successful Partnership

Find the right partner/s.

  • Do DUE DILIGENCE.. Be diligent enough and check references of potential partners even if you already know them. Examples of questions to address in finding partners are as follows:
  • What companies are in your portfolio?
  • What types of companies and individuals do they like to work with?
  • Will they open doors?
  • Are they going to be tough to work with?
  • Are they just only financially oriented or are they’re going to add value in other ways?
  • Being clear on your purpose in entering into a partnership will also help you find the right partner/s. For instance, if you only enter into a partnership because you cannot afford to pay for your own employees then you might end up with a wrong partner because in doing so, you might neglect to take proper due diligence on that person having only in mind your desire to establish a company with employees.

Identify red flags.

  • Identifying red flags would save you from a failed partnership. For example, if a prospective partner would not allow you or your CPA to check the books then that could mean that something is being concealed from you, a sign to walk away.

Be definite on how you would go about the partnership.

  • Clearly define the following with your partners:
  • Responsibilities and scope of work
  • Expectations and Scope
  • Dispute/Issue Resolution
  • Accountabilities

Figure out if there is a cultural fit between you and the other party.

  • Identify your own company values, objectives and culture.
  • Once you have identified yours, have a comprehensive understanding of what the other party has - its values, objectives and culture. Examples of questions that you might want to consider are as follows:
    • What is their purpose?
    • What drives them?
    • Why are they doing what they are doing?
    • What is their vision?
    • Where do they want to be in 5 years?
    • What’s their mantra, their mission,?
    • What they do on a regular basis?
    • What are their core values that drive how they operate?
  • One of the main reasons why many partnerships fail is because parties fail to align their cultures and so the best thing to do is to identify this at the earliest stage.
  • You might also want to enter into a team agreement or a trial period with a partner in order for you to assess if you and your prospective partners are culturally aligned . This will also allow you to decide whether to push through with the merger or partnership.

Communicate regularly.

  • In every relationship, communication is a must. In a partnership, expectations should be defined and this could be done by regularly communicating with each other.
  • Address issues early on, do not allow it to get complicated before resolving the issues.

Divide the labor.

  • Once goals are set and expectations are identified, take time to study each other’s strengths when it comes to the functions of the business - sales and marketing, operations, accounting, compliance, etc. to identify the responsibilities of each party for proper delegation of work. If there are overlapping skills or expertise as to those functions of the business, partners must decide who is responsible for what task (marketing, sales, operations, etc.) instead of both of you handling the same function.
  • There must be complementary strengths among partners and this could be done by proper delegation of functions.
  • If everybody can do the same stuff then it is not a good partnership.

Set aside egos. Master emotional intelligence. Be self-aware.

  • When companies are merged or a partnership is established, it is expected that different leaders with different values and personalities would have different ideas or perspectives to bring into the newly established company and this could cause misunderstandings and issues. In order to avoid emotions from taking over, especially in tough situations, these leaders must have the commitment to listen to each other to resolve the situation. They should be able to stay calm and respond logically.
  • If there are people who are emotionally responsive rather than logically responsive, think of a strategy on how to deal with it. Have a coping skill for tense situations and understand how to diffuse a tense or bad situation.

Honor your commitments as a partner.

  • All parties in a partnership must be aware of what they are getting into and should take part in all the affairs of the partnership. Commitment is very important in any relationship including business relations. Once you are a partner, make sure to honor your commitment and bind yourself to what has been agreed upon. If you cannot, have the class to exit gracefully before things get real bad and irreversible damage is done.

Our contact info:

Jon Cadieux

Jeff Amerine

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