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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.

Jul 24, 2023

Summary

On this episode of Startup Junkies, hosts Jeff Amerine, Caleb Talley, and Victoria Dickerson are joined by Noel Sosa, manager of Rox Radio Group. With four different stations across Northwest Arkansas, Rox Radio Group is the largest independent radio company in the region. Growing up, Noel dreamed of becoming an emcee, and by his late teens, he was opening for some big names in the hip-hop scene. When a local radio station manager pulled Noel aside after a show and offered him a job, Noel decided to give radio a shot. With hands-on experience and training, Noel has now spent twenty-two years in the industry. Throughout the episode, Noel, Jeff, Caleb, and Victoria discuss Noel’s start in radio, how podcasts and radio can work together, becoming a staple in your community, and much more.

 

Show Notes

(0:57) Introducing Noel Sosa and Rox Radio Group

(5:50) Noel’s Favorite Part of Radio

(7:24) Noel’s Love for Boxing

(12:51) Golf’s Impact on Noel’s Life

(16:20) Are Podcasts and Radio Conflicting Interests?

(20:22) Selling to Advertisers 

(25:07) Becoming a Community Staple

(28:29) Radio Listener Demographics

(33:39) Connecting Through Music

(36:53) Maintaining Brand Consistency

(38:50) Advice to the Younger Self

(41:36) Closing Thoughts

 

Links

Jeff Amerine

Caleb Talley

Victoria Dickerson

Noel Sosa

Rox Radio Group  

 

Quotes

“If you look at the data that is available, radio is doing very well. It’s just so accessible. It’s so accessible to where if I don’t reach you specifically, I’m going to reach someone you know. If there’s a message that my advertiser is trying to get out, we’re going to get that message out…Radio is still extremely viable—one of the most viable products out there.” - Noel Sosa, (17:00)  

“You need to be as present [in] as many places as possible. Meet people where they are—and obviously, I’m a radio company. I’m always going to make sure that that is our foundation, but what are we doing to interact in those other spaces? Podcasting, streaming, or do our DJs put together playlists, things like that.” - Noel Sosa, (18:51)

“We’re a local outfit just like you are. We care. We live here. We have relationships here. Our friends live here. Our family lives here. We vote in this community. You know what I mean? We care about what happens here, which means we’re going to care about the work that we do for you. Because if we don’t have these relationships, we don’t have a business, right?” - Noel Sosa, (23:46)

“If you earn someone’s trust, you earn their business or their listenership. They want to know where you’re at and they listen and value what you say or what you’re talking about. I think if you’re genuine and you keep your word, it comes off.” - Noel Sosa, (27:13)

 

Jul 17, 2023

Summary

In this episode of Startup Junkies, hosts Jeff Amerine, Caleb Talley, and Victoria Dickerson interview Yoon Kim, founder of Outdoor Media Summit and Outdoor ECOM. Yoon shares his entrepreneurial journey, including failed attempts and success stories. He also discusses his personal life, including how he met his partner and his perspective on life and business. He offers insights into the struggles and triumphs of entrepreneurship and provides inspiration for those looking to start their own business. 

 

Show Notes

(0:57) Yoon’s Origin Story and Entrepreneurial Journey

(6:33) Yoon’s Current Projects

(11:25) Arkansas’s Involvement in Outdoor Recreation

(18:17) Outdoor ECOM and AI

(24:15) Yoon’s Choice to Give Back

(31:27) What Keep’s Yoon Up at Night?

(37:17) Advice to the Younger Self

(39:33) Closing Thoughts

 

Links

Jeff Amerine

Caleb Talley

Victoria Dickerson

Yoon Kim

Outdoor Media Summit  

Outdoor ECOM 

 

Quotes

I think just being super patient and waiting for the right opportunity and then taking advantage of it—that’s kind of my way [the] way I look at my style of entrepreneurship.” - Yoon Kim, (3:47)

 

It’s cool because in Arkansas, we’re leaders in some of these [outdoor spaces]. We’re the brown trout capital of the world and the mountain bike capital of the world. Pretty soon we’re going to be one of the paddle capitals of the world. We have the Paddle Industry Association that was formed here in Northwest Arkansas. So we have leadership in different pockets of these outdoor industries.” - Yoon Kim, (12:38)

 

Jul 10, 2023

Summary

On this episode of Startup Junkies, hosts Jeff Amerine, Caleb Talley, and Victoria Dickerson are joined by FR8relay co-founder and CEO Aayush Thakur. FR8relay is an Arkansas-based technology company working to create a more efficient, profitable, and sustainable trucking logistics ecosystem. With 70% of US freight being moved by trucks, core inefficiencies in traditional long-haul trucking operations threaten the industry’s future. Luckily, Aayush and FR8relay have a solution that can save companies money, decrease driver turnover, and create a more sustainable trucking future.

 

Show Notes

(0:54) Introducing Aayush Thakur and FR8relay

(1:24) Aayush’s Origin Story

(9:10) Issues with Autonomous and Semi-Autonomous Vehicles

(13:40) FR8relay’s Solution

(16:12) Electric Semi-Trucks

(18:23) Leaving Memphis for Northwest Arkansas

(23:05) FR8relay’s Ideal Customer

(25:40) Cutting Down on Driver Churn

(28:46) Advice to the Younger Self and Closing Thoughts

 

Links

Jeff Amerine

Caleb Talley

Victoria Dickerson

Aayush Thakur

FR8relay  

 

Quotes

“Yes, our model will work and enable everything to happen today, not [in] twenty years. You don’t have to burn any money. We are efficient. We can work with the same human people today.” - Aayush Thakur, (14:19) 

“Before coming [to Northwest Arkansas], we had raised $200,000…and then after coming [to Northwest Arkansas] and being connected to people, we were able to raise $1.3 million. That’s just the dollar figures. And you take that and then you see the number of connections we have made.” - Aayush Thakur, (20:38)

“We actually take a simple process and make it more complex. But by making it more complex, we see a lot of savings in that…We start with one shipment. We collect 10 of those, for example, and then we would run them through a blender, and then you will get smaller chunks of trips out of it, where it creates these little loops for each of the drivers to come back home, while each of the trailers is getting to the final destination.” - Aayush Thakur, (25:07)

“If you are trying to do forced PR where you say, we’ll do this for the driver, we’ll give them bonuses…those things are really great, and you should do that, but the main thing people are struggling with [on the road] is family. It’s that sense of belonging, a sense of fulfillment that is missing.” - Aayush Thakur, (26:44)

Jul 3, 2023

Summary

On this episode of Startup Junkies, hosts Jeff Amerine, Caleb Talley, and Victoria Dickerson sit down with Zak Heald, Owner of Intercut Productions, a full-service video production agency in Bentonville, Arkansas. Zak shares about his early start in entrepreneurship and how he created Intercut Productions with a DBA the day he turned 16. Throughout the episode, Zak discusses how his team utilizes AI to increase productivity, his passion for aviation, and the power of ask. 

 

Show Notes

(0:54) Introducing Zak Heald 

(1:19) Zak’s Origin Story

(11:30) Building a Business and Learning on the Fly

(19:44) Zak’s Take on Machine Learning and AI

(30:22) Bentonville Studios

(34:49) Filming in Northwest Arkansas vs. Filming in Other Cities

(39:26) Supporting the Local Economy

(40:51) Incentive to Film in Arkansas

(47:03) Dozen Duzit

(52:46) Advice to the Younger Self | The Power of Ask

(57:00) Closing Thoughts

 

Links

Jeff Amerine

Caleb Talley

Victoria Dickerson

Zak Heald

Intercut Productions  

Dozen Duzit 

 

Quotes

“We realized early on that we could build the business if we just had cash flow. Like, that was going to be the key to building the business was cash flow. And so we started pursuing those jobs that provided that cash flow. For us right out of the gate, that was weddings.” - Zak Heald, (14:54)

“I’ve just learned to set long-term goals, keep people really happy, provide as much value as you can, and it always comes back around.” - Zak Heald, (19:35)

“The more people understand AI, the more they use it, and the better they understand how it comes up with its answers, the more powerful it will become for people…once you understand how it’s being taught and all that, the ideas will come to you. How can I use this to better my business or to start a new business altogether?” - Zak Heald, (28:18)

“Our biggest thing right now is we want to provide that base infrastructure. Provide a place that productions can call home, whether they shoot in our studio, whether they just use it for offices and for building sets and all that kind of stuff. Regardless, we just want it to be a home base, a place that productions can feel like…it is their place.” - Zak Heald, (35:53)

Jun 26, 2023

Summary:

Welcome to another great episode of Startup Junkies!

On this episode, hosts Jeff Amerine, Caleb Talley, and Victoria Dickerson are joined by Josh Perry, founder of Lane Hero, a trip cost calculator app for drivers. Josh shares about his background being from a family of truck drivers as well as his passion for solving some of their everyday problems, like the pain point of calculating costs for a trip. He created Lane Hero to take some of the strain off the drivers so they can go back to doing what they do best: keeping America's economy running.

 

Show Notes:

(0:48) Introduction to Josh

(1:07) Josh’s Origin Story

(2:36) About Lane Hero

(6:42) Josh’s Background

(10:46) About the Lane Hero App

(23:29) Lane Hero’s Marketing Strategy

(26:27) What Success for Lane Hero Looks Like

(31:08) Advice to Younger Self

(32:11) Closing Question

 

Links:

Jeff Amerine

Caleb Talley

Victoria Dickerson

Josh Perry

Lane Hero

 

Quotes:

“At the end of the day, for the individual driver, and the owner operator model, which is seventy-eight percent of the entire freight movement in the United States, it provides such a value and eliminates such a burden of time on the accounting side and on the cost analysis side that [bigger player’s] opinions aren’t very valid.” - Josh Perry, (5:56)

“The service aspect of trucking is what I’m really attached to on both the customer side and on the driver side because if you focus on the people that are making your business run, whatever the case may be, you get so much additional benefit over the dollars. So that’s the feeling I pursue.” - Josh Perry, (7:50)

“Most people don’t understand that all the goods in this room are all transported by a truck. Same goes in any country you're talking about anywhere in the world. So the real vision and goal is to level the playing field and be the largest precursor to any economy anywhere in the world and have it in over fifty countries with over fifty thousand users in each country.” - Josh Perry, (26:38)

“It takes sacrifice. It takes putting in the time. I’ve sacrificed a lot of hours of time I could have been spending with my family in order to help families all across the world get more time with their dad or their mom or whoever that's out there driving a truck.” - Josh Perry, (30:26)

Jun 19, 2023

Summary

On this episode of Startup Junkies, hosts Jeff Amerine, Caleb Talley, and Victoria Dickerson are joined by Anthony Constantino, co-founder and CEO of Sticker Mule, the largest e-commerce website for custom stickers. Anthony is also the founder of Stimulus, a new social media platform intentionally designed to make people happy. Throughout the episode, Anthony shares about building Sticker Mule from the ground up, starting a new social media platform that doesn’t incentivize negativity, and becoming a professional boxer at forty years old. 

 

Show Notes

(0:36) Introducing Anthony and Sticker Mule

(4:40) Stimulus, a Different Type of Social Network

(10:22) Creating Businesses to Solve Problems

(12:03) Content Moderation

(15:07) Anthony’s Background

(17:49) How Stimulus Gathers Feedback

(20:36) How to Get Verified on Stimulus

(21:52) Stimulus’s Ideal User

(23:53) A Simple Formula to Succeed

(31:24) Stimulus’s Giveaway Program

(32:33) Mule Sauce

(34:16) Anthony’s Boxing Journey

(39:34) Advice to the Younger Self

(41:10) Closing Thoughts 

 

Links

Jeff Amerine

Caleb Talley

Victoria Dickerson

Anthony Constantino

Sticker Mule  

Stimulus 

 

Quotes

Stimulus removes a lot of the negative design decisions that were embedded in Twitter and replaces them with more positive ones. We have a number of innovations that are unique to us, the biggest one being [that] we replace ads with integrated giveaways. So if you want attention, [the] number one tool to get attention on Stimulus is [to] run a giveaway. Everyone wants attention. That’s a positive tool to get attention, and it’s an easy tool to get attention.” - Anthony Constantino, (8:09)

I suspected that if people operated [on Stimulus] using their own identity, that would naturally push people in a more positive direction, and you wouldn’t have the negativity. I suspected a few things: If you remove the incentives to be nasty and introduce incentives to be more pleasant, you would naturally have a better community.” - Anthony Constantino, (12:34)

[We have] a simple formula that we use to succeed [that’s] basically: Make the experience incredibly good so that people that encounter us are highly likely to buy. So, you know, as an experience gets better, your ability to convert customers goes up. As your ability to convert customers increases, you can justify a large ad budget.” - Anthony Constantino, (26:11)

 

Jun 12, 2023

Summary

On this episode of Startup Junkies, hosts Jeff Amerine, Caleb Talley, and Victoria Dickerson sit down with Skylar Wallace, founder of Level Up Lenders, a company on a mission to create a positive impact through home ownership in rural America. Skylar earned his MBA from the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas and has founded multiple businesses, ultimately gaining traction through the help of EOS in his current venture. Throughout the podcast, Skylar shares about his background and his passion for using home ownership to help rural communities improve their quality of life. 

 

Show Notes

(0:50) Introducing Skylar and His Origin Story

(6:13) Utilizing EOS

(8:31) Taking Action While Learning

(11:44) Leveraging Impact Vehicles

(20:10) Focusing On What You Can Control and Looking Toward the Future

(25:50) The Challenges of Scaling

(29:14) How Skylar Chooses Markets 

(35:14) The Visionary and Integrator Relationship 

(39:34) Skylar’s Thoughts on Traction and Other EOS Tools

(41:51) Advice to the Young Self

(47:16) Closing Thoughts

 

Links

Jeff Amerine

Caleb Talley

Victoria Dickerson

Skylar Wallace

The Level Up Lenders   

 

Quotes

Now we know anytime we bring on a new [loan officer], we’re not going to sit around and talk about this. Day one, you go out and start taking massive action. And so our sales methods have changed, but that activity remains the same.” - Skylar Wallace, (11:28)

In the investment world, there’s these things called investment vehicles, which are different vehicles that you can invest in. There’s venture capital, there’s the stock market, and all those things. So I’ve been thinking about this concept of impact vehicles. A lot of [entrepreneurs say], ‘I want to create a positive impact in the world. I want to make a difference.’ But there’s actually a lot of different vehicles you can leverage to do that.” - Skylar Wallace, (12:40)

Our commitment is that it’s never a ‘no.’ It’s always a ‘how,’ because every file is a family. So if somebody comes in to our office, they’re not going to get turned down. They’re going to be shown—look, you can’t buy today, but here’s the steps that we need to do to fix your credit, to get you on the path.” - Skylar Wallace, (15:54)

I believe the number one skillset an entrepreneur should have is the ability to sell. If you can sell—that’s the thing because that’s how you create revenue.” - Skylar Wallace, (42:20)

Jun 5, 2023

Summary

On this episode of Startup Junkies, hosts Jeff Amerine, Caleb Talley, and Matthew Ward are joined by Mark Zweig, founder and chairman of Zweig Group. Mark’s entrepreneurial journey began in his parent’s front yard when he was only twelve. He bought and sold bicycles, motorcycles, and cars throughout his adolescence and time at university. After earning his MBA, Mark worked for a management consulting firm before leaving for a string of successful positions with other flourishing businesses. Mark returned to his entrepreneurial nature in 1988 by founding Zweig Group, which grew rapidly for over a decade. Since his return to entrepreneurship, Mark has founded Inc 500 and Inc 5000 startups, written a book, served on multiple boards, and is now teaching entrepreneurship at the University of Arkansas. 

 

Show Notes

(1:09) Introducing Mark Zweig

(2:00) Mark’s Entrepreneurial Origin Story

(16:12) Growing a Successful Business

(23:13) What Drew Mark to Northwest Arkansas

(28:15) Changing the Perception of Arkansas

(34:44) Designing Homes and Buying Back Mark’s Business

(44:31) What’s on Mark’s Plate Now?

(47:30) Advice to the Younger Self

 

Links

Jeff Amerine

Caleb Talley

Matthew Ward

Mark Zweig 

Zweig Group  

 

Quotes

“We grew by 30% a year, thirteen years in a row. And we were always profitable. We never had any outside equity. We did sell stock to key employees, and we would finance 100% of that. And that was really a strength. We just did a lot of stuff that we advocated our clients do.” - Mark Zweig, (19:00)

“Our business planning process was one where every year, each line unit manager had to come up with three new things to sell and three new ways to sell what they had. And that just sort of baked in the innovation.” - Mark Zweig, (19:58) 

“To me, entrepreneurship is about building value. It’s not just what you can suck out of it along the way. And so, that, to me, is a core tenant of it. And if that’s your goal, you do everything differently.” - Mark Zweig, (48:55)

May 29, 2023

Summary

On this episode of Startup Junkies, hosts Jeff Amerine and Caleb Talley sit down with Josh Duntz and Tyler Dunbar of Metova and Central Standard Talent, respectively. With their Naval backgrounds, Josh and Tyler have a unique perspective on the business world. Throughout the episode, the crew discusses Central Standard and Metova’s expertise in identifying customer needs and developing digital products that align with business goals. They highlight the importance of tailoring technology solutions to meet the specific needs of each customer, and how this approach sets Central Standard and Metova apart from other tech agencies. They also comment on artificial intelligence, exploring whether these emerging technologies pose a threat to Central Standard and Metova, and whether AI can be as effective as humans.

 

Show Notes

(1:33) Introducing Josh and Tyler

(6:08) Josh’s Transition from the Military to the Civilian World

(9:20) Key Takeaways from Military Service

(15:42) Central Standard and Metova’s Connection

(21:01) Finding Talent without Paying Silicon Valley Prices

(23:35) The Threat of AI

(27:51) Looking at the Landscape of the Current Economy

(32:52) Advice to Their Younger Selves

(35:38) Tyler and Josh’s Naval Background

(39:23) Closing Thoughts

 

Links

Jeff Amerine

Caleb Talley

Josh Duntz

Tyler Dunbar

Metova

Central Standard Talent    

 

Quotes

“I approach leadership the same way in business now, where it’s like, I don’t care if you’re the lowest man on the totem pole or the CEO of the company. I believe that before decisions should be made, everyone should be able to voice their opinion.” - Josh Duntz, (13:19)

“Rule of thumb is we’ll save you 30-50% in cost. And for somebody who’s in any sort of startup, there’s another critical element to this. You also don’t have to give any of your company away to get really high-quality talent.” - Tyler Dunbar, (21:24)

“You have a certain mindset of what outsourcing looks like, right? And typically, for most people, it’s not high quality. So that’s a piece that looks really different for us. We focus on hiring people long-term—custom solution building for a team just for you. And [that allows] us to really focus on high-quality technical talent that is retained over time. So rather than fill fifty really low-level positions, we really try to focus on those senior and mid-level positions that establish and create value for years and years to come.” - Tyler Dunbar, (22:34)

“I think you still need humans to be effective, right? And there’s a difference between being effective and being efficient. I think that AI is probably really efficient, but like Josh was talking about, how effective is it without those little human elements of nuance in between?” - Tyler Dunbar, (26:34)

 

May 22, 2023

Summary

On this episode of Startup Junkies, hosts Jeff Amerine, Caleb Talley, and Grace Gill are joined by Fred Gustafson, operating partner of Wabi Capital and president of Louisville Vegan Jerky. Fred details how his entrepreneurial journey began with an online tuxedo rental startup that saw great success and an early exit. He shares about jumping into franchises without any prior experience, leading to—of all things—a brick-and-mortar shop for soap. Throughout his wild ride of entrepreneurship, Fred has learned the importance of being flexible and willing to learn something new. 

 

Show Notes

(1:01) Introducing Fred

(1:20) A Successful Exit with Menguin

(10:57) Working with Voxie and Buff City Soap

(23:08) Wabi Capital

(26:29) Louisville Vegan Jerky

(30:08) Marketing to Meat Eaters

(38:28) The Wabi Capital Name 

(40:35) Advice to the Younger Self

(43:24) Closing Thoughts

 

Links

Jeff Amerine

Caleb Talley

Grace Gill

Fred Gustafson

Wabi Capital

Louisville Vegan Jerky    

 

Quotes

“We started Wabi with our whole background being entrepreneurs and really not finance and investment people. And we felt like that was actually a strength for us…We’ve always kind of looked at business as—there’s a lot of strength in being an outsider to the industry you are going into.” - Fred Gustafson, (23:58)

“The challenge isn’t as much [convincing] more plant-based, vegans, and vegetarians to eat more of this stuff. It’s more so, how do you show the traditional meat eater that there is this healthy, better for you, more natural, less-processed alternative that also happens to not use any animal products, that can deliver more on the nutritional value, the taste, everything like that, as a way to supplement your diet.” - Fred Gustafson, (29:40)

“People still want an indulgence in their snack. They want stuff to taste good. They want that craveable deliciousness. And so we want to be that. We are that. We’ll always deliver big on flavor, but then also be this cleaner, whole food, vegan-based product.” - Fred Gustafson, (36:45)

May 15, 2023

Summary

On this episode of Startup Junkies, hosts Jeff Amerine, Caleb Talley, and Matthew Ward are joined by Palmer Hays of Bennet Commercial Real Estate. A collegiate golfer, Palmer shares his insights on how he learned sales through the golf course by building relationships and gaining trust. He highlights how the state of the real estate market is influenced by people and their needs. He explains that infrastructure follows people, and as the population grows, new businesses and buildings emerge to support them.

 

Show Notes

(1:16) Introducing Palmer Hays

(4:09) Palmer’s Origin Story

(6:59) Choosing Commercial Real Estate

(7:59) Business on the Golf Course

(11:55) Market Changes in Northwest Arkansas

(15:37) The Perks of Northwest Arkansas

(22:02) Projecting Future Trends

(28:13) Handling Exponential Growth in Northwest Arkansas

(33:14) Prioritizing Mixed-Use Properties

(37:10) Advice for the Younger Self

 

Links

Jeff Amerine

Caleb Talley

Matthew Ward 

Palmer Hays 

Bennett Commercial Real Estate 

 

Quotes

“A typical deal that we’ll see—we’re either working with a tenant that needs to find a space, whether that be a startup or Fortune 500 company, a manufacturer, or just your typical [quick service restaurant]...We can touch on those businesses, and we can learn so much from what they do and also be able to solve one of their biggest issues at the time, which is typically finding a piece of real estate that works for them.” - Palmer Hays, (7:12)

“I wouldn’t say I had experience in sales prior to getting into the real estate industry, but what I did have experience in was talking to people who had a lot of business dealings. I grew up playing golf, and typically at the golf courses, you’re talking to business owners. You’re talking to individuals who own real estate. You’re talking to individuals who are having to make those decisions.” - Palmer Hays, (8:06)

“There’s nothing better than just getting here [to Northwest Arkansas]. So I’ll tell people all the time, if you have the opportunity and if the property is worth it, just come to Northwest Arkansas and take a peek at it.” - Palmer Hays, (16:16)

“Real estate as a whole, if you take a ten thousand foot view at it, it’s based on people. Where are people? Where are they located? Where are they coming from? What do they need around them?...So whenever you have more and more people moving in here, there’s going to be a need for X, Y, and Z…People drive real estate, so whenever you have more people, you’re going to have more need. And that translates to housing. That translates to industrial product. That translates to offices. That translates to more businesses coming here.” - Palmer Hays, (24:11)

May 8, 2023

Summary:

Welcome to another great episode of Startup Junkies!

 

On this episode, hosts Caleb Talley and Jeff Amerine sit down with Rick West and Henry Ho, co-founders of Field Agent, where Rick serves as the CEO and Henry is the Chief Strategy Officer. Field Agent is a tech company built for winning at retail by connecting brands to shoppers across the country. This enables companies to capture in-store information, gather rich consumer insights, and drive product trials completely on demand. Throughout the show, Rick and Henry discuss the solutions Field Agent provides, how to improve interactions with customers, and how to create business ventures that are scalable and repeatable.

 

Show Notes:

(0:57) Introduction to Rick and Henry

(1:41) Field Agent’s Backstory

(9:33) About Field Agent

(14:18) Raising Outside Venture Capital

(18:56) What’s Next for Field Agent

(26:03) Interacting with Customers

(27:56) The Future Utilization of AI

(35:16) Scalability and Repeatability

(39:13) Northwest Arkansas’s Collaborative Ecosystem

(46:27) Advice to Younger Self

(49:57) Closing Question

 

Links:

Caleb Talley

Jeff Amerine

Rick West

Henry Ho

Field Agent

 

Quotes:

“We built this platform along with a crowdsourcing engine to help our clients understand store conditions like pricing product, distribution, merchandising, etc…We also created it so we would be able to gain everyday shopper insights into their shopping experience.” - Henry Ho, (10:19)

 

“We’ve created an opportunity or a marketplace for people to be able to come in and see items and actually purchase as opposed to talking to a bunch of different sales people from different companies to try and make something work.” - Rick West, (19:24)

 

“We think we have the secret sauce to have a services mentality, a sales led growth mentality, and taking the best of that and then productizing it to make it scalable and repeatable.” - Rick West, (35:37)

 

“I think one of the joys I have as an entrepreneur is not only are we pouring into business entrepreneurs, there’s a whole bunch of social entrepreneurs in Northwest Arkansas that are doing incredible things.” - Henry Ho, (44:51)

May 1, 2023

Summary

On this episode of Startup Junkies, hosts Caleb Talley, Jeff Amerine, and Victoria Dickerson are joined by Owen Parker. Owen is the co-founder and CTO of HomeKeeper, an app that creates easy to follow, effort-free maintenance plans for busy homeowners that want to take great care of their home without the hassle of researching, billing, and record keeping. Throughout the episode, Owen and the hosts discuss HomeKeeper’s origin story, creating a platform that helps both customers and vendors, and future plans for scaling. 

 

Show Notes

(1:23) Introducing Owen Parker and HomeKeeper

(4:24) Owen’s Origin Story

(8:34) Advice for App Development 

(10:26) Helping Both Customers and Vendors

(12:40) HomeKeeper’s Unique Rollout

(16:40) Raising Outside Capital

(18:10) What’s Next?

(19:53) How Owen’s Childhood Impacted His Entrepreneurial DNA

(22:44) Advice for the Younger Self

(25:56) Connecting with HomeKeeper

 

Links

Jeff Amerine

Caleb Talley

Victoria Dickerson 

Owen Parker

HomeKeeper  

 

Quotes

“I guess the advice would be do not over-engineer. But don’t solve your problem, solve whatever the universal problem is for that marketplace.” - Owen Parker, (10:10)

“That’s our number one priority, it’s advocating for the homeowner. Now that being said, when it comes to vendor relationships, we think that there’s a hugely positive impact for vendors as well.” - Owen Parker, (10:48)

“I think that’s the big thing that keeps me up at night. We’re sort of in a race against time to perfect the processes and models to take this to other markets, because we know that it’s going to happen. I mean, this business makes too much sense to not exist.” - Owen Parker, (16:03)

 

Apr 24, 2023

Summary:

Welcome to another great episode of Startup Junkies!

On this episode, hosts Caleb Talley, Victoria Dickerson, and Matthew Ward sit down with Chris Thompson, creator and CEO of SoberSidekick, a free app that helps users maintain their sobriety by connecting with a community of people who can empathize and relate with where they’re at. Chris opens up about his personal sobriety journey and the road to creating a platform aimed at solving the issue of isolation and loneliness for those struggling with addiction. Throughout the show, Chris talks about scaling empathy, designing an algorithm that provides users with a judgment-free space, and the current realities for recovering addicts in the healthcare system and how Sober Sidekick aims to solve some of those issues. Listen and be inspired by Chris's story and mission!

 

Show Notes:

(1:07) Introduction to Chris

(2:28) Moving to Northwest Arkansas

(6:53) About SoberSidekick

(11:25) The Importance of Supportive Networks

(14:06) Growth Tactics

(17:31) SoberSidekick Users

(21:28) Expanding SoberSidekick

(30:03) SoberSidekick’s Business Model

(34:11) The Process of Raising Capital

(37:48) Measuring Success

(43:51) Advice to Younger Self

(45:47) Closing Thoughts

 

Links:

Caleb Talley

Victoria Dickerson

Matthew Ward

Chris Thompson

Sober Sidekick

 

Quotes:

“...acknowledging that luck, I started to theorize what if there was an algorithm we could build that created a world where connecting with the right people at the right time was no longer up to chance. So I formed this idea of an empathy algorithm.” - Christ Thompson, (8:39)

“Most people don’t commit suicide during therapy sessions…it’s when they think they’re alone. And that’s what we’re there for. An analogy I make is like AA therapists, mental health professionals, you could compare them to the heart surgeon and we’re here to be the pacemaker.” - Chris Thompson, (20:41)

“Understanding how we need to go to the market is the first step to being able to produce an effective pitch. It’s about understanding how our own data correlates to outcomes and how that can be positioned.” - Chris Thompson, (35:00)

“The differentiator between founders is not IQ, it’s not talent, it’s just resilience. You know there’s mental and emotional resilience, but then there’s also the idea of building something to be resilient and that’s why we bootstrapped as long as we possibly could.” - Chris Thompson, (40:17)

 

Apr 17, 2023

Summary

On this episode of Startup Junkies, hosts Caleb Talley and Jeff Amerine sit down with Patrick Randall, Fallon Cardoza, and Jason Lam, co-founders of Boulders and Brews. Boulders and Brews is a coffee shop and rock-climbing gym with a clear mission: Growing the NWA climbing community and helping climbers of all skills grow by providing a premier indoor climbing facility that embodies the climbing atmosphere with an open, welcoming environment for new climbers. Throughout the episode, the crew discusses turning an old Piggly Wiggly into a bouldering gym, learning to pivot and adapt, and creating a safe space and culture for the climbing community and Boulders and Brews’ staff. 

 

Show Notes

(0:58) Patrick’s Origin Story

(2:51) Fallon’s Origin Story

(3:27) Jason’s Origin Story

(5:06) Each Parter’s Role

(8:44) Choosing a Dickson Street Location

(11:21) Investing in Arkansas’s Climbing Culture

(14:57) Learning to Pivot and Adapt

(18:10) Dealing with Vendor Issues

(21:07) Curating a Safe Space for Customers to Enjoy

(23:05) Boulders and Brews’ Burgioning Company Culture

(25:38) Climbing’s Barrier to Entry

(28:47) Creating a Gym That’s Convenient for Students

(31:41) Outreach and Events

(37:03) Advice to the Younger Self

 

Links

Jeff Amerine

Caleb Talley

Patrick Randall

Fallon Cardoza

Jason Lam

Boulders and Brews     

 

Quotes

“...We’ll bring some health and fitness back. So adding that diversity to Dickson Street I think is really helpful for the community—and exposing the sport to people from all walks of life that would never be interested in climbing, but since it’s in the right location, they’re like, ‘Alright, I’ll maybe give it a shot.’” - Patrick Randall, (10:59)

“We actually have the mecca of outdoor climbing two hours away from us in Jasper—Horseshoe Canyon Ranch. People from all over the world come to develop routes here in Arkansas. It’s such a great beginner place for people to be able to go out. All the anchors and everything is fixed and ready for you. I mean, it’s right in our backyard.” - Fallon Cardoza, (11:51)

“It’s been magical to go into the space and watch people enjoy the safe space that we intentionally created for them to walk into and feel safe and feel happy and feel like they have a community away from their home…I’m told almost daily that people feel all of these really great positive things, and being able to know that we were attributed to that is so reassuring. And it’s beautiful to know that we created that for them.” - Fallon Cardoza, (21:20)

“...Everything that’s inside the gym is great, but it’s only a vessel. Your business is the community.” - Patrick Randall, (21:55)

“I’m looking at our life as a whole, like what is important to us—our friends, our family, the big picture type thing. So when you look at risk in that regard, it’s like, okay, starting this business isn’t as scary because the risk versus reward is a lot higher. So I would tell my younger self to just take the risk and not wait as long as I did.” - Fallon Cardoza, (37:42)

“I guess if I were to go back in time and before starting this journey, I would tell myself to think bigger. Shoot for bigger because at some point, we’re going to max out our location and we’re going to have to find another one. And maybe it would’ve been easier if we just started with a bigger location, but obviously there is risk to that.” - Jason Lam, (40:18)

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