I get daily inspiration from people I look at and hang out with who are constantly striving to get better at what they do whether it's Terry Lickona booking Austin City Limits, Chase Moody masterfully doing the code behind Localeur, my girlfriend Susannah doing marketing for La Patisserie or my brother Kahron writing for the Austin Chronicle.
The #1 person who I've watched do this is my mother Sabrena. Fundamentally, she became a better mother and person during my childhood, and it was such a pleasure to watch and benefit from. I realize that more and more each day, especially when I continue to see things like my mom buying her first house at 45 years old and graduating from college at 50 years old or my mom getting a great new job at a university health clinic in her mid-50s.
So here I am following in her footsteps and trying to keep pace with the people around me...trying to get better at what I do each and every day whether it's being the CEO of Localeur, a board member for AIDS Services of Austin and KLRU or making civic and literary contributions to Austin and the tech community.
In middle school, I was taught the baritone over three days the month before 7th grade and by 8th grade I made All-County.
In my sophomore year in high school, I was a 5:05 miler and 12 minute-something 2-miler. By my senior year, I got down to the 4:30s and 10:30s.
In high school, I worked at Pizza Hut and was the guy who could fold boxes the fastest, wait tables (it was a dine in location), make pizzas, answer phones and handle the register.
In college, I worked for the Texas Longhorns media relations office and the Office of Public Affairs for the entire university, and it was there - not any of my classes while majoring in PR - where I truly learned how to work with members of the media. I went from cutting newspaper clippings about women's rowing and softball to working with ESPN's College Gameday crew, helping to facilitate press conferences for the Big 12 & NCAA tourney games and football games and writing articles for all the colleges and universities.
In D.C., I had the privilege of going from being an intern in the Austin office getting paid $10 an hour to being on salary in the DC office on some of the most important client work for Public Strategies (now H&K Strategies) like AT&T and the 2008 Beijing Olympics (those are known clients so I'm not breaking one of Jack Martin's rules about not naming clients) and now I count PSI's former Vice Chair Jeff Eller, and leaders like Danner Bethel, Joe Householder and Richard Keil as investors in Localeur today.
And now anyone paying attention knows there's been a clear elevation of my ability to execute on my ideas and areas of passion and focus for me from Sneak Attack and Style X to Localeur from 2013 to Localeur today.
There's only one way I've learned in the last 20-plus years to get better each day, and that's to constantly strive to surround yourself with good people and perspective, be it in the form of bosses, mentors or even through books.
I'm going to be a better person tomorrow and the next day/week/year after that because my ability to curate the people I invest my time and energy into continues to improve.
I didn't learn that from my mom. I actually learned that from making the decision as a 13-year-old not to put anymore time and energy into worrying about where the hell my dad was. Over the years I've re-applied that lesson with various old friends who I realized were too deeply rooted in the person I used to be back then rather than the person I'm working to become today.
A lot of people say they are self-made, and if I were to become a mega-successful, famous or wealthy individual because of Localeur and future endeavors, I don't want people to say that about me.
The best thing you could say about me is that I surrounded myself with good people who helped me reach my potential and that I took time to do the same for them. And that my success didn't happen overnight. It was one day of improvement at a time.