A strong community can promote new ideas and ensure accountability. It can also act as motivation, support and even provide a little friendly competition. The power of community is undeniable, and the Okanagan tech community is no exception.
Our community is strong and growing with record speed, and maintaining connections through a period of growth like this can be a challenge. Nobody panic. We’ve got a plan.
Introducing “The Faces of #OKGNtech,” a showcase of Okanagan tech entrepreneurs, partners, supporters and cheerleaders designed to fuel more connection, more growth and more excitement. Follow along on the blog and on Instagram at @OKGNtech to learn more about our growing community and what makes them awesome.
Meet Josh. Josh Fraser is the founder and CEO of Estated, a company that ensures consumers have accessible and accurate property data. When Josh isn’t working hard building his company, you’ll find him reading, walking his dog Rupert or grabbing a coffee at Pulp Fiction.
[Editor’s note: You may recognize Josh Fraser from his previous company Data Nerds!]
We recently caught up with Josh to learn about his new business Estated and how he stays motivated.
Can you explain what Data Nerds was and why you chose to focus on Estated?
“Data Nerds was a data and analytics company that started in advertising and grew very, very quickly. However, while working on Data Nerds we found a much larger opportunity in real estate, technology, data and analytics, so we decided to put all of our eggs into that basket, and in 2019 we have changed everything over to Estated!”
Why are you such a big advocate for mentorship?
“A big factor of getting Data Nerds name out there was the coaching I got from my mentors at Accelerate Okanagan, Fraser Campbell and Larry Smith. Connecting with AO and the OKGNtech community made me love Kelowna a lot more, and it helped me create a support network of other CEOs in town.
I would not be where I am today without accelerators like Accelerate Okanagan and Techstars. Accelerators are a great introduction to communities and to support systems, and they are also great for helping you make less mistakes. Building a company is a long journey filled with opportunities (good and bad). How quickly you can react and recover is key.”
What inspired you to start your own business?
“I love to spend money, and online advertising is probably the easiest place to do just that. Every year, there is almost a trillion dollars spent on advertising [Editor’s note: that’s right, a TRILLION]. I have always liked to spend money, and I’m good at it. Give it to me, and I will spend it as soon as possible.
When I was about 16 years old, I got into online advertising. I realized early on that there was a huge opportunity there, and it also kind of fulfilled my desire to spend money. Now I get to spend $350,000 a month … every month! I don’t have a traditional lemonade stand story. I just always knew that I loved spending money, and I found a way to fill that desire by starting my own business.”
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur?
“I will be completely transparent. I don’t like being a CEO. I am a much better number two type of person. However, what I do love is I love team all-hands meetings. One of my favourite things is putting together a fantastic presentation and being able to see my team present to each other. Seeing my team grow through our organization, those are really proud moments for me.
Another thing I enjoy about being a CEO is the opportunity to talk to venture capitalists. It’s a different world and just a world that you don’t often think about, right? I’m talking about high-net-worth individuals (billions of dollars in assets), and I am doing that weekly. Working with successful people who are operating at a high level in terms of business and skill is just fascinating to me but also a huge driver and where I find optimism.”
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs out there?
“I have been thinking about this a lot lately. The best thing you can do is learn how to shorten the emotional oscillations that come with running a company. What I mean by this is learning how to stay on that even keel, because there are high highs where you are very excited, and everything is rainbows and unicorns, and then there is like bridge watch—like, I am going to jump off a bridge today because this is a nightmare. When I shorten those ups and downs and stay more even keel and level-headed, I make a lot better decisions.
Being in a negative headspace is just s–tty all around, for you and everyone around you, so just keeping that even keel is key. Don’t go too high. Don’t go too low. Stay even.”
What inspired you to start the Nerd Olympics?
“We wanted to build a community event that was our own. The Nerd Olympics was born while we were playing ping pong one day in the office and randomly deciding to create this event. We liked the name Data Nerds, and so we called it the Nerd Olympics.
The Nerd Olympics started out as a tech thing, but now it’s whoever wants to join. We invite our accountants, and lawyers and hairdressers. Everyone is invited. It’s just to bring the community together for a good cause and enjoy being outside!
[Editor’s Note: The Nerd Olympics raises money for Claire’s Place Foundation.]
What does success mean to you?
“Something I am constantly debating is what does success actually mean. Is success selling my company for a billion dollars? Or making an X amount of money? Or is success to me doing exactly what I want? For me, success is simplification. I want to live in a place that smells good and own a lot of dirt.”
How do you stay motivated and grounded?
“Seth Godin is a huge idol of mine. I have been reading his daily blog for probably 10 years, and I’ve read all 27 of his books. At a conference I was at, he said ‘motivation should be like a shower. You should only need it once a day.’
I am a very driven person, so it doesn’t always resonate with people how I stay motivated, but it definitely comes down to my goals! I’ve had very ambitious goals for myself since I was 17, and I have always known what I wanted to accomplish. I would say I am about 10 percent of the way there right now.
Having your own routine is so important, and everyone’s routine should be personal. I used to think you had to wake up at 5 a.m. and read for an hour, then meditate, then shower and then work for 15 hours, then go to bed and that’s all you should do. But as I have gotten older, I recognize that every single person has their own way of doing it.
In order for people to stay healthy and motivated you have to invest in you. I have some simple rules for my life besides the big number ones: I want to live in places that smell good, and I want to own a lot of dirt. I know that if I can successfully do that for the rest of my life, I will be a very happy healthy and wise old man.”
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