Things we’re actually thankful for in 2020 [JE020]

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Jay Clouse 0:00
The startup investment landscape is changing. and world class companies are being built outside of Silicon Valley. We find them, talk with them and discuss the upside of investing in them. Welcome to Upside.

Eric, guess what?

Eric Hornung 0:30
Chicken butt.

Jay Clouse 0:30
Chicken butt indeed today is actually turkey butt is what we’re celebrating for Thanksgiving and we have yet another Eric and Jay talking head episode a couple in a row. We’ve had an exciting end of the year here, but we haven’t been able to pack in too many interviews. Luckily for us, it’s Thanksgiving. And so in typical upside style, we wanted to chat a little bit about what we are thankful for this holiday season. Have you kick us off?

Eric Hornung 0:56
It’s been a crazy year, Jay. A year, unlike any other for most people that have been that are alive right now. And it is kind of weird to think through. Man so much has went wrong and crazy this year. But there’s still some stuff to really be thankful for.

Jay Clouse 1:12
Yeah, I dare say that 2020 kind of sucked.

Eric Hornung 1:15
A lot of people have that reaction.

Jay Clouse 1:18
There was some good things though. And that’s what we want to celebrate. We want to celebrate the good things. One of the biggest of which that’s on my mind as it relates to our show here. Is that based on lockdowns and people social distancing, we’re seeing an acceleration of this outside Silicon Valley movement that we’ve talked about for the last two years on the show.

Eric Hornung 1:36
Are you, wait a second, are you using the line? Are you using the COVID didn’t change anything, it just accelerated? Something that a trend that was already occurring?

Jay Clouse 1:45
Yes, it was a catalyst. Well, it’s come up several times in these interviews this year. It’s kind of crazy. When we started, when lockdown started. And we started doing interviews, we had the conversation, that we were going to minimize how much we actually talked about because we wanted the episodes to be evergreen. And we didn’t want people to think about, oh, this is another one of those COVID episodes. But with eight to nine months of content, you can’t really ignore it. And it came up a lot in those interviews because people want to talk about it. And they told us like this is more of a catalyst and an accelerator than anything radically different.

Eric Hornung 2:17
I feel like every single finance blog and podcast says that this is a catalyst. This is an accelerant for trends that are currently existing, but it’s not changing anything is what doesn’t matter is DTC. You know, it’s an accelerant the trend was already happening. And now it just kind of like five exit at once. Outside Silicon Valley movement, it was already happening. And now COVID just accelerated. I think we’re seeing that a lot right now. And it’s kind of fun to call it a movement, you know?

Jay Clouse 2:42
Yeah, because people are literally moving away from San Francisco away from New York. We’ve been talking about the boomerang effect for a couple of years on this show. And I’m not sure you would credit this movement as necessarily boomerang, but people are certainly questioning, why am I living in these areas with super high cost of living, when I could be doing the same job from anywhere.

Eric Hornung 3:04
And I think we’re seeing the first order effects of that in places like Austin, which is just on fire right now in a good way from like a housing market from a net immigration standpoint, with Nashville with a couple of these other areas that prop themselves up as potential second generation tech hubs that we’re seeing that play out in real time here.

Jay Clouse 3:28
So let’s talk about some of the players within this movement. Because as you’ve told me a bunch of times, Eric, this movement isn’t really one thing. There’s not one name to it, there are a lot of players within it to know and most of them are pretty collaborative. But we don’t really have a name for this thing yet.

Eric Hornung 3:42
I went to a Catholic High School. And in high school, we were taught that in our theology class, did you have theology class?

Jay Clouse 3:50
In high school? No.

Eric Hornung 3:51
Yeah. Welcome to Catholic private high school. In our theology class in Genesis when God names Adam and Eve, and then he gives dominion to them to name everything else. The idea is that when you name something, you have dominion over it. So I feel like everybody who tries to name this movement is inherently try staking their own reputation to that name. So we end up with everybody trying to name things differently, so that they differentiate to call it the same thing, the same thing, but they’re calling it something different. So we have outside of Silicon Valley, we have beyond Silicon Valley, we have the mighty middle, we have the rise of the rest we have, between the mountains, we have between the coasts, we have and it, the list goes on and on and on, because everyone’s trying to stick their same kind of idea to say this is this thing, but here’s what we call it.

Jay Clouse 4:43
Middle bit. Middle coast, X coastal, we have so many names. And we’ve been we’ve been lucky to have a lot of these people on the show. You know you talked about Rise of the Rest for Revolution. We had Mary Grove on the show this year, with Powderkeg. One of our favorite organizations, Matt Hunkler was on the show recently. One America Works is this great organization out in the valley helping those tech companies find second headquarter locations across the country. Alex Lazarow is writing the 99% tech newsletter for people in the middle of the country, Omni Valley, one of our close friends and, and somebody who sends a lot of guests our way, X coastal text between the tech between the coasts, he named off a lot of players here, a lot of a lot of friends that we made in the last year, everybody’s seeing kind of the same thing in trying to accelerate it in their own way.

Eric Hornung 5:29
Yeah, and I love it because it’s, it’s really layered. I think when you’re new to this, when we were three years ago, it all just kind of seem like okay, there’s a Rise of the Rest. And then everybody else who’s kind of playing plays under the Rise of the Rest, shadow, but it’s really not there’s their city based focuses their state based focuses, there’s regional base focuses. And then there’s more maybe national focuses, and all of that kind of layers into create this ecosystem of people who are trying to prop up the parts of the country that haven’t got the most attention in the last 20 years.

Jay Clouse 6:03
And we’re trying to accelerate these cities in our own way, Eric, and one of the ways that we’ve talked about doing but haven’t pulled the trigger on yet actually is building community to connect these people in the middle of the country. Actually, the naming issue is one of the things that we struggled with, which is why we haven’t really launched that yet.

Eric Hornung 6:19
I think that’s something that you will see from Upside in 2022. But that is going to come from

Jay Clouse 6:26
2020 also.

Eric Hornung 6:29
I don’t think this is going out and coming out in 2020 also. I meant 2021. And that’s how crazy times are I don’t know what year it is, the next year from when you’re hearing this podcast, I think that you will see us launch a community initiative, I think to do it, we need to be egoless in doing it, which means that more collaboration and more of those organizations we just mentioned, are going to need to band together and do something that is not directly beneficial to them, but in the long term is beneficial to them. And it’s going to be it’s going to be hard, but hopefully we can we can pull it off. Because I think that this is a very collaborative community of people who care about what we continue to just call this movement.

Jay Clouse 7:10
And we’re gonna need some friends on the ground to make that possible too. So if you’re listening to this, and you want to get involved with with our team and help us with what we’re doing, we’d love to help bring you into this community initiative, help us grow that in your community and, and connect your community to others outside of it. Also, in Eric, another reason that we’re talking about this something else’s initiative for us next year that we talked about the last two weeks here on the show, is our localized Podcast Network.

Eric Hornung 7:35
Yeah, I think that with Upside, we can go broad, you know, we can talk to a lot of people across the community. But going back to that layered approach, we can’t go deep. You know, Jay, you and I have only so much time. And we can’t be interviewing 70, 80 people a week to make sure we get into each and every one of these cities to learn about what’s going on. So this localized Podcast Network is going to help us do that. We’re going to start with Cleveland and Cincinnati, the podcast titles there our Lay of the Land, with Jeff and Tegan, and When Pigs Fly with Allie and Patrick, and they’re going to go deep into the cities. And we’re gonna pull some of that up to the master channel to give it a little bit more national coverage. But I really do think that this mix, this layering of national and local is going to be a key to success here where other people have maybe just focused on the local only,

Jay Clouse 8:33
I got excited listening to the first episode of Lay of the Land with Ed Buckholtz, which will be out next Thursday. So if you haven’t subscribed to Lay the Land yet, you can do that by searching Lay of the Land here in your podcast player. But listening to that episode with Ed, he actually submitted post interview a little bit of a letter to the hosts to talk about what’s going on in Cleveland, because since interviewing him, he’s actually taken a job to move out of Cleveland. And he wrote a pretty honest and no holds barred letter about what needs to happen for the Cleveland ecosystem. And it got me really excited about a future with these different shows on the network. Because we can surface these stories and, and tell the stories that maybe people on the ground won’t necessarily want to, you know, cause a ruckus or things like that. But we can really shed some light on the good things that are happening, we can shed some light on maybe some of the failed experiments that are happening here on the national level, based on the localized stories that we’re hearing from our podcast hosts in those cities. So really excited to get more shows off the ground at different cities across the country. It’s only going to accelerate the ability for other community organizers to improve their community in their city.

Eric Hornung 9:43
Yeah, there’s definitely something to be said, going back to incentives that Jay, you and I are not tied to anybody.

Jay Clouse 9:50
We don’t know anything to anybody,

Eric Hornung 9:53
And might be a bad thing in the long run then.

Jay Clouse 9:57
Well, one last thing that I wanted to say I’m grateful for here, Eric is our listeners, because over the last couple of months as you’ve been working hard on the network, and I’ve been working hard on whatever it is that I was doing the last couple of months, we haven’t been able to record quite as many interviews as we typically do. And just looking at our feet here, you can see the last three episodes where you and I talking, which is for good reason. But we haven’t been able to get an interview back to you guys here in a little bit. And that will continue a little bit. In December, we’re going to be running what we call December rewinds, where we take the companies that we’ve had on the podcast, and give you a little bit of an update as to what they’re doing now, because several of them have had some major, major milestones. And we thought it’d be really cool to share those milestones, and then bookend that with the conversation we had with them months, or in some cases, years before that. It’s a really powerful look at what can be accomplished in a short amount of time here in the middle of the country. And it’s something we haven’t tried before. So we’re gonna be trying that out in December.

Eric Hornung 10:54
This is something we always wanted to do. And I think it means the whole idea behind being a portfolio right, a portfolio last 10 years. And to be able to have this time capsule of going back and talking to and seeing these companies progress. Jay, we’ve been pretty lucky with the amazing level of companies that have come on the show.

Jay Clouse 11:13
Yeah, pretty impressive, both from the standpoint of what they’ve been able to fundraise a couple of exits, really excited to highlight a few of those in December. And then we’ll be back in January with a vengeance with some new interviews, some new founders, just going to get some of these, behind the scenes infrastructural changes out of the way, including a little bit of a brand refresh Eric, which we’re really excited to roll out here in the next couple of weeks.

Eric Hornung 11:38
Yeah, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes, I feel like for a media company, we should be talking a lot more about it.

Jay Clouse 11:44
That’s right, and we’re going to so if you are not already subscribed to our updates, go over to Get on our email list, you’ll be the first to know about everything going on in our world and how you can get involved in the coming year because it’s going to be a big, exciting year. So go ahead and do that. Go to upside.FM, subscribe there on the homepage, and you’ll get a first look at our brand refresh at the new shows coming down the pike at our new community initiative that we talked about. We have a lot going on, and we can’t wait to share it with you.

Eric Hornung 12:14
2021 is going to be awesome.

Jay Clouse 12:17
2021 is going to be awesome. And you’re going to be there with us. I am sure. So thanks for listening. Thanks for following along, and we’ll talk to you next week. That’s all for this week. Thanks for listening. We’d love to hear your thoughts on today’s guest. So shoot us an email at or find us on Twitter @upsideFM. We’ll be back here next week at the same time talking to another founder and our quest to find upside outside of Silicon Valley. If you or someone you know would make a good guess for our show, please email us or find us on Twitter and let us know. And if you love our show, please leave us a review on iTunes. That goes a long way in helping us spread the word and continue to help bring high quality guests to the show. Eric and I decided there were a couple things we wanted to share with you at the end of the podcast. And so here we go. Eric Hornung and Jay Clouse are the founding parties of the upside podcast. At the time of this recording. We do not own equity or other financial interest in the companies which appear on this show. All opinions expressed by podcast participants are solely their own opinion and do not reflect the opinions of Duffin Phelps LLC and its affiliates under a collective LLC and its affiliates or any entity which employ us. This podcast is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a basis for investment decisions. We have not considered your specific financial situation nor provided any investment advice on this show. Thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you next week.

This year has been unlike any other. And this Thanksgiving is likely to be unlikely any other, too. With the difficulties that 2020 has brought everyone – founders, investors, and communities – there are still some bright spots to celebrate.

In today’s short episode, we talk about some of the positives 2020 has brought us and startup communities that we can still be thankful for.

From the upside family, we hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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