Matt Jacoby, Brix Coworking
IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Matt Jacoby, co-owner, Brix Coworking.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?
The most challenging aspect of my job probably has always been navigating the way I communicate and collaborate with people, although in recent months it has been better. For years my entrepreneurial mindset always steered me toward working solo because it was supposedly “easier” to just do it myself. But overcoming this has been a reward in itself. To build on that, the rewarding aspect of my job is just seeing my personal and group efforts and projects come to life and succeed. There’s something to be said for watching your baby leave the nest.
Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?
I think Steve Jobs and Warren Buffett are my top two influencers in business. For Steve Jobs, I live by a quote he said at his Stanford University commencement address: “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” His passion to create something from nothing despite obstacle after obstacle and create a whole industry based on that is nothing short of amazing. For Warren Buffett, his lifestyle choices to live simply and enjoy basic necessities despite his financial situation is inspiring and “what I want to be when I grow up.”
What has been the high point of your career so far?
The journey. Since my childhood days, I have nothing but fond memories of inventing neighborhood businesses, clubs, organizations, home-based businesses, and always chasing my imagination. As an adult, not a lot has changed. I was finally able to break out of the 9-to-5 mold a few years ago and feel that every milestone is a point to reflect and remember what I learned since the prior milestone. Everything I do is a building block for where I am going. Happiness is measured in my outcomes and those who I influence, not in my paycheck.
Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
Read more books. Ask for help sooner. Going back to my point on “doing it myself” and never asking for help early on, had I made a more conscious decision to connect with other resources and professionals who had already been there, I think my progress would be farther. I didn’t look for mentors early enough and while that haunts me a little, I still feel like I am where I am supposed to be on this journey.
What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?
When I moved here from Wisconsin Rapids, where I grew up, for college 20 years ago, I always felt Madison was the perfect size for a big city. It’s manageable, commutable, accessible, social, and easy to connect and meet people. While it may have a few things it needs to work on (what city doesn’t?), I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?
Hardly a secret, but I have been a drummer for 25-plus years and have been an active member of Madison’s music community for 15 or so years. I’ve also belonged to three bands over the years, one that was briefly pursued by Atlantic Records in the early 2000s and one here in Madison that collaborated with a few larger names in the R&B and hip-hop communities. I’m also the only left-handed person in my family, born on National Left Hander’s Day and Friday the 13th (explains a lot of my quirks).
What are your guilty pleasures?
I’m still a kid at heart for some things, mainly cartoons. With having three kids, it’s a nice cover to hide behind that I’m not just watching with them to kill time, I actually enjoy them. If the kids aren’t around though, you will find me relaxing to more adult-style cartoons, such as Rick and Morty, The Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park, and whatever else Hulu offers that I would enjoy.
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