Doug Watkins might look familiar. For a while in 2002, he stood at the corner of Eighth Street and Congress Avenue with a sign that said “Will Compute for Food.”
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
“I did that sign to get my name to the top of the list and give myself a shot in the arm,” he said. “I wasn’t looking for a job. I was looking for opportunities.”
And that’s exactly what he got.
Watkins can be considered a serial entrepreneurial. A self-proclaimed “technology geek,” Watkins is co-founder of several companies, including Virtual Radio Inc. and Omni Music Inc.Education: I studied radio-television-film at Stephen F. Austin State University as well as Sam Houston State University but never earned a degree.
Salary range: $100,000-200,000
Previous work experience: Before I became a full-time entrepreneur, I worked for XO Communications Inc. as the webmaster for two years and was laid off in 1999. Before that, I was a systems analyst for Boeing Defense and Space for two years. I also was vice president of design for Virtual Technologies Inc. from 1993 to 1995.Job description: My primary focuses right now are Omni Music and Texas Radio 1, both of which are affiliated with Virtual Radio, an intellectual property company that in August will receive a patent for our design of a targeted advertising delivery system for Internet broadcasts. Right now, we primarily are focusing on background music in retail businesses to be a Muzak competitor.
Omni Music and Texas Radio 1 are Internet radio channels, like regular radio stations with on-air personalities, that hold webcasts of live music performances from clubs in Austin and Dallas.
If we had official titles at the companies, I would be chief technology officer. I build the Web sites and support them, so they eventually may utilize the patent.I also find ways to develop our technologies and apply them.
My business partner, Will Strunk, handles the business side of things.
My job is to make sure that the systems are operating. I also am responsible for the development of the infrastructure.
I’m very hands-on in the business and am involved in marketing, sales and business development as well.
My father, Bill Watkins, a former president of the Texas Association of Broadcasters, taught me that to be an entrepreneur, it takes persistence, dedication and the ability to bear the issues that come with personal and business relationships.
My all-time role model is Jaron Lanier, who invented the term “virtual reality,” hence “Virtual” Radio. He inspired movies such as “The Lawnmower Man.”
Best and worst work habit:
My best work habit also is my weakest point: focus. I get swept away in the opportunities and potential of technologies.
You have to focus and follow through, but I’m an opportunity junkie. My shot in the arm is imagining all the opportunities.
So it’s easy for me to get sidetracked.
If you want a job like this:
You have to be able to make a profit to be a successful entrepreneur.
Find your customer first, and you don’t need investors or venture capital to do that. I’ve chased the (funding) carrot, but it always comes back to you.
If you can think it, then you can make it a reality.If you can’t write the business plan in one or two nights, you’re probably not ready. The business plan should just flow.
You also need to have specialized knowledge in an area of need. If you have it, then you have power.
I had all the jobs I ever wanted.
Thanks for checking out my stuff.