Podcast: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Entrepreneurship in Charlotte

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In this episode, we were lucky enough to have two guests: Charles Thomas and Dan Roselli. We discuss why people come to Charlotte, why they stay, and why you should join the entrepreneur community!

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AB- Andrew Bowen               DR- Dan Roselli               CT- Charles Thomas

AB: Hello, business dreamers and doers in Charlotte! We’re back with another episode of CBRBiz.com’s B2U Podcast, bringing business resources directly to you. I’m your host, Andrew Bowen, and our goal, as always, is to connect you to the information you need to start and run a successful business. Or, at the very least, have a fun conversation with the two great guys who are hanging out in the room with me. On today’s show, we are lucky enough to have two guests.

The first guest we’ll introduce is Dan Roselli. Dan has co-founded three separate companies, all of which have made it to Inc. 500 Magazine’s list of fastest growing companies in America. He also has marketing experience with big-name companies and is currently the youngest member in the history of the Bank of America operating committee. And he cofounded one of the largest and most successful entrepreneur and tech hubs in the world.

Dan, you’re making me run out of breath. Welcome, Dan! Before you tell our listeners a little bit more about yourself, I have to ask. I creeped your LinkedIn profile, and it says that you know more about M&Ms and tequila than any human being we’ve ever met. Would you like to elaborate on that and tell us…

DR: I do! That is a true fact. I was a marketing director for M&Ms. One of the things we did…the Mars brothers believed in putting the operations team next to the plant, so I used to also give plant tours to people. I was like being Willy Wonka and walking them through the chocolate factory. It was fantastic.

And then, after that, I worked for a company called Allied Domecq which had a brand called Sauza tequila. And so I learned all about tequila, so everything you want to do. It sounds like a glamorous job, but in any food job you might ever have…as a marketing person, you have to do taste testing with the RD people, starting at 8 a.m…tasting tequila for, like, two days straight. So, there are some not-so-glamorous parts of working for a tequila company.

AB: Did you ever merge the two—M&Ms in the tequila?

DR: No, I do not recommend merging. It’s interesting to talk about both, but they are distinct and separate occasions.

AB: So you absolutely have mixed them just to see what happens?

DR: Oh, yes, yes, yes. You have to, right? It’s like doing the worm at the bottom, but the peanut M&M does not have the same effect.

AB: Yeah. Alright, so, at least for what we’re doing here today, could you tell us a little bit more about yourself and describe what you do?

DR: Yeah, so, I’d like to tell people a bit more of a personal background about myself. One of our claims to fame is that I have two sets of twins. We have 16-year-old and 13-year-old boy and girl twins.

AB: Wow!

DR: And a lot of people also know my wife, Sarah Garces Roselli. And Sarah does a ton of stuff in town, so when they meet both of us, and they know our parenting background, they just kind of look at us and go, “Yeah, that figures for the Rosellis. That makes about sense.”

And I’m really passionate about Michigan State. I’m alum of Michigan State, and love the school. Whenever something happens regarding Michigan State in Charlotte, I have about 40 people who call me and say, “Hey, did you see this?” I’m like, Yeah, yes, I saw that.

AB: That’s pretty fascinating. So with Packard Place, I know you cofounded it a couple of years ago, but what’s the one-line answer of what you do over there?

DR: Think of it as an entrepreneurship campus, or entrepreneurship hub to bring the entrepreneurial community together…all of the different elements, give it a place to interact, having these spontaneous interactions happen.

AB: That’s awesome, Dan.

We also have a second guest here that you probably already know. Charles Thomas is also joining us on today’s podcast, and Charles is currently the Program Director for Charlotte at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and former Executive Director of Queen City Forward. He’s an artist and an educator and a social entrepreneur, and the list continues on and on. He’s done everything from co-publish a book on photography to launching programs that socialize and catalyze entrepreneurship. He has been a driving force for empowering others to innovate for the greater good in Charlotte and specializes in social entrepreneurship, business consulting, non-profit management, arts and education…he does it all.

Charles, between the two of you, really…like there’s a lot of stuff going on.

CT: The way you read that. I’m like, Wow.

AB: Charles, do you have an M&M and tequila worthy story? I know you do.

CT: I probably do, but I don’t think I have one right now. An M&M and tequila story…I’ve had a lot of fun in my journey, but I don’t think I’ve mixed M&Ms and tequila on the way.

AB: Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself and what you’re doing at Knight?

CT: Sure. I recently joined Knight Foundation, about four months ago. And, as you shared, prior to that, I worked for Queen City Forward as Executive Director of Charlotte’s first social entrepreneurship incubator and hub. My passion is around creating positive change in Charlotte because I’m from here…been here since I was six.

AB: High five.

CT: Yep! And doing it in a way that’s creative, fun and innovative because I think that the problems that we face in our world, we can solve because humans are very creative, and I’m very passionate about making that happen.

AB: That’s great. Well, now that the introductions are out of the way, I would like to officially thank you both for coming and welcome you to the show.

DR: Absolutely. Great to be here.

CT: Thanks.

AB: Charles, you just said you’ve been in Charlotte since you were five. And you, Dan, have been here for how long?

DR: I got here in 2000, so about 16 years.

AB: Okay, well, welcome. Every newcomer’s perspective is unique, so I’m really interested—because I am a native; I’ve been here since I was about nine months—how have you two seen the city grow and change in your time here? I know I have two very different perspectives, since, Charles, you probably don’t remember much other than Charlotte, but, Dan, you’ve only been here since 2000. How would you guys describe the change in your perspective ecosystems, at least over the last 15 years or so?

DR: I’ll go first, since I moved in here. We’ve lived a bunch. We’ve lived in Michigan—my wife, Sarah, and I met at Michigan State—we’ve lived in Minneapolis, we’ve lived in New York, we’ve lived in New Jersey, we’ve lived in Connecticut, spent some time in New Mexico and Kansas City, and Charlotte we just love. Part of the reason we’ve been here for 16 years is we fell in love with the area, like so many people do. I think that’s why Charlotte has been such a great net importer of intellectual talent for decades is people get here and are like, Why in the world would I want to go anywhere else? It’s just a great place to live. I mean that very sincerely.

It’s also interesting…part of my personal journey in Charlotte, when I moved here, one of the things I look back on and am kind of disappointed about…I was a Bank of America executive, and I got shown 14 houses, and all of the 14 houses were in what I call “the white cone of wealth.” From Uptown Charlotte, down Providence, over to South Blvd., all the way to Ballantyne, all the way past Ballantyne for the 40 minute commute in, but there was nothing on East Charlotte, West Charlotte, North Charlotte. And I’ve come to understand the holistic part of our City over the last 10 years, but that took a while. That didn’t happen when I first came here.

CT: For me, the biggest change in Charlotte growing up here has been the growth of the Center City, Uptown. I just remember that there really wasn’t a downtown life. Lately, I’ve been watching people push babies Uptown, and I think that’s…you know, whenever you see babies being pushed on the street, I think that says a lot.

DR: I saw a dog walker. People walking dogs for other people, with like eight dogs on a leash. We have made it, with Charlotte dog walkers!

CT: Exactly! Yeah! Just the amazing growth we have with parks and baseball and so, that to me has been the biggest change is seeing a vibrancy in Center City.

AB: The way I actually describe it to people is, 20 years ago, I remember really the only reason to be Uptown was to go see The Nutcracker at Belk or to a Panthers game, right? And had I been my age now, or my age that I am now, twenty years ago, I probably wouldn’t have come back from college to come to Charlotte, where now it’s completely different. It’s magnetic—it’s bringing so many different people.

CT: See, I was around when there was…what was that mall called? Do you remember? Have you heard about…there used to be an Uptown…gosh, I can’t think of what it’s called. But before the Panthers stadium, before, you know, Charlotte tried to create—Overstreet Mall!

AB: Oh, yeah, Overstreet, which still lives.

CT: Which lives in certain portions, but there was a particular part of the mall that you entered from Carolina Theatre. Do you know where the Carolina Theatre is? It was just fascinating what used to be, and now to have Epicentre and to have all of these other tremendous assets that draw people. It’s just interesting to see how we grow. It’s funny.

AB: That’s awesome. So, you each have different roles in Charlotte’s entrepreneurial community. I’m interested in seeing how they work together because I know they’re very different. High-growth entrepreneurship and civic innovation and…but they have to have some kind of intersection. They could run parallel all day long, but they have to converge somewhere, right? Because I see a lot of similarities between the two. I mean, you’re looking, in high-growth entrepreneurship, at companies that start and fail.

And then there’s one or two that will just skyrocket, right? And make zillions of dollars. And then civic innovation, I know, with the Knight Cities Challenge, for example, you’re funding a lot of different things, some of which will bleed into other cities and kind of expand. But then there’s also just a lot of the learning experiences that come from it, where you both learn from a lot of what you do.

How do you two see these ideas converging and working together?

CT: From a Knight Foundation perspective, and I think from a personal perspective, what’s attractive to me around entrepreneurship is that entrepreneurs solve problems. What’s critical in our Charlotte community is that we have a community of problem solvers. We have a community of people that are creative, and I think it’s also important to have people who enjoy what they do.

I believe that entrepreneurship offers an opportunity that creates not only big business that grows and scales, but creates a culture around being innovative and creative.

And being welcoming.

The other cool thing about entrepreneurs is the culture of entrepreneurs that they’re very welcome to new ideas. As we look at our city and some of the challenges that we’re facing around our state, and the challenges we face around the country around polarization and ideas and being locked in to traditions, entrepreneurship tends to kind of shake up the environment…disrupt, and disrupt in a positive way.

A civic innovator—a civic entrepreneur, a social entrepreneur—is working to solve a challenge that…for instance, I always talk about Muhammad Yunus, who started the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and perfected a way to create loans for poor people through micro-lending. And that’s more into technology—you know, kiva.org—that you or I could give a loan to someone around the world, a micro-loan. And that’s revolutionized how you can fund those types of businesses.

I think that type of environment—that type of culture—is critical to a vibrant city like Charlotte. I believe high-growth entrepreneurship, and having a solid culture and ecosystem around that, feeds into civic entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship and the culture of innovation.

DR: I would echo everything that Charles said and add to some of that. My favorite reference is Packard Place is a physical space. Queen City Forward–and Charles was one of the first people in the building–I think we had 12 people in the building, right? Maybe 14? To see it grow, that was always really important because we’re always worried about the broader ecosystem. And I also describe Packard Place, even though it’s a place for high-growth entrepreneurs, I describe it as a very large, visible social entrepreneurship project.

Meaning, yeah, we’re charging rent for some people, but part of that rent goes to pay for all of the free activities that happen at Packard Place, like coffee, like meeting space, like some of the programming that we do. We’ve calculated that we’ve given back probably about a million dollars worth of value over five years back in free services, free meeting space, activities, back into the community. I think those are really synergistic things between high-growth entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship. It’s not an either or. There’s a deep connection to it.

The last thing I’ll say is that I think that the entrepreneurial community in the last five years has done a really good job of coming together across the spectrum of small business to high-growth. I think the connection to the broader Charlotte community, the business community, the civic community, is really the next step we need to take as a community. The entrepreneurial community has kind of done what it can, and it needs to connect to broader Charlotte to really take the next step.

AB: Dan, you said earlier we were…I can’t remember the exact term, but we were importing…was it intellectual capital?

DR: A net importer of intellectual talent.

AB: Intellectual talent. What do you tell folks who are thinking about exporting themselves to Charlotte, whether they’re intellectual talent or just a company? Because you came here, I think, for the Bank of America job?

DR: Correct.

AB: And you obviously were sold very quickly on Charlotte, and someone told you something about Charlotte that made you stay. What do you guys tell people when they say, “What’s Charlotte like? Why should I go there?”

DR: I would talk about the quality of life. In the macro sense, it’s a great place to live. I would cite some of the facts that we all know, right? It’s great weather. It’s average or below average cost of living versus the index. It’s a big enough city to have a lot of the stuff you want, like really good restaurants, sports teams, and arts. It’s a very civic and giving city. It’s not so big that you’re dealing with Atlanta traffic or New York traffic or Chicago traffic.

The other thing I’d say—we were talking about surprising things in Charlotte—the most surprising thing to me moving to Charlotte 16 years ago, and I think that still people have this image, I expected Charlotte to be very southern, very cliquish, very closed off. And the reality is so many people moved to Charlotte. I think Charlotte is one of the most welcoming and gracious cities in America to move into. And I think that’s why people love to stay.

AB: 7 out of 10 adults here are from somewhere else.

CT: Echoing what Dan said in terms of the cost of living, a lot of people say it’s a great place to raise a family. When I talk about Charlotte, I also think about opportunity. It’s still the right size that you can come here, and if there’s something that you’d like to do and that you don’t see,…which…a lot of folks…kind of the negative feedback about Charlotte is that it doesn’t have this, or it doesn’t have that. The cool thing is that you can create it, and it’s still available, whereas if you go to some of these bigger cities, trying to create something new, or even start a business, is hard. It’s a very crowded market.

There’s just great opportunity to make your mark in Charlotte, and it’s easy to connect and network into the movers and shakers to help advance your ideas.

AB: Before I ask the next question, we have a running joke on the podcast about quality of life. The Quality of Life Explorer—the partnership between the city and the county and the Urban Institute at UNC Charlotte—is one of my programs. Thank you for helping me pitch it.

Anybody who’s interested in the Quality of Life Explorer, it’s an online interactive dashboard, where you put together 82 variables that try to quantify what we call “quality of life.”

DR: You can make it like an M&Ms eating game. Every time he says ‘quality of life’ in the podcast, you have to eat some M&Ms.

AB: I’d be made out of chocolate if that were the case. I make sure people mention it. Thank you for indulging me for that side story.

Charles, this question might be a little bit more for you, but, Dan, feel free to hop in. I don’t even think there’s a gap, but I’m going to ask, how can we bridge the gap between what Knight does with funding and what entrepreneurs in the business world are looking for in funding their specific ideas?

CT: Good question. How do we bridge that gap? Not to get too complicated, but for the most part, the work that I do does not go towards funding startups, right? Let’s be clear about that. But the work that I do here in Charlotte at the Knight Foundation, and the opportunity that we have, is to invest in building what we call the ecosystem, or the community for supporting entrepreneurship. Investing in either non-profit entities, or events, or programming, that helps to provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to learn, to grow, to connect to resources, connect to money. Even if that means helping to convene and create opportunities for funding for angel investors, venture capitalists, to connect with emerging startups, that’s something that the Knight Foundation could play a role in doing. Building out and facilitating our entrepreneurship ecosystem.

AB: Dan, do you have any thoughts on that?

DR: The only thing I’ll add is that I’m thrilled that Charles is on the job. Charles has been in the trenches of entrepreneurship in Charlotte for five years. He knows it firsthand. He’s one of the top 10 people who understand the Charlotte entrepreneurial ecosystem, understand the needs, and understand the challenges. And when he announced that job, I was just thrilled because I know it’s going to mean good things, one way or another. It’s going to be a win for Knight. It’s going to be a win for Charlotte. I’m thrilled he’s in the position.

AB: The Charlotte entrepreneurial ecosystem is relatively in its infancy when you think about Silicon Valley and Boston and RTP. How did you guys see that coming up over the last five or ten years? Like I say, I know we are kind of in this…I don’t want to say in the shadow of other places, but when people think of Charlotte, they don’t think of entrepreneurs and the new fintech idea. They think, you know, banks.

DR: Not yet, they don’t.

AB: Not yet!

DR: I talk in analogies sometimes, so I’ll take a first stab at this one. Over the last five years, Charlotte’s had nothing short of a true, entrepreneurial renaissance. You look at statistics about growth of the entrepreneurial community, growth of entrepreneurial activity. There’s a study that came out in terms of growth of tech talent in urban communities, and Charlotte ranked #1 in growth of tech talent.

The slope of our line is very steep. That’s the good news. The bad news is we were starting from an almost dead stop. When you’re going from a very low base, percentage growth can be very misleading.

The analogy I use is we are playing really good AA baseball. Nothing wrong with AA baseball, but not really interesting when you want to play in the Major Leagues. The point I made about the entrepreneurial community coming together is we’ve done a lot of that. The order of magnitude of involvement from the broader community—government, private business, university—in order to make our entrepreneurial ecosystem make it into the Major Leagues…it’s a much more coordinated, much more complicated order of magnitude power of lifting. That’s what we’re actively working on right now.

All the right players are talking, but it’s going to take some time. And the other reason why Boston and Silicon Valley have such deep, rich histories is they’ve been doing it for decades. We’ve been doing it for years. Some of that is like farming. Creating the right fertile, planting the right seeds. And some of it does just take time.

CT: I completely agree with Dan that we’re at an interesting point; we’re at a great opportunity. I think the analogy of the Major League baseball team and how do we move from the Minors to the Majors is a great analogy. It’s what Charlotte has done so well. When we want to build something out, we come together as corporate and civic leaders to make it happen.

Over the past five years through the work of Packard Place and Queen City Forward, the work that Dan has done over the past several years will bring attention to entrepreneurship in Charlotte. The key is that it’s happening. But our narrative and our messaging around what’s happening is not very strong.

The interesting thing is that Charlotte is a banking town, so we can look at that as a detriment or an asset. I think what Dan has done around QC FinTech is a great example of how to leverage your assets.

But also we still know that there’s lots of money that’s still capital in our city. We just need to continue to educate and expose the opportunities to meet with the talent and the startups that are here in Charlotte. We have a lot that’s available; we just need to continue to grow and be intentional about how we grow our system and our community.

AB: Because a lot of it is a culture shift and a mindset shift because I know when it comes to startups you have to talk about risk and being a financial city. Traditionally, we’re very risk averse. Failure is not a good thing, or it used to not be a good thing in Charlotte, where in Silicon Valley it was a rite of passage.

DR: With that reality, this is how we’ve now started talking about it as an entrepreneurial community. Wealth has been created in Charlotte in very conservative ways, rather than very entrepreneurial ways. Lots of doctors, lawyers, bankers.

We were a town that literally grew up on command and control. That was how Hugh McColl ran the bank. That’s how Duke Energy…it’s a command and control town.

Entrepreneurship is the antithesis of that, right? It’s very new, very uncomfortable. And we’re getting more comfortable with it. The way we start talking about it as an entrepreneurship community is…think of the Great Recession. Part of the reason our renaissance is happening, the silver lining of the Great Recession and the financial crisis, is a whole bunch of people in Charlotte looked at entrepreneurship and said, “Holy crud. This isn’t a nice-to-have. This is a must-to-have.” We can’t have all of our eggs in one basket. Supporting entrepreneurship and growing companies like Avidxchange and Red Ventures and Lending Tree, going down the list, is an economic development, risk mitigation strategy.

So you think about the economic development picture. When we as entrepreneurs can picture and position the entrepreneurial community as a risk mitigation strategy to the community, now we’re talking language people in Charlotte understand.

CT: And I also think about examples of where, now that we’re out of the recession, there may be a tendency to want to kind of go, “Oh, everything’s fine.” Let’s go back to our larger, big business strategy. And I kind of think, where will we be in 20 years? Where will we be after we have such great companies, like Belk that has recently sold? And Family Dollar that sold? They were homegrown companies.

AB: Harris Teeter.

CT: Who are the next companies to take that place? If we’re not careful, if we’re not intentional, if we don’t think about what’s needed in our community from an economic development place, we will find a hole and a void. And I also think that, again, the role that entrepreneurship plays in helping to foster and shift our culture to be creative and innovative—it bleeds into civic, it bleeds into government, and I think it then continues to make our city a more attractive city. And so that’s another reason that Knight Foundation is supportive of entrepreneurship because one of the critical components that we think is important is about helping to make cities vibrant. And in doing so, you end up attracting talent and creating opportunity. Entrepreneurship and making sure that we’re focused on that intentionally is again critical to our future.

AB: You mentioned something about in 20 years, so 5, 10 years from now, 20 years from now, we can come back and meet again. What’s happened in the next 20 years?

DR: I think Charlotte is on the right path for being one of the top entrepreneurial communities in the country and in the world. I truly, deeply believe that. Doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to happen, but I think we have all the right elements to make it happen.

Charles made a point earlier that I wouldn’t want people to miss. One of the best attributes of Charlotte is, when Charlotte as a Community (big C) put their minds to doing something, there is literally nothing in the world this Community can’t do. It is a “blue collar, roll up your sleeves, I dare you to tell us we can’t do it” Community. It’s one of our best attributes as a Community.

And I think we’ve now rallied people around the entrepreneurship story. I also think, the one comment I’ll make about…I mentioned farming as an analogy for entrepreneurship. We mentioned some of the great Fortune 500 companies that are here, that grew up 30-40 years ago.

We’re like a forest that has a bunch of old growth trees. We have a bunch of saplings and young growth trees, but not a lot of middle growth trees. I think what’s going to happen, as Harris Teeter goes away, as Family Dollar and some of these jobs leave, we’re going to realize that we didn’t do a really good job for about 20 or 30 years of growing entrepreneurial companies. The hope is that, 20 years from now, we’ll have grown enough saplings that we can let those companies grow.

Red Ventures, for example, just made the list as the 25th largest employer in Charlotte. It’s a homegrown company, started here in Charlotte. Hopefully, you’ll see five or six companies or seven companies on that top 25 employers list in the Charlotte region that were homegrown entrepreneurial companies. That’s what we need to do.

CT: Similarly, as I mentioned earlier, I talked about how, when I was a kid, when we were younger, there was not really a vibrant Uptown life.

In my journey, I’ve seen Charlotte attempt—let’s say iterate—over making Center City an attractive component and driver of Charlotte, the economy and culture. In the same fashion as we’ve talked before is Charlotte coming together, focusing on this as something that we want to build as a critical component of our city.

We can do it.

I think it’s critical that we think about it as iteration, that we might miss once or twice, or it may feel like we’re not moving at the pace. But if we continue to focus on it, continue bringing attention to it, we continue to bring resources to it, we can create one of the best entrepreneurship ecosystems in the southeast, and potentially in the world, by recognizing what our assets are and by being focused.

AB: You guys mentioned—the forest analogy was fantastic, right?—so we know what was missing, or at least what type of companies were missing. But what’s missing from actually helping those saplings start?

DR: I think the next phase of what has to happen…We talked about broader community support. Specifically, I’m going to talk about big companies in Charlotte.

Look at assets we have as a community versus others, right? We don’t have Harvard University. We don’t have Stanford. UNC Charlotte is great, our universities around the area are fantastic, not at all to knock on them, but they’re just not those, and it’s going to take a while to get to be those.

What we do have here is the big corporate support. The reason Fintech works in Charlotte, the reason energy integration works in Charlotte, is big companies support it. And how Charlotte grew up is by companies, a private sector directing and shaking our community.

Well, those companies have to get involved in the entrepreneurial scene. They have to be first clients. They have to be mentors. They have to be financial supporters of what’s happened. That’s how things happen in Charlotte. And that’s what we’re actively working towards.

CT: I agree with Dan in terms of getting the corporate community involved and creating a system of support for startups, whether they be customers and mentoring.

I also think there’s two other areas.

There’s one, continuing to tell our stories well.

You know, I remember being in a conversation with a couple of folks, and I was talking about Queen City Forward. I think they were private equity guys. They were from Charlotte. And they were saying that there was a period of time where, if you said you were an entrepreneur, it just meant that you couldn’t find a job. You know, that you didn’t have a real job, right?

So we’ve got to recognize that our society has grown and shifted to a new culture and mindset.

I also think that there’s an opportunity to really look at, how do we invest in our higher education in Charlotte? How can we be intentional about—okay, let’s look at a 20 or 30 year time frame—what can we do over the…okay, so we talked about short-term opportunities. I think Dan talked about building a narrative, creating corporate partnerships. But I think we should really look at that long-term strategy. How do we solve or mitigate challenges around research investment, intellectual property creation in Charlotte, and look at how we can invest in our universities and to create some jewels that attract talent and also produce some really cool ideas that we can commercialize?

DR: And that’s starting to happen at UNC Charlotte, particularly the College of Computer & Informatics, Data Science, and Big Data Cyber Security…world class programs coming out of UNC Charlotte. And we need more and more of that.

And if you look, even in energy, with EPIC, the energy production infrastructure center was driven as a university, big company collaborative. Went to the state, got money from the senator, got new professors. It’s a perfect example of a university, private sector, entrepreneurial collaboration to take a sector and grow. Fintech had already happened at energy.

CT: Absolutely.

AB: One last question. Charles, where’d you go to high school?

CT: East Mecklenburg. Class of ’91. Where’d you go to high school?

AB: Myers Park. I was zoned for East. Does that count?

CT: Mmm, no.

AB: I was grandfathered in because my sister went to Myers Park.

CT: Okay, it’s fine! It’s okay if you went to Myers Park. No worries.

AB: Where do your eldest go to school?

DR: They’re at Charlotte Catholic.

AB: Alright.

DR: We’re mapped for Myers Park, and we looked at it. For the record, I wanted them to go to Myers Park, but it’s okay. They love Charlotte Catholic.

AB: Go Mustangs…Marching Mustangs, specifically.

CT: Go Eagles…sorry.

AB: I had friends who went there. They’re still my friends. And you, too, now. Dan and Charles, our podcast is done.

CT: Can I drum now?

AB: You may drum. Any last thoughts before I close it up?

DR: The one thing I say to people is get involved. The entrepreneurial community are really welcoming and gracious people. We don’t bite. Come out to events, check the Meetups, go to the newsletters, go to a Demo Day. We do an introduction to the Charlotte startup community once a quarter. Just come out and get involved. We’re fun people, man! We’re the most fun people in Charlotte!

AB: Yes!

CT: And I guarantee if you do come out, you will catch the bug. You will catch the bug for entrepreneurship and creativity.

DR: You make it sound like a virus.

CT: I think it’s a good virus.

AB: Well, listeners, if you would like to learn more about Dan Roselli and Packard Place or Charles Thomas and the Knight Foundation, visit us online at CBRBiz.com. And follow us on Twitter @CBRBiz. Thank you again for tuning in to this fun version of CBR’s B2U podcast, bringing business resources directly to you. Until next time, we mean business—small, large, and entrepreneurial.

Have a question for Charles, Dan or a member from our team? Tweet them to us @CBRBiz