Angel gazes into a disco ball at Capital Factory before busting a move.

“Dammit, I don’t have my phone,” I nervously expressed to Carley Deardorff, the Senior Chief of Staff at Capital Factory, soon after she asked me who I was as I vacantly stood in front of her in the crowded lobby of the Omni Hotel. Occupying various spaces within, Capital Factory is a co-working space and positions itself as the ‘center of gravity for entrepreneurs’ in the State of Texas. In my short time researching tech start up resources and traction, it’s hard to argue with them. 

Dallas startups did $1 billion in 107 deals last year. Houston firms were at $1.7 billion in 136 deals. And, Austin, home to Tesla, Oracle, and Matthew McConaughey, helped startups secure investments of $5 billion in 368 deals in 2021. My San Antonio barely broke $93 million over 18 deals per Crunchbase.

My dear friend, Dr. Laura Crisp, visiting from Knoxville, Tennessee, and I had just left a lively conversation with a spirited Uber driver named Angelica about how new music ain’t like old music, Ed Sheeran got in trouble with copyright infringement, and how an inexperienced West Virginia gal in muck boots on American Idol made Lionel Ritchie cry. Lionel found trust. 

After patting my body down and checking every pocket in my gray Joseph A Banks suit paired with my white Jordan 12s Rising Suns, I realized I last used my iPhone 12 searching ‘Sheeran music lawsuit’ on Google. My phone was definitely in the backseat of Angelica’s Nissan Kicks SUV. It was gone, and I had no choice but to wait and test my skills to track it through my Macbook later that night. I had to trust.

“Angelica Rodriguez!” I blurted out as Carley continued to try to figure me out. 

Having an Uber driver named Angelica reminded me of an Angelica I did know that hopefully would help our access to Capital Factory’s startup crawl as part of SXSW’s opening night.

“Jelly?” questioned Carley.

 “Yes! Angelica aka ‘Jelly’ works as a marketing fellow with my creative agency and a tech startup called Prompt Video that my partner, Gurk Gulati, and I just connected to Capital on,” I explained.

“Great! I love Jelly!” explained Carley over the noise of some of the over 7,000 folks that signed up for this event. “Here’s your VIP bracelet…Follow me to get you in.”

Although we pre-registered early and were recent members at Capital Factory, it always helps to know people. In sales, I believe in order to even ask for the sale, one must establish high trust with your potential customer in three areas: 1.) the product or service offered, 2.) you as the salesperson, 3.) and, the organization backing both. Trust is important in all endeavors, including navigating relationships and problems in everyday life.

In support of our mission at Prompt Video, my purpose at SXSW is to seek out people that are open culturally to connection and relationship building. As my business partner Gurk joined Laura and I in exploring the space, it hit me. You can’t schedule purpose or force trust. You just have to be present and in motion on the journey. Smiling and dancing helps too.   

“This is incredible and the most people I’ve been with in one place in over 30 years,” said Laura as we left the event. 

I agree. SXSW and Capital Factory are incredible. But, my business partner, new brother, and best friend shared a powerful insight. And, I trust him.

“SXSW, It’s just another day in Austin…If you leave your house, you’re bound to be in a crowded room with ambitious, passionate, and active people being disruptive in their profession,” said Gurk Gulati, Co-Founder and Technologist with Prompt Video.

The next morning, I was greeted with a big smile and a hug from Angelica, my Uber driver as she handed me my phone.

“I knew that was your phone and I trusted you’d find your way back to it,” she said.

“Me too,” I said as I thankfully smiled and confidently pondered the road ahead.  

The mission of Prompt Video is to help businesses create authentic video content quickly by directing better storytelling. Prompt Video believes sharing who we are, what we do, and why we do it should be fast, simple, and cost effective for every business. 

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