Createscape was developed to be a place for creative types in Austin to come together for work and inspiration. In this spirit, our more than 100-member coworking space is made up of professionals from scores of backgrounds. To give our supporters an idea of what it’s like to work here, we talked to one of the members who has been at Createscape longer than almost anyone else. Read more of our Q&A with Jerry Elmas, Createscape member since 2014, and learn about Jerry’s unique email filing system. Trust us. You probably haven’t heard this one before.
First off, let us know your name and what you do for work.
I’m Jerry Elmas. I am the regional sales director for Austin/Houston at RAM Electronic Sales, Inc. – a manufacturers representative firm in the electronic hardware industry.
What is your Createscape origin story? I seem to recall you saying the coworking space you were working at before here was getting ready to close its doors and the feeling in the space was pretty unprofessional. You found Createscape online, gave us a call, and were a member that day?
Yes! I was coworking at a place that was going out of business and had one month notice. About 2 weeks after being advised they were closing, the vibe was depressing. I literally googled “Austin coworking” and saw Createscape. (Thank you, Google search optimization). I called Keller and asked if there was space available. Keller: “Yes.” Me: “I’ll be there in 20 minutes.” I liked it immediately and one hour later I was working. It’s been about 5 years I’ve been working here!
Since you're the oldest Createscape member [Ed note: Longest!!] can you tell us what you think about how Createscape has grown over the years?
I’m thrilled and I really am in awe of the growth Createscape has made. You come up with a good idea, you treat people well, and it happens! I think Keller has had success not only because he’s whip smart, works incredibly hard but also because he knows how to treat people.
Members might be interested to learn that you print all your emails and place them in a three-ring binder. Then about once every six weeks you clear out old emails by tearing the printed emails out of your binder and throwing them away in a garbage can. Do you have any other 20th century work habits you can share with members who didn't grow up using a landline or a VCR?
Just stop that. 😊 I do not keep my emails for 6 weeks in a binder. [Editor’s note: I’ve seen it. We have photo evidence.] But make no mistake, I am very analog in a high tech business and high tech world. The idea of keeping my appointments on my phone is simply not going to happen. I do print many emails and make notes on them as I do the things I need to with the information on them. When the task is done, I toss the paper. So yes, I am killing trees at an alarming rate probably but I still try to keep my carbon footprint low.
How has Keller grown over the years? It's like we've been watching him grow up!
I’m turning 60 years old in a few months, but in no way see Keller as a lesser business person than myself due to his age. He’s smart and good to those around him both in his work life and I know in his personal life as well. I’m honored to call him my friend.
How is working at Createscape conducive to your work?
I loathe working from home. It’s isolating. I find the conversations I have with Createscape coworkers is very enlightening and well worth my time. I have met so many fascinating people doing cool things here. When I am in the office I am more productive and my time is always valuably spent.
I know you do B2B sales, so it's hard to drum up business here with other members. So can you tell members something kinda' cool about your work?
Yes, my business is B2B sales. But I live in Austin and there are so many cool startups with cool ideas here. Many of them need what I sell just like Dell, Cisco, AMD etc. It’s infinitely more interesting to me to be in front of these startups and see how they are thinking than going over to Dell or somebody big for another production planning meeting. As for finding new business through Createscape, it’s never my priority. I just like being around clever, interesting people.
What do you like to do when you're not working?
I love to travel and I like going to offbeat places. Last year I spent about a week in Jordan and it was one of the coolest places I have ever been. Every time I turned around it was another person saying “My friend (they like that expression out in the world outside the USA), “what are you doing here?”. I say “I’m here to meet you!”
I also ride bicycles and exercise five days a week with the same group of people. I see a bunch of foreign films and music, music, music. I’ll travel to see artists I like and have taken trips as far as Japan for bands I love. If you haven’t seen or heard St. Paul & The Broken Bones yet, you should. I stay busy, I seem to be incapable of sleep. I also have a girlfriend of six months and I enjoy doing things with her.
Is your daughter still dating that guy who doesn't vote? If not, does her current boyfriend understand the importance of civic engagement?
Ha! My daughter has stopped seeing that chap. But I must say that the discussion of the electoral college and how it puts the President in the White House was very disheartening to her. As she gets older, her appreciation of the need for civic engagement becomes more clear. She’s a good young woman and my hope, my expectation is that she does contribute to the betterment of this world. My generation has already fucked it up for her generation. Sorry.
Thanks again for this opportunity to introduce myself. If you’re here, please introduce yourself to me. I’ll be the one with a pile of papers in front of me -- many of them crumpled up.
PS – thanks for having a playlist in the Groove room that includes Morrissey and the Smiths. Probably my favorite band ever. It was recently Morrissey’s 60th birthday and I’ve been celebrating!
Member Q&A with Jerry Elmas
Compiled by Riki Markowitz