The FORT Podcast: Chris Powers & Eric Jorgenson on Jorgenson’s Soundbox

Happy Holidays! We wanted to co-launch a special episode where Chris was interviewed by Eric Jorgenson (guest on episode #152) on Eric’s show: Jorgenson’s Soundbox. Enjoy!

In the last episode, we discussed alternative assets, and in this episode, we take a deep dive into the career of Chris Powers, the master of the specific alternative asset of real estate. Chris began his real estate career when he was just 17 years old and has spent the last 17 years building Fort, a real estate firm in Fort Worth, Texas. Throughout the episode, we discuss Chris’s journey in real estate, investing, recruiting, and podcasting.

We begin the episode talking about some of the heroes that Chris looks up to including his dad who taught him the valuable lessons that you only live one life and that money can only make you so happy. Chris bought his first house at 17 when he was starting college and got into real estate as a means to make money during his studies. He says that he was driven by constantly waking up and feeling behind and wanting to do something. Before graduating, he bought more student housing, started a property management business, and started a leasing business. He graduated in 2008, during the economic collapse, and had no choice but to continue in real estate.

From 2010 to 2015, Chris was doing a bit of everything related to real estate – he was building custom homes and spec homes, buying land, VC investing, and had a small team that he managed. Despite having some success, he realized he wasn’t compounding his business the way he wanted, and after reading Good to Great by Jim Collins, he decided to narrow his focus. Chris talks about his need to be able to recruit and the importance of having a mission. We also discuss how flywheels can propel us forward, and for Chris, his flywheel is based on his podcast, Twitter, real estate business, and investors that create a virtuous cycle of growth.

Recently, Chris has transitioned out of being the CEO of Fort, and he is learning how to be an owner. He is also focusing on his VC Funds and building Powers Capital, which he says will function as a family office but also will function like private equity. We wrap up the conversation discussing when enough is enough and measuring impact; Chris says he’s no longer in it for the money but rather to see what it is possible to accomplish during the one life he has.

Listen on:
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(03:52) – Who are your heroes?

(07:56) – Chris’ Upbringing & His Father’s Impact on Him

(20:47) – Chris Starting His Career in RE at Age 17

(26:17) – Reflecting on the ’08 Financial Crisis

(35:02) – What was your next big inflection point after graduating college in 2008?

(41:02) – You Can’t Scale When You’re Not Clear on Your Path

(47:52) – The Results of Learning to Focus

(59:22) – What’s role does Fort play in your investor’s portfolios?

(1:05:41) – How does an investor recoup their money?

(1:09:26) – Compounding Business with Online Content and Media

(1:13:20) – The Divergence of Focusing the Mission of Fort and the Mission of Chris Powers

(1:19:31) – What is your day-to-day like now?

(1:25:00) – Chris’ VC Investing Exposure

(1:31:11) – What’s the end goal for you?

(1:42:27) – What is the most foundational principle you can offer all entrepreneurs?


Episode Summary

In the opening segment, Jorgenson and Powers delved into the critical aspect of self-awareness in investment and real estate. Powers emphasized the importance of recognizing personal strengths and weaknesses, ensuring that investments align with individual expertise and knowledge. This approach, as highlighted by Powers, guarantees a focused and potent investment strategy, maximizing potential returns and minimizing risks.

As the dialogue progressed, the conversation shifted towards the value of networking in expanding investment opportunities. Powers shared his own experiences, illustrating the significance of leveraging professional relationships to navigate diverse investment landscapes. This discussion underscored the imperative of a robust network, offering a broader spectrum of investment opportunities and enhancing the potential for successful and lucrative investments.

The intersection of technology and real estate was a pivotal point of discussion in the podcast episode. Powers revealed his keen interest in technology, highlighting its seamless integration into his real estate endeavors. This tech-enabled approach, as shared by Powers, ensures enhanced operational efficiency, innovation, and a cutting-edge stance in the real estate market, setting his ventures apart in a competitive landscape.

The conversation further explored the realm of venture investments in real estate-focused software. Powers shared his strategic approach in this niche, emphasizing the importance of diversification within a specialized field. His insights provided a comprehensive understanding of maximizing investment opportunities, ensuring a well-rounded and diversified investment portfolio, even within a specific domain like real estate.

Powers’ passion for technology was a recurring theme throughout the episode. He illuminated his experiences with renowned tech hubs like Silicon Valley and Y Combinator, highlighting the influence of these interactions on his real estate and technology integration strategies. These insights offered listeners a unique perspective, blending the worlds of technology and real estate to ensure innovative and forward-thinking real estate operations.

Angel investing in technology was another focal point of the discussion. Powers underscored the importance of understanding the dynamics of this rapid and network-centric investment domain. His insights illuminated the learning curve associated with angel investments, reinforcing the value of knowledge and strategic approach in navigating this intricate investment landscape.

In the latter segments of the episode, the dialogue centered on the significance of continuous learning in investment strategies. Powers emphasized the ongoing learning process in understanding various investment domains, reinforcing the importance of staying informed and updated to ensure strategic and informed investment decisions.

The podcast episode underscored the crucial role of professional relationships in offering diverse and lucrative investment opportunities. Powers’ emphasis on his network highlighted the imperative of establishing and nurturing professional connections, ensuring a steady stream of diverse investment opportunities and insights, contributing to informed and strategic investment decisions.

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