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Opinion Editorials

Anna Altic in depth interview – too much information [TMI series]

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We’ve been interviewing for years off and on and rather than serious, business-y interviews, we’ve done “Bubble Gum Interviews” with real estate industry insiders. Because some people don’t get the bubble gum reference, we’re going to test out calling them “TMI Interviews,” short for “too much information interviews.” This is just a fun, silly interview where everyone’s hair is down and you get a chance to get to know people better. We encourage razzing in comments!

Today, we ask to know ridiculous details about the life of AgentGenius writer Anna Altic who is a gorgeous family woman and a brilliant Realtor leading the charge for green initiatives. But instead of learning about her inspiration and business, we’re asking her about heroes and stuff:

What is your worst eating habit?

I believe drawn butter should be included in the list of major condiments along with ketchup, mustard, and mayo because I would I would dip everything in it. Lemon butter comes in a close second and I frequently design entire meals around things I can dip in lemon butter like artichokes, crab, bread, steak and more crusty bread.

Tell us a funny pet story.

My brothers and I convinced my mother when were little that we couldn’t live without a goat. She relented and we got a baby goat we named Sambo. Sambo got very attached to us and would follow us everywhere including once following us to the grocery store on a candy run unbeknownst to us.

He walked in through the automatic doors went to the produce section and helped himself to lettuce all the while leaving little poops in the aisles and the manager yelled over the speaker for someone to “please get their damn goat out of his grocery store.”

When I was six my aunt came to live with us for a few months because she had become addicted to morphine (I didn’t know the reason when she came). She slept a whole lot in my room the first few days and Sambo snuck in the house on the third day and went looking for me in my room. He jumped on the bed and started licking her and she started screaming “PLEASE GOD MAKE THE DT’S STOP!!.”

Of course I demanded of my mother a full explanation of what DT’s were. For show and tell in the first grade, I brought a picture of Sambo and explained to the class that it was my goat that my aunt thought was a hallucination on account of having delirium tremens from doing drugs and that it was much better to have a real goat then hallucinations so don’t do drugs. I of course, got a note home.

What is the creepiest thing you’ve seen while on the job?

I was once out with a buyer looking at older homes. We went in to one that was completely remodeled and I was standing in the hallway looking at some of the seller’s gold records (we are music city, you see it a lot) and just had this kind of weird chill on back of my neck like someone was holding a cold water bottle against it.

My buyer rounded the corner, his eyes got kind of big and he said, “we need to go!” When we got in the car I asked him if he was feeling ok and he said, “ you are going to think I am crazy but when I came around the corner, there was something behind you and it was wrapping it’s hands around your neck.”

If you could be any super hero, who would it be and why?

I personally think super heroes are way over rated. If I had my druthers I would be a wizard. I am completely disappointed that I’m a muggle because apparating, making potions, and having my own house elf would rock my world. Wizards also get to drink butter beer so obviously that works with my dietary preference.

What is your favorite kind of music?

I can’t really say that I have a favorite genre or even era of music. If I listen to music, it pretty much centers around singer/ song writers that you know can write compelling lyrics, have mad pipes, and can perform their own songs eight different ways depending on their mood.

TMI, Anna

So now you know about Anna’s insane affinity for butter which even impacts her attitude toward super heroes (if you missed that, read again from the top). Have you ever had any ghost stories at work or crazy drug aunts that freak out about your goat? Give us your TMI details in the comments below or simply razz Anna for her TMI details!

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Benn Rosales

    July 10, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    But Anna, if you had to go under the sorting hat, what house would you be in? That would be telling!

    We’ll send you butter for Christmas!

  2. Erica Ramus

    July 10, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    My best friend once house-sat for me, and for some strange reason only a best friend could fathom, she cleaned out my refrigerator and threw out all the expired crap. She counted 5 bags of shredded cheese and 7 containers of sour cream, most of which were unopened and out of date. Apparently I am afraid of running out of cheese or sour cream.

    We all have our weird food fetishes. Butter it is!

  3. Nadina Cole-Potter

    July 10, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Gorgeous family, hysterically funny post! Reminds me of the occasional profiles of business leaders in our local business journal. Hopefully, the satire-impaired will get a clue because, like diamonds, whatever is posted on the i-net is forever!

    As for my own TMIs, they do not seem to be too far removed from real life to me. Bizarre bazaar.

  4. Joe Loomer

    July 11, 2010 at 10:03 am

    This post grabbed me the moment I saw the wonderful picture! What a gorgeous, down-to-earth Lady Anna is! Capturing the way she is looking at her husband amidst the obvious joy surrounding her is priceless.

    I may not have the same predeliction for butter on everything, but I love me some crab dipped in butter.

    I save and refrigerate the pan drippings whenever I cook bacon. I’ll thaw it out and spread it on filet mignon before grilling, or use it to season potatoes or stir-fry dishes. Not the healthiest way to cook up your food, but dang if it doesn’t add some serious pop to the food!

    That – to my knowledge – is my only quirk. My wife may be able to add several hundred to my list, so that’s why I didn’t ask her before writing this comment or the comment itself would be longer than the interview.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  5. Anna Altic

    July 11, 2010 at 10:26 am

    I would Iike to think I would be Gryfindor but considering Luna Lovegood is my favorite wizard there is real potential I could be Ravenclaw. Thanks for all the kids comments… my husband swears I should write a book.

  6. Stephanie Crawford

    July 24, 2010 at 3:11 am

    Anna, considering your skinny bum, I’d have thought your favorite food would be tofu, or something green and organic!

    I can be a little OCD with my food. I always save the best bite for last and I like to create patterns in the peanut butter jar with a fork. This folk design game also works well with Cool Whip and ice cream.

    I’ve heard they make Harry Potter-flavored jelly beans. They come in flavors like favorites like Dirt, Earwax, Earthworm, and Vomit; though I’m not sure what that has to do with Hogwarts or wizards?!?

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Opinion Editorials

5 ways to grow your entrepreneur business without shaming others

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) We all need support as business owners. Let’s talk ideas for revenue growth as an entrepreneur that do not include shaming your competition.

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Entrepreneur women all talking around a meeting table.

The year 2020 has forced everyone to re-assess their priorities and given us the most uncertain set of circumstances we have lived through. For businesses and entrepreneurs, they were faced with having to confront new business scenarios quickly. Maybe your entrepreneur business was set to thrive as behaviors changed (maybe you already offered contactless products and services). Or, you were forced to add virtual components or find new revenue streams – immediately. This has been tough.

Every single person is having a hard time with the adjustments and most likely at different stages than others. We’re at the 6-month mark, and each of our timelines are going to look different. Our emotions have greeted us differently too, whether we have felt relief, grief, excitement, fear, hope, determination, or just plain exhaustion.

Now that we are participating in life a bit more virtually than in 2019, this is a good time to re-visit the pros and cons of the influence of technology and marketing outreach online. It’s also a great time to throw old entrepreneur rules out the window and create a better sense of community where you can.

Here’s an alluring article, “Now Is Not the Time for ‘Mom Shaming’”, that gives an example from about a decade ago of how the popularity of mommy bloggers grew by women sharing their parenting “hacks”, tips, or even recipes and crafting ideas via online posts and blogs. As the blog entries grew, so did other moms comparing themselves and/or feeling inadequate. Some of the responses were natural and some may have been coming from a place of defensiveness. Moms are not alone in looking for resources, articles, materials, and friends to tell us we’re doing ok. We just need to be told “You are doing fine.”

Luckily, some moms in Connecticut decided to declare an end to “Mom Wars” and created a photo shoot that shared examples of how each mom had a right to their choices in parenting. It seemed to reinforce the message of, “You are doing fine.” I don’t know about you, but my recent google searches of “Is it ok to have my 3-year old go to bed with the iPad” are pretty much destined to get me in trouble with her pediatrician. I’m hoping that during a global pandemic, “I am doing fine.”

Comparing this scenario to the entrepreneur world, often times your business is your baby. You have worn many hats to keep it alive. You have built the concept and ideas, nurtured the products and services with sweat, tears, and maybe some laughs. You have spent countless hours researching, experimenting, and trying processes and marketing tactics that work for you. You have been asked to “pivot” this year like so many others (sick of that word? Me too).

Here are some ideas for revenue growth as an entrepreneur (or at least, ideas worth considering if you haven’t already):

  1. It’s about the questions you ask yourself. How does your product or service help or serve others (vs. solely asking how do I get more customers?) This may lead to new ideas or income streams.
  2. Consider a collaboration or a partnership – even if they seem like the competition. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African proverb
  3. Stop inadvertently shaming the competition by critiquing what they do. It’s really obvious on your Instagram. Try changing the narrative to how you help others.
  4. Revisit the poem All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten and re-visit it often. “And it is still true, no matter how old you are – when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.”
  5. Join a community, celebrate others’ success, and try to share some positivity without being asked to do so. Ideas include: Likes/endorsements, recommendations on LinkedIn for your vendor contacts, positive Google or Yelp reviews for fellow small business owners.

It seems like we really could use more kindness and empathy right now. So what if we look for the help and support of others in our entrepreneurial universe versus comparing and defending our different way of doing things?

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Opinion Editorials

Can we combat grind culture and injustice with a nap?

(OPINION EDITORIALS) A global pandemic and a climate of racial injustice may require fresh thinking and a new approach from what grind culture has taught us.

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Sleeping cat with plant, fighting grind culture.

Information is delivered to us at warp speed with access to television, radio, and the internet (and more specifically, social media). We are inundated with messages. Oftentimes they’re personalized by something that a friend or family shared. Other times we manage them for work, school, or just keeping up with news. Many entrepreneurs already wear many hats and burn the midnight oil.

During this global pandemic, COVID-19, we have also seen a rise in awareness and attention to social injustice and systemic racism. This is not a new concept, as we all know. But it did feel like the attention was advanced exponentially by the murder of George Floyd on Memorial Day 2020. Many people and entrepreneurs felt called to action (or at least experienced self-reflection). And yet they were working at all hours to evolve their businesses to survive. All of this happening simultaneously may have felt like a struggle while they tried to figure out exactly they can do.

There are some incredible thought leaders – and with limited time, it can be as simple as checking them out on Instagram. These public figures give ideas around what to be aware of and how to make sure you are leveling up your awareness.

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Director of the Center for Antiracist Research – he has been studying anti-racism and has several books and interviews that help give language to what has been happening in our country for centuries. His content also delves into why and how white people have believed they are more than people of color. Here is a great interview he did with Brené Brown on her Unlocking Us podcast.

Tamika Mallory – American activist and one of the leading organizers of the 2017 Women’s March. She has been fighting for justice to be brought upon the officers that killed Breonna Taylor on March 13. These are among other efforts around the country to push back on gun control, feminist issues, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Brené Brown – research professor at the University of Houston and has spent the last two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She has been listening and engaging on how racism and our shame intersect. She also speaks about how people can reflect on themselves and where they can take action to better our society. She has some antiracism resources on her website.

With all of this information and the change in our daily routines and work habits (or business adjustments), what is a fresh approach or possibly a new angle that you haven’t been able to consider?

There is one social channel against grind culture that may not be as well-known. At an initial glance, you may even perceive this place as a spoof Twitter and Instagram that is just telling you to take a nap. But hold on, it’s actually much smarter than that. The description says “We examine the liberating power of naps. We believe rest is a form of resistance and reparations. We install Nap Experiences. Founding in 2016.”

It might be a great time for you to check out The Nap Ministry, inspired by Tricia Hersey. White people are called to action, and people of color are expressly told to give time to taking care of themselves. Ultimately, it goes both ways – everyone needs the time to recharge and recuperate. But people of color especially are being told to value their rest more than the grind culture. Yes, you’re being told you need to manage your mental health and include self-care in your schedule.

Through The Nap Ministry, Tricia “examines rest as a form of resistance by curating safe spaces for the community to rest via Collective Napping Experiences, immersive workshops, and performance art installations.”

“In this incredibly rich offering, we speak with Tricia on the myths of grind culture, rest as resistance, and reclaiming our imaginative power through sleep. Capitalism and white supremacy have tricked us into believing that our self-worth is tied to our productivity. Tricia shares with us the revolutionary power of rest.” They have even explored embracing sleep as a political act.

Let this allow you to take a deep breath and sigh – it is a must that you take care of yourself to take care of your business as well as your customers and your community. And yes, keep your drive and desire to “get to work”. But not at your expense for the old grind culture narrative.

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Opinion Editorials

The actual reasons people choose to work at startups

(EDITORIAL) Startups have a lot going for them, environment, communication, visible growth. But why else would you work for one?

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Startups meeting led by Black woman.

Startups are perpetually viewed as the quintessential millennial paradise with all of the accompanying perks: Flexible hours, in-house table tennis, and long holidays. With this reputation so massively ingrained in the popular perception of startups, is it foolish to think that their employees actually care about the work that startup companies accomplish?

Well, yes and no.

The average startup has a few benefits that traditional business models can’t touch. These benefits often include things like open communication, a relaxed social hierarchy, and proximity to the startup’s mission. That last one is especially important: While larger businesses keep several degrees of separation between their employees and their end goals, startups put the stakes out in the open, allowing employees to find personal motivation to succeed.

When employees find themselves personally fulfilled by their work, that work reaps many of the benefits in the employee’s dedication, which in turn helps the startup propagate. Many aspiring startup employees know this and are eager to “find themselves” through their work.

Nevertheless, the allure of your average startup doesn’t always come from the opportunity to work on “something that matters.”

Tiffany Philippou touches on this concept by pointing out that “People come to work for you because they need money to live… [s]tartups actually offer pretty decent salaries these days.”

It’s true that many employees in their early to late twenties will likely take any available job, so assuming that your startup’s 25-and-under employee base is as committed to finding new uses for plastic as you are may be a bit naïve—indeed, this is a notion that holds true for any business, regardless of size or persuasion.

However, startup experience can color a young employee’s perception of their own self-worth. This allows them to pursue more personally tailored employment opportunities down the road—and that’s not a bad legacy to have.

Additionally, startups often offer—and even encourage—a level of personal connection and interactivity that employees simply won’t find in larger, more established workplaces. That isn’t symptomatic of startups being too laid-back or operating under loosely defined parameters. Instead, it’s a clue that work environments that facilitate personalities rather than rote productivity may stand to get more out of their employees.

Finally, your average startup has a limited number of spots, each of which has a clearly defined role and a possibility for massive growth. An employee of a startup doesn’t typically have to question their purpose in the company—it’s laid out for them; who are we to question their dedication to fulfilling it?

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