The ultimate truth is that if you dedicate your efforts to an idea it will require pivoting, it will require rework, it will require going back to the drawing board a number of times but if you push, change, research, and focus on creating the idea you once had, it will become something much larger in reality.
Joshua Hinkson is a tech innovator and the Co-founder and COO of Padx.com, an online real estate brokerage that empowers buyers with smart search capabilities, an advanced system for scheduling home tours, and an offer writing tool to place on-demand offers. His company also rewards buyers with a 50% commission refund at the close of escrow.
Before Padx, Joshua has worked both in the United States Navy for project management and as a consultant of Business Intelligence for startup companies utilizing mass data analytics to identify the target market and process improvement. With a strong background in information systems management, advanced analytics, and process improvement, Joshua built his career objectives around understanding the dynamic approach to improving the quality of organizations through qualitative and quantitative methodologies.
As an innovator, Joshua has been quoted in publications such as Forbes and InMan. He lives in Westlake Village with his wife and two kids. As the COO of Padx, he is focused on growing the company and continuing to improve the way we buy and sell real estate. In his free time, he spends time with his family and plays golf.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
The idea of Padx.com was unique one. I had met Evan Harney, CEO, MBA through my wife who worked for Evan in the traditional real estate space. When I finished my duty with the United States Navy, after 8 years of service, I was looking for a team environment that would be a ‘good fit’. After 5 minutes on the phone with Evan I knew there was something much larger in the fragmented industry of real estate and decided immediately to move from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles. The idea actually started to materialize as a data conflict solution to the valuation concerns found on syndicates of the MLS; the inaccurate measures provided by Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, and Redfin. However, the more we continued to develop and pivot our idea, the more we realized the entire industry had one major problem: technology has evolved but how we transact real estate has stayed the same. Real estate agents and Brokers had more tools and consumers were doing more of the work than in previous decades, before online resources, yet the model in real estate has not changed with the times. We spent about a year building our Founding team, the methodology that would not only benefit the consumer but also the existing pool of real estate agents and brokers and found a hybrid model we felt was the most effective and fair solution to the current state of the industry. By doing so we created an online real estate brokerage that utilizes local knowledge of real estate agents while providing incremental revenue to them. We also built out one of the most unique search engine tools for finding a home, and created one of the first fully automated real estate offer writing tools; all digitally and fully supported by the Padx.com team.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My day normally starts by being beaten up by my toddler. Sure, it’s not the traditional response, nor what most would find to be the most relaxing to kick start a day at work, but I believe in having a work – life balance. After 8 years serving in the United States Navy and two detachments in Iraq the inevitable truth is that your family is your biggest supporter. I take my beatings and start the day around 5:30 am and review my calendar, prioritize my responsibilities, and determine what I will focus on first. I make my day productive by ensuring that I focus not only on what is important but in supporting my team. At Padx.com, we have made a commitment that we will continuously use transformational leadership. We support our founders, executives, employees and contractors all the same way. I believe management starts with a leader not a manager. By supporting the operations, marketing, technology, and public relations team in their goals, I have now gained the ability to openly communicate between teams, have creative conversations, and continue improve our product through non-traditional means. I’m productive because I support my team’s productivity.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Most of my ideas start on the back of a napkin; well maybe not a napkin but a note in some way. I hold team meetings three times a week and an open discussion creative meeting once a week. I tend to take my ideas and throw them out to the team and ask them: What do you think of this idea? What could we do to improve this idea? (and) Does the idea meet our criteria in the current production stage? If the idea is a Go with our team, improved by our team, and within the means of our current production then I add the idea to either our Project Management software or our Technology Program Management software. If the idea is good but not within production capabilities it will still be added to production but as a lower priority until we are in a state to be able to provide resources. I can’t stress this enough; the idea was started with the founders, but the product is a result of our team. Every idea goes through every person to get their opinion before implementation.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The current trend that excites me is the technological innovations in the prop-tech space and the bit/gig community. As technology has continued to evolve, so has the way we live our daily lives. Automation has the ability to create simplicity as long as it’s applied correctly. With Padx.com being in the prop-tech space and utilizing unique incremental revenue streams for real estate agents, I feel that we have merged two of the communities or industries that needed the gap to be filled.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
My biggest flaw is also my greatest attribute: being productive. I’m always paranoid when it comes to creating our products! My mind works in a way that continuously goes through scenarios; the good, the bad, and the ugly. This is great when focusing on strategy; which is my main occupation through operations. When going through our strategy at Padx.com whether locations, expansion, product development, or team building. I tend to focus on every detail to ensure we have a solid understanding of where we are currently at and where we are going.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I’ve had my fair shares of ups and downs in life. With that said, I wouldn’t give myself any advice because I would never want to change my path to the person I have become.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
If you give 100% of yourself to something it will become a reality. I believe that many people are hesitant to dedicating themselves 100% to anything in fear that it may not materialize. The ultimate truth is that if you dedicate your efforts to an idea it will require pivoting, it will require rework, it will require going back to the drawing board a number of times but if you push, change, research, and focus on creating the idea you once had, it will become something much larger in reality.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Communicate. Entrepreneurs hide their ideas, may not know how to lead or are simply afraid of being judged. The one thing I learned early on is that if you can properly communicate with your team, the public, and peers, the results are positive ones.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Transformational leadership. By having a great team with open communication, I have found that our production is continuously developing at a rapid pace. We create an environment that our team is comfortable not only working in but expressing themselves and their needs in each project.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One failure I had during the beginning of being an entrepreneur was over-extending myself. Whether this means working 20 hours in a day, volunteering in my community at startup events, or seeking a Doctoral degree while building the Padx.com platform. I realized the only people not getting my attention was my family. The ones who provide the most support and will undoubtedly be there no matter what, require time and attention from your end. Working on work-life balance also helped me create a healthier state of mind to work better the next day.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
There is no business idea that really comes to mind; however, I believe that many ideas have true potential. It’s not the idea that will create itself, it’s the dedicated team that supports the idea as a seed to be nourished to grow.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I recently spent was getting my son toys and games. My family was evacuated during the Wild Fires last November in Los Angeles and Ventura County. When we were evacuated. We had no choice but to leave our home with my family but didn’t have room to bring any of the basics for my family. Getting them something they enjoyed while we were away from home, helped with the stress and gave them something fun to do while we waited to go home.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
ClickUp. I have used multiple project management software tools but have realized that ClickUp is a great merge between communication tools, tracking tools, and provides great insight on reports for tracking operational development.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
One of my favorite books is ‘The Great Gatsby’. I like this book for a few reasons. it shows that a dreamer can create a new life but at the same time shows us that creating an imaginary persona is not the true reality. My takeaway is that you can always create a bigger, better life but the steps to get there should be in real time and with realistic expectations. Also, it should be done with a clear notion of using an ethical approach. Don’t hold jealousy from what others have and focus on building your future to make yourself happy not to improve a self-image.
What is your favorite quote?
“Progression over Perfection”
- Communication is most important in continuous improvement.
- Your team should always be supported.
- Transformational leadership
- Work -Life balance
- Ideas take time to mature
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.