Member Spotlight: Austin Thompson

A few weeks ago, I interviewed one of theCO's most active members, Austin Thompson. From 3D printing, to Facebook advertising, to wood-etched superhero posters, Austin has his hands in everything here at theCO. A short version of the interview was featured in The Jackson Sun, but there was a lot more to the conversation worth sharing. Here's the interview in full:

Who are you? Tell us about your background.

I'm just a guy trying to make the world a little more awesome everyday. Better for me, better for my kids, and even people I don't know. I believe the world deserves that. People trying to make it better...

I'm a computer nerd that doesn't think "nerd" is a bad word. I'm a huge Batman fan. But I'm mostly a guy who loves to learn. Computers, cooking, social media, mobile apps... you name it, I want to learn it. 

You do a lot of things at theCO. Can you list them all?

I mostly bug Dan Drogosh (Facilities Manager) and Lisa Garner (Director of Operations) while trying to keep Kevin Adelsberger (fellow Co:Member) in line. I build mobile apps, manage and consult businesses on social media, and I have recently started a web hosting company. I also do IT work on the side as well as some Facebook advertising for local businesses.

Of all of those activities, which is your specialty?

As geeky as it may sound, I love Facebook advertising as its a virtually untapped market in this area. It's constantly growing and it's just plain fun to help people grow and expand their business. My dream is to someday create an actual Facebook advertising agency in Jackson.

Regardless of your specialty, what are you most excited about working on?

Apps. The apps are the most fun by far. I'm currently creating apps for the cities of Jackson and Tunica. 

What is your favorite resource for learning new skills (coding, 3D printing, etc.)?

I Google everything...it's funny how "Google" has become a verb, but it definitely has. I also love to watch YouTube videos. I'm a huge fan of people sharing information with other people. It makes learning fun.

What is the most common mistake you see made in social media marketing?

People forget to run their Facebook and Twitter pages as a business. If you wouldn't say it or share it at work, don't put it on your company’s social media feeds. It's an extension of your business, so you should be just as serious about it as you are with your day to day operations. People spend about a third of their time awake on some form of social media, so whether you like it or not, it's very relevant to everyday life. 

Being involved in many Jackson-related projects, what direction do you see our city moving?

The sky is the limit. When I moved here, theCo was so far from anyone’s mind that it may as well have been a time machine: a really cool idea that most thought was impossible. But here it is. 

What can we do, as average consumers, to help the growth and development of Jackson?

Get involved. We have free meet-ups every Tuesday where you can meet cool new people and experience new technology and ideas. Jackson has so many great groups that cover so many diverse areas. If theCo doesn't have something that interests you, check out some of our amazing partners like The Jackson Chamber or the Jackson Downtown Development Corporation. 

DC or Marvel?

Probably the hardest and most unfair question you could ask me. I love Batman, but the Avengers are pretty awesome, too. So my answer is this: Comics - DC. Movies - Marvel. But that statement depends on how well Ben Affleck does in this next movie!

Are you really 3D printing a robot?

Yes, I am. It's going to be called the Co:Bot and it's going to be awesome! I can't wait to finish it. Step one is a 3D-printed body. Step two will be adding some robotics to it.


Brady Heyen is an intern at theCO, a writer, composer, and the author of this piece.