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January 18, 2024 30 mins
In this episode, host Victoria Guido talks with Jessica Wallace, the CEO of Flok22, an innovative app designed to enhance real-time social networking. Victoria delves into Jessica's unique journey from her roots as a hairdresser to becoming a tech entrepreneur. They explore how Jessica's personal experiences and challenges, including being a military wife and navigating life post-divorce with three children, fueled her drive to create Flok22. Jessica's desire to connect people in real-time, especially in the post-COVID era, led to the birth of this groundbreaking app. Victoria and Jessica discuss their mutual passion for music, revealing how their hobbies provide a creative outlet from the demanding world of startups. Jessica shares her aspirations to return to playing the drums, a skill inspired by her family's musical background, and her journey in learning the instrument during the pandemic. On technology and entrepreneurship, Jessica dives into the challenges and triumphs of developing and marketing Flok22. She reflects on the importance of networking, particularly in the startup community, and how her app addresses the inefficiencies and awkwardness often encountered at networking events. Victoria and Jessica discuss the evolution of Flok22, emphasizing its focus on enhancing in-person connections and its pivot towards a more event-centric approach, as well as the future of networking, the potential of Flok22, and their shared enthusiasm for making meaningful connections, both professionally and musically. Flok22 (https://flok22.com/) Follow Flok22 on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/flok22?mibextid=ZbWKwL), Linkedin (https://www.linkedin.com/company/flok22/), or Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/flok22app/). Follow Jessica Wallace on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessica-wallace-b9526361/). Follow thoughtbot on X (https://twitter.com/thoughtbot) or LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/150727/). Become a Sponsor (https://thoughtbot.com/sponsorship) of Giant Robots! Transcript: VICTORIA: This is the Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots podcast, where we explore the design, development, and business of great products. I'm your host, Victoria Guido. And with me today is Jessica Wallace, CEO of Flok22, the app that helps you make friends and grow your network in real-time situations. Jessica, thank you for joining us. JESSICA: Thank you for having me. VICTORIA: Yeah. Well, just to get us started and warm up here, Jessica, is there any new skill or any skill you've come back to to practice more recently to kind of take your mind off of all the founder stuff that's happening? JESSICA: Yeah. It's been a busy past two months of events and things like that. So, I've kind of been taking a little bit of downtime. I am hoping to start practicing the drums. I play those, and I haven't been doing that in a while. They've been kind of staring me down, so... VICTORIA: So, were you a drummer before? Were you in a band, or? JESSICA: No, never was in a band. Actually, my dad and my uncle were drummers in a band. And as a kid, I would kind of pick up the drumsticks. And I remember my uncle kind of saying like, "Hey, is that Jessica down there?" Because I would sound like I was playing [laughs] something. Yeah, it took me a while to get into it. But during COVID, I picked it up and started practicing. VICTORIA: I love that. So, do you have a whole drum set at home, or do you have one of those, like, electric? JESSICA: I have both. I have the electric one, which I think I'm going to kind of get out and mess with. But I have an actual full drum set. It's like a TAMA light blue little set. VICTORIA: That's so fun. I like playing the drums, but I never made the leap to actually own my own drum set. So, whenever my friends have it, though, I can play, like, maybe one or two beats on [laughs] it. Nothing that impressive, but yeah, it's a lot of fun. JESSICA: Do you play any other instruments? VICTORIA: Yeah, I've always...I played piano when I was younger, and then clarinet and bass guitar through, like, middle school and high school. I did have a band in college. We played two shows, and they were both at my house, which was a lot of fun. JESSICA: [laughs] VICTORIA: I had kind of stopped playing music, and then when COVID happened, it was like, well [laughs], I guess I need to find another hobby again. So, I picked up piano again. And now I've been playing keyboard and trying to sing at the same time, which has been entertaining for everyone in my household, so...[laughs] JESSICA: Very cool. Too bad we didn't, like, catch up during COVID time. We could have started a band. VICTORIA: Yes. Yeah. I'm trying to think of a way to get more disciplined about practicing, actually, because that's...I know people who practice for, like, three hours a day every day. And I'm just like, how do you make yourself sit there for that long [laughs]? JESSICA: That's definitely been the challenge with me. And then
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