Pop Quiz, Monday with Alberto Pina

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Alberto Pina

Alberto Pina
Photo credit: Jon Garcia

What is your job role?
Co-founder and CEO

Tell us about your company?
We created Braustin as the nation’s first virtual mobile home dealership to help address the need for affordable housing in our community by offering a faster, more comfortable and less expensive way to purchase a new factory-built home over your phone.

What do you love most about your job?
We get to help people every day achieve their dream of homeownership and build a stage for them to create life long memories with their families.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
We get to hear first hand the difference our company makes in the lives of the families we serve. Hearing a customer say, “They couldn’t have done it without us.” never gets old and this mission drives our whole team. We really get to know our customers on a personal level. They share their dreams and ambitions with our team and its very humbling to be able to play a part in helping them to achieve them. We have a responsibility to the families who call on us to give them the best home buying experience possible and its not one we take lightly.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
Our founding team took a significant risk to start this journey with me. As a bootstrapped startup, they all took substantial pay cuts initially and have been extremely adaptable as we’ve worked to create something that had never been done before in our industry. We are all beginning to see the pay off now, but it could have very quickly gone the other way. They are very mission-driven and have really been the driving force behind the growth of our company.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
Brainstorming new ideas together and then working to put them into action is really fun and exciting. We really enjoy what we’re doing. We work in downtown San Antonio, so there’s always something fun going on in the tech district. Something as simple as an office decorating contest for Halloween can help to break up the day today. This past year the team went all out and ended up winning first place. Outside of work, our team likes to enjoy the outdoors together doing things like camping or shooting. We spend a lot of hours together inside the office, so its good to hang out as just a group of friends sometimes.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
When we first launched, a lot of folks in our industry thought we were crazy. Shopping for and buying a new mobile home entirely online and over the phone hadn’t been done before and there was certainly a lot of trial and error out the gate. Since then we have experienced a lot of growth, so the biggest challenge for us now is continuing to stay focused on innovation while making sure our operations team keeps up with all the homes we are currently building for families. It’s a good problem to have no doubt, and our team has been up to the challenge.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
As the founder of a bootstrapped startup, I learned the importance of asking for help very quickly. In our first year, we hit an operational bottleneck because of all the paperwork involved in the home buying process. After a few brainstorming sessions with a local developer, we developed a home buying app that allowed both the families we were helping and our team navigate the process much more efficiently using their phones. Technology is a powerful tool, but you have to be willing to admit to your own ignorance and share your problems with those whose skill sets make up for your weaknesses. At this point, our company is a hybrid of ideas that came from the community around us at Geekdom. A lot of the tools we are now being things we discovered by forging new relationships and learning about all the cool things people around us were doing.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting out in your industry?
I think the most critical piece of advice I can give to anyone starting off in the housing industry is to focus on the customer experience first. Buying a home is a fun, exciting, anxious, and stressful adventure and the companies that focus on making that process easier and more enjoyable for the home buyer will end up winning in the years to come.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:



Author: Ricky Singh, MBA

Editor of The Startup Growth.

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