Mover and Shaker
Dallas enables young Brit to satisfy curiosity for design and technology
Editor’s note: This is the inaugural year for CultureMap’s Top Texans Under 30, a program that celebrates the twentysomething power players making a difference in their industries and communities across the Lone Star State — and, in some cases, the world. The full list is here. For now, read all about Matt Alexander.
Fascinated by design, technology, and the written word, Matt Alexander, 28, is the current darling of the Dallas startup scene. He was born and raised outside of London but came here in 2006 to attend SMU. He had intended to return to the UK after graduation, but Dallas had other plans for him.
While working for Southwest Airlines in 2010, Alexander started his blog OneThirtySeven, which provided an outlet for his passions. In just a few months, the blog’s popularity provided the impetus to segue out of the corporate world and enter the startup realm.
Alexander’s entrepreneurial attitude led to Edition Collective, founded in 2013, a company dedicated to unique and sustainable e-commerce concepts. Edition Collective’s portfolio includes Imprint, a men’s lifestyle publication, and Foremost, a small-batch American-made clothing brand for men and women.
The innovator — and a finalist in our 2014 Stylemaker Awards — recently gave us a glimpse into his world.
CultureMap: What inspires you to do what you do?
Matt Alexander: Honestly, I think I’m most driven by the knowledge that I wouldn’t be particularly useful doing anything else. I enjoy building things and exploring creative solutions to a lot of different problems. If I was in a corporate job, I doubt I’d be able to properly express that side of my personality.
In terms of actual inspiration, rather than what essentially amounts to a survival technique, I’m inspired by people who are able to — out of nowhere — contribute to conversations much larger than themselves. Technology has democratized access to a tremendous amount of information to help you build something great. And just knowing that anyone — from all manner of circumstances — can have an idea, and through sheer force of will, turn it into something, is amazing.
CM: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to other Texans trying to make a difference by innovating?
MA: Texas is one of the best places in the country — if not the world — to start a company. There are great investors, entrepreneurs, and communities of like-minded people here.
So, if you’re in Texas, and you’re looking to build something, I’d encourage you just to meet people. Try not to have lunch by yourself. Punch above your weight and get meetings with people who inspire you. More succinctly, tap into the community around you. There’s a lot you’ll find.
CM: Sum up Texas in three words.
MA: Not like England.
CM: What’s one thing people may not know about you?
MA: When I was 9 or 10, I had a small part in an independently produced skate movie, Wheels: An Inline Story, in the mid- to late ’90s. It was the first skate movie, apparently, to have a narrative plot. And, most importantly, its soundtrack was made exclusively by Hanson.
It’s worth noting that the existence of this film became public knowledge a while back, and I tried to buy up as many copies as possible. From a quick glance at Amazon, it appears I’ve been unsuccessful.
CM: Finish this sentence: “It’s a good day when … ”
MA: It’s a good day when I forget to look at my email inbox.
RSVP now for the CultureMap Social: Top Texans Under 30 Edition, October 3 at Fearing’s, to celebrate Alexander and his fellow Dallas winners.