The FORT Podcast: Chris Powers & Eric Jorgenson on Jorgenson’s Soundbox
In the last episode, we discussed alternative assets, and in this episode, we take a deep dive into the career of Chris Powers, the master of the specific alternative asset of real estate. Chris began his real estate career when he was just 17 years old and has spent the last 17 years building Fort Capital, a real estate firm in Fort Worth, Texas. Throughout the episode, we discuss Chris’s journey in real estate, investing, recruiting, and podcasting.
We begin the episode talking about some of the heroes that Chris looks up to including his dad who taught him the valuable lessons that you only live one life and that money can only make you so happy. Chris bought his first house at 17 when he was starting college and got into real estate as a means to make money during his studies. He says that he was driven by constantly waking up and feeling behind and wanting to do something. Before graduating, he bought more student housing, started a property management business, and started a leasing business. He graduated in 2008, during the economic collapse, and had no choice but to continue in real estate.
From 2010 to 2015, Chris was doing a bit of everything related to real estate – he was building custom homes and spec homes, buying land, VC investing, and had a small team that he managed. Despite having some success, he realized he wasn’t compounding his business the way he wanted, and after reading Good to Great by Jim Collins, he decided to narrow his focus. Chris talks about his need to be able to recruit and the importance of having a mission. We also discuss how flywheels can propel us forward, and for Chris, his flywheel is based on his podcast, Twitter, real estate business, and investors that create a virtuous cycle of growth.
Recently, Chris has transitioned out of being the CEO of Fort Capital, and he is learning how to be an owner. He is also focusing on his VC Funds and building Powers Capital, which he says will function as a family office but also will function like private equity. We wrap up the conversation discussing when enough is enough and measuring impact; Chris says he’s no longer in it for the money but rather to see what it is possible to accomplish during the one life he has.
(03:52) – Who are your heroes?
(07:56) – Chris’ Upbringing & His Father’s Impact on Him
(20:47) – Chris Starting His Career in RE at Age 17
(26:17) – Reflecting on the ’08 Financial Crisis
(35:02) – What was your next big inflection point after graduating college in 2008?
(41:02) – You Can’t Scale When You’re Not Clear on Your Path
(47:52) – The Results of Learning to Focus
(59:22) – What’s role does Fort play in your investor’s portfolios?
(1:05:41) – How does an investor recoup their money?
(1:09:26) – Compounding Business with Online Content and Media
(1:13:20) – The Divergence of Focusing the Mission of Fort Capital and the Mission of Chris Powers
(1:19:31) – What is your day-to-day like now?
(1:25:00) – Chris’ VC Investing Exposure
(1:31:11) – What’s the end goal for you?
(1:42:27) – What is the most foundational principle you can offer all entrepreneurs?