CEO and co-founder

Joseph Kopser, CEO and co-founder of Ridescout, an Austin-based startup, speaks at Burdine Hall on Monday afternoon. Ridescout has developed an app that allows users to see all transportation options near them, as well as their cost and times.

Photo Credit: Michelle Toussaint | Daily Texan Staff

The secret to a successful business is to build a good team of employees, according to Joseph Kopser, CEO and co-founder of RideScout, in an on-campus lecture Monday.

At the lecture, which was hosted by Communication Council, Kopser used his experience with RideScout — an app for consolidating and tracking alternative transportation services to help users travel quickly and conveniently — to discuss aspects of business ranging from tech and innovation to communication and teamwork.

Kopser said he believes there is no distinct definition of an entrepreneur, but there are three key things that helped him become successful.  

“You have to love what you do,” Kopser said. “You have to show humility … and your walk has to be as good as your talk.”

Kopser said he believes entrepreneurs should never pass on an opportunity for national attention, even if the media is capitalizing on an unusual aspect of business.

“We went into San Francisco wanting to talk about RideScout and its technology, but the only thing the media cared about was how I am a 40-something-year-old [who] can effectively work with a 20-something-year-old,” Kopser said. “That was the coolest thing to them, and it got us great publicity.”

Radio-television-film freshman Gabriella Grant, who attended the lecture, said many of her peers believe having a good product is all that matters to business.

“People think, if you know what people want, you can succeed,” Grant said. “But it’s so much more than that. It’s about every aspect of the game. Every piece has to fit together.”

Kopser said being able to communicate with his team in order to problem-solve is key.

“Easy problems don’t come to me because my team can fix them [when they occur],” Kosper said. “But, if it’s not easy, we have to put our heads together and discuss whatever it takes until the problem is solved.”

Rene Dailey, interpersonal communications associate professor, said communication skills are vital to the workplace.

“Interpersonal communication skills are always one of the top characteristics employers are looking for in their job candidates,” Dailey said in an email. “Interpersonal skills help us be more effective in accomplishing tasks, as well as in building rapport with co-workers.”

Though government inefficiencies often lead to inadequate funds for space exploration, private companies will be a viable option for space travel as soon as 2015, according to Jeff Greason, CEO and co-founder of private space company XCOR Aerospace.

Greason, who spoke at W.R. Woolrich Laboratories on Friday, gave a wide-ranging talk covering everything from XCOR’s ongoing projects to public policy considerations and technical difficulties in suborbital space flight. Greason, who was critical of government space exploration funding methods, said the private industry could be more efficient in developing
innovative technologies for
space flight.

“If the U.S. government wanted to continue to spend something like the amount of money it’s spending now on NASA, and choose to spend that caring more about results than about which Congressional district the money got spent in, we certainly could be back to the moon within the decade,” Greason said.

XCOR Aerospace has developed several new prototypes, including the company’s first demonstrator rocket-powered vehicle the EZ-Rocket and the Lynx, a reusable spaceship designed for private space flights beginning in 2015. Greason stressed XCOR’s deference to history as a major reason for the company’s success, citing previous designs and innovations as inspiration for his company’s new products.

“In this business particularly, there’s so much history,” Greason said. “After Apollo, all the guys that retired in place spent the next fifteen years with no budget writing down all these great ideas for what they would have done if they’d had time.”