3 questions with the Marketing Director at Drake Homes

Ben McDougal - Marketing Director of Drake Homes

Connect with this Des Moines-resident on Twitter or run into him at dmStartupDrinks, on the golf course, experiencing an EDM event or out and about in downtown Des Moines.

What is Drake Homes and what do you do there?

Drake Homes is a progressive Des Moines home builder. I spent over eight years professionally consulting business owners on web development, SEO, and digital marketing strategies. After collaborating on a few projects with Todd Drake, the owner at Drake Homes, we felt a natural fit and together, created a full-time position that allowed me to come in-house to build the Drake Homes brand for the first time.

After a year of dedicated effort, Drake Homes is now dynamically showcased around the web, atop search engines in a meaningful way, connected with various community organizations, engaged throughout social media, and intelligently sprinkled across other advertising mediums. In short, my work has aligned the Drake Homes brand to match the outstanding new homes we’re building all around the Des Moines area.

Why do you spend your time within the startup community?

While working in the world of web development, I engaged with business owners of all shapes and sizes. This had a positive entrepreneurial impact on me, as I established The Iowa 3v3 Soccer Challenge back in 2005. I was able to sell this profitable business as I conceptualized and co-founded Jet Set Studio in 2007. This was back when “startup” wasn’t event a cool term yet, haha, but as a bootstrapped startup, we launched GatheringofGamers.com back when MySpace was cool.

This online community for video game enthusiasts, paired with my event development work from the 3v3 soccer tournament, introduced an opportunity to build an interactive event management service that has since allowed me to travel all around the country developing, networking, and managing video game events. I believe travel opens your mind, so that has really been a blessing.

Anyways, Jet Set Studio continued to evolve over the years and in 2012, we released a search engine for tournaments, called Tournament Seeker. I’m passionately excited about what we have coming in the next generation of an API-based solution that bridges the gap between event organizers and people looking to compete.

Sorry for going off on a simple question, lol, but I think that short story helps explain the roots of my entrepreneurial passion.

Fast-forwarding to today, I believe my work at Drake Homes has set me free. I’ve been allowed to build our brand with the energy of a startup. In fact, it’s one of the primary reasons I took over the challenge of re-launching dmStartupDrinks! I am fueled in part, by the innovative energy I receive from entrepreneurs and I believe dmStartupDrinks may be my chance to give back to so many great people building amazing things. Cheers to disruption by innovation!

Do they ever let you swing a hammer?

I don’t even like the word hammer, haha, so yeah, I usually stay away from the work sites until a new homes is ready to be showcased in photos and video.

That said, I’ve gained a new level of respect for the construction industry and look forward to the continued opportunity to inject new ideas into this industry as a whole. In fact, my work has led me to one of my favorite topics right now: The Internet of Things. I hope to someday build a smart IoT product and I may be in the perfect industry to embark on that in the future, so I suppose looking ahead is a great spot to cut this off clean.

Photo Credit - all photos courtesy of McDougal