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I used to think that personality tests were total horse****. Along with a lot of other things in my life, that’s changed dramatically since 2014.

I am now a thought leader in a space I knew nothing about three years ago. That’s a testament to how far you can go when you’re passionate about building something. In the meantime, Builtworlds became a media company by accident, which means I became a speaker and a media cofounder by complete accident.

I’ve always been super competitive, whether it’s running or whether it’s in business, etc. That’s one thing that hasn’t really changed, and it’s been the driving force behind my success. I met my partner at the gym, on a Friday at 6PM, when no one is there. We got to talking, and I told him about how I was looking to do something new and entrepreneurial and exciting. He called me the next day, and the day after that we started BuiltWorlds.

We started as a research company, but what we found was that our clients needed more than that. Young tech companies who didn’t have the marketing yet needed a way to reach the established companies, and older companies needed help from innovative new businesses, but didn’t know what to look for. So we created a platform that cultivates a network, and really cheerleads innovation and technology in the construction industry, which is harder than you might think. A lot of the major players are pretty old-fashioned. For example, there are companies that have been around for 50 years, and they’re just now opening Facebook accounts.

Matt Abeles, Co Founder, Builtworlds

Meanwhile, I was coming from the real estate and tech fields, and I knew nothing about construction. So when I started doing speaking engagements, I was a nervous, terrible speaker. I was the new guy, talking about unfamiliar territory while trying to encourage the leaders in an old-school, handshake industry to integrate brand new technology. But I embraced it and put both feet in the fire. I would not be where I am had I not flown across the country to every single event to meet the people I’ve met. The human element is so big in this, and I don’t see that changing. People want real relationships, and it’s not one-size-fits all. For some of the companies we work with, embracing technology might be as simple as getting an app that lets workers clock in and out. On the other side, we have companies that are investing in drones.

We work with a company that created a bricklaying robot, which is pretty amazing technology. The robot doesn’t take breaks, it works 24/7, and that’s the sort of thing that causes a serious rift in an industry where a lot of 3rd and 4th generation companies are worried about technology making their workers irrelevant. But on the outside you have the same number of people working, they’re steering the robot, fixing the robot, etc. Technology doesn’t have to eliminate jobs, and we’re working to convey that. We can’t change a culture, but we give people the tools to understand what’s out there. After all, you can’t just go on google and type in “best drone in construction,” and get the information you need. We make that available, along with the connections you’d need to actually access the technology.

There’s not an algorithm in place, we take into account what companies are looking for certain things, and we make it work from there. Not every idea is going to work. Businesses require money, they require business partners, they require solving a good problem. Integration is key- no one can do everything, and it comes down to embracing new skills. Even great on paper matches don’t work all the time. It’s kind of like dating, really.

In the beginning, I worked too much. I hurt myself, my exercise habits tanked, my personal life took a hit, and while the business was doing well, it wasn’t sustainable. There were certain nights where I’d work until 4:00 in the morning; the hours were nuts. I found out the hard way that if you write emails between 2:00–4:00AM… those emails don’t look normal. I cut back, but I still look at those early days as a sign that I was landing on the right thing. Before BuiltWorlds, the second I left the office, I was just wiping my hands of everything. I just wasn’t passionate about it. Then I got into Builtworlds, and I was so excited about my work that I didn’t even realize how far the balance had shifted in the other direction.

My Myers-Briggs results describe me as a “goal oriented person who seeks exciting breakthroughs” and wants the “freedom to set [my] own course,” and I think that’s never been more clearly manifested than in is in BuildWorlds. My wife would still say I work too much, but that’s because I love it. And we still give people personality tests when they come in for interviews.

Builtworlds is a community and network. We believe in innovation through collaboration, to push the built industry forward through events, ecosystem, video and written content.

Email Matt:

Follow Matt on Twitter: @mattyabeles

Visit the Builtworlds website:

Builtworlds on Instagram:

COMMON is a creative accelerator and community for social businesses and projects. We help entrepreneurs build, launch, and promote products and ideas that take care of the planet and all the creatures on it.


Follow us on Twitter @commonworks

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Follow us on Twitter @commonworks

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COMMON is a collaborative community and accelerator for social businesses and projects. We’re working to build international excitement, conversation and action around entrepreneurialism

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