We met at the Washington Post on a cold evening after work, where we ordered a coffee and a smoothie and began discussing how Cody ended up where he is now. It really began with his interest in marketing. When he enrolled at SIUE, however, he was told he had to complete a calculus requirement to get a business degree. Nope, not an option for Cody. Determined to avoid this at all costs, he received a psychology degree and minored in business administration, instead.
It was in one of these classes that he received the answer that set him on his current course, with Enstitute. “The more and more I got deeper into the application process [with Enstitute], the more I started to not care about grad school stuff. It was really sketchy at first because they were trying to get Enstitute off the ground. It was like it’s own startup, I guess. It ended up being great!” Enstitute is an alternative education program that places individuals in apprenticeships with entrepreneurs. When Cody joined it was just launching in Manhattan, but now the company is expanding from New York to St. Louis.
Initially Cody was placed with Holstee, a company that creates art that encourages mindful living. Their most famous piece to date is called the Holstee Manifesto. As a bitter New York winter approached, the founders of Holstee decided they wanted to work from a warmer locale, so they flew themselves and Cody to Oaxaca, Mexico where they worked for a month.
Once his apprenticeship was completed, 6 months later, Cody found himself placed with another company through Enstitute. This company, called PageFair, is based in Dublin, Ireland and measures how much it costs companies when visitors to their site block ads and then shares that information with site visitors. Cody was writing the blogs and later took over the company’s social media. Even after his return to St. Louis, the company retained him as their content creator.
“Yea, it's been quite the year and a half,” Cody mused. In fact, at one point he flew from Dublin to New York to Las Vegas within approximately 24 hours. When he arrived in Vegas for a conference, they began celebrating Cody’s birthday and for awhile he was so disoriented he had no idea what day it was (the alcohol probably didn’t help).
The reason Enstitute has chosen St. Louis for their second program is not a coincidence. It’s thanks in large part to Cody. Last summer, as he was leaving for New York, Cody googled St. Louis startups and didn’t come across much. When he came back from his adventures he was shocked at everything that had sprouted up. He pitched St. Louis to Enstitute and after a successful scouting trip, they agreed.
Currently Cody is back in his hometown of Bethalto, Illinois and working out of the T-Rex space downtown. He has his hands full as he continues to handle content for PageFair, the launch of Enstitute in St. Louis, and the planning of small networking events. The ultimate goal of all this, is to someday start his own company. Looking back, he realizes that even as a kid he’s been developing unique, entrepreneurial solutions to problems. In fact, he even wrote a clever blog about it called ‘Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me I Wanted to Be an Entrepreneur?’. But it isn’t easy to come up with a really unique idea. "If I could just get that childlike inspiration, you know, again. Maybe I could... maybe I'm just not faced with the right problem. I don't know."
Cody’s favorite thing about Stl? "I love that it's not Manhattan." Although he loved the excitement and activity in New York, it was too chaotic. For now, he’s loving St. Louis, but it’s probably not the final stop. Ideally, he’ll end up in Boulder, Colorado.
We walked together as we left and headed back to our respective offices. I provided Cody a summary of what I’d learned about him. "Crazy 24 year old who's started several blogs, worked for a few startups, flown all over the country for work..." he finished the thought, "Trying to figure out what he wants to do when he grows up.” We laughed.