We had the good fortune of connecting with Timothy Cubbison and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Timothy, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Evaluating risk is an essential factor in all decision making. Yet convincing ourselves that we can avoid risk has become such a big part of our broader culture. I teach a class on entrepreneurship in the arts, and one thing I try to reinforce is that working as an employee for someone else is not less risky than working for yourself. It is simply a different kind of risk. It is choosing not to see the risk and trust that someone else will mitigate it for you. For many folks, that may be the best approach, but for those of us with an entrepreneurial bent, we’d rather face risk head-on and be responsible for our own success or failure. By staring risk in the face and understanding the true downside, not the nightmare scenario that our fear tries to show us, but the actual worst case scenario then you can make an informed decision. Adopting that level of risk tolerance and risk understanding is key to running your own business because it allows you to make decisions with your eyes open and based on facts rather than fear.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Horseless Cowboy is a creative consultancy at the intersection of technology and entertainment. We help our clients navigate the uncertain waters of Hollywood and use those creative tools to tell their stories. This can range from casting actors and producing the performances for AAA video games to helping a new media production company figure out how to integrate SAG-AFTRA actors into their productions to dubbing foreign films into English for major streaming platforms. We love creativity and innovation. What excites us most is working with clients who don’t feel constricted by how things have been done in the past; clients who want to create the best product possible and are willing to explore new talent or methodologies to do so. We’ve been incredibly blessed over the years, but starting and running a business is never easy. We had many setbacks and struggles, but a key trait of who we are as a company is tenacity. We don’t give up, and we get the job done. During our early years, when things were tough, I would take my daughter on walks in Los Feliz, and on the side of a building was a massive portrait of the poet Charles Bukowski with the quote, “What matters most is how well you walk through the fire”. I would walk past that quote almost every day, and it inspired me because it reinforced how there will always be tribulations, and expecting otherwise is silly. Instead, it is about how you face those problems, how you deal with the setbacks, how you walk through the fire. This mindset, along with the support of many wonderful people, helped us as an organization to keep going and refuse to give up in the face of adversity.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Los Angeles is such an amazing and vibrant city with distinct neighborhoods. I’ve spent most of my time in places like Hollywood, Los Feliz, Silverlake, and Downtown. Each has its own unique vibe and culture. Hollywood is the first neighborhood many folks come to when they move to LA, so it has an incredible amount of energy. You can feel the ambition and dreams in the air. It is also the epicenter of entertainment history. I get goosebumps when I sip a martini a Musso & Frank and imagine how United Artists got its start in one of their booths or how writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Faulkner drowned the sorrows at the bar. Los Feliz is where I started my family, so it has a different place in my heart. Restaurants like HomeState with their delicious breakfast tacos are where my daughter became an LA brunch baby. You also have places like Barnsdall park, a break from the city with beautiful views, and a slice of culture with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House. LA has so many good coffee shops now, but Intelligentsia in Silverlake was the beginning of my coffee addiction. During my early years in the city, Silverlake Junction and the surrounding shops, restaurants, and bars took up many of my lazy Saturdays. Downtown is more of a bunch of cool neighborhoods packed together. Horseless Cowboy’s first office was on Spring Street above what is now The Last Bookstore, a destination not to be missed. I also spent many a night in the Art’s District at one of their several breweries or restaurants. We recently discovered Row DTLA, another great collection of shops, stores, restaurants, and offices in what used to be a railroad terminal and market. LA is a city of hidden gems. I feel that it is easy to miss what makes this city special unless someone shows it to you or you take the time to really look past the sun-bleached streets and strip malls. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Showing recognition and gratitude to those who have helped us along the way is such a critical element of being successful. In my life, there are so many folks over the years that have consciously or unconsciously guided me, sparked my interest in something, inspired me, or helped me achieve. Without a doubt, my parents and brothers have been an incredible influence on my life by merely being present and supportive. They were always available to help with questions and guidance but never pushed me towards some preconceived notion of what they thought I should do. It was important to them that I discover my own interests and also take responsibility for overcoming my own obstacles. Brenda Phillips, my immensely talented and creative wife who I’ve known since I was 15 years old, has helped me and put up with me and loved me through all my ups and downs. Teachers like Mr. Nukala and Mrs. Fong deepened my love for performance and storytelling, organizations like the Boy Scouts, the Army, the University of Texas, and the University of Southern California shaped my approach to work and learning. So many friends and colleagues over the years like Austin Snyder, Harry Buerkle, Phil Bache, and Gus Borner have supported me whether it was good times or bad. This support has allowed me to build Horseless Cowboy into an organization of which I can be proud. And this short list of people and places barely scratches the surface of those that have influenced me. I am appreciative to an endless number of people and could continue to say thank you for hours on end.