Jumpstart Episode 21: Joseph Jaffe
- Founder and Partner at Evol8tion
- Founded Crayon interactive marketing firm in 2006 and sold in 2009
- Wrote books: Flip the Funnel. Join the Conversation. Life after the 30-second spot.
- Started madisonandmountainview.com
- Evol8tion connects early stage startups with blue chip brands
- They believe the number one thing right now is to think about innovation holistically from a 30,000 foot overview
- Jaffe was inspired by fear and excitement as an entrepreneur
- “We live in extremely exciting times”
- Your mind is a terrible thing to waste, when you waste it in a cubicle at a corporation
- Jaffe was the eldest sibling with no male influence in his life
- He is reading Startup Nation, but find allocating time to dedicate to reading difficult
- He uses Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to embrace the chaos and find new books and stories to read
- Find the time and discipline to read
- Dedicate between 8 AM – 9 AM to ONLY READ or ONLY CREATE CONTENT
- Jaffe recommends podcasts: Six Pixels of Separation, For Immediate Release, and the Beancast (so do I!)
- Wants to be remembered as an author, entrepreneur, and thought leader
- Contact Joseph Jaffee
Photo from Flickr by: C.C. Chapman
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Jumpstart theme song “DLDN Instrumental (ft. Onlymeith, Mellotroniac)” by: St. Paul from ccMixter.
Dave: Welcome to Jumpstart. I’m your host, Dave Delaney. And my guest today is founder and partner at Evol8tion, Mr. Joseph Jaffe. How are you doing Joe?
Joseph: I am all the better to hear your voice.
Dave: (Laughs) It’s wonderful to talk to you again. It’s been a long time.
Joseph: A disgrace…
Dave: Yeah. So tell me, tell me about Evol8tion. This is a pretty, pretty new agency, is it not?
Joseph: It absolutely is. I mean, you know I … It’s funny because when I was out on my own, before, before Crayon and I launched, I founded a little social media boutique called Crayon in 2006 and I… You know that.
Dave: Yeah. CC Chapman and Scott (Inaudible – 00:51), a lot of great people…
Joseph: Exactly, I mean, you know, we had our little Crayonville community and then I sold it in 2009. But before Crayon, I put together this road show called the Battle for the HeArt.
Joseph: And the idea was you know the head and the heart, the left brain and the right brain, science and art. It was really about creativity and innovation in the online space, and why we wouldn’t really, you know there was… It just seemed like the whole digital and online advertising space was dominated by analytics and left brain thinkers and…
Joseph: – you know optimization and… which is important of course. But it’s like ways to… you know, ways to creativity with imagination.
Joseph: And I did it for 2 years and then in the third year, I actually went and registered a URL called Madison & Mountain View. And I thought you know kind of like, you know, Mission Impossible 3: Ghost Protocol like I was…
Joseph: You know, Battle for the Heart 3: Madison & Mountain View…
Joseph: Because there was this thinking already back then which were like 2004, 2005 that the intersectional technology and creativity, or technology and marketing, technology and advertising was where the future was at or the next big growth area. And I didn’t execute it at all because I started Crayon. So I kind of fast forward to the fact that I went back out on my own last year but it was already a point where I was thinking about how to execute this Madison & Mountain View concept. And so Evol8tion was born. Evol8tion is an innovation agency and ultimately what we do in a nutshell is connect early stage startups to blue chip brands, to establish brands with a view towards partnering via mentoring in advisory relationships, pilot programs and even in ultimately investments which could be all the way from small investment, angel investment if you will, through to something that could potentially even encompass acquisition. And you know for brands, we’re bringing innovation to them with heavy innovation. We’re hoping accelerate their efforts. We believe that right now, the number one, you know, maybe even arguably more important than figuring out how to join the conversation or you know or how to get more likes on Facebook, that is more important to think about innovation holistically from a 30,000 foot but also from a practical and tactical standpoint. How are we changing the way that we do things because the old way or the incumbent way is not going to cut it especially when you think about the rate and the pace and the nature and the disruptive force of change and specifically technology enable change?
Dave: Uh-huh. This is relatively new. How new is the agency?
Joseph: Well, we launched officially on the 24th of January, so a couple …
Joseph: Two, three weeks…. And the idea has been percolating. And I’m glad that this is the right show to be talking about this because …
Joseph: Because you know the idea had been percolating for about a year. But for some reason I just couldn’t execute it and I just, I didn’t… You know it’s one of the… It’s almost like kind of going on diet where… and every day a week, you know, you put on more and more weight so…
Joseph: It becomes even harder to go on a diet. So like, what is that first step and how do you take that first step and when do you kind of switch on and say I’m going to do it? I’m going to put it out there. I’m going to stick my neck out.
Joseph: And you know to me that day came when I said, you know I’m going to put some of my own money into this company, not expect other people to have to do it. Or how can I expect other people to do it if I’m not doing it myself? And so that kind of was the exhilarant event in the final quarter of last year.
Joseph: That said, I’m going to do this thing and figure it out and be prepared to fail but also be completely open to succeeding and hopefully being widely successful.
Dave: Yeah. You put your money where your mind is.
Joseph: Yeah, and with me, where my mouth is.
Dave: Yeah, that too. That’s great though. I mean, I think it is a really exciting time for startups. I mean Jumpstart Foundry who I do the podcast for, have their applications open right now for their program this summer and yeah, it’s definitely an exciting time. There are lots of applicants. So it’s… Lots of people are going out themselves and giving it a go. So I think, I think it’s really great. So as an early adopter and you are certainly that, early on with Crayon, did you have a mentor, or like who inspired you to kind of go out on your own and you know, do it yourself?
Joseph: You know it’s funny because when I went out on my own, off to being in the agency world, it was initially, I mean and I know you can identify with this in terms of going out on your own. It’s kind of… It’s pretty scary and pretty exciting when you kind of decide to be your own master and work for yourself. And you know, and realize that as a consultant or a freelancer you have no idea where the next dollar is coming from or you know it can, you could get 5 pieces of business in one month and then be completely quiet for a quarter.
Joseph: But I think you know once you realized… I mean one of the things through incredibly exciting times where any individual can really, I think, maximize the impact and their potential by just being their own boss and being entrepreneurial and saying you know my mind is a terrible thing to waste.
Joseph: And you waste that mind when you work for a corporation and you sit in a cubicle and you have to deal with all the B.S. and all the political infighting and the bureaucracy and the unnecessary meetings and the commuting. You know a lot of this, a lot of this inspiration was behind Crayonville. You know the idea of Crayonville as a place of virtual space, even in second life; the idea that CC could be in Boston and Scott could be in Boston and you know, and Jane was in Hoboken and Greg was in Long Island, then, and so on and so forth. And we could, you know we even experimented with Neville in London and Shoaling in Concord California.
Joseph: But this idea of not having to be in the same physical space to be (Inaudible -07:28) or impactful. But now if you think about it, I mean, people, you know, there’s an old saying no one ever said, no one ever said on their deathbed, I should have spent more time in the office.
Joseph: And I don’t agree with that. I think you should have said that. I mean, I think in your deathbed you should have said I found balance and I found, you know, a way to suit me, you know, spend as much time with my family as I could. In fact, by being a freelancer and working flexibly, you can spend more time with your family.
Joseph: You know you can make sure that you bold your calendar around your kids’ baseball game. So, so for me this idea of living entrepreneurially, I’ve grown into it. I’ve embraced it and I’ve become a big evangelist to encourage people to do it as well. From, in terms of looking around, I mean the original question is who influenced me, and no one really influenced me. A lot of the things I’ve done… I was kind of… You know, and this comes from actually, on a personal level being the oldest child in my family, and you know my dad passed away when I was very young. So I had no male influence. I had no parent. I had no older sibling saying this is how it’s done.
Joseph: Oh you’re I, you’re in 9th grade or you’re in 7th grade, you know, here are my term papers or… So I just kind of was… I’ve been used to, you know, as a young kid, just figuring it out by myself without precedence. So, you know when I wrote Life After The 30-Second Spot, almost every author that you’re aware of today….
Joseph: You know, didn’t have a book when I had my book, so…
Joseph: I was close to being out in front. You know, when people like you and I started podcasting, and CC and so on and so forth, (Inaudible – 09:14) we were right out there at the front. There wasn’t really 10 years to tell us how to do it.
Joseph: And so for me as an entrepreneur, I think Crayon was a natural progression of already being a consultant and a freelancer since 2002. And you know and now that said in terms of, if you asked me which entrepreneurs out there just inspire me on a day to day that I can’t get enough of, I couldn’t even be able to name you one person just because I’m not a referential person.
Joseph: I just, I just kind of… I operate for the sample size of one.
Joseph: And, but you know, obviously there are people that I turn to and talk to you know, for advice. People like Rishad Tobaccowala that I always go to you know regularly every two to three months to touch base with him. And generally he’s like a good psychologist. He tells me nothing because he makes me do all the talking.
Joseph: To tell him what I already knew but he’d know it, you know.
Dave: Yeah, yeah, yeah… You’ve had a couple of books or three books under your belt now. All amazing books, by the way. What books do you recommend entrepreneurs to pick out, like what’s a good book for an entrepreneur to pick out to be inspired or maybe, maybe a blog to subscribe to, if you can think of a couple…
Joseph: You see, you see, I’m just, I’m such, I’m such a bad person to ask that question because… Because it’s like, you know, and it’s, it’s hypocritical in the sense that I’ve written 3 books and I want people to read my books. But you know that’s the thing. I’m a writer. I’m not a reader.
Joseph: That’s (Inaudible – 10:48), by the way.
Joseph: You know, I read by writing, you know. So, so when, you know, last year I didn’t create a lot of content but one thing I’ve always encouraged people to do is when you create content, you are essentially reading. You’re learning by doing.
Dave: It’s true.
Joseph: You know by researching, by being part of the conversation, by being in that stream and in the flow. You know there are a whole bunch of books that I have, you know, on my Kindle to read. You know, recently I was recommended to read, I think it’s called… I bought it. I think it’s called Startup Nation.
Joseph: And it’s actually about the book of the whole Israeli startup scene and how that grew and mushroomed.
Joseph: I’m definitely trying to read more books now based on startups and how does, you know, and innovation, etcetera. In terms of, you know, in terms of blogs, I mean there are so many. There are just so many great blogs that are out there. I have found a chaotic existence which is by, through Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook, and I just get random stuff.
Joseph: That always and to me it’s a serendipity, it’s a chaos that I’ve embraced which is I could miss so much but I’m also just randomly going to pick out stuff and I’m going to read it and I’m going to consume it. And by talking to people like I’m talking to you…
Joseph: You tell me a book that I should read.
Joseph: You know it’s the wisdom of the crowds and it just works for me. So on one level I’m saying, I couldn’t even name one because, because I’m too busy in general and I’m too busy either creating or interacting with other people. But I feel that sometimes by just being like this, like you can sense this frenetic tone to me. I don’t know how many cups of coffee I’ve had this morning.
Joseph: But like in that chaos comes an order and that order is you know it’s the same thing like you never… It’s like the hummingbird or the bee that never stops moving its wings.
Joseph: Or the boxer that never stops moving their feet.
Joseph: By just that constant flow of movement keeps you fresh and keeps you current. But there is always value and merit in finding the time and the discipline to read in general.
Joseph: And to, you know, and to… I mean that’s just so I don’t have it but I’ll recommend it strongly to people especially people that are either starting out or needing to ramp up their knowledge curve
Joseph: You know by saying, you know be disciplined. You know, and again I should take my own advice and maybe I will. But you know, say that between 8 and 9 am, I will read and I will only read. Or if you’re a content creator, between 8 and 9, I will create content. And I will, and I will find that discipline and I will make the time. You know and by the way, I should say that I’m, so you and I, we have this, this in common. I still consume a lot through podcasting. I listen to the Bing COSEWIC…
Joseph: And I’m on it once a month
Dave: Love it. Love it…
Joseph: Yeah. I listen a lot still to my buddy Mitch, Mitch Joel on Six Pixels and I’m trying to get a bit of FIOR. Generally, the more I can, the more I travel and the more I run…
Joseph: The more I listen to podcasts…
Joseph: It’s my running thing.
Joseph: But I mean that’s another thing as well that I would say to people is take advantage of the down time because that’s when you can actually multitask and gain a lot of knowledge.
Dave: I agree. Yeah. Yeah, I’ve also… I’ve subscribed to about 150 different podcasts. And all of the ones you just mentioned are great and I’ll leave notes to those in the show notes as well for everyone. Well, listen. I just, I want to say thank you sincerely for being a guest on Jumpstart. It’s been a pleasure.
Joseph: No. Listen it’s being, I mean I’ve learned, you know as I’ve said, I … One of the biggest moments for me personally was saying, you know what, I’m going to call myself an entrepreneur. And I’ve changed that in my bio now. I wanted to be known as not a social media expert, a.k.a. douche bag. Or I’m not a guru.
Joseph: I want… I’m an author and I’m an entrepreneur. That’s what… That’s who I am. And maybe the phrase thought leader can come in too because thought leadership is the process of creating content, writing, speaking, and being focused on, you know, not a futurist but it’s kind of about two steps back in terms of saying I’m prepared to come up with a point of view and I have a perspective in terms of where the pack is or where the pack is going to be. And so … But embracing being an entrepreneur, to me, it’s something that every day I strive to earn the right to be called an entrepreneur.
Joseph: And I’m, and you know, I think Crayon succeeded in spite of me, not because of me. I want now Evol8tion to succeed because of me.
Joseph: And because of (Inaudible – 15:46) and all our partners… And you know the one thing I’ll just leave with all the people listening is if you are a startup and you want us essentially to represent you, just you know, check out startupforbrands.com. Contact me, you know, we’ll aid you to our database and we’ll attempt to find your brand soul mate because I feel if I can do anything through this company…
Joseph: You know, 97% of startups never get fully funded. I want to help those startups get to the next level because there’s so many great ideas that never see the light of day.
Joseph: And again it’s (Inaudible – 16:26) that’s almost like staring at a mirror because here we are as a startup, attempting to do just that.
Joseph: And so that’s why we’re a startup helping other startups.
Dave: I love it. I love it. It’s a great model. Well I am encouraging you all to check that out. And Joe, thank you so much for being a guest. I’ll talk to you again soon, I’m sure.
Joseph: You’re very welcome and good luck to you with everything and I have no doubt our paths will keep on crossing.
Dave: I’m sure they will. I’m sure they will. Thank you.
Joseph: Cheers Dave.
Extro: (Music Playing) For show notes, links discussed in today’s podcast, and much more, visit jumpstartpodcast.com. Thanks for listening. (Music)
Posted on March 9, 2012