In the summer of 2008, Andy, a student at Duke, and Moses a student at Yale, were studying abroad at the London Business School of Economics. Strangers, the two briefly crossed paths during class when Andy asked Moses to share his computer screen, which was playing the World Cup. The following year the two would meet again, during an internship at the epicenter of the financial crisis, Goldman Sachs New York.
Upon accepting a full-time offer, one would have expected them to kick back and enjoy the highly publicized compensation Goldman employees receive, but not Andy and Moses. Over the past year, the two have juggled a career at Goldman while working on their true passion – a startup called Jamplify.
Describe Jamplify in three words or less:
Andy: Crowd promotion. Moses: Viral engagement.
What were you like growing up as a kid?
Andy: My parents always say that I was the kid who would go to school with ten cents and a couple pencils and come home with $4 and no pencils.
Moses: I was a disruptive child. School was easy and so I would find ways to entertain myself. My parents never encouraged it and tolerated it as long as I kept my grades up.
What was your first entrepreneurial experience?
Andy: I played in a band in high school. I consider that to be my first entrepreneurial experience. We had to do PR, team building, and land gigs.
Moses: My first entrepreneurial experience came in college when I managed the Yale Care Cubes agency.
Tell me about a time when you failed?
Andy: I really wanted to play baseball in high school and went to clinics three times a year. I tried out both freshman and sophomore year and was cut. I just sucked. The whole experience taught me that failure is inevitable. Accept it and move on.
When was a time you felt challenged to overcome or prevail?
Moses: I came into high school not as motivated towards school as I had been. I had good test grades; I just wasn’t doing any homework. Sophomore year, a teacher questioned my academic ability due to my class ranking, which was 100 out of 400. That had a profound impact on me; put 100% effort into everything you do. I crushed the next three years of school and graduated 6th out of my class.
What was it like at Goldman Sachs?
Andy: The first day of my internship at Goldman a Partner told me that my sole purpose was to make the firm money. I thought I was there to learn and when I brought this to the attention of the traders on my desk, they just laughed in my face.
Moses: I think my fraternity experience prepared me for Goldman more than anything else I had done. Reading the book Liar’s Pokers helped too.
What have you learned from JSF thus far? Would you recommend the program? Why?
Andy: JSF helps you to identify the key assumptions on which your business depends and then teaches you how to validate them. I’d recommend the program to any entrepreneur with a lot of passion and the ability to process feedback effectively, because you will get a lot of it.
Moses: The most important thing I’ve taken from JSF is the emphasis on the actual revenue model for Jamplify. Before JSF, I very much thought to myself, “If we build something that becomes popular, the revenue model will figure itself out.”
It’s been great that JSF has forced us to come to a firm understanding of what the market will pay for Jamplify, and generate a model that is scalable and will result in predictable, regular revenue. I would definitely recommend JSF. For the reasons stated above in addition to the fact that JSF and Nashville generally are much easier to navigate than the bigger markets of NY and Silicon Valley. Every team gets a lot of individualized attention from the program leaders and mentors, and people in Nashville are very willing to take a meeting with you, and give you their advice and open their rolodexes to you without anything in return.
We have more interviews lined up for the blog in the final six weeks of the JSF 2012 program. Stay tuned.
Posted on July 20, 2012