, Co-Founder, President, and Board of Directors at Jebbit, along with his classmate and friend Tom Coburn, co-founded Jebbit, an enterprise software company in the mobile marketing and consumer data space. Jonathan has raised over $10M in venture capital with some of the largest brands in the world as customers and partners, including Google, Expedia, and dozens of professional sports teams. Since launching the company, he has been named in Forbes' "30 Under 30" and was the "Emerging Executive of the Year" in the state of Massachusetts.
MEDIA 7: You have a long track record of helping build and scale successful companies such as Jebbit. Where did the original idea for Jebbit come from?
The initial spark for Jebbit came nearly a decade ago when my co-founder, Tom, was watching a Hulu video online and a video ad interrupted his show. As many college students would do, Tom opened a new internet tab and went to Facebook to spend the time while the ad played. It made us collectively realize that digital advertising was a matter of capturing and effectively using someone’s attention, this being a clear example of this advertiser wasting dollars for someone to be browsing Facebook on another tab.
Like many startups though, Jebbit has morphed from this original spark based on customer feedback. The most impactful inspirations we’ve had along the way have often come from customers describing the difficulties they’ve had. Over the past few years, our customers have described how difficult it is for them to quickly create and launch digital experiences and of being unable to capture the right first-party consumer data at scale. Therefore, those are the challenges our team thinks about every day.
The most impactful inspirations we’ve had along the way have often come from customers describing the difficulties they’ve had.
M7:What is your core marketing mantra?
JL: To be honest, I think most marketing is noise. Only do things that add real, genuine value for your audience and have that value be as closely tied to your product or service as possible.
M7: What is your go-to resource – websites, newsletters, any other – that helps you stay updated with the revolutions happening around us?
JL: I am constantly on Twitter! I find it to be the most powerful news and research app I use for “quick bite” updates and learnings. I’ve curated a list of thousands of marketers, academics, industry leaders, CEOs, and entrepreneurs I follow that are always discussing emerging trends and debating the hottest topic of today. These conversations often leave me with 5-6 articles I save that I read at night, often from leading publications such as the WSJ, AdWeek, or potential a company or CEO’s blog post.
For a deeper dive into a subject, I’m really fascinated in learning more about, I typically turn to YouTube. I love watching videos that have only a few hundred views but include real data or stories about what is and isn’t working for companies – these tend to be panel discussions or keynotes from past conferences that were simply put online afterward.
Lastly, my favorite podcast at the moment is the “All-In Podcast,” which features four of the smartest Silicon Valley individuals I’m aware of including Chamath Palihapitiya, the Founder & CEO of Social Capital, and prolific angel investor, Jason Calcanis.
I think most marketing is noise. Only do things that add real, genuine value for your audience and have that value be as closely tied to your product or service as possible.
M7: What marketing strategies are you are looking forward to implementing in 2021 and why?
JL: I’m exploring the potential of launching a podcast this year, where I can share my thoughts and ideas more directly with our customers and our audience. It’s never been easier to create, produce, and distribute content directly to an audience. So, if you think you have a unique point of view and something worth saying that would entertain or add value to an audience, podcasts are a great forum to do this. Plus, your largest growth drivers are often not paid or promoted advertising, which is quite intriguing.
As a company, we’ve launched exciting partnerships with Shopify and Salesforce as well as a new Freemium product recently, so our marketing strategies will continue to be around Paid Search and driving Freemium Acquisition through our social community efforts.
M7: How do you manage to strike a balance between your professional and personal life?
JL: As many of my colleagues would agree, I have typically been a hard-charging leader that isn’t afraid to consistently put in 16-hour workdays. That said, I’ve learned over the past decade in building Jebbit that taking a 3-day weekend every once in a while, or strategically unplugging for a week every 6 months is essential for my mental and physical health. Building a company is a grueling task, quite literally a marathon not a sprint, so being able to build in that time for reflection and relaxation is mission-critical to your success. On a more regular basis, I’ve used running marathons and reading at night as my outlet to escape and decompress from the day’s events.
Building a company is a grueling task, quite literally a marathon not a sprint, so being able to build in that time for reflection and relaxation is mission-critical to your success.
M7: What is your advice to budding entrepreneurs?
JL: For entrepreneurs that have the spark of an idea but might be timid or afraid to take the plunge, just do it! Share the idea with as many people as possible and ask for critical feedback from industry experts in your space. Early on when we were creating Jebbit, I must have reached out on LinkedIn and grabbed coffee with a hundred folks in the Boston tech ecosystem. It was incredibly formative to help us shape Jebbit and getting the company off the ground.