November 14, 2013

An interview with Jesse Jacobs

The entrepreneurs interviewed by Kevin Rose have not only founded companies within the technology area - this is an interview with Jesse Jacobs (his Twitter) who has founded Samovar Tea Lounge. Kevin Rose is a big fan of tea and he even has a tea-god-like tattoo on his arm, so it's not strange that he chose to interview someone who has founded a company related to tea. This interview is from 2011.

Lessons learned
  • Jesse Jacobs began his entrepreneurial career when he and his brother found a book on html. In 1996, they started a web-design company in their parents garage. He had earlier studied languages and he considered html as just another language. This was in the US east coast, but he realized there were more opportunities on the west coast in the Valley, so he moved there in 1998 and found a job at a technology company. 
  • Before the tech bubble exploded, Jesse Jacobs sold all his stocks and payed off his debts. His co-workers thought he was insane when their company would become the "next Microsoft." Six months later, the bubble exploded. 
  • Jesse Jacobs realized that the tech industry was stressful - both mentally and physically. No time for friends and family since they could wait until the riches arrived. During these stressful times, he read a few books when he had a time to spare. One of the books by (or about) Mahatma Gandhi included a quote that said "Life doesn't get better by going faster." Another book he read was by the Roman philosopher Seneca and it included a conclusion that said "we have time but we are wasting it." These new realizations made him realize he had to change career path.
  • We are addicted to distraction, and to get less distracted, Jesse Jacobs drank tea. He realized if he needed it, then other stressed out people would need it, so Samovar Tea Lounge was born.
  • Samovar Tea Lounge had from the beginning one dedicated customers and that was Jesse Jacobs himself. So he decided the best way to build the company was to build it for himself and see if there was a market for it. 
  • If you have a good idea and have executed it well, you don't have to worry about money. 
  • Listen to nobody. People will tell you everything, but it's better to listen to your own conviction.
  • In the end of the interview, they talked about Dean Karnazes who wakes up at 4 AM to run a marathon before he goes (runs?) to work. He is also standing up all day while working as an author. To find energy, he orders pizza to wherever he's running - he picks it up and the he eats the pizza while running. 

More articles in the same series: Lessons learned from the Foundation interviews