Los Angeles entrepreneur Sam Spear knows a good technology when he sees it.
He's drawing attention to interesting new technologies and products with the hope that others will draw inspiration and connect the dots to come up with even better stuff.
We asked him about starting his website and what he's learned along the way.
Tell us about your website. What are you doing exactly?
JumpintoTomorrow is a website that lists and honors breakthrough technology and innovative thinking.
Every day we update it, and every day we hand out an award for the Technology of the Day. We're incredibly discerning about that which we put on our pages, not just because the bar must be as high as it can be, but because we want the experience for our visitors to mirror the awe and inspiration we feel when we find these breakthroughs which span from medicine to cooking, information technology to nanotechnology with lots and lots in between.
When did you start the business?
The business started in November, 2007, but we officially launched April 15, 2008.
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
I was (and still am) running an advertising agency. I have 17 years worth of experience creating advertising. For my whole career I was doing my best work to help individuals and companies who weren't necessarily making a difference in the world get more attention. Now, I'm using my skills to help individuals and companies who are making a difference in the world get more attention. It's immensely satisfying work.
Where did you get the startup money?
We are self-funded.
Who are your main competitors? How do you compete against them?
We don't have any direct competitors. There are a number of sites that review products, which we don't do. We do our vetting before we ever reach out to the companies on our pages and then they put together their content, which, like you, we reserve the right to edit before we publish. There are lots of great gadget sites, and lots of sites that feature amazing breakthroughs in academic research and others that offer up really great ideas, but we're the only ones we've found that aggregate it and then hand out an award for the Technology of the Day and the Technology of the Week.
How has your experience in running the business been different from what you expected?
For starters, it's way more work than my partner and I ever, ever, ever imagined. But it really is the true definition of a labor of love. It has to be because we don't expect to derive any revenue for a few more months (but maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised?). We've also gotten a lot more favorable feedback than we thought we'd get at this stage of the game. Our plan has always been threefold:
- a. Build a credible site (we feel like we've done that as of Sept. 1, now that we have more than 150 different breakthroughs populating our pages)
- b. Build an audience (that's where we are now -- we just need more and more and more eyeballs)
- c. Build revenue
Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
No, not yet. I'm sure that will change, but we're working really hard and having fun. There is nothing that I've experienced in my career that matches working with companies who are doing something to make the world a better place -- every single day. Their work rubs off on us and leaves us incredibly excited about what we're going to find tomorrow.
What have you done that has been very effective in helping to grow the business?
I think it's mostly been just building it so others can see what we've got. Also, our enthusiasm and belief in this is fueled by the enthusiasm and belief we're getting from others.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
Sleep whenever you can. This is like having a child and we're learning as much as we're parenting. We kind of had an idea of what kind of parents we'd be, so to speak, but like parenting, that sort of gets thrown out the window when you actually have a child that needs to be fed and changed and attended to round the clock. But the benefits are palpable and there's this immeasurable sense of accomplishment we're getting on a daily basis. Then, as we look at what we've done just over a few short months, we can't believe how far we've all come.
That's great advice, Sam. Thanks so much for sharing your entrepreneurial experience with us, and good luck in growing the site.