Jonathon Shaevitz – CEO of Maxifier

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By repeating them over and over again. As a CEO, I tell people what the idea is and reinforce the message. Just because I understand it doesn’t mean everyone else does.

Jonathon Shaevitz is a serial entrepreneur having successfully launched seven technology related companies. He brings more than 20 years of experience developing fast growing companies. As a consultant for the last eight years, Jonathon has focused on helping online publishers successfully monetize their business.

Jonathon’s engagements have ranged from developing strategic partnering strategies, to creating and implementing advertising supported business lines. He has overseen development and implementation of new business strategies, successfully developed and executed customer acquisition programs, as well as overseen the launch of new media properties, from concept to design to content strategies to marketing on through to site launch.

Jonathon holds an MBA from The Wharton School and a BS from the University of Michigan.

What are you working on right now?

Maxifier has achieved its first level of success, we have a well accepted product, a strong customer base, and growing revenues, the next goal is to scale.  I am working on where I think the market will be in a year and how we can meet some of those needs.  I am also working on building our team, we have great people, but we need more of them.

Where did the idea for Maxifier come from?

Maxifier grew out of optimization technology that focused on mobile fleet management. Some executives came from the advertising space and saw an opportunity to use that technology for the advertising industry.

What does your typical day look like?

I roll out of bed very early and have a cup of coffee. I talk to our team in Russia and England and do a few hours of work before I leave my house.  Every morning, I write down the three things I least want to do that day and try to get them done first.  I try to spend some time every day thinking about the business beyond the next six months, strategy, partnerships, I usually try to get off-site, if I am in the office, I get interrupted.  I spend at least one hour working recruiting and team building. After work, I try to get to the gym and then get home before my kids go to bed.

How do you bring ideas to life?

By repeating them over and over again. As a CEO, I tell people what the idea is and reinforce the message. Just because I understand it doesn’t mean everyone else does.

3 trends that excite you?

The human brain is good at breaking ideas down into smaller pieces and solving these smaller problems and building up our answers, but we live in a world of complex systems and inter-relationships too complex to easily assimilate.  Technologies are creating some amazing ways for living in this world.  I really like augmented reality, algorithms that make daily life easier and how through globalization the world is getting much smaller.

What is the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

When I was 13, I got picked up at 4:30 a.m. every day to set up swap meets. I sold t-shirts to people who spoke different languages. I learned a lot of phrases in multiple languages, but more importantly, I learned that hard work pays. I hired my own crew and managed people, and earned more money than any of my friends in any other job at that time.  I also learned that a bit of confidence is often what separates leaders from followers.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would buy more real estate (and short mortgage backed securities).

What is the one thing you did/do as an entrepreneur that you would do over and over again and recommend everybody else do?

Be passionate about your ideas, but also listen to what the market tells you. A small change in business strategy can have a huge return.

Tell us a secret…

I love to read trashy mystery thrillers.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

There is a huge opportunity in training people in how to use technology. It almost doesn’t matter what the technology is, all enterprise technology can generally do a lot more than the average user knows, and that value of good training has a high return for companies.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?

Everything is Obvious Once You Know the Answer by Duncan J. Watts and it should be obvious why once you read the book! I am also a big fan of The Black Swan, by Nassim Taleb, I probably send out at least a dozen copies a year to people.

If you weren’t working at Maxifier, what would you be doing?

I’d be working at another advertising-related technology company, or scuba diving with my kids in the south pacific.

Three people we should follow on Twitter, and why?

@mashable because they always have great stories.
@adexchanger because they follow this industry like a laser.
@shitmydadsays because nothing beats a good chuckle.

When is the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it.

Last night, when my mother and her sister recounted my mother’s argument with an Air Marshall over whether she was fit enough to sit in the plane’s exit row.

Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?

Nassim Taleb, author of The Black Swan.

What is the best piece of business wisdom you have heard?

I have two:  1) If everyone in the room agrees with you, reverse your position and see what happens. 2) You learn more asking questions than giving answers.

What is the top destination on your “to visit” list?

Africa, everyone I know who has been says it is amazing and will change how you view the world.

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This interview was posted by Mario Schulzke.
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