Deren Baker – CEO of Jumpshot

We listen to our customers and then build. Then, we listen and build again.

Deren Baker is the CEO of Jumpshot, a well-funded, fast-paced, hardworking, and fun marketing analytics company. Through its marketing analytics product suite, Jumpshot offers businesses the most detailed and accurate view of their customers’ online lives: what they search for, what they like, what they buy, etc.

Deren joined Jumpshot from Switchfly, where he served as COO and ran the product, professional services, account management, and analytics departments. Prior to Switchfly, he was vice president of product at ezRez and held senior roles at Travelocity.

Deren received a master’s degree in business administration from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree in American history and English from Vanderbilt University. When he’s out of the office, he balances the fine line between spending time with his two daughters, rooting for the Kansas City Chiefs, and obsessing over CrossFit data.

Where did the idea for Jumpshot come from?

A lot of the team has been marketing and selling products online for years. We realized that our analytics tools only gave us insight into our own website, but our customers spent most of their time on other sites. We built Jumpshot so people could get visibility into the rest of the web and understand their customers’ entire online lives.

What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?

Jumpshot’s research and development team is based in Prague, so I’m up by 5 a.m. to get on calls with the team over there on my way to the office. Then, the rest of the day is spent in various internal and external meetings. I try to make it home for dinner with my wife and two daughters every day, and I end the night answering any emails I didn’t get to during the day.

How do you bring ideas to life?

We listen to our customers and then build. Then, we listen and build again.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

The leveling of the data playing field is amazing. There are large companies that control an inordinate flow of data in a specific industry or vertical. At Jumpshot, we’re targeting areas where we can inject that data into the market and provide visibility that digital marketers don’t currently have.

What’s one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I don’t use instant messaging. My attention span is short enough already, and I don’t need additional reasons to get more distracted. If I need to talk to someone, I walk over and have a direct conversation with him or her.

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

I delivered pizzas in high school, and a friend and I had to drive together to get any pizzas delivered! I learned that I have a bad sense of direction and need Google Maps more than any other person I know.

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

I’m just starting, so check back with me in six months, and I’ll let you know.

As an entrepreneur, what’s the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Keep asking questions until you understand something. In highly technical businesses, you’re not going to understand new concepts without hearing about them numerous times. So keep asking questions, force yourself to explain that concept aloud, and don’t be afraid to acknowledge that you know less about a topic than your team.

What’s one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I try to pick three goals for my team to focus on every six months. If you choose fewer than three goals, you’re not capturing the breadth of objectives you need to focus on. If you choose more than three goals, people will lose focus.

What’s one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Check back in six months! Hopefully, I still won’t have a good answer to this question.

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

I’d love to see nutrient-dense food for the workplace. I’m a big believer that what you eat impacts your energy levels, brainpower, and mood. Someone should start a service that delivers great-tasting, nutrient-dense food to offices on demand. If you start that company, I’ll be your first customer.

Tell us something about you that very few people know.

I’m the only person I know who is color blind, left-handed, and half Jewish. I also drive an automatic car with two feet. My friends had fun with that in high school.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

I know this is going to make me seem completely anachronistic, but I love Microsoft Outlook. The ability to access email offline, organize my emails into folders, and keep all the emails I need open simultaneously makes it infinitely more usable than any web-based email tool.

What’s the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I think most people spend enough time thinking about work and don’t need to read more business books in their free time. I recommend that people read novels, history books, and books that remind them to show empathy. For me, that means immersing myself in history so I remember that I’m extremely lucky to be alive at this time — no matter how bad my day went. “King Leopold’s Ghost” by Adam Hochschild is a tough but important book to read.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

First Round Capital has great articles about how businesses solve really tough problems. They’re written in a pragmatic way.


Deren on LinkedIn: