Learn everything you can about empathy and concentrate on being more empathetic with everyone you meet.

 

Jacob is the founder of Discover Podium, a company that offers one-on-one career services to help people secure their dream job. He leads a multi-talented team of headhunters, recruiters, copywriters, and career strategists that work together to consult executives using thoughtful career positioning, personal branding, and marketing strategies.

Jacob is also the founder and CEO of ThinkWarwick Communications, a branding, and marketing agency who’s worked with companies such as Under Armor, Uber, Xerox, and Microsoft. He frequently contributes his marketing insights to Forbes, Entrepreneur, and AdWeek.

Where did the idea for  your company come from?

As I spent the last decade plus working in marketing and communications for high growth companies in Silicon Valley, I used the skills I learned in my professional work and applied them to my personal brand for testing.

Turns out, by applying those lessons, I received more attention for speaking engagements, opportunities with higher paying roles, recruiter attention, and much more.

The idea for Discover Podium stemmed from constantly getting requests from colleagues, friends, bosses, and others asking for help on how they should position themselves online—because they could see that it was working for me.

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

Typical work day includes 10-14 scheduled calls, coaching & mentoring sessions, and internal meetings with our growing team. I always carve out at least one 90 minute working session a day where I can work on writing and positioning client projects without distraction.

I make my days more productive by setting deadlines and goals that I need to achieve before wrapping up my day. Additionally, I try to keep meetings shorter, concentrate on optimizing company operations, and add more time for family and friends to stay mentally sane.

How do you bring ideas to life?

We have lots of ideas within the company, some of which align with our current concentration and others do not. To bring an idea to life, we concentrate on creating an MVP or minimally viable product and focus on what we need to do to keep improving it over time. We have a culture where it’s okay to share ideas, take action on them, and even fail from time to time, without feeling like we’re letting each other down.

This freedom has helped us nurture creativity with everyone on the team and helps us bring ideas to life quickly.

What’s one trend that excites you?

We’re really excited that companies are starting to automate their hiring and recruiting processes—use algorithms and robots to assess a person’s worth to their organization—and in general, take the human element out of hiring. It just means that our value is only more sought after. We take the time to get to know people. We work with people 1:1. We help them adapt to this changing career environment and help them position their career to be successful throughout this shift.

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

Learning to say no to things and blocking out my calendar.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Learn everything you can about empathy and concentrate on being more empathetic with everyone you meet.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Being active parents and the instilling a desire to “always be asking questions, always be learning” in your children is the best way to set them up for success and change the world.

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

Concentrate on every email that you send out with empathy. Read everything aloud to make sure it sounds correct and that nothing can be misconstrued. Then make it as concise as possible. Clear communication is a must and makes everything more productive.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

You can’t let problems get in your way. Growing a business is all about solving problems—the more problems you can create, the bigger your business becomes. Embrace creating problems and crossing the bridge when they happen. Instill that mentality into your employees and create a culture that comes together when things go wrong.

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

I tried to grow a business that I wasn’t passionate about. It was very profitable (which can be a trap) but ultimately, the more problems I created, the more miserable I became. You have to love what you do. That’s the only way you can overcome the stuff you may not enjoy—whether that be busy work, payroll, HR, phone calls, whatever you disdain.

I overcame it by launching Discover Podium and eventually collecting the courage to concentrate on it with everything I have. A terrifying yet rewarding experience.

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

I’ve joked that in my retirement that I want to open an 80’s themed sandwich shop called Jukebox Gyro’s. If someone makes this dream a reality, I only ask for 1% and a few rights to naming some of the menu items.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

How many coffees do you suppose that is? Jokes aside, I’m at a toss up between LinkedIn and the website. It’s imperative that you have an online presence that others can get to and understand quickly if you want to accelerate anything in this modern age.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I love Slack—and I think the team would agree with me on that. Being that I have worked in MarTech (marketing technology) my whole career, there are dozens of solutions that we use, but it all stems from proper communication.

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

Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout is incredible. Any book on negotiation will prove invaluable as well.

I think it’s critical that the community knows how to communicate what they want. If they can’t do that, it’s going to be much more difficult to grow.

What is your favorite quote?

Business-related? “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have” – Applies in a digital way when you think about it…

In general, it tends to change with my current sentiment about things, but for now, this is applicable: “You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.”

Key Learnings:

  • Follow your passion first and foremost—any other entrepreneurial endeavor will feel too much like work when you get to the boring or complicated things you need to do. This will lead to burn out.
  • Empathy empathy empathy. Your business isn’t about making a buck—sure, that’s part of it, but understanding what your customers want is the most important element of growing your business.
  • Deliver 3x value—if you have a $10 product, a customer needs to feel that it’s worth $30 or more to feel like they received good value. Another way of putting this is, undersell and over deliver. This can be accomplished through an exceptional product—or exceptional support—or simply going above and beyond whenever possible.

Connect:

https://discoverpodium.com/
https://www.linkedin.com/company/discover-podium/
https://twitter.com/discoverpodium
https://www.facebook.com/discoverpodium/