Keep an open mind and be aware of your limitations. Don’t give up on the things you want and never let another person distract you from your goals.
Jeffrey Yapp is one of the most successful marketing professionals of the 21st century. Now, as the Founder and CEO of Wutznxt, a consulting agency in Portland, Oregon, Jeff is bringing his 30+ years of expertise to promising start-ups and Fortune 500 companies.
In 1981, Jeff Yapp graduated from Northwestern University with a Masters in Marketing, Finance, and Operations. He quickly rose through the ranks at Kraft Foods Group, working his way from a sales position all the way to the Product Group Manager of the Kraft Beverage Division. This success would continue, as Jeff would go on to work for major corporations including Hollywood Entertainment Corporation, 20th Century Fox, and Microsoft.
Now, Jeff Yapp and his wife reside in Portland, Oregon, with their 7 children. As the founder of Wutznxt and the CEO Strategic Partner Microsoft Corporation, Jeff continues to bring innovation into the marketing industry daily.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
Initially, I wanted to get into business management as a way to find a comfortable living. As I grew into each new position, I found the challenge was the real adventure. I have enjoyed finding new ways to grow businesses, develop action plans that expand reach, and creating environments that welcome the minds capable of implementing the plans. Thus, creating my own business came naturally. In 2009 we officially launched Wutznxt and haven’t looked back since.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake early and enjoy the quiet for a few minutes before spending time with my family. I get into the office by 8 in the morning and touch base with my team. Since I am most productive in the morning, I spend much of that time pushing forward with projects. My afternoons are spent in meetings, making time to follow up with department heads, and talking to employees on given projects.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Teamwork and execution are required to bring ideas to life. It doesn’t matter what ideas you or your team come up with. You need to both research it and then take action to make them come to life. By including your team in the process, you can confidently move forward aware that the successful execution will be the end result.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The development of interactive technologically is exciting. Seeing the success of AR games like Pokémon Go and the growing base for VR games is really opening the way for a lot of opportunities. Eventually we could be using one or the other as a way to Skype interviews or families as if we are in the same room together. It’s exciting to look forward to.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I know when to delegate a job and when to do it myself. This allows me to invest my attention and energy in the projects that I know I can produce results. It also allows those who know how to do a job better than I do to excel where they enjoy producing results.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Keep an open mind and be aware of your limitations. Don’t give up on the things you want and never let another person distract you from your goals. Cherish your family; time is fleeting with them and you are not your job.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I know that technology is our future, but not in the doomsday way. It is going to carve the path for us to resolve all of the obstacles we are currently foreseeing and encountering. From global climate change to personal needs, we can rely on technology to help us resolve the issues. There are expansions in prosthetics that are ever more integrated with the human mind. We are seeing the cusp of quantum computing as a commercially viable option. There are companies working for alternatives to fossil fuels that include pulling carbon dioxide out of the air to be used in place of gasoline in a car. It will be driving our cars, printing our tools, and creating our paths to a more creative society.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I find that reading is critical to personal growth and development. It is important to read whenever you get the opportunity. This includes both fiction and nonfiction books. They not only help to broaden your perspective on the world, but they also fuel your creative side and keep you pushing toward bigger and better things.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Social media has become a great way to develop marketing plans. It allows you to target specific audience members who use your products, but it also allows you to generate needed data on those markets which conveys what they need you to create or develop. The information has fueled research and spawned many fresh ideas.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When you are starting out, everyone has to learn how to discern who you can work with and who you cannot. This may be a simple process like an interview, but often we put our best selves forward during an interview and not hearing the right questions keeps us from pairing the right people with the team that’s already here. I’ve found myself taking more people out for informal interviews over time than I have the sit down in an office and read questions format. This has allowed me to get a better feel for people and how they could fit in our team.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Create something for the AR market. It’s not only hot right now, but there are many people looking for the next layer of communications using this format. We need developers to create a way to project a person across the internet or satellite connection so they can appear to be standing in the room with you. That is what I believe will be the next big tech opportunity.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Dinner with my family often costs that and more, but every penny of together time is worth it to me.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Microsoft Office Suite and Outlook both make it possible for us to successfully convey progress, complete projects, and implement strategies.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I would suggest Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. Communication is the key to any relationship: romantic, business, even parent and child. With these skills you can be a more effective communicator which enables you to develop stronger ties and longer lasting success.
What is your favorite quote?
Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain and most fools do. – Dale Carnegie said that more than once in his speaking career. I make it a point not to be a fool.
By engaging others and being interested in their goals and lives, I have forged friendships, developed quality connections, and encouraged others to find their own success. This means I have been far too busy being kind to criticize, condemn or complain.
Creativity drives personal success
Dedication to the goal generates results
The right team can move mountains
Communication creates bridges
Challenges are meant to be overcome
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.