A serial entrepreneur, Justin currently splits his time growing Wisetail, driving the technology and marketing behind Sage Spa Living which he co-founded with his wife, serving on the Board of American Wildlands, meditating while ultra-distance trail running and spending as much time as possible biking, skiing, climbing and traveling. In a past and less interesting life, he was a runner on the NYSE, a technology consultant in San Francisco with Accenture and a software developer for a small firm that was acquired right as the bubble was bursting. He lives in Bozeman, Montana with his wife Stephanie and their two dogs Emma and Lily. Justin is a graduate of the University of Montana with degrees in Finance and Information Systems.
What are you working on right now?
Right now my work life is split equally between my two companies, Sage Spa Living and Wisetail. Sage is a chain of day spas that I started with my wife in 2003. The company has three locations, employs over 100 people and also owns the rights to an organic skin care line called Nativeco which we sell through our storefronts and online at Sageborn.com. Sage offers a platform to test my wild ideas regarding branding, storytelling, marketing, social entrepreneurship, employee management and training. The other portion of my days is spent as the Founder and President of Wisetail. The Wisetail Learning Ecosystem is an e-learning application that drives industry-leading user engagement by not neglecting the fact that learning is social whether online or in a classroom.
Personally, I’m training and preparing for the 2010 ultra-running season, a bike tour along the Southern Tier of the US in February and a South America climbing trip in May.
3 Trends that excite you?
First, personally, I am encouraged by the fact that the current economic environment is allowing time for all of us to re-visit the priorities in our lives and our businesses. Perhaps the new lense will bring into focus what really makes us happy and my hunch is that it is not 60 hour work weeks, hour long daily commutes, 2 weeks of vacation and the next promotion. Our (new) pursuit and understanding of happiness fascinates me. Second, professionally, I’m always looking for examples of how the “social web”, web video and other Web 2.0 technologies are being used to improve an organization’s health and performance in a MEASURABLE way. Oh yeah, and bare foot running.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Ha. I generally go from idea to implementation in a straight fast line and then get market feedback working entirely under the assumption that I don’t know what I’m doing. Nothing frustrates me more then a group of smart people sucking all life out of an idea by polishing it too death. In my experience good ideas are a dime a dozen and never 100% right. You need to get the product of your idea in front of an audience, gather feedback (preferably bad) and iterate quickly to bring a business idea to life.
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