Les Kollegian

I help bring ideas to life usually through collaboration with my team as I feel they always help expand upon it and make things better.


Les Kollegian has one main goal as CEO of Jacob Tyler: to create an experience internally to foster award-winning campaigns and externally to leave his client partners wanting more. Les has been responsible for the growth and development of the company since 2000.

He holds a Masters in Communications Design from the University of Baltimore and has more than 20 years of experience designing marketing campaigns with an eye for innovation, strategy, and out of the box thinking that makes people nervous. He is honest to a fault and sometimes undiplomatic, but he focuses on building great relationships to ensure delivering on Jacob Tyler’s core values of honesty and integrity. If he doesn’t feel the job will bring value to his clients, he simply won’t take the work.

Les was born in Cambridge, Mass and later moved to Maryland at age 11. He worked his way through high school, paying for private school as a warehouse employee in Washington DC and then through college at the University of Maryland as a waiter and bartender. After graduation in 1991, he was accepted to grad school and started working as a production artist working his way up the corporate ladder in multiple different agencies.

It was a visit to San Diego in 1995 that inspired him to save up some funds and move to Southern California. He landed the Creative Director position for Echolink Interactive, a 150 person, San Diego based interactive media agency. There, he created interactive and traditional campaigns for Intel, Qualcomm, Gateway, America Online, Fox Television, and Chili’s Restaurants. In late 1999, he set out to work on his own and start his own agency. Jacob Tyler now has two offices, over 90 awards, over 30 employees, and Les has way more grey hair.

Les speaks regularly at design conferences and Universities on the topics of Web Design, Omnichannel Marketing, Creative Strategy, Branding, and Usability. His current clients range from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.

Where did the idea for Jacob Tyler come from?

In the late 90’s, I left a job as the creative director at a large agency to test the waters for new opportunities. While searching for a new job, I started to do some consulting work. To legitimize my new business, I registered the domain name “Vivid Commerce” to host my portfolio, figuring it made sense for a graphic designer that had a strong interactive design and development background– though I hadn’t really given it much thought. Because most of my clients happened to be in New York City, I often found myself flying to New York from San Diego and having to unexpectedly extend my stay. As a result, I would visit the Kenneth Cole store up to three times a week to buy new business professional attire. The brand and the customer experience I experienced with Kenneth Cole inspired me to rebrand in 2003, renaming my agency to Jacob Tyler, after my son. Like Kenneth Cole, at Jacob Tyler, we provide a great customer experience and top-quality products at a reasonable price.

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

I spend most of my time handling business development and strategic overview of accounts. Much of my day is spent in meetings. To be productive, all meetings require an agenda and sometimes we stand instead of sit to ensure we stay on topic and be as efficient and effective as possible.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I help bring ideas to life usually through collaboration with my team as I feel they always help expand upon it and make things better.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

One trend that excites me is new technologies and software that simplify our lives both personally and professionally.

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

To maintain being productive as an entrepreneur, I try to read one business book per month.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would advise my younger self to have a solid mentor and to learn finance.

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

I feel unsuccessful.

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

Constantly keep learning!

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

One strategy that has helped me grow my business is hiring the right people. I am now focused on only bringing on senior level staff even though it costs more money. Ultimately, we have happier clients and deliver a higher caliber quality product that increases client retention.

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

One failure I had as an entrepreneur is hiring fast without enough research to ensure the people were the proper fit for the business. To overcome this, I have someone who is specifically trained in hiring to qualify individuals and make sure they will be the best for our business.

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

Now why on earth would I do that? 🙂

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

I love listening to music and I bought a portable JBL Bluetooth waterproof speaker that sounds great and I can take everywhere.

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

Invision is a great software platform and has been a great way to present concepts to clients while inviting them to collaborate.

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

Rocket Fuel “(By Gino Wickman, Mark C. Winters) – an easy read and does a great job of discussing the importance of having the right COO when you’re a CEO, and vice versa.

What is your favorite quote?

Life has been good to me and now it’s my turn to be good back to life. You know how to be good to life? Live it.” – Morgan Freeman


Les Kollegian on Linkedin: