Delegate sooner to the right people to allow them to gain additional responsibility.
Randall Jamail is an entrepreneur, inventor and investor who thrives on operating outside the corporate box.
Founding Justice Records in 1989, Randall worked with artists such as Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, and many more. Soon the record company became a smashing success, gaining worldwide distribution, a Grammy Nomination, and being named Independent Label of the Year by R&R Publication.
From there, Jamail went on to invent a patented technology that unlocks unused space on compact discs and DVDs and allows producers to embed content/media that can be accessed on demand. It was during this time that his interest in creating technology to help make people’s lives easier grew.
Years later, when Jamail happened to be passing a stadium in Austin, Texas, he had an epiphany: what if, instead of standing outside with signs advertising parking, residents could list parking spaces for drivers to rent on demand or in advance, via an app?
From there, Pavemint was born–a peer-to-peer marketplace that connects people looking for parking with people who have parking to share. Over the course of the next two years, Jamail built up the team from a few people to a staff of over 40.
Pavemint, which launched on Oct. 3rd, currently has over 4,000 private parking spaces available to drivers in prime areas of Los Angeles, more than any other P2P parking app on the market.
Where did the idea for Pavemint come from?
The idea for Pavemint was a convergence of intermingled parts. In 2014, I was asked to consult a group who were exploring a business model the centered around the peer-to-peer exchange of public parking spaces. During that time, while attending a University of Texas football game, I saw the usual residents selling off their spare parking spaces to fans attending the game and an idea began to percolate in my mind. Later, I had a driver drop me off as close as possible to the entrance of the Austin City Limits Music Festival (which was about a half-mile away). As we were driving, I saw thousands of people walking miles to get to the entrance and wondered where they had parked. That’s when the gears fully clicked into place and I thought, “Holy shit, that’s it!”
The next day I contacted the group I was consulting for and told them that they needed to consider a new model: a peer-to-peer marketplace that connects people looking for parking at events with people who have spaces to share. While they weren’t as excited about the model as I was, they agreed to consider it. As we did more research on the parking problems in Austin and beyond, however, the research showed that the need for parking was not isolated to events. Instead, it seemed to be a universal problem in need of an intuitive parking solution.
A few days later, while I was at the bar at the Sunset Marquis Hotel, I began showing some logo ideas to the woman sitting next to me who worked in marketing. As I explained my idea, she said, “Oh, you’re talking about Airbnb for parking.” The next day, I hired her and she is now Pavemint’s Executive VP and Chief Brand Officer.
As for the group that I was consulting for, they ultimately decided that they did not want to move forward with the model I had proposed. Because I had been working with them when the idea came to me, I paid them to release me from any non-compete and had them then sign one with me. That day, Pavemint was born.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I am an early riser so my day starts around 4:30am. I spend around 30 minutes reading news that may have an impact on what we are trying to accomplish. rarely does a day go by that there isn’t some article that correlates or has an impact on Pavemint. After distributing these stories to the rest of the Pavemint team, I work until 7am on one specific thing. These two hours are the only hours of my day that are guaranteed to be uninterrupted, so I try and make the most of them. Most days I use this time to address strategy-related issues, as, personally, I find it difficult to think strategically in small sprints.
Unless I have an early-morning meeting, at 7am I take a break until about 9am. From 9am until noon I make myself available to senior staff to support them in any initiative they are pushing and to budget that initiative. From noon until about 2pm, I have lunch and a nap. Sometimes, if it’s absolutely necessary, I’ll have a lunch meeting but I try to avoid them if I can. For me to perform at my best, I have realized that a quiet lunch and a nap serves me best.
The late afternoon is spent with senior staff discussing and debating marketing, strategic partnerships and/or development. This is where we hear about how a particular initiative is tracking, or we debate the value and impact of a new initiative being advanced by our team leads or even sometimes by a support person in the various departments.
At this stage of our development, every key decision greatly impacts every aspect of the company, both capital, and human. For instance, our CSP (Chief of Strategic Partnerships) may push to close a pilot program that will greatly accelerate our brand awareness and our inventory acquisition and our Chief Development Officer may push back because the development team doesn’t have the bandwidth to initiate the requirements for that implementation and still meet its other scheduled initiatives. For inter-departmental roadblocks such as these, it is my role to determine the relative value of the new strategic partnership versus the other current development projects and decide whether we push a project to a later quarter or allocate more resources to the development team to take on the new project without adjusting the current development schedule.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The process of bringing ideas to life is currently and constantly evolving at Pavemint. At the beginning of our life cycle, ideas were organically produced and executed. There were only four people in the company, so while we had clearly defined roles, there was also a huge amount of cross-pollination in terms of ideas and daily execution.
As we grew in scope and staff, it became necessary to begin to formalize the process. Now, if an idea is developmental in nature, anyone throughout the company can submit their idea utilizing Prod Pad, a product management software. The idea then works its way through the channels we have specified and takes on relevance based on the value that is placed on it by the development team and everyone else at Pavemint. If the idea is more operational, promotional, or strategic in nature, then the system to get it implemented is more hierarchical and its path more vertical. If the idea comes from someone in the development team and is operational in nature, it would be posed to the CDO who would then propose it to the President, who is also our acting COO. At that point, our President either implements the idea after getting feedback from all C-level staff or brings it to me if there is a question about the long-term financial impact of implementation.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Choosing one trend that excites me is very difficult because there are many fascinating trends and we have no idea, at this point, which will have the greatest positive long-term effect. However, if I can only choose one, it would have to be autonomous vehicles, because it will touch so many levels of society the world over. Just looking at the psychological impact of the individual giving up control over their mobility is fascinating to me. I am 61 years old and I still remember how much of my life was spent in preparation for that almost universal rite of passage: getting my driver’s license. I am really intrigued to watch how vigorously humans may resist handing over the “right ” to drive. I think about my daughter, who is 5, and realize she may never have nor need a driver’s license. She will never have to spend hours and hours in driver’s education classes. she won’t ever have to wait in line at the DMV, getting or renewing a driver’s license. And she will never feel the contentment of jumping in her car at 6am with no particular destination in mind and just letting the sunrise determine where she goes.
As far as the implication of autonomous vehicles on Pavemint, we feel certain that the need for hyper-localized parking will increase as the adoption of these vehicles increases.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Meditation is my most important habit in relation to productivity. It keeps me balanced and able to respond to the demands of my job in a much more grounded way.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would advise my younger self to delegate sooner to the right people to allow them to gain additional responsibility.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?
I made a decision to make sure Pavemint was fully compliant with any and all governmental regulations before launching the app. This decision, understandably, was met with some disagreement, but I think it will help us tremendously in the long-run.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Once again, my advice to to increase productivity and help entrepreneurs remained focus is to meditate.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
My willingness to delegate has been one of the most successful actions in growing the business. This was a hard lesson for me to learn, and I now treat it as a strategy. Nothing has contributed to our growth and any early success we have more than my willingness to trust that the people I have hired are smarter than me. The more I can get out of their way and empower them to make the important decisions, the greater their ownership in the vision of Pavemint. I set a high bar when it comes to us fulfilling our core mission of making the world a better place because of Pavemint. As I allow everyone to grab a brush and choose their paint, then I can stretch the canvas taller and wider and the picture evolves into something greater than I could have imagined.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One failure I’ve had as an entrepreneur is holding on to an idea because of ego when it truly was obstructing the success of our progress. In my prior role as the founder of Justice Records, this happened when I wouldn’t agree to utilize conventional distribution at the label. I stubbornly fought to self-distribute when it was hurting our path to success and was 100% based on ego. Since that time, I have worked to see both sides in every debate and let myself weigh the options before making a potentially damaging decision.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A business idea that would definitely take off is the development of a digitally programmable gate opener. This universal gate opening app would be able to be programmed to be active on a pre-determined schedule by the owner of the gate and would allow access for a set time period. At some point, someone will develop this idea and gate opening will no longer be dependent on any additional hardware. When that happens, there will be a paradigm shift in home delivery.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Recently, I spent $100 on a massage and it kept me from letting my emotions say something I was going to regret and spend wasted time trying to explain afterward. I was frustrated over a situation at work and childishly peeved at not being responded to as I thought I should be (ego again) but rather than act out, I decided to get a massage. About halfway through the massage, I had an out-of-body experience that allowed me a front-row seat in the spectacle of myself. I was able to laugh, seeing how I almost behaved and was relieved to have the opportunity to catch myself before I crashed into myself. Honestly, it was the best $100 I’ve spent in quite a while.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I am an analog man, so for me, a pad of paper and a pencil are the most important technology I have. However, I do have what might seem like a very basic answer. Giving everyone in the company the opportunity to have their voices heard equally is vitally important to me and the rest of Pavemint’s C-Suite. For us, Prod Pad serves that function. Anyone in the company can submit an idea for consideration as a feature or a design element or something to improve our user experience, and it carries the same weight as if the idea came from the CDO or the CTO. It is critical that we create and foster a culture that reinforces the truth that all ideas matter.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I love Letters from the Earth by Mark Twain because it questioned the core values of the most foundational pillars of society at the time. It’s that type of courage and willingness to disrupt those core foundations using ferocious humor that makes this novel my favorite work of fiction.
What is your favorite quote?
One of my favorite quotes is by Kurt Vonnegut: “I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”
- Get into a routine and set a daily schedule in order to focus on completing specific tasks at hand.
- Make sure that your employees feel that their voices are being heard and that their opinions matter.
- Find a way to center yourself, such as meditation.
- Drop your ego and allow yourself to see the value in other’s opinions.
- As a leader, learn to delegate. Handing over the power to others will provide fresh perspective and a team that is invested in the cause.