51 min

92. Mark Jacobstein, Accidental Entrepreneur The 92 Report

    • Education

Mark Jacobstein resides in Stanford, California with his wife, two children, and his mother in law. Mark's career has primarily focused on entrepreneurial technology, primarily in health tech, biotech, molecular diagnostics, and digital health arenas. After Cambridge, he worked with Scott Murphy, a close friend and business partner. He moved to California in 2003 to start a technology company and has been there ever since. He lives on the Stanford campus, which allows his children to grow up on a college campus. 
Founding a Fantasy Sports Business
Mark shares his journey from writing software for Mike Bloomberg in the early 90s to inventing the first online fantasy sports business [Small World] in 1994. He and his partner, Scott, initially struggled with starting a technology company due to their naivety and lack of experience in the tech startup ecosystem. However, they eventually built the first online fantasy sports business, which was one of the biggest consumer sites in the world at the time. In 1995, they spun out a web consultancy to solve various problems for corporate clients, building stateful and database-driven websites. They later built corporate websites for companies like Xerox and consulting for McKinsey on the internet's future. The business was sold to i-EXL in 1998. One common thread Mark has seen over the past 30 years is looking for systemic paradigm shifting changes in technology. Mark’s career highlights the importance of adapting to new technologies and finding the most effective way to grow a business.
Entrepreneurship in Machine Learning and AI
Mark’s last two companies and new venture studio focuses on machine learning and AI. He discusses his journey as an entrepreneur and the transition from a hobby to a business. He emphasizes the importance of looking for latent demand in businesses, he also emphasizes the importance of not engaging in gambling and making ethical choices in business decisions. His first experience as an entrepreneur was when he and his roommate Scott started hiring employees. They faced challenges like the.com crash and the need to lay off employees.
Startup Business Mistakes 
Mark discusses the mistakes made by his company in structure and decision-making processes. He believes that they were naive and didn't put enough thought into the process of disagreements, which caused friction and strained relationships. He also mentions that the biggest mistakes they made were sins of omission. They were too early to realize the monstrous opportunities that nobody was taking advantage of. One example is hiring Matt Funk, a summer intern who later became a hedge fund manager. He suggested they buy domain names, but Mark argued that this was unethical. Another example is building the first Business to Business Exchange (B2B) website, TextTrade.com, in 1996. This was an effort to make the textiles business more efficient. However, Mark argues that they missed out on the commercial implications of the internet and how they could have used their technology to service other industries.
Silicon Valley and the Tech Landscape in the 2000s
Mark shares his experiences in the 2000s, particularly in the mobile business industry. He sold his fantasy sports business, Small World Sports, to Paul Allen, who bought Sporting News, an interactive TV channel. After a burnout at Sporting News. Mark met Trip Hawkins, founder of Electronic Arts and 3DO. Mark was offered a position as co-founder and president of a mobile phone company. He was invited to Silicon Valley to meet with Sequoia and Kleiner Perkins. He was mentored by Trip and his experience in Silicon Valley was a pivotal moment in his life. He shares his experiences in the tech industry, starting with his time at Digital Chocolate and then moving on to venture capital firm Sequoia. He was introduced to Sam Altman, a young wunderkind, and worked with him to build a company called Looped, which was later sold to Qualcomm. 
Working in

Mark Jacobstein resides in Stanford, California with his wife, two children, and his mother in law. Mark's career has primarily focused on entrepreneurial technology, primarily in health tech, biotech, molecular diagnostics, and digital health arenas. After Cambridge, he worked with Scott Murphy, a close friend and business partner. He moved to California in 2003 to start a technology company and has been there ever since. He lives on the Stanford campus, which allows his children to grow up on a college campus. 
Founding a Fantasy Sports Business
Mark shares his journey from writing software for Mike Bloomberg in the early 90s to inventing the first online fantasy sports business [Small World] in 1994. He and his partner, Scott, initially struggled with starting a technology company due to their naivety and lack of experience in the tech startup ecosystem. However, they eventually built the first online fantasy sports business, which was one of the biggest consumer sites in the world at the time. In 1995, they spun out a web consultancy to solve various problems for corporate clients, building stateful and database-driven websites. They later built corporate websites for companies like Xerox and consulting for McKinsey on the internet's future. The business was sold to i-EXL in 1998. One common thread Mark has seen over the past 30 years is looking for systemic paradigm shifting changes in technology. Mark’s career highlights the importance of adapting to new technologies and finding the most effective way to grow a business.
Entrepreneurship in Machine Learning and AI
Mark’s last two companies and new venture studio focuses on machine learning and AI. He discusses his journey as an entrepreneur and the transition from a hobby to a business. He emphasizes the importance of looking for latent demand in businesses, he also emphasizes the importance of not engaging in gambling and making ethical choices in business decisions. His first experience as an entrepreneur was when he and his roommate Scott started hiring employees. They faced challenges like the.com crash and the need to lay off employees.
Startup Business Mistakes 
Mark discusses the mistakes made by his company in structure and decision-making processes. He believes that they were naive and didn't put enough thought into the process of disagreements, which caused friction and strained relationships. He also mentions that the biggest mistakes they made were sins of omission. They were too early to realize the monstrous opportunities that nobody was taking advantage of. One example is hiring Matt Funk, a summer intern who later became a hedge fund manager. He suggested they buy domain names, but Mark argued that this was unethical. Another example is building the first Business to Business Exchange (B2B) website, TextTrade.com, in 1996. This was an effort to make the textiles business more efficient. However, Mark argues that they missed out on the commercial implications of the internet and how they could have used their technology to service other industries.
Silicon Valley and the Tech Landscape in the 2000s
Mark shares his experiences in the 2000s, particularly in the mobile business industry. He sold his fantasy sports business, Small World Sports, to Paul Allen, who bought Sporting News, an interactive TV channel. After a burnout at Sporting News. Mark met Trip Hawkins, founder of Electronic Arts and 3DO. Mark was offered a position as co-founder and president of a mobile phone company. He was invited to Silicon Valley to meet with Sequoia and Kleiner Perkins. He was mentored by Trip and his experience in Silicon Valley was a pivotal moment in his life. He shares his experiences in the tech industry, starting with his time at Digital Chocolate and then moving on to venture capital firm Sequoia. He was introduced to Sam Altman, a young wunderkind, and worked with him to build a company called Looped, which was later sold to Qualcomm. 
Working in

51 min

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