Today, we are very excited to announce that we are adding Jason Dorsey to the team at Next Coast Ventures. Jason is joining our team as a Venture Partner where he will focus on helping Next Coast and its portfolio companies with consumer trends, brand building and customer acquisition.
We are thrilled to have Jason as part of our Venture Partner program and can’t wait to introduce him to our growing portfolio of amazing entrepreneurs! His addition underscores how we are constantly pushing ourselves to think of new ways to help our entrepreneurs and make sure we understand big trends in the marketplace and how the world is changing.
Please join us in welcoming Jason to the Next Coast team! We sat down with him to learn more about his expertise and how he will implement them as part of our Company Building initiatives:
What are you looking forward to about working with a VC? How about Next Coast in particular?
I get fired up talking with the team at Next Coast! As entrepreneurs themselves, their passion for helping other entrepreneurs matches perfectly with my own journey and the impact I want to make in the world. I also appreciate how closely they work with portfolio companies to help them adapt, grow, and carry out their bold vision. That is hard to find and even more rare to receive from VC’s with such a great track record as the Next Coast team.
You often work with very large, established brand names, what are you looking forward to about working with early-stage companies that are still figuring out what their brand is?
As an entrepreneur yourself, what resources do you wish you would have had access to when you began your business?
I started my first business at age 18 and slept on a floor for two years. The first resource I wish I had was a bed! Candidly, I wish I had known other, more experienced entrepreneurs who had “been there and survived that.” I wish I had a mentor who had taken a business from zero to success who could have given me a candid perspective and advice on each key aspect of my business as well as opened doors. Being an entrepreneur means managing and learning how to do everything—and often the hard way—from surviving cash flow challenges and developing employees to navigating relationships with Global 100 companies. Shortening the learning curve by having experienced help or investors would have enabled me to focus on my strengths and the areas I’m most passionate so we could’ve grown faster. While I still think it’s best to learn by doing, some of the lessons involved in scaling a company are faster learned (and avoided!) through a more experienced entrepreneur sharing their experience.
“com·pa·ny build·ing (noun): a hands-on approach to helping scale businesses were we use our past experience as entrepreneurs to help other entrepreneurs succeed.”
Jason’s obstacles when he began his business ring all too true for us, everybody at Next Coast has sat in the entrepreneur’s seat at one point in their career – and we all wish we had more resources when we first began our businesses. That’s why we implement our Company Building approach and dedicate so much time and resources to making sure it offers effective tools to our entrepreneurs.
What is the most common mistake you see businesses make when it comes to understanding their consumers?
Too often they focus solely on what we term “tracking data.” They look at sales, impressions, employee retention, customer satisfaction, etc. This data is important, but it does not reveal the “why” behind the behavior. In fact, tracking data is by definition a measure of an outcome that happened in the past. If we are to change the outcome going forward, we need to understand the thinking, influences, decision-making, and behavioral drivers that led to the outcome in the first place.
What would you say to an entrepreneur who thinks your research isn’t relevant to growing their business?
We haven’t found an industry that can’t benefit from accurately understanding generations of employees and customers and the drivers underlying their behaviors. Almost everything you and I do on a daily basis is in some way influenced by our own generational experience—from how we communicate and shop to how we work and interact with an experience. By understanding generations in the context of your own business, industry, and marketplace—as well as your own generation–you have the immediate advantage of being able to faster connect with and influence people of different generations. This can make a massive difference in your business’ success or failure as well as in your own leadership results.
Your expertise isn’t typical of a Venture Partner at a VC firm, if you were at a cocktail party, how would you describe The Center for Generational Kinetics and its work?