Jack Jia is the founder and CEO of Musely. As an entrepreneur, he has started 4 ventures.
At Musely, Jack Jia leads a “telemedicine technology leader providing medical treatments for skin conditions & skincare.” He has also invested for GSR Ventures, TSVC, WIN, Rally, among other companies.
As an investor, Jack Jia focuses on “internet, mobile, and software investments.” He has also found success in this department, turning them into “unicorns with a combined value exceeding $100 billion.”
Aside from Musely, Jack Jia also founded Baynote, a “leading recommendation software company.” He has also led the company as CEO.
Likewise, Jack Jia also served as the “founding CTO at Interwoven, a leading software company that pioneered content management space and led the company to a successful IP valued at $7 billion.”
According to Jack Jia, Musely stands out from the rest because they “offer science over scent.” He says the “entire skincare industry” runs on marketing, while “selling a jar of cream with 99% water and 1% scent.”
Jack Jia wants Musely to stand apart from the competition by “debunking the misinformation of the entire skincare industry.”
With Musely, Jack Jia provides “scientifically proven medications to slow down and even reverse our biological clock on aging and other skin conditions.”
We offer science over scent. Jack Jia, Musely
Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Jack Jia: We offer prescription skincare medications while the entire skincare industry is built on marketing and selling a jar of cream with 99% water and 1% scent.
We offer science over scent.
For example, one of the most popular ingredients in skincare in the last a few years is this magical ‘Hyaluronic Acid’, with thousands of articles and brands touting its fountain of youth attribute…
But the reality is far from magic: Hyaluronic Acid is nothing but a moisturizer base. It has zero impact to our skin, other than being a moisturizer.
In fact, it is classified as an INACTIVE ingredient that can hold water.
Musely stands out by debunking the misinformation of the entire skincare industry, and by offering scientifically proven medications to slow down and even reverse our biological clock on aging and other skin conditions.
Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Jack Jia: Exercise, exercise and more exercise!
When our brain is in the overdrive mode (required by the startup thinking), it burns our blood into brain waste, therefore the feeling of “burn out”.
The only few ways to get rid of these byproducts is to increase blood circulation and clean them out.
Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Jack Jia: Many mentors helped me along the way. My NYU professors allow me to finish early and gave me three years back for my entrepreneurial journey.
Several angel investors offered me more than money, but their collective wisdom on how their companies succeeded.
There are hundreds of ways to fail a startup, but only a few ways to succeed.
A few other Silicon Valley heroes inspired me a lot: Steve Jobs’ relentless pursue to perfection; Elon Mask’s ability to build giant businesses as an outsider — he was no car expert, rocket scientist, earth driller, or payment guru, but he became a better one via DIY.
I am extremely grateful to our current investors who have the infinite patience to allow us to pivot three times in three years before we took off.
There are hundreds of ways to fail a startup, but only a few ways to succeed.
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The title of this series is “How to take your company from good to great”. Let’s start with defining our terms. How would you define a “good” company, what does that look like? How would you define a “great” company, what does that look like?
Jack Jia: A good company improves the state of art, while a great company disrupts it.
Ford was a great company in the early 1900s when it not only produced cars cheaply (using assembly line) and with a style (black Model T), but also disrupted transportation from horse cartridges and trains, as a result of the mass-produced cars.
But Ford has not been a great company for a long time. It is merely a good company producing slightly improved cars each year.
Tesla, however, is a great company today, or the Ford of the 21st century.
It transformed the automotive industry into a software and battery business instead of the traditional car/engine/transmission/mechanical business.
That is why it is worth more than the entire car companies combined while only producing 1% of the total cars today.
Jerome Knyszewski: What would you advise to a business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth and “restart their engines”?
Jack Jia: It all starts from the team on the top. Do you have innovators or entrepreneur types in your executive team?
Ideally, the CEO should be the Innovator in Chief. Iterate, iterate, and iterate, and be patient on the experiments. Sooner or later, you will find that new growth.
It took us three years and three pivots to find it.
A company that I invested early in called Goat (now a unicorn) took five pivots before finding the billion-dollar opportunity to transact second hand designer shoes online.
An innovative business requires non-conventional executions.
Jerome Knyszewski: Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?
Jack Jia: An innovative business requires non-conventional executions. Yes, Musely raised $40M in venture funding when we had momentum.
But for several years, we didn’t waste them when we were looking for the ultimate business model. In fact, we challenged the norm of business operations by spending 5 to 50x less.
We used Craigslist to find our offices at 5x below the business rental market price. We used home furniture for our office, giving us another 10x cost advantage and consumer appeal.
So, when the real business opportunity came, we had all the financial power to support it.
One of our company culture principles says: don’t do things just out of box; think as if there is no box!
Jerome Knyszewski: In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?
Jack Jia: The seemingly boring process of iterations. There is no magic in running a great business.
It took Steve Jobs one year and 300+ daily iterations to develop and test the concept of the Apple Store so the store was far better than anything we had ever seen when it finally came out.
I’d argue that any executive could have done that if he or she had Jobs’ patience and sense of perfection.
Jerome Knyszewski: Great customer service and great customer experience are essential to build a beloved brand and essential to be successful in general. In your experience what are a few of the most important things a business leader should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience?
Jack Jia: The first sentence of our company culture is to “delight our customers”, not just to please them.
To delight requires perfection in many fronts, from truly impactful products, to customer experiences, to services.
“Meet the expectation” is not good enough to delight our customers. We must beat the expectations. We have done a great job in our medication development.
We are still iterating on how to make our customer services equally delightful. We measure, deploy and remeasure solutions weekly on everything we do.
Jerome Knyszewski: What are your thoughts about how a company should be engaged on Social Media? For example, the advisory firm EisnerAmper conducted 6 yearly surveys of United States corporate boards, and directors reported that one of their most pressing concerns was reputational risk as a result of social media. Do you share this concern? We’d love to hear your thoughts about this.
Jack Jia: Social media is a double-edged sword. It certainly can propel a business to glory at a much lower cost. Modern brands can be built as result of social media being available.
But a brand’s social media has to be managed, much like all social media networks. Even Facebook or Twitter themselves have to be moderated.
Those who engage with your brand’s social media tend to be the 1% louder crowd, while 99% of your customers might be silent.
They are also not trained media professionals either, to report facts and emotions. So, you must have a team of social moderators to guide your social media presence.
You also need to deploy a strategy to represent the voice of the 99% silent majority, while curbing the potential bad actors that want to damage your brand on purpose.
We must beat the expectations. Jack Jia
Jerome Knyszewski: What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
- Going after a small market.
- Settling on B team.
- Not iterating long enough to see the real opportunity.
- Not realizing the mental challenge of being alone in the journey.
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Jack Jia: My biggest concern is also the biggest thing I’d like to offer. Technology has transformed almost everything in our life, creating tech billionaires everywhere.
But technology is also threatening the livelihood of almost all professions.
My biggest fear of all is that it will destroy humanity, not in a way to kill us, but in the form of lack of job opportunities for humans in almost every profession.
So, my movement, ironically as a capitalist, is to offer a universal income to the entire population if their profession is wiped out, or they choose or are unable to work.
Without that level of stability, our country and world will suffer, more than we have seen in the last four years, in the not-too-far future.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!