Jason Hope is an Arizona entrepreneur, philanthropist, and healthcare technology investor. As a futurist, Jason answers interview questions below.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
Fittingly, after you get an undergraduate degree in Finance and then an MBA from Arizona State University – you’d better start something business related. Mobile communication technology initially inspired me because it benefits and reaches a large segment of people, it simply was the biggest catalyst for change.
And while no longer new, mobile technology still has room for growth and improvement. This is how and why I started selling premium text message services – it laid the foundation for my future in technology and medical research while securing my passion as a futurist.
How do you make money?
Fortunately, I make money from my portfolio of technology companies. In the beginning of my career I created Jawa, a mobile communications company, which then acted as the parent company for additional partnerships in the technology industry. Now I make a living from my portfolio of investments, which include companies that provide Marketing Services (such as Search Engine Optimization), Digital Media Solutions, Computer and Business Information Systems, and Interactive Software.
Everyone knows that the future of society relies on technology. Technology connects and interconnects people, places, and things. That was the impetus behind Jawa – you always have to keep your mind open and one eye focused on where technology is headed.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
I was profitable essentially right out of the gate and that encouraged me to build my portfolio by investing in other companies and individuals.
When you started out, was there a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
As an entrepreneur, you always have a healthy sense of doubt – it’s what keeps you on your toes and forces you to think ahead. Any new idea, product, or concept is going to raise questions and present challenges. However, what makes an entrepreneur successful or not is how they handle failure and manage those challenges.
While doubt cripples most, I use it to fuel my passion for change. I have always been interested in technology and knew that my career would be involved in the technology sector. I truly believe in the technology I am creating and this alone is enough for me to continue and eradicate any feelings of doubt.
How did you get your first customer?
My first referral came through some advertising and marketing work I was performed for another company. I was lucky enough to take this referral and build my professional network.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Social media works, if you have the time to use it correctly. Social media is a tried and true method of marketing that’s readily available. I believe in using marketing strategies that keep people connected and social media never fails as a method to generate new business or make business connections. Twitter is a great way to share news, stay on top of mind with potential customers and tap into new business opportunities.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
To take a step back and reevaluate which direction I want to go in next. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of writing for various tech related companies as a guest blogger. Getting my thoughts and theories out to the general public is my next goal. The more people know about the future of technology, the bigger change I can make in the world. The toughest decision that I’ve faced these past few months is learning to scale back and find time to write and reach out to those interested in causes that I believe in.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I always have an eye on the future. Not as in always looking ahead, by in the possibilities of where technology is headed and the potential it has to make our lives better. I enjoy my philanthropic work and I feel that this focus makes me successful, even if something doesn’t work. I always move on to the next project. I never let failure or doubt cripple my big picture ideas.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Essentially, philanthropy is a business unto itself, because it’s a serious pursuit for me. So, I would have to say my most satisfying moment was having the funding to donate $500,000 to SENS. Shaping the future of biotechnologies is extremely important to me. I honestly feel that we are on the brink of huge medical advancements to help prevent disease and improve the quality of life for those who are suffering.
My donation has helped the SENS Foundation fund research essential to advancing the future of medicine and anti-aging processes. Working with SENS and Dr. Aubrey de Grey has been my most satisfying moment to date.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
As a futurist, I am always looking forward and getting excited for next level technology. Right now I am passionate about how anti-aging processes can help prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. So much research and money are going towards curing these diseases, but I feel that the future relies on disease prevention and the technology that can help catch these diseases before they cause irreversible damage. Disease prevention will help improve society as a whole and give a better quality of life to those already suffering.
What business books have inspired you?
Technology is life for me. It’s a part of who I am. So I don’t really spend a lot of time reading books offline. I do, however, read a number of scientific articles and journals each week and if I feel something’s particularly interesting, I will share it on Twitter or Facebook to get the word out.
For example, recently I came across a really great read entitled, “Higher Intake of Whole Grains Associated with Lower Risk of Major Chronic Diseases and Death.” My focus right now is on doing what I can to accelerate human intelligence using technology, which I why I dedicate my time to reading and sharing what I find on scientific, medical, and technological advancements.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
For me it wasn’t something that I purchased, but I sold my house after five years on the market. This freed up some resources and I am now looking forward to doing more with my time and money. My current goal is to help my local community and inspire the next generation of futurists and tech fiends. Through my grant program for high school and college students, I hope to encourage forward thinkers so that our society as a whole can grow.
What are you most passionate about with your philanthropic involvement?
Wow! That’s an easy one. I am most passionate about furthering the research into anti-aging through preventive measures. I was impressed with the efforts of the SENS Foundation from the beginning and I knew that I had to help. While most organizations focus on curing disease, SENS Foundation goes beyond treatment and uses technology to slow down or reverse the aging process. The SENS Foundation is working to reverse heart disease, lung cancer, respiratory illnesses and Alzheimer’s through advanced technology that prevents these diseases from developing in the first place. This is truly life changing.