I Love My Job: David Bookspan
To start off “I Love My Job” this year is David Bookspan. The Dreamit and Monetate founder had a very busy 2016 and here he shares with us the best things that happened. Looking ahead, he’ll be launching a new company—Curren-c—at the start of Q2. He gives us the lowdown on this new venture and explains the connection between listening skills and success.
I grew up in … Eastchester, New York, about 20 minutes from Manhattan.
I once wanted to be a professional baseball player because … I was delusional. The game plan was for me to play semi-pro, which I did after college, then go down to the Caribbean and play winter ball and then get drafter by the Boston Red Sox. I grew up ten miles from Yankee Stadium but [rooted for] the Red Sox because both of my parents are from Massachusetts and they brought me up with class.
Something that makes me nervous is … when my girlfriend says, “we need to talk.”
Working at a startup is like … a thrill ride.
During pitches I like it when … people really know the facts about every facet of their business and they know how they’re going to get one percent of the market. Rather than saying, “if we get only one percent of the market.”
The Philly entrepreneur is … scrappy. They make more with less.
My cellphone background image is of … my girlfriend’s three-year-old daughter.
Something people get wrong about Philly’s startup scene is … they think of it as being limited to tech companies. There are really startups in every corner of Philadelphia. Most startups are small businesses. They can be services firms, consulting firms, salons. They can be plumbing businesses. Every one of those people is an entrepreneur.
I call myself a recovering attorney because … I haven’t practiced law in 20 years. It’s hard for me to get past that. People still think of me as a lawyer. So having a legal background and having been at one of the most prominent firms in Philadelphia, it’s tough to shake.
Access to capital for Philly startups is still an issue because … we haven’t had any huge wins in a while. Comcast is the huge win, obviously, but that was a long time ago. More recently, GSI Commerce (eBay Enterprise) is an example of a huge win.
The best thing that happened in 2016 was … Monetate developed killer new products that will be released in April. Dreamit launched 42 new companies. My co-founder and I in a new company started Curren-C. We are in stealth right now but we are tackling the problem of integrity and transparency in the payment of the online advertising chain. That’s a $75 billion market.
In 2017, new companies should … focus on customers first. Sell it before you build it.
The rise of e-commerce make me feel … that there’s a huge opportunity to improve the customer experience online.
If I’m going out on the town for dinner you’ll find me at … Vernick, Osteria, or Zahav.
A Philadelphian I have my eye on is … Will Luttrell. He is my co-founder in Curren-C. He is amazing.
A non-Dreamit company I have my eye on is … American Muscle. I love American Muscle and what Steve Voudouris has been able to accomplish. I’m also really impressed with Revzilla.
I’ve always been terrible at … golf.
The first concert I ever attended was … that of the greatest band in history—The Beatles at Shea Stadium in 1965.
I like to dance to … I know my skill set, Fabiola. I don’t dance.
The last time I cried was … when I was forced to listen to the Frozen soundtrack again. It was painful.
My daily schedule looks like … a Rorschach test.
A big mistake I made in my career was … when I would obsess about the worst possible outcome. I had trouble getting it out of my head. Once you look squarely at the worst-case scenario, move on. The outcome that’s most likely will be better than the worst-case scenario. Don’t overly focus on the worst case. Just make sure you’re ready for it.
Most people don’t know that … I have a baseball problem. I’m pretty obsessive about it. I also ride motorcycles.
A constant challenge I’m up against is … making time for all of the great people whom I might be able to help. It’s a real challenge particularly with this phase I’m going through with launching Curren-c. I’m going to have to be less available to people.
The secret ingredient to success is … listening with the intent to understand, rather than with the intent to reply. It applies to anything business and personal.
Follow @fabiolacineas on Twitter.