Jivan is the founder BuyMo.com, a site that allows consumers to manage, control and share their online financial and purchase data with vendors and retailers for discounts, access to early product releases and relevant offers they want. Prior to BuyMo, Jivan was a co-founder of MediaTrust where he wore more hats than he can remember, from Head of Sales to President, leading the company to being one of the leading performance-marketing firms in its industry. Jivan is a seasoned executive and experienced entrepreneur who possesses diverse business experience, a fundamental understanding of how to leverage cutting-edge technologies for the benefit of clients and customers, and valuable strategic and operational experience in creating new and sustainable ventures. Jivan is an avid scuba diver (even though he can’t swim!), proud Uncle of five nieces and four nephews and loves any sort of physical activity. Jivan graduated with a B.A. from the University of Toronto. Here is his story..
Jivan, tell us briefly about yourself and how you got started in this industry and if you would be so kind as to tell us about your most recent venture – BuyMo.com.
I started in the performance marketing industry in the late 1990’s building affiliate marketing programs for local online software companies in Toronto. I was setting up Commission Junction and BeFree programs for them mainly.
In 2004 I met up with a couple individuals and started Advaliant, which eventually became MediaTrust.
BuyMo.com is a new company I’m building focused in the emerging personal data control industry. BuyMo allows consumers to manage, control and share their online financial and purchase data with online advertisers and etailers for discounts, access to early product releases and relevant deals they are looking for. The consumer has complete control and transparency on how their data is used. BuyMo is scheduled for beta release in June of this year.
Do you think being an Indian in this industry has hindered or helped you achieve the level of success you currently have or anticipated?
The great thing about affiliate marketing and the Internet in general is that your ethnic background has very little to do with your ability to be successful. Most times in this industry you don’t meet the people you’re doing business with until you meet at a tradeshow sometime down the road. Because of this you are judged, in a sense anonymously, on your ability to show results, and your level of honesty and your ethics. I’d like to think one of the reasons I’ve been successful in this industry is because of my strong reputation.
What are the top 3 factors that you feel contribute to your success?
In order of importance:
a) Self-discipline – something I have to admit I learned in my twenties but has done wonders for my success.
b) Perseverance – I have a never quit attitude and along with my work ethic I feel I can overcome any obstacle that comes my way and I will constantly push until I’m back on track and the obstacle has been dealt with.
c) Taking Action – dreaming is not enough. You have to jump in the trenches and get dirty. I put together my goals and then go after them with focus and energy. This step is the toughest for most because fear can stop them dead in their tracks at this point. The key is to just start and then keep moving forward.
How important is it to you to communicate with your consumers? Is there a particular message you are wanting to convey?
I believe that transparency and communication with your consumers on issues that can or may affect them is crucial. There is a real danger when you start assuming you know what is best for your consumer base, a la facebook and recently iPhone with the tracking technology their users knew nothing about. The more open you are with your consumers the stronger the relationship and greater the loyalty. In fact, one of the key driving forces behind BuyMo is to allow consumers who use our service, complete control and transparency on how their data is used and with whom.
Talk to us specifically about your experience and frustrations in dealing with people in the industry.
The most frustrating aspect of dealing with people in the industry is the dishonesty factor, regardless of who it comes from. It amazes me how many individuals and companies in this industry think short-term and are always “plotting” to pull a fast one over the company they’re working with. Some publishers constantly lie about how they are promoting campaigns and when they’re found out vehemently deny they did anything wrong or they’ll just jump to another network and start the process all over again.
There are networks that have built their business model on constantly scrubbing publisher’s leads and not giving credit for all the true sales/leads generated by the publishers, and advertisers that not only do the same but find one way or another to not have to fulfill their financial obligations to networks and/or publishers. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of honest people in our industry but because the dishonest element is so high, it’s tough to filter out the bad from the good if you don’t have a history with them.
You are well known in the industry, who has been your motivation or inspiration, in other words, who is your driving force?
My parents, siblings and nieces and nephews. My parents and siblings have done a lot for me over the years and it’s been nice to be able to give something back. As well, I’d love to be able to help my nieces and nephews, many who are starting to reach or have reached college age, afford the best education at the top schools if it’s something they want to strive for.
Being a minority myself, there are constant stereotypes that I have to overcome, have you ever experienced this?
The one I’ve heard a lot is that Indians make great engineers but not great CEOs. I believe that myth is slowing being disproven but it’s still out there and one that push up against a lot.
What are some effective tools and products that help you keep your life organized?
I love Google apps. They’re free, easy to use and allow me to keep everything well organized. I’m also a big fan of Gist.com. It’s a new, free tool that allows you to manage your contacts, emails and social networks in one location so you can see the important things that you need to address right away and what can wait. It’s especially useful after a long road trip and I need to catch up on things quickly.
If you had a money tree in your back yard and could purchase anything for your business tomorrow, what would it be?
The best talent I could find. When it comes to running a business, an A class team of superstars that can execute the vision and bring their own ideas to the table is priceless. It is THE difference between a very successful company and one that isn’t.
Any words of wisdom for my readers looking to get into this space?
Be conscious of your reputation, it is the one thing that will follow you wherever you go. Whether you are an affiliate, advertiser or network owner, how your reputation is built is how you will be perceived and consequently talked about when you are not around. Take control of it and build it with the right vision in mind: honesty, ethical, reliable, successful, etc.
I know many who have been in the industry for some time that cannot find any network that will work with them because of the dishonest and underhanded methods they used repeatedly over the years. They have finally burned enough bridges where no one will work with them and their ability to generate income has been severely limited.
When you’re in a position where one person criticizes you in a public way, and ten industry people come to your defense without you having to say a word, you have a stellar reputation and it is something you definitely want to strive for. You will also be sought after by many in the industry because it will be people like you that they’ll want to do business with.
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