I recently interviewed Michael Jones, founder of Tsavo. Since he’s also a top startup adviser and angel investor, in addition to asking him about Tsavo, I asked him how about how and why he advises companies.
Michael Jones, Tsavo
Michael bootstrapped userplane and sold it to AOL, then went on to found Tsavo. Along the way he’s invested in and advised startups like GumGum and Dogster. Most recently, he was named COO of MySpace.
Here’s an edited transcript of some of what he told me. (Download the full program for more.)
I asked about the vision behind Tsavo:
Michael said, “Just as there has been a lot of investment and a lot of mergers and acquisitions around the concept of dynamically targeted ad networks, I want to use the same principles of targeting for content. I want to get it to a point where the right people see the right content on our network in a very, very easy methodology.”
To see how Tsavo identifies users’ interests, go to Tsavo.com.
I asked what he gets out of advising companies:
Michael said, “I think, from an advisory perspective, some of them are friends that I just want to see successful, that I want to help.
“The other side of it is that I think it’s always healthy for me to get out of my head a little bit and look at their businesses. It informs what I do. It helps other people. It lets me utilize the connections and networks that I brought up.
“That’s actually a big benefit for me. When I sit inside a board meeting and I hear someone else’s business challenges, I think it helps me expand my thinking in regard to what I practice at Tsavo.
“And I also just enjoy it. I don’t see a big personal differentiation between life and work. I just enjoy my life and it happens that I really enjoy my life inside the office. And I really enjoy working with other entrepreneurs. It’s something that I absolutely love doing.”
How do you reach an adviser/investor like Michael?
At the Mixergy Funding Forum, Mark Suster of GRP Partners said that best way to get to an investor is through the entrepreneurs he funded. Here are two people that Michael backed that you might want to get to know:
Ian Swanson, founder of Sometrics, is a good contact for you because he often speaks at conferences, where he helps companies understand the changes in the online business world. Jason Nazar, founder of docstoc, is another good contact because he teaches entrepreneurs at monthly forums and loves helping entrepreneurs.