Ari Jacoby is CEO of Solve Media and was named the 2014 Ernst & Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year. From Uber to Frozen to making promises, Ari talks all thing Fatherhood…and of course some entrepreneurial words of wisdom.
Tell us about your kids. What’s it like being a Father?
Piper is 5–she’s a smart little girl. She’s full of spunk and really funny, like her mom. Piper does lego sets meant for 12 year olds in a weekend–and I’ve been relegated to finding the pieces. Hunter is 2. He’s about as physical as they get and we play with cars and horse around. He’s almost old enough for daddy-son meals and a budding foodie. They are both city kids in every way–they ask for Uber by name and pass up mac and cheese for ethnic cuisine. Being a dad is harder than I thought, but genuinely fun. I find myself thinking about the kids (and Kayle) all the time and I feel like I’m a better person for it. I’m excited to be the kind of dad who really makes a difference, and I hope, as a family, we do it “our way.”
Talk to us about your parenting style.
I wish I was low-key, but I’m not. I’m still working out the kinks a bit–I should be ready for prime time by their teenage years. I try to be attentive and I’m focused on the things they are passionate about (you should hear me belt out Frozen tunes). I let the kids try new things and I’m not worried about them getting dirty or falling down. I try to be careful with my words–I want them to be resilient and I know that in life, there are no mini-trophies for all participants.
What’s the one thing you cannot live without as a Dad?
My wife, Kayle. Honestly, she does most of the heavy lifting…
You were recently named Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year. Tell us a little more about that and what it means to you. Any advice for other fellow entrepreneurs?
The Ernst & Young award was a surprise and a real honor. In fairness, the award belongs equally to Todd Lieberman, my long-time business partner. The recognition was nice, but we have a ton of work to do to be a successful company. My team is dedicated to our mission and it shows. Start-ups are hard–there are much easier ways to make a lot of money. I’ve worked with Todd for over a decade, and we like making new records together. My only advice is to seek out loyal partners–a tight team is a much more effective team.
How do you juggle responsibilities on the home front (Dad Duties) with those of being a Start-Up CEO?
Kayle & I are a team at home–a unified front. I travel a ton and my weekends are filled with kids birthday parties and family adventures. On the road, I work hard to call before bedtime, and we plan fun activities together that everyone can look forward to. Running a company isn’t a whole lot different–we make promises, we keep them, we work to inspire and we spend real time on people, product and processes.
What’s next for Solve Media?
Solve Media has recently added a data business to its advertising business and we’re evolving as a company. Everything we do starts and ends with our security platform–we mitigate risk for media buyers, ad agencies and publishers by verifying audiences. Our technology protects more than 150,000 publishers from bot abuse, and our data is deterministic–we don’t make educated guesses, we sell certainty.