My favorite city is: Tokyo My superpower would be: The power to be less emotionally attached
Powering a new Web3 world
THE POWER OF ENDURANCE. If Jason Goldberg had to use one word to sum up his career so far, he says it would be "perseverance". His remarkable career as a serial entrepreneur and one-time employee at the White House points to a founder who is willing to take risks and has an indefatigable desire to build products that people love.
Jason's latest company, Airstack, marks his eighth startup. The business is a Web3 developer platform that makes blockchain activity easily discoverable, browsable, and consumable. Airstack is a notable evolution from his previous startups, launched in 2022 on "the cusp of a new era where we're going to see a lot of upheaval. I think the next few years will be very disconcerting."
Jason is a natural-born self-starter. He dropped out of university at 19 to join Bill Clinton's presidential bid, traveling across the US during the election campaign. When Clinton won, Jason was appointed special assistant to the chief of staff, Erskine Bowles. He remembers the internet being implemented in the White House in 1994 and understanding the wealth of opportunities it would bring.
In 1998, at the height of the dot-com boom, Jason enrolled at Stanford Business School. He went on to work at AOL, Time Warner and T Mobile, companies where he "discovered a love for products, product development and building user experiences”. In 2004, he decided to strike out on his own and launch his first startup, the recruitment site Jobster. Its rise and fall was fast and furious and taught him valuable lessons about scaling a business. Jason's next move was Socialmedian, a personalized news feed he sold in under a year.
In 2010, Jason founded perhaps his most notable company, fab.com, "a rocket ship that went from zero to $120m in sales in less than a year and suddenly crashed to earth." Originally planned to be a social network for gay men, he instead pivoted to e-commerce, selling third-party items from boutique designer shops. Its worth was once estimated at over $1bn but was ultimately "crushed" by Amazon and sold in 2015.
Post-fab.com and before founding Airstack, Jason launched several more businesses, including messaging app Pepo and the virtual fitness platform Moxie. While the companies are varied and wide-ranging on paper, there's a common thread between them: Jason's motivation to build products that people love.
FROM DREAMER TO HIGH ACHIEVER. As a founder who has experienced particularly extreme highs and lows in his entrepreneurial journey, Jason has learned how to deal with setbacks ("I even helped a Harvard professor teach a class on failure") and turn them into motivations for his next project. "I rarely look at something and say, okay, that's not possible. Instead, I say, okay, how would we do it? I'm constantly thinking about how to build products that are easy to use and that people love and get value from."
Upon reflecting on his founder journey, Jason admits the rollercoaster ride has changed him for the better. "I'm not a ruthless, cutthroat business guy. I want people to like me and enjoy working with me, an out-and-proud gay entrepreneur. If you had asked me ten years ago, I'd probably say I want to win no matter what. Now, it's like, we're going to win, but we're going to have a lot of fun doing it and make sure that we take care of each other.”