We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeff Whiting and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jeff, how do you think about risk?
When I was considering launching my software company (Stage Write) I hired several experts to consider the field and help assess if there was a real business. Both of them came back to say, no, there was no real market for the idea. Somehow inside I just KNEW it was still a good idea, that someone would eventually do it, and I decided to follow my ‘gut instinct’. Now, 10 years later it is a thriving business and an industry leading business. I’m very grateful that I ignored those experts and followed my intuition. That intuition has paid off many times as I learned to trust that feeling in other business decisions I have made over the years.
What should our readers know about your business?
My business is centered around the idea of a flea in a jar! I once read a study where scientists took a group of fleas, put them in a jar. Fleas have the ability to jump across the room but in this jar they had to decrease their jumping potential. After a week, they noted that the fleas had started jumping just below the limitation of the lid of the jar. At the end of that week they took the lid off of the jar and noted that the fleas did not attempt to jump out. They kept jumping at that same height they had gotten used to. When I read that study I realized that this is much like us as artists – we hear ‘no’ all the time and sometimes we just get used to accepting ‘no’ and end up like the fleas. I determined that if I was ever going to get anywhere in my life and my career, I would have to jump as if there was no lid on the jar. That’s why I call my company Open Jar Studios, to remind us that there is no limitation, the jar is always open, possibilities endless. I’ve noticed that if you approach life this way, you attract the ‘yes’ in life.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take them on a quiet trip around the city, enjoying the quiet spots here: lunch at Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, Magnolia cupcakes enjoyed on the plaza at Lincoln Center, take in a Broadway show (MUST DO!) and then a walk on the Hudson Park waterfront.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to shout out to the teachers I have had in my life: teachers/mentors in school and mentors here in the business. They gave me the courage to follow my dreams.