I'm a geekette who enjoys playing with new technology for software developers. I work as a Developer Evangelist for Microsoft. My current focus is on machine learning and big data on Azure.
After the tragic loss of her mother, this amazing woman was able to overcome the challenges of starting her own business and win a reality TV show!
Lisa S. Jones is the founder and chief executive officer of EyeMail Inc., who build what Lisa describes as the next generation of email with audio and video in the inbox. “Email lacks inspiration and wasn’t engaging; it was a text advertisement or a link,” Lisa says. “What if we could add personalization to an email? What if we could add voice which reads the message, in short amounts of 30 seconds or less, since we are all busy people?” The result of Lisa’s vision was EyeMail: short, concise emails which increase response rate; the average client has seen a 60% response rate to their emails. To see an example firsthand, check out http://eyemailinc.com/interest which contains samples and the big names that are using EyeMail.
Lisa’s passion to start her own company began with a tragedy. In 2002, she received a phone call that her mother had passed away unexpectedly. To her, the funeral lasted 7 minutes. Her mother deserved more than 7 minutes of remembrance, so Lisa prayed to be able to create something revolutionary and inspiring to honor her mother and make up for those 7 minutes.
How did she come up with the idea of EyeMail? Lisa has a business background and used those skills well. She understood the importance of having your business online. Then she got to thinking about the ways we communicate. “How do we communicate? We call, we talk, and we email…this opened up a new train of thought. Who do we email? We send email internally at our companies, externally to customers, to friends and family…in one click, an email can go anywhere.” Lisa realized that if she could create an email-based company, it would fill an amazing need in the global marketplace.
She was told over and over again that it wasn’t possible to have voice and such in an email. One pivotal moment came in 2007. Lisa is a member of the Georgia chapter of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. She developed and donated an EyeMail campaign of the president’s invitation to an upcoming conference to the members. That turned out to be an amazing move, as it gave visibility of EyeMail to Coca Cola, Time Warner, and numerous other large Fortune companies. She officially launched EyeMail Inc. after the rave reviews from her initial clientele.
But the process has not been without its challenges. In 2005, another company, despite having signed an NDA, tried to steal and rebrand the product. Lisa had to take them to court to defend her rights.
However, her journey has had its triumphs too. In 2008, one of her clients heard about a reality TV show called The Next Tycoon and sent her the information. In the show, each contestant has two minutes to describe their business plan, and the winner becomes the next tycoon. Lisa was leery after the lawsuit, but decided that you can’t live in fear. There were roughly 600 applicants for the show. She made the top 50 and then the top 20 cut, and finally made it down to the top 5 contestants who would compete on the show. You can watch the full episode at http://www.cliffoxford.com/ntshow/ep1.html, but in summary…Lisa won the season one show!
In addition, Larry Gregory interviewed Lisa and some of her team on Channel 9 to discuss EyeMail’s use of Windows Azure: http://channel9.msdn.com/posts/jodonnell/EyeMail-delivers-personalized-audiovideo-emails-from-Windows-Azure/
Lisa believes that the best part of her job is making an impact and helping corporations/organizations/nonprofits/individuals better communicate their messages. “We’re making a difference in an innovative way,” she says. Starting a company is very demanding. But it’s worth it to Lisa. “You have to be passionate about what you do…not just for the financial rewards, but truly passionate about what you do.” So how does Lisa relax? “Leverage the free time you have, and delegate!” She reads a lot of books and gets mentorship from authors like Lisa Nichols and Joel Osteen. Earlier in her career, Lisa was afraid to step away from her hectic work schedule, but learned that it helps to step away and come back refreshed. “You need time just to be…to laugh and enjoy your life, and come back rejuvenated. I didn’t understand this for a long time, but part of work/life balance is to enjoy the journey along the way to success. When you get there, that’s wonderful, but that trial and challenge that you go through to get there must be acknowledged as well.”
Lisa plans to continue to evolve the EyeMail brand, as operations recently expanded to EyeMail Canada and EyeMail Brazil and will eventually be seeking investors to assist with bringing this worldwide EyeMail Application to the global marketplace.
Lisa’s advice to other women in technology: “Find an inspiration. That is very important. There are ups and downs…that’s part of the process…but an inspiration will keep you focused and grounded, and keep you going on the path to success.”