I was born August 20th, 1977, to Marty and Elyse Reitzin. Technically, I was born in Pasadena, but I moved to Santa Barbara shortly after so for all intents and purposes I am from Santa Barbara.
It was a wonderful place to grow up. We lived in a small but cozy house three blocks from the beach. My dad got me on a surf board when I was two years old, and I haven’t stopped since. Surfing was basically my life growing up. Sometimes I would sneak out of the house at midnight in a full moon and ride my bike for two miles to surf at my favorite break, and get back in bed before the sun came up. My parents had no clue why I was so tired in the morning.
I played a lot of different sports growing up, but surfing was always my passion. I wasn’t the best student as I had a hard time focusing on school. My mind was always thinking about ways to make money, and I wasn’t into the conventional studies. I was great at English, but really disliked math. Like most teenagers, I got into trouble here and there. I went to a few Grateful Dead shows before Jerry died, if you know what I mean.
When I was 16, I took a trip with my best friend and his family to Maui. I fell in love with the place and decided to move there as soon as I graduated high school. I lived there for close to three years. I initially went to Maui because I wanted to train to become a professional surfer, but I just didn’t have the skills. Maui is where I landed my first job in sales, working and selling artwork for the Thomas Kinkade Galleries. I had a boss who taught me the art of closing a deal. This is where I learned to sell myself first and that the art was an experience that the customers take home.
After awhile, Maui was getting smaller and smaller, and I felt I had a much larger destiny to fill than to sit around on the beach all day. My cousin was starting a rock band in L.A., and he asked if I would manage the band. So I moved back to the mainland and became a rock and roll manager.
I was also very interested in acting and playing music since I had been doing both for a number of years growing up. Of course, you can’t be a manager of a starving artist, let alone be a starving artist, so I had to have a day job. I was fortunate enough to be introduced by my grandfather to the CEO of a company he invested in called Interactive Light. The company had some great technology that they used to create interactive sports simulators for video arcades. I remember the CEO telling me, “Jared, there are a million actors out there. You have business in your blood. Go out, make your millions, and then create your own damn movies.” That really was a turning point for me, and it made a lot of sense. Interactive Light is where I really got my feet wet with the Internet. I’ll never forget–I was getting stock tips from the executives and placing trades with my Datek account. I was making more money in a week trading stocks than I made for the entire month on my paycheck. It was then that I realized the power this new medium had.
At the same time, my band started to do really well, playing out all of the time as well as producing an album on our own. This is when my two partners and I decided to start a record label called Katalyst Music Group. I realized very early on that the music industry had changed dramatically. Labels weren’t about developing talent anymore. They needed to put stuff out quickly that would sell to the masses. I knew the only way we were going to make it was to sell 100,000 records out of our trunk like Dave Matthews or Ludicris.
We needed to run the band like a real business, so it only made sense to create a record label. We were extremely aggressive and used the Internet to its full potential. We built a national street team, produced concerts, and booked bands like Hoobastank and Audiovent to play alongside us. To get in good with the concert venues in L.A., we even developed a street team that passed out fliers and went poster-sniping. We created a website portal where they could keep track of how their promotions were going. We would presell our tickets and sell out our shows. We packed places like the Roxy, Whiskey, and Keyclub. Our best idea, however, was Katalyst Technologies.
Our strategy with Katalyst Technologies was to develop websites for the major labels so that we could become friends with them and push our music down the pipeline. For an independent record label that had one band signed, we really had our act together. Problem is, not all of the band members did (more about that in a sec). We got lucky one day and struck gold. We signed a deal with Interscope Records to develop the first mobile application in the music industry for them. It was called My Music Mobile, and it allowed fans to take music news with them on the go with their handhelds. Well, needless to say, this deal gave us some visibility in the industry and since there was turmoil amongst the band, I decided in October of ‘99 to strike out on my own and form a new company that focused solely on providing mobile technology and applications to the music industry. Enter mobileStorm.
It’s been an interesting ride to get to this point. It is funny how life works. I still miss the days of sitting on the beach without a care in the world, but I now also have a great sense of accomplishment. The one part I get bummed out on is that I don’t surf that much anymore because I just don’t have the time. I guess in a few years if I sell the Storm, I will rent a boat and hang out in Indonesia for a while.