Jacobs ’98 talks Runkeeper’s success and journey

[Jason Jacobs '98] By Aditi Kini '13

Runkeeper, launched in 2008, is one of the world's most popular personal fitness apps. How did its cofounder and CEO Jason Jacobs '98 manage to build it up? In an interview with the Boston Globe, Jason talks about some of the key moments in the ideation and development of the app - and why he's not interested in anyone acquiring it.

1. Jacobs holds a liberal arts degree from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., showing that you don’t have to be a techie to start a successful tech firm.

“I didn’t study a whole lot,” he said, “but when I did, American government was my major. I got out in the late ’90s, and I came to Boston and started working in small, high-growth technology. I’m not trained as an engineer. The plumbing of the Internet is very important but it’s not something that I could relate to a ton.”

2. Jacobs was a sales specialist, but he soon learned that in any tech company, it pays to speak geek.

“A big piece, honestly, is finding a great team that understands the things you don’t. So one of the first persons I started working with when I was getting going was someone who had been an engineer for his entire career. To this day, he’s our chief technology officer. We did the same thing in product, we did the same thing in user experience. Having a good core team of people who were the masters of their craft was an important success factor.”

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Image: c/o Jason Jacobs

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