Scott Jones
Scott Jones
Founding CEO, GraceNote
Founder, Chairman & CEO, ChaCha

 
Scott Jones launched ChaCha two years ago and currently serves as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. ChaCha’s popular mobile service is “like calling a smart friend,” allowing users to text virtually any question to 242-242 and receive answers within minutes.  ChaCha’s unique marketing platform provides advertisers with the #1 way to engage millions of young adults and teens on their mobile phones.  Advertisers include Walmart, AT&T, ABC Family, Palm, P&G, IKEA, J&J, Coca Cola, and Paramount.  In less than two years, ChaCha has answered over 300 million questions and reaches over 12 million unique users every month. ChaCha.com is the fastest-growing website in 2009, among the Top 100 sites in the US, according to Quantcast.  And Nielsen reports that ChaCha’s popular mobile service is second only to Twitter in growth rate of the Top 10 mobile text publishers.

Proven innovator, entrepreneur, strategist, venture capitalist, pioneer, and inventor, Mr. Jones has founded and guided numerous companies to successful outcomes. At age 25, he co-founded and helped lead Boston Technology as its Chief Scientist and Chairman, where he developed the massively scalable, easy-to-use voicemail system now used by over a billion people around the world.  As founding CEO at Gracenote, Mr. Jones assembled the team and key technologies to dominate the world of music identification and discovery, which was sold to Sony in 2008 for $260 million. Gracenote services are being accessed globally, tens of billions of times per year, by applications such as Apple’s iTunes.

Mr. Jones and/or his companies have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, CNN, USA Today, NBC Nightly News, Fast Company, Wired, The Ellen Show, Good Morning America, MTV Cribs, and People magazine.

More on Mr. Jones is available at www.scottajones.com and www.chacha.com. You can follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/chachaman.

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QYou spent your undergraduate years at Indiana University, then went to MIT as a research scientist at the Artificial Intelligence Lab. What a great learning environment.

A It was. I spent a couple of years exploring a lot of cutting-edge technology, not just AI, but vision, robotics, Internet, computer graphics, laser printing, speech recognition.

QLet's talk about voicemail.

A I met my future business partner, who was at Harvard, and we decided we should start a company together. He had been studying the divestiture of AT&T and we believed that there would be a lot of opportunity from that, so we created a company called Boston Technology. We discovered a new technology called voicemail that nobody had ever heard of, but it was starting to permeate business. I had some ideas about how you might be able to get rid of the busy signal for phones around the globe. So we got to work building a very different kind of scalable architecture than the business voicemail systems that had started after mechanical answering machines. I filed patents and started to work on the prototype while my partner got to work on a business plan.

QYour technology became the voicemail platform we all know and use today.

A We built a product around my inventions and patents and we built a sales team that was able to go out and work with the "Baby Bells." We were the first to sign up Bell South, Southwestern Bell, and Bell Atlantic (the biggest of the seven Baby Bells), and sell them on this concept of enhanced services.

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