Everyone is looking for a value. How about this one? A 30-minute (plus a few more) conversation with Scott Jones yields far more in innovation insights and entrepreneurial observations.

Jones’ geographic path went from computer science at Indiana University to Boston (including MIT and the invention of voicemail) and back to Indiana to be an early leader of developing the state’s ecosystem (with various companies of his own along the way). The last few years saw a primary residence in Hawaii with business and community interests here remaining; 2018 brings a reversal with a bigger hands-on focus in the Hoosier state.

There is no shortage of lessons in our EchoChamber podcast with Jones. A few examples:

The technology side of voicemail was “fairly straightforward”; it was the “business side that was interesting” in a highly competitive atmosphere. Ultimately, 2.5 million people used the Jones’ version of voicemail.

Building that tech community in the 1990s and early 2000s: “What we did was we held ourselves accountable (with a technology scorecard that, for several years, complemented the Chamber’s Economic Vision 2010 measurement). We measured ourselves against neighboring states and the entire country. We had to be objective – to say where did we want to go and how were we going to get there.”

On the importance of coding and the work of the Eleven Fifty Academy that Jones founded in 2014. “Twenty percent of the people are perfect for what we do. Another 30% should know coding. It’s a differentiating factor – the language of coding.”
Eleven Fifty is accredited for veterans to use government funds to pay for their coding education. “The military and veterans are perfect for us. It is intense. It is a bootcamp (12 weeks).”

Jones talks about recent travels in central Indiana and the fact that he was happy to be going the other way when traffic was backed up in the opposite direction. He applies the analogy to his business career.

(It’s a good day) “if I can go the other direction, down the fast lane. It’s my analogy for life. It’s sort of how I built my companies.”

Check out the full conversation via iTunes or on the EchoChamber page.

Bill Waltz is vice president of taxation & public finance for the Indiana Chamber. He is also an attorney and has been with the organization for nearly 15 years.