Jacob Moshinsky | Crain's Toronto

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Jacob Moshinsky


Jacob Moshinsky came up with the idea of a kid-friendly GPS watch after losing track of his son at an amusement park. A comfortable fit, SOS alerts and walkie-talkie capabilities set it apart from its market competitors. Based in Toronto, Monkey Jabber launched pre-sales on its website on Nov. 15. 

The Mistake:

Initially when the business was formed, I did form it with some other potential partners. I don’t think they were the greatest friends of mine, [but they] helped me get some of the basic ideas in terms of technical.

But by getting the right advisors afterwards I was able to really understand that sometimes those initial partnerships that you create are not the most beneficial, and not the ones that are going to take you to your ultimate vision or ultimate goal as a company. That’s why you also need to make sure you have the right advisors on board with your team from the very beginning to guide you along and meet with you every couple of weeks.

That’s really what will get your business to where [mine] is right now, to get to the pre-sales.

If I could go back, I would get my advisors on board from the very beginning to guide me along and to get me up and running faster. Also, I would be more critical and more analytic, in terms of who are the right partners and who can get the idea and vision off the ground – not just jump into somebody who you feel may have the right skills and the right ability. but at the end of the day may not.

Give extensive thought to who you’re giving your equity to and how that’s going to benefit you.

 My interest and my excitement got ahead of my critical thinking.

The Lesson:

Make sure you have the right people to validate you, and make sure there’s sufficient interest and demand for your product. That’s one of my lessons learned from beforehand. I just dove into ideas; I didn’t explore them much or get them validated. This time I really took the time to make sure all the boxes are correctly checked and making sure I’m on the right path.

When you start a business and have a great idea, people can buy into it, which is great. But you have to make sure the long-term vision, ability and mindset is something that they have. That’s not what everybody may have. My interest and my excitement got ahead of my critical thinking. At the end of the day we’re still good friends and we’re still able to be amicable with each other. So I guess I’m lucky in that sense, but I’ve heard stories where that’s not always the case.

I think it’s more about not accepting everything they give you as face value and being able to question everything. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to agree on everything. Question the why’s behind everything, but make sure you understand them. If there’s a bad answer, give them the runway to go about it. And if they don’t feel like it’s not the right answer, call them out right away and make sure they’re aware of it. It all goes back to transparency, but also being very forthright.

Follow Monkey Jabber on Twitter at @MonkeyJabbing and Moshinsky at @JacobMoshinksy

Photo courtesy of Jacob Moshinsky.

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