Interview with Jake Sargent

I was able to have a interview with a good friend of mine, Jake Sargent. He is the Founder of The Mac Mind.

Q: How did you come up with the idea of themacmind? Did you do anything before it? How has it changed?

A: Before TheMacMind I was working at a site called the MacAddict Readers Club. I got inspired, thought TheMacMind was a cool name, and jumped right into it. At first, I was just publishing occasional articles and changing the interface every other day (web design was my main hobby), and then the site transformed into a portal - that took it to the next step. I started making money, hiring editors, etc.

I had a few interesting encounters when I was hiring people to work at TheMacMind. Once, I hired a college professor who had no idea of my age. Another time I asked this guy for any past experience that he had, and he said "Oh, well all of my previous projects didn't work because the site closed down or I figured out it was being run by a 12 year old." I was 12 or 13 at that time - ironic... I hired him.

Q: I heard that your now just "founder". You had some difficulties along the way. What were they? Did the site effect your schoolwork?

A: I really turned the site into a much bigger project than someone my age was expected to be able to handle. I became obsessed with it, I took it way to seriously and couldn't take my mind off of it. I stormed up idea in class, came home, and typed away for hours. I wouldn't say that it affected my schoolwork, but more my social life. I think I missed out on some really great opportunities to hand out with my friends.

Q: What kind of position are you in right now? Are you in charge, or are you just letting them take care of it?

A: I don't do anything right now, Stefano Scalia and Steve Salas are doing a great job. I do get a cut of the profits, though. ;-)

Q: What is your current project? How is it going? How is it different from themacmind? Do you feel that you have grown? Do you have any advantages that you have now (with making the new site) that you didn't have when making the macmind?

A: My current project is PortableMac.Com. It's going to be a site that publishes one daily column, that sort of wraps up the portable news, with my opinions, and a bit of humor. I'm trying to break away from the traditional way of publishing news, and make it more friendly, more like I'm chatting with someone, rather than re-writing press releases. That's it, I'm going to keep it small.

I definitely feel like I have grown, and I go into creating PortableMac knowing that I can't take it too seriously. It's going to be fun, I'm going to publish content at my leisure, and make sure that I don't get stressed out about it. If I do, I'm going to quit. It's that simple. The best piece of advice that anyone has ever told me is to never take anything too seriously.

Q: How many hits does themacmind get? With the horrendous drop in the cost form advertising, is themacmind profitable (or just able to pay the bills?)

A: Well right before I left TheMacMind, it was getting 1,000 to 2,000 hits per day. I'm not sure what the current statistics are. TheMacMind was very profitable, we were raking in $500-$700 per month, and I payed the editors (all two of them) about $100 each, if I remember correctly.

Q: What type of computers do you have at home? What grade are you in?

A: I have a 400 MHz TiBook, and I'm going into my first year of high school this fall.

Q: What kind of Hobbies do you have? and then besides computers? What kind of games do you play?

A: I like to play tennis and I work out a lot. I don't have much time other than that. Right now I'm painting a room in my house (fascinating, huh?) and I just spent 10 hours on Apple tech support trying to convince them to replace my broken Airport.

I'm not really a big gamer - All the time I spend on the computer is either spent surfing the web or working on my site. I'm trying to spend less and less time on the computer (ya know, get out a bit), so gaming is not one of my top priorities. I do like Oni, though!

Q: Do you feel that you have made it "big"? Do you have any advice to aspiring websites? If you could have done it over again what would you have done different?

A: Obviously I didn't make it "big" compared to some other Mac sites out there (MacCentral, MacAddict, etc.). But for my age and under my budget (I didn't get any financial support from my parents, but of course they completely encouraged me to pursue TheMacMind and were very proud), I think I did pretty well.

Any Advice? I think I mentioned this earlier, don't get too caught up in it and don't take it too seriously. When you get to that point, it's not any fun and it's not worth doing. I wouldn't do anything differently if I did it all over again. There were parts that I didn't enjoy, but I learned a lesson from everything and feel that every part of the experience will help me in the future (I know that sounds cheesy).

Thanks Jake for taking the time to chat with me!