It’s hard to believe that just a couple years ago Jake Fishman was a self-described “surf bum,” riding the waves in Costa Rica during his post-college days.
Now, industry experts look to Fishman, senior analyst at Gap Intelligence, to find out about the latest news in the digital world.
The market research firm works with manufacturers, resellers and industry players within the information technology and consumer electronics industries to provide information intelligence.
He was the third employee to join Gap Intelligence in 2005, working as an analyst in the memory cards space. Fishman has also mastered the art of being an analyst in digital photo frames and office and production printing spaces.
Now he’s managing Gap’s computing team and the company’s U.S. and European office and production printing business — all by the age of 32.
He admits his first few years at the company were a humbling experience because of the types of technology he was exposed to. The first thing he did was buy a digital camera when they weren’t that popular yet. He calls memory cards “the ultimate peripheral.”
“They connected to all these different devices and drive content creation in cameras, phones and videos,” he said.
Digital photo frames, which he admits aren’t the “sexiest” segment, was also a learning lesson on how retail works. When the economy fell out, the sector disintegrated and he watched how manufacturers exited from the category.
The Boston native wears many hats at the company. Last year he launched GapCon, an annual conference for employees to share information, learn from one another and enrich professional lives.
“I’ve always wanted to be successful and was pretty realistic that would be through work,” he said. “But I didn’t know that I would be this happy or comfortable or with an organization. It lets people be fun and themselves.”
That’s an understatement. Employees at the Liberty Station headquarters can take a break with ping pong or air hockey. A heated Final Four ping pong tournament took place at the end of March.
At its current growth rate, the company could bloom to about 60 employees in two years.
Fishman has also been involved with Gap University and has taught classes on company processes and trade shows to help educate others.
In May, he will launch Gap’s Managed Print Service TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) Tool, which will be used as a sales proposal resource. Salespeople can demonstrate their customer’s total cost savings over time while shortening sales cycles and driving incremental revenue growth.
An integrated eco impact feature tracks carbon dioxide output related to paper use.
“Tracking street pricing and having a street database TCO tool is truly unique,” he said. “It’s been a good differentiator for us.”
He admits it’s hard work to collect pricing for digital cameras, for example, from various retail chains and report new data each week — and that’s one reason why he’s seen competitors come and go.
“One key to business is to make sure what you’re doing is not easy to do,” he said.