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Amy Jo Martin Talks Entrepreneurship, Investing and Interviewing Mark Cuban on Her Podcast

Kelsey Davis, Manager, Digital Media, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

When working for a professional basketball team, Amy Jo Martin identified social media as the next big thing in the digital world. After helping Shaquille O’Neal establish his social media strategy, she founded Digital Royalty, a social media strategy company.

In addition to being an entrepreneur and founder, Martin is an author, investor and podcast host. We had a chance to speak with her about her career, investing in startups and her most memorable podcast moments.

How did you start Digital Royalty? What problem were you trying to solve when you began the business?

I was working for the Phoenix Suns NBA team as the Director of Digital Media and Research. I saw an opportunity for our marketing partners to get closer to our team's fans and our brand by using social media. I had been experimenting with social media by helping Shaquille O'Neal with his own strategy. We did some pretty big stunts bridging the virtual world and physical world using Twitter. Those campaigns caught quite a bit of attention.

The problem at the time was that corporate brands and celebrities didn't yet know how to deal with social media. There was a decent deal of fear and skepticism, yet the space was moving fast.

While I had a business problem and solution, I also had a desire to design my own day versus have an 8 AM to 5 PM schedule. I was working a great deal of hours regardless; I wanted more freedom. That is why I started my company.

What do you look for in an entrepreneur when you are making an investment? What advice would you give to entrepreneurs looking to start a company?

Although I've only made a few investments, I follow some advice that was given to me: Consider the trend at hand the wave, the company is the surfboard and the surfer is the entrepreneur. I try to focus on and identify ways I can help the surfer, given my background.

I have witnessed many entrepreneurs who overestimate the amount of funding they really need. My advice would be to take a close look at what's truly needed funding-wise, if anything. Often times, I've witnessed people raising money when I didn't think they needed it.

You have a podcast called “Why Not Now?” in which you speak with entrepreneurs and innovators (like Mark Cuban, Arianna Huffington and Troy Aikman, to name a few). What is one of the most memorable moments from your podcast? 

I'm grateful the guests tend to feel comfortable when they're speaking with me on the show, so as a result they often share things they haven't shared before. That keeps things exciting!

The time I interviewed Mark Cuban was at a time when rumors were swirling about whether or not he was going to run for president (or VP). I couldn't believe I was having that conversation.

Technology has democratized everything about how we communicate.  

Amy Jo Martin recently participated on a panel at CTA’s Innovate and Celebrate event.