FORTUNE -- Jason Baptiste -- the 28-year-old founder and chief marketing officer of mobile publishing company Onswipe -- has always had a great eye for design. As a student at the University of Miami, he started a software company with the goal to make spreadsheets more enjoyable. When he turned 21, he dropped out of school and moved to Silicon Valley to work on his startup. When the recession hit, Baptiste returned to finish school and walked out of his alma mater with a bachelor's degree in computer information systems.
During that time, he also wrote a book called The Ultralight Startup. The project inspired him to find a way to make his writing look good on tablets. As he started to build the software, he realized that mobile technology had a lot of business opportunity. His current company, Onswipe, was born.
He spoke with Fortune.
1. Which business or technology person do you admire most? Why?
If I had to pick one overall person who I think has influenced me in the industry the most -- I don't even know the guy super well personally -- it's [former Intuit CEO] Bill Campbell.
What he's done is influence so many leaders of our time. So you name it, from Steve Jobs and the Google (GOOG) founders to the CEO of Twitter (TWTR) Dick Costolo, he's basically instilled in them the best management practices and ways to grow a startup. He's done that with so many folks at big, successful companies, and it comes back down to the smaller startups and trickles through.
I think he's had the biggest impact on our ecosystem. He's a quiet, under-the-radar guy, but he's had probably the biggest impact. His nickname is "the coach." At one point he was on the board of both Apple (AAPL) and Google at the same time. He's been an advisor and a mentor to a ton of folks.
2. Which technology sector excites you most?
I would say mobile is the most exciting at a high level, and here's why: We have the chance to completely reinvent everything that has come before us to be, not slightly, but entirely different. Mobile is a "one foot" user interface, right? It's not that far away from your face. It's where we get to rethink the experience of everything that has come before. It's essentially putting a supercomputer in everyone's pocket. So, what's possible that wasn't possible before? We've seen things like Uber. It's the ability to actually have a car-on-demand which is going to be cheaper than a taxi. So there's a ton of new stuff that we can build now.
3. What would you do if you weren't working at your current job?
I would absolutely be a writer. This whole company started out of writing. In my mind, writing is creation. Writing is when you say, "I want to tell a story about something -- this company or this person or this event." I think it's parallel to software. Software allows people to create stories through experiences. So, I would be a writer. I've often gotten the question of, "What would you do if there were no computers?" I would have started a media company and been the first writer there.
4. What is your greatest achievement?
About three months ago, we became larger than Tumblr and WordPress on the iPad. So becoming the largest publishing platform on the iPad is a big step for us. But we still have a lot left to do.
5. What has been your biggest failure?
Early on, one of my first companies failed. I learned, "Hey, it doesn't always work out." I didn't know enough about product in technology at that point. I needed to go back to school and get a computer information systems degree -- not an entrepreneurship degree -- to learn the basics of computer science. I soaked up everything I could possibly learn about product management, product creation, and what makes a great product in technology. So my failure was not knowing enough of that stuff, but then I went and learned from that.
6. What was the most important thing you learned in school?
Third grade was the first time I ran for a student government office. From that I learned the power of public speaking and leadership and everything associated with that, especially the importance of clearly communicating to a group of individuals. I continued all throughout high school, where I also did Mock Trial.
7. What is one goal that you would like to accomplish during your lifetime?
I would love to create a hardware consumer product. I think software is one thing, but the art of creating something that's actually a physical product that people love, that's difficult. It's not just designing great software; it's designing something that looks great at all angles and is actually easy to use. That's another level of challenge that's fascinating. My biggest inspiration is from cars. Cars are a piece of art in motion. If you look at a Porsche, Aston Martin, or a Corvette, those cars are timeless. I'd love in my lifetime to be able to create consumer products that are used by a billion people. That would be one thing that I'd love to do.
8. What do you do to live a balanced life?
Try to check your shit at the door. When you get home, of course you're going to bring work there, but don't let it influence the other people in your life. Try to separate the two and make sure that you have time between both sides of work and life. That's a hard thing to learn.
9. Describe an ideal day.
I'm happiest when I'm creating content or creating a product. I love, first and foremost, creating things. That's what I think entrepreneurship is: the art of taking absolutely nothing and creating something that hundreds of millions of people use. That's fascinating. So a day when I'm creating and doing, instead of sitting in meetings.
10. What is one unique or quirky habit that you have?
I've run a 5K every day for four and a half years, even if I'm traveling, sick, or was out late the night before. The reason for that is, as a startup, you're trying to do the impossible, and you've got to have a commitment to that. If you can't even get yourself to spend 20 to 25 minutes to run a 5K, how can you do that? It also allows me to clear my mind on a daily basis.
More from Fortune's 10 Questions series:
Cook's hometown paper has unearthed a trove of unflattering yearbook pictures.
FORTUNE -- According to the Mobile Press-Register, Tim Cook played trombone, sold ads for the yearbook, and was the second-best student in his Robertsdale High School graduating class. The valedictorian, Teresa Prochaska Huntsman, works as an application developer analyst in Boise, Idaho.
More photos and bioperse: Tim Cook -- Apple CEO and Robertsdale's favorite sonPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 25, 2014 11:17 AM ET
Airtime has hidden its ties to OkHello.
FORTUNE -- We all remember Airtime, the biggest, flashiest startup launch of 2012. Napster co-founders Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning had reunited with $33 million from Silicon Valley's top investors for a star-studded, over-the-top launch event. Jim Carrey was there. Snoop Dogg was there. Jimmy Fallon, Ed Helms, Martha Stewart, Joel McHale, Olivia Munn, Alicia Keys, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus were there. Parker boasted Airtime MOREErin Griffith - Feb 24, 2014 10:15 PM ET
You know what's cool? $19 billion
FORTUNE -- Remember back in 2012 when a billion dollars seemed like a lot of money to pay for a fast-growing photosharing app called Instagram? Turns out, that's nothing. Facebook (FB) has just announced plans to purchase mobile messaging service WhatsApp for at least 16 times that. The company will pay an additional $3 billion in restricted stock units to be granted to WhatsApp employees MOREJessi Hempel, writer - Feb 19, 2014 6:14 PM ET
Apple is "the best-looking girl at the party, forced to wear a bag over her head."
FORTUNE -- Unveiled by Steve Jobs in June 2010 with a promise of new generation of low-cost mobile ads that not only didn't "suck" but would have users coming back for more, the iAd platform was supposed to be Apple's (AAPL) answer to Google's (GOOG) AdMob.
But advertisers didn't exactly fall over themselves to fork over the minimum $1 MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 19, 2014 7:47 AM ET
As the tech giant looks to become more than just a set of tools you use at work and on the go, smart engineering will be key. So will design.
By Olof Schybergson
FORTUNE -- Google has successfully developed technologies that make life easier for people at their offices or on the go. Think of services such as Search, Mail, and Drive. And apps, such as Maps and Play, are designed to ease the MOREFeb 12, 2014 1:42 PM ET
The Mountain View company announced its fourth-quarter earnings amid a flurry of M&A activity
FORTUNE -- Google reported strong fourth-quarter earnings Thursday: The company earned $16.86 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter, a 17% jump over the same period in 2012. Google's GAAP earnings per share was $9.90, up over $8.62 in the year prior. The company's stock traded up more than 4% after hours.
But analysts on the earnings call were MOREErin Griffith - Jan 30, 2014 7:39 PM ET
In an interview with Fortune, Yuanqing Yang says that his company seeks to replicate its ThinkPad success with Motorola.
FORTUNE -- Fresh from signing a $2.91 billion deal with Larry Page to acquire Google's Motorola unit, Lenovo CEO Yuanqing Yang spoke to Motorola employees for 45 minutes at the latter company's headquarters outside of Chicago on Thursday. Immediately after that meeting, Yang discussed the deal and Lenovo's plans to compete in the MOREMiguel Helft, senior writer - Jan 30, 2014 4:01 PM ET
It only took six quarters, but Facebook earnings show it has won over the mobile skeptics.
FORTUNE -- Since its disastrous IPO in 2012, Facebook has worked to quiet the skeptics. With its annual earnings report Wednesday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg can finally relax: Facebook (FB) is officially a mobile company.
The fourth quarter marks the first time mobile advertising accounted for the majority of Facebook's revenue, representing 53% of income at $1.25 billion. MOREErin Griffith - Jan 29, 2014 7:18 PM ET
Google CEO Larry Page admitted that it didn't make sense for Google to remain in the handset business.
FORTUNE -- After trying and failing to compete effectively in the handset business, Google is selling its Motorola business unit to Lenovo, the world's largest and fastest-growing PC maker, for $2.91 billion in cash and stock.
MORE: Can Lenovo do it?
After the deal, Google (GOOG) will retain the vast majority of patents it acquired with MOREMiguel Helft, senior writer - Jan 29, 2014 5:46 PM ET
|AT&T cuts prices again|
|Can Fox's reboot of 'Cosmos' find an audience?|
|Winners and losers of the bull market|
|The medical marijuana ad that never aired, despite contrary media headlines|
|Chrysler Group orders donated Vipers destroyed|