OnSwipe

10 Questions: Jason Baptiste, founder and CMO, Onswipe

March 4, 2014: 12:31 PM ET

On writing, mobile technologies, and why he runs a 5K every day.

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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:

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