Jasmine lives in Minneapolis and works within market research and digital analytics. She is building a technology platform for local businesses.

City: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Connect with Jasmine:

Twitter: @JasMRussell
Website: thedataminimalist.com

Who is your community? This may be a group of friends, organization of affinity or a geographic location.

I currently reside within the heart of downtown Minneapolis. Coffee shops, cultured eateries and speed-bolting bikers line my community.

Give us a behind-the-scenes look at your average day.

As a data-driven technology community dweller, my average day varies depending on tech community events or the community project I’m working on with a collaborative team. Prior to diving into strategy technology conversations at night, by day I work professionally within Market Research and Digital Analytics. This field has given me a deep passion and appreciation for the use of technology within our communities and challenges me to think more dynamically in business and/or start-up strategy.

What challenge in your life or work are you most interested in overcoming?

Being a non-native of Minneapolis, there have been noticeable diversity challenges both in gender and race. I’m interested in breaking down these perceptions and perceived barriers in the community. I have a brain, and I enjoy using it. I look forward to the day these conversations in Northern parts of the U.S. become less frequent and race becomes less of a conversation piece. Its about the work and the enjoyment I get from my work–not that I’m a minority performing the work.

If you could do any job, what would you do and why?

I dream of building an idea hub/collective company that works to build the blending concepts of art and technology within our community. Minneapolis has a bustling crowd of creative in each of these spaces and being at the center of an organization that works to foster and cultivates these ideas would not only bring fulfillment to myself and future team–but expand the creative mind-share within our local communities.

What is the most beneficial aspect of living in the OTA region when it comes to your career?

The location of Minneapolis provides a central location to discuss, identify and test applicable national issues at a community scale. The diversity of cultures, backgrounds and educational levels are perfect environments in creating sound research and product understandings across multiple markets. I believe once Minneapolis begins to fully embrace and expand its statistical representation, we’ll understand the power our community truly has in developing useful data for external regions both within and outside of the OTA region.

At what intersection do you live your life?

I live at the intersection of Constant Mind Explosion of Ideas and Unrealistic Timelines.

Where do you think good ideas come from?

Looking at my most recent ideas (i.e. glitter balls as I call them), they usually spark from quirky conversations. Laughs I may share with friends or serious political confusion. I’m still discovering what makes a good idea as I move through the process of prototype, acceptance and failure with startups–but I additionally believe good ideas as also tied to a sense of fear and uncertainty. I have a strange practice of going toward things I’m fearful of. If I’m nervous, I force myself to ask the question of “Why?”…and then I ask questions to see if I’m sane. Its an interesting but exhilarating process.

What’s one current trend you think will change the world?

Living in the age of digital overload, there is a current trend of “technology brain reset” that has caught my attention. There’s something quite powerful and humbling about “disconnecting” to “connect” with the “real” world. It refreshing to see people “defying the system” for a more familiar time older generations are accustomed to. I enjoy the trend of balance–its much needed in an era of terrorism, digital warfare, cultural disconnection and self-fulfilling driven communities. Perhaps we should begin to re-evaluate our own lives more before criticizing what we believe we know from the digital view of others lives. It would be interesting to do a research or data study on that dynamic.

What’s the best way to put inspiration into action?

Voice your inspirational goal. I’m still working on this, but allowing another human beings to hear you–whether or not they completely knock down your idea, it allows you to become more comfortable with the wave of instability or uncertainty in “trying” a new idea.

What’s the greatest risk you’ve taken?

Moving to Minneapolis 2.5 years ago without knowing a single soul within the state. Apparently, it was the worst winter in 20+ years. I figured, it can’t be this cold forever, right? You learn the power and true definition of family and friendship when your closest family member is 10 hours away. It sharpens your skill and defines your purpose.

What’s your biggest failure, and what did you learn from it?

Changing my major from pharmacy to psychology my second year of college. I was completely unhappy my freshman year, and it showed in my academic performance. I quickly learned and decided I needed to live for my personal sanity within my career path–regardless of the sought direction I had in mind. I had to follow the path of mind development, not financial gain. I had to change my motivation.

Who do you hope to leave a legacy for?

My family and friends, for women in need of strength, for African Americans with a blended love for data, science and art. I’m more interested in working on solid projects and helping my community than leaving a legacy at this point. I need to put in the work first before I can earn such a title.

Who is the most connected person in your life, and what personal characteristics make him or her so well-connected?

Connection for myself, begins with family. My grandmother (mother’s side) is the most connected individual within our family. She is one of 9 and considered the historian of the family. The basis of connection begins with communication, layered with understanding and compromise. To be connected doesn’t always mean high volume or numbers, but rather depth of connection for more impactful conversations and interactions.

Who is the most creative person in your life, and why?

My partner–as a former professional dancer and community educator within diverse cultures, he is forced to creatively evaluate and examine unique ways to develop new understandings with his students everyday through art and expression. In addition to his continual creative work he hones this energy into shared projects that examine political disconnects and needed bridges in conversation for culture and art in the community. The balance and spread of his work touches many facets of art and expression building a strong mental hub for creativity.

Who is the most community-focused person in your life, and how do they impact their communities?

I enjoy watching the work of women in the technology community of Minneapolis. It’s wonderful to see women with such passion for technology and truly understanding the need to spread assistant to others in their communities.

How are you engaged in community?

I hold a long term goal of working collaboratively with creative individuals both within the art and technology space, building a company to bring attention to community ideas and conversations. This long-term goal of multiple projects under one house must start with a single idea. I believe in the strength of hard-work and creative dedication and believe Minneapolis has the ability to share these thoughts within the OTA community.

What project are you working on right now?

Proceed’s technology platform brings local business together through: shared merchant profitability, strategic community partnerships and greater consumer transparency. Proceed also provides consumers with deeper understandings of their favorite merchants supporting their local communities. Centered in the collaborative economy—estimated to grow to $335B by 2025, Proceed works by the understanding that community merchants, whether online or brick and mortar, are stronger collectively than they are individually. Utilizing a service fee business model, Proceed strengthens community partnership transparency—providing merchants opportunities to aid one another at alternative partnership percentage levels and assist fellow merchants during low seasons or cycles of profitability.

According to The Giving USA Foundation, in 2015 Americans gave away a record $360 billion to charities. Within many of these charitable exchanges, merchants are participating in one-way giving (e.g. give XX% to charity, end of relationship) along with limited insight into opportunities for partnerships with fellow merchants. Community awareness of merchant giving is also limited in many of these one-way giving partnerships.

Proceed provides a supportive platform for merchants to partner with fellow community merchants for both shared profits and charitable giving. Whether brick and mortar or online, while utilizing Proceed, merchants collectively build the business support landscape of their communities.

Proceed targets both online and brick & mortar merchant markets including: Local Coffee Shops, Clothing Stores, General Stores and Small Food grocers (e.g. co-op, specialty, corner grocery). Within these markets, Proceed pushes traditional concepts of business support through:

• Merchant community impact transparency (both national and local)

• Increased profitability through more strategic community partnerships between merchants and charities

• Merchant business support (e.g. analytics)

• Raised levels of consumer visibility into purchase impact.

Merchants additionally gain support in Proceed’s ability to guide merchants in making smarter partnership decisions within their community based on: partnership profit potential, selecting strategic partnership timelines and product performance. Through giving transparency, consumers find themselves more engaged with the giving patterns of their local merchants, which aids in their pride of supporting local businesses and charities.

What is our value proposition?

Proceed brings value to three key user groups: Store merchants (online or brick and mortar), local shoppers and charities.

Merchants are the backbone and key focus of Proceed’s technology. Proceed challenges the thought that community and charitable giving should only be a one-way street—providing the opportunity for increased profitability when partnering with fellow community merchants or charities. Proceed provides value for merchants seeking:

• Partnership profit increase: Both individually and for fellow local community merchants

• Increased merchant-to-merchant and merchant-consumer transparency of community support

• to decrease store loss in low seasons of profitability

Local shoppers utilizing Proceed’s technology speak to the heart of community impact. Through utilization of Proceed, local shoppers have a greater lense into the impact of their buying. The shopper’s ability to visibly see the positive effects of their giving at both a local or national levels is a value add not only for the reputation of a local business, but growth of a community’s commerce space. Proceed helps shoppers find businesses that:

• Are seeking to increase the profits not only for themselves, but fellow local community merchants

• Are looking to increase their charitable giving

Charities utilizing Proceed’s platform are interested in obtaining more sustainable community partnerships. Proceed not only provides an additional vehicle for charities to receive community support, but a strategic platform for tracking their most successful community partnership by product category, merchant type and geographic region. For charities, Proceed creates:

• Stronger and more strategic relationships with community merchants

• Increased opportunity for community partnerships

• Heightened awareness with local community consumers

We will create a network of local merchants who value charitable giving and interested in sharing profits with other merchants in their community.

Proceed will integrate with well-known ecommerce platforms, Shopify and Square, enabling merchants to sign up using their existing product catalog and point-of-sale platform.

Using Proceed’s Offer a Partnership feature, merchants create Partnership Offers, which consists of:

• a description of the products that they wish to include in the offer

• the profit percentage of each sale that they are willing to share with their partner

• the charity to which they wish to donate 2% of each sale

Once posted, the merchant’s Partnership Offer appears in Proceed’s Partner Finder where other merchants can see it. When a merchant finds a Partnership Offer that interests them, they can respond to it with a description of their own products that they would like to include in the partnership at that profit sharing percentage. The original poster of the Partner Offering can then elect to initiate or reject the partnership.

Our Merchant Dashboard will allow merchants to see how these partnerships and charitable giving campaigns perform over time so that they can learn what works and doesn’t in order to fine tune future Partner Offers they choose to create or to which they choose to respond.

We will charge a service fee of 2% on every purchase made with Proceed for charitable donations and a 1.5% fee per transaction, to fund the Proceed technology.

Our initial beta merchants will not be charged the 1.5% fee per transaction for the first 6 months of use while Proceed builds its initial network.

We will recruit our first merchants through communication with local small business networks including MetroIBA and the Minnesota Retailers Association. Search Engine Marketing and Optimization, as well as social media campaigns will be used to attract additional merchants to Proceed once we have built the initial network.