NY Startup: JustDecide Helps You Make Decisions INTERVIEW

Have you ever wanted someone to help you make a decision. Maybe you didn’t feel like talking to a friend or relative about your decision. Maybe you didn’t want to call the advice call in show? Well now there’s a startup for that, and it’s called JustDecide.

If you’ve ever struggled with a decision (and who hasn’t) than you know the foundation for JustDecide. With this innovative new startup from New York, you get real life people who have had to make the same decisions as you, help you make informative, good decisions. Heck, this startup is life changing.

Jay Amato, a New York executive with quite an impressive resume, launched JustDecide just over a week ago as a platform for social decision making. Amato goes over his resume in our interview with him below. He founded JustDecide when he was faced with the dilemma of making the decision on what to do next.

We talk with Amato about JustDecide, decision making and the New York startup scene. Since TechCrunch Disrupt NYC 2012 we’ve heard different views on whether New York’s startup scene is actually more segregated than it’s west coast counterpart.

Check out the interview below. Based on his life experiences, and lengthy executive work history Amato provides a different perspective on a lot of things in the startup process.


What is JustDecide?

JustDecide is a new social decision-making platform. Whether itʼsrelationships, school and career, or the relatively simpler choice in life, our community of real-life Solvers™ and the friends who know you best will help you to make a timely and well-informed decision.

Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

Jay Amato – Founder

I spent my career finding exciting new technology-based opportunities, immersing myself in them and uncovering viable businesses. I started more years ago than I would like to admit with PC Networking (I actually still own an Apple Lisa), the explosion of the Internet, web-based video, renewable energy and most recently with JustDecide.

Prior to founding JustDecide, I served as an Executive in Residence at Arklow Capital — a hedge fund in New York, guiding business and investment strategies. I was the founder and CEO of PersonalScreen Media LLC, a company which developed new methods of monetizing video content on the web. In 2008 we were nominated for an Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Emmy Award. Prior to that I served as President and CEO of NASDAQ-traded Viewpoint Corporation, an interactive media company. I was also President and COO of Vanstar Corporation, a $2.8 billion (NYSE) that provided global computer consulting and outsourcing services. In addition to JustDecide, I also serve as a Board member of NASDAQ-traded SunOpta and private wireless telecom consulting firm Axis Teknologies and have served on several non-profit Boards.

How did you come up with the idea?

JustDecide was born out of my personal dilemma on what to do with the rest of my life. After running businesses for many years, I had decided to invest my time helping other companies, through consulting, mentoring and board roles. Along the way I realized that my true love was building and growing a business, not simply advising. So after lots of conversations, and not finding my dream job, I figured Iʼd better create one. While I was weighing various options and leveraging the advice of friends and associates, my girlfriend Jenn said, “there should be a place online for people like you to gather advice easily from their friends and from other people who have walked in your shoes”. That conversation took place in October and only last week JustDecide became a reality.

What problem does JustDecide solve?

Our mission is to enable people to learn from the lives of others by accumulating and cataloging a vast range of dilemmas, decisions and outcomes. If you saw a person walking down the street about to fall into a ditch, wouldnʼt you yell to warn them? JustDecide was designed to satisfy this impulse to help. It always frustrates me to watch my friends–or myself for that matter–struggle over a decision when I knew people who had been stuck in the same dilemma before. Wouldnʼt it be great if we could learn from others- both people we know and those we donʼt?

What’s your secret sauce?

If we told you, it wouldnʼt be a secret! Seriously, I think much of what would be the “secret sauce” is baked into our future releases of the product. Some of them are evident in places like our scoring system. Today we are tracking a users interaction at many points along the decision process; both as seekers (the person seeking the advice) and solver (the person providing the advice) we will use that history to begin to recognize people in our community for the expertise they are accumulating in our various categories.

What’s one lesson you’ve learned in the startup process?

The modern startup process very much embodies the Buddhist doctrine of impermanence. That constant cycle of birth and rebirth is radically different from the linear “plan and execute” mentality of the early business philosophies I grew up with. It has taken some getting used to, but it is a very exciting way to build a business. Simply put, I was taught to spend a lot of time researching, planning, simulating and then building, to a very exacting plan, in order to get it done “the right way”. The goal was to eventually put the best possible product in your customerʼs hands. Today that has given way to, experimentation, adaptability and responsiveness to get a minimum viable product in users hands quickly and build from there.

There are a lot of startups coming out of New York, at TechCrunch Disrupt we learned that there may be a bit of a culture clash between Manhattan based startups and Brooklyn startups, is this the case?

While I live and work in Brooklyn, my advisors and resources come from both sides of the bridge, so from my perspective, no I would not say there is an obvious culture clash, but I will be on the lookout for it now.

Do you have the same amount of resources in Brooklyn as startups do in midtown?

Yes they are the same, simply put, not enough! Whether itʼs people, office space, parking or good BBQ, given the activity in the startup community here in NYC, there are just not enough resources to satisfy the demand. Given the close proximity of downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn, I donʼt really detect a geographical boundary to resources.

Whatʼs next for JustDecide?

We have gotten a lot of great feedback on the initial product after only a week. That and working with our community, we are hard at work planning for the next iteration. More mobile functionality, advice related search integration and most likely an IOS version. I am spending a lot of time hiring a small team to focus on community management and continued development. And how could a whatʼs next be complete without fundraising, now that we have a real product out there?


Check out JustDecide here at their website

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