Prairie Portrait: Derek Jensen, senior at Iowa State University
Name: Derek Jensen
Bio: I write, design, help people, and do a combination of all three.
Residence: Ames, Iowa
Intro music: "This Must Be the Feeling" by Nero
What inspired you to start Resimplify?
Derek Jensen: Designing is creating around reasoning, but the practice of web and app design has gained too much focus. In what I found as a problem when thinking about design lies my inspiration. I respected sites like A List Apart, Smashing Magazine and Six Revisions, but they all focus on web design. I wanted to focus on the core aspects of any design, which would be the concept or idea of advertising, identity and user experience. I was inspired by the ignorance of core design thinking.
SPN: As a college student and founder, what's your take on the job our higher education system does of teaching and promoting entrepreneurship? What changes, if any, would you like to see to the system?
DJ: Truthfully, my experience at Iowa State has been a very rewarding one, and overall I feel they honor entrepreneurship. What is important is they don't inhibit entrepreneurship, and I believe that is crucial to a good higher education system. Furthermore, I believe the job of higher education systems is to provide avenues for students to subconsciously practice what we call entrepreneurship. The only problem is that the system sees offering classes and a minor about entrepreneurship making a positive impact. Rather than focusing on offering a minor and classes, they need to think about how each department within the system can offer a class or two related to the matter.
SPN: Working as an opinion columnist for the Iowa State Daily, what's the condensed version of one column you've always wanted to write but never had the editorial freedom to?
DJ: The Iowa State Daily frowns upon open or public constructive feedback. I say this because there have been a couple of times where I've wanted to write a column about some problems the Daily faces. By writing these pieces I could bring attention to a problem that is only being talked about inside the organization. And when the Iowa State Daily is a student-run newspaper, I believe the non-employed students of the Daily could help. I'm certainly not afraid to voice my opinion, but I respect the decisions that follow. Other than that, I've had the freedom to write about whatever I want to, which is usually technology-related.
SPN: You have called Gary Vaynerchuk your idol. What is it about Gary V that appeals to you so much?
DJ: No sugar coating and excuses is what makes Gary V great as a person. Knowing that he is working hard every day while caring for so many people always keeps me on my feet to do what is important in life. Many times, if not every, the most important thing to do requires the most work. It's life, and if you want to make change then you've got to put in the effort without making excuses. Be yourself and Gary V is my idol for that reason.
SPN: You've described yourself as "addicted to wearing cool T-shirts." As a connoisseur of cool shirts, what are a few of your favorite startup Tees, and why?
DJ: I define "cool" as something I have respect for or find a value that is often hidden by the cool people. Seems strange, huh? I only have two shirts that come from the same startup, which is Dwolla. I have the bling John Wayne and the glow-in-the-dark one handed out at Big Omaha in 2011. My favorite shirts or the ones I wear are ones that speak culture, value, humor or cleverness. I've always wanted to design a shirt for Raygun or maybe even compete with them someday.
Credits: Photo courtesy of Jensen.
Prairie Portraits: To learn more about this series, see our introduction post, or visit our archives for past Prairie Portraits. To suggest an individual for a future Prairie Portrait, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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