Jesse Thomas is the CEO and Founder of L.A.-based JESS3, an interactive agency that took the Gold for Small Agency of the Year: Southeast Region in Ad Age’s 2012 Small Agency Awards. As head of a design shop that specializes in data visualization, social strategy and the ability to translate complex information into easy-to-understand, entertaining stories, Jesse’s mastery of the digital landscape, marketing insights and unique creative take blend the best of Silicon Valley, Madison Avenue and Hollywood.
Lauded as one of the "Web's Hottest Designers" by Mashable, Jesse has been working toward owning his own agency since he was in his teens. Obsessed with comic books, all things Disney and Pixar, MTV and video games as a kid, Jesse built a company that produces the wonderment and magic he was inspired by while growing up for vanguard clients that include Nike, NASA, Facebook, Google, Intel, Red Bull and Twitter.
In 2012, Inc. magazine featured Jesse and his partner, JESS3 COO Leslie Bradshaw, on its “30 Under 30” list—the publication’s annual round-up of thriving young entrepreneurs. The same year, Inc. also named JESS3 as one of the 500 “Fastest Growing Private Companies”. The two continue to rank as top “Liked” entrepreneurs on the Inc. site reader poll linked to the feature section. Jesse was named one of Washington's top 100 “Tech Titans” by Washingtonian Magazine, and has been profiled by Communication Arts, PSFK and Modern DC Business Magazine. In the summer of 2012, he was chosen as a mentor for 500 Startups, a Silicon Valley startup accelerator that provides early-stage companies with funding, design solutions, distribution and other resources.
With a background in information design and user experience, Jesse was one of the first agency principals in the world to choose data visualization as a central focus, which lead to breakthrough projects for C-SPAN and PepsiCo during the 2008 Elections. Since then, he has contributed social design-driven methods to the recent redesigns of Samsung.com and Nike.com, while also expanding his team to execute large-scale installations for clients Intel, American Express and Samsung and multimedia videos for Gmail and ESPN that include stop-motion animation, papercraft and even puppeteering.
A dual citizen of New Zealand and the U.S., Jesse is the executive creative director and ideator behind the comic book “The Zen of Steve Jobs” which launched in late 2011. The project is a co-production between Forbes and JESS3. Jesse also oversees the company's self-funded JESS3 labs division, which prototypes and launches its own products, and he writes a column for Forbes.
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