Today’s interview is with Daniel Pino and Karissa Jobman founders of Bucket, a company that “works to increase the access to tourism in developing cities, so you can simply explore.” They plan to offer a bundled Bucket Pass that includes tickets “to the top five attractions your destination has to offer,” and the first city to be included will be Quito, Ecuador.
In a blog post, Karissa explains that she and Daniel met during an internship with Southwest Airlines, during which they worked to check things off their bucket list. Their discussions about travel led them to ask the question: “How can we expand access to tourism in these less traveled countries?” They created Bucket Pass to increase convenience of traveling to these cities, in order to “unleash adventurers to make a few checks off their bucket list by providing savings that can make the unreachable – reachable” (read Karissa’s post: “To the List Makers and Risk Takers“).
In the interview below, Karissa and Daniel share what they think leads to success as entrepreneurs (while holding other jobs!), how they spend their free time, and the best advice they’ve ever received.
Names and company:
Daniel Pino and Karissa Jobman at Bucket
Fun fact about you:
Daniel: I’ve lived in 6 different cities in the past 6 years.
Karissa: My goal is to finish my 50 states tour within the next 2 years; I have 15 more to go.
Daniel: I always leave the last piece for the end. Therefore, when I eat something, I always eat it from the outside in.
Karissa: I grew up in Nebraska, but not in a cornfield.
Daniel: I can’t brush my teeth and look at myself in the mirror. If I do, I can’t resist closing my eyes.
Karissa: I started Bucket my first year teaching in inner city Dayton, Ohio through Teach For America. People think I’m crazy, but I find when I am passionate about life and learning new things, my students are too.
What do you think has been essential to your success as travel-related entrepreneurs?
Daniel: I don’t think we can consider ourselves successful just yet. However, I do think that launching Bucket in Quito, while none of us are physically there, while working full time for other organizations, is a success. The way we’ve achieved it is discipline. Both Karissa and I are very disciplined when it comes to getting work done when it needs to be done. An example of that is how every Tuesday night Karissa and I talk and discuss everything that happened last week and what needs to get accomplished next week. We never miss this call and it helps us move fast.
Karissa: A strong partnership has been essential to our success. It’s hard to find someone that compliments your strengths in a work environment and you also can share a great friendship with. Daniel and I started as good friends and then moved to doing business together. We encourage each other when we lack energy, we challenge each other’s ideas, and we make time to share our lives with one another. So many companies fail due to interpersonal challenges, but we are able to maintain a balance of partners and companions.
What was something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
Daniel: Partnerships. It’s REALLY hard to find a good partner. Someone that you can rely on, someone that you trust, someone that inspires you, and someone that you have a good communication with. It’s really better to be alone that someone who is not the right fit. However, once you find that person, it’s the best thing that can happen to your business. I compare it to getting married. I am really thankful that I am in “the same boat” as Karissa.
Karissa: I was and am constantly surprised about how many hats I have to wear as an entrepreneur. I have a diverse background in design, advertising, statistics, and communications, and with entrepreneurship I get to use them all, plus more. Some nights I find myself as an accountant or researching business law. I love how it constantly pushes me to learn more, but I also have to accept that some of the more tedious tasks I won’t be able to escape.
If you had to describe Bucket in 6 words or less, what would you say?
Daniel: Tickets to TOP attractions in developing cities.
Karissa: Enhancing tourism access in developing cities.
Who or what inspires you?
Daniel: Many entrepreneurs inspire me: Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Daniel Ek, and Bill Gates. I hope one day I can have the same impact in the world as they’ve had it.
Karissa: Creators fighting for social justice inspire me. For example, Dave Levin and Mike Feinberg, the founders of KIPP public charter schools, started their own school while in Teach For America when they were still in their early twenties. They could have taken the easy route of high paying careers with their Ivy League degrees, but they decided to dedicate their lives to promoting educational equity across America. They took risks, now students all across America reap the reward of their perseverance and heart.
What is your all-time favorite bucket list item (of yours or someone else’s)?
Daniel: Live in a foreign country. Preferably live there for more than a year. Preferably that country is “really foreign” (different language, different religion, etc.) I think everyone should have that experience at some point in life. It really opens your eyes, it makes you more accepting of others, you get to know yourself better.
Karissa: To foster or adopt a child
If you aren’t working on Bucket, what are you doing in your free time?
Daniel: It’s easy to become obsessed with your business to the point where you always want to be working on it. However, I try to balance my time and still spend time with my friends, travel, go to the movies, and work out. Especially this last one, working out, I think is VERY important to maintain your mental health and become more creative. Some of the best ideas I’ve had for Bucket have come up when I went for a run.
Karissa: What is free time? Just kidding. But I do find free time hard to come by; Bucket is my free time. I find it relaxing after a stressful day at school to post up at a coffee shop and work on designs for Bucket. But when I do have a free holiday, I travel any chance I get. I love domestic travel, exploring cities, and reuniting with friends I’ve made all over the country. I work hard to maintain these relationships even when I live hundreds of miles away.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Daniel: This is actually a famous quote, but it was shown to me by a professor: “Happiness means having something do, something to hope for, and someone to love.”
Karissa: “You can travel the whole world, see the seven wonders, and do everything in life you’ve ever dreamed, but life is best in company of the people you love.”
I’ve worked in many cities, lived abroad, and traveled a ton, but my most treasured moments are with my closest friends regardless of where I am. Travel is amazing, but at the end of the day, people are always greater than places. This is why the majority of my destinations involve reconnecting with people I have encountered in my life. (Although solo travel is great for making new friends.)
Thank you Daniel and Karissa for taking the time to do the interview and for sharing your stories and advice with us. If you want to learn more about Daniel, Kairssa, or Bucket, please check out their website, Facebook, and Twitter.
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