Jonathan Colón

Jonathan Colón

Head of Business Development at Pinata

Jonathan is leading Business Development at Pinata

What is your background?

Before working in web3, my background was primarily in sports business. I come from a big sports family—growing up I played soccer and basketball and ended up studying sports management at the University of Tampa. I had the opportunity to take on internships and part-time jobs with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and USF Athletics and after graduation, I took a sales role with USF Athletics for about a year. Throughout my life, I really wanted to work in the soccer industry, specifically in Europe. New York was far and away the best option to build those connections. After about a year and a half with USF I moved to New York to work with NYCFC as an account executive, where I continued to grow into that role as a senior business development executive, and later, the Manager of Business Development. Being able to talk to people, spend time at the stadium and help my team overall was huge for my career.

How did you become interested in web3?

My interest in web3 dates back to 2017 when, on a whim, I bought some Bitcoin and Ethereum through Coinbase. Didn’t think much of it. But at the end of 2020, I re-downloaded the Coinbase app and saw that my small investment had grown. That little epiphany sparked my interest and pushed me to get serious about learning everything I could. I dove deep into learning about different cryptocurrencies, DeFi, decentralized applications such as Uniswap, and liquidity pools which ultimately led me into learning about NBA Top Shot and NFTs. For several months, I taught myself everything I could about web3. I learned a lot, picking up a few wins and learning from my mistakes along the way. 

Being in New York City was a huge bonus—at that time it was the main hub for web3. I was able to go to several meetups, growing my network, and received my first POAP (Proof of Attendance Protocol NFT) which got me even more hyped on the space. I met a lot of people doing amazing things, and from there, I knew I had to get myself more involved. 

How did you get started with Pinata?

Back in 2020 I didn’t know much about NFT infrastructure or much of the technical side of web3. I just knew I wanted to be a part of it and that my business development experience would translate well. At the time decentralized exchanges were doing a lot of hiring in New York, but in the talks that I had, none of them felt completely right. I ended up coming across Pinata on AngelList and as I did my research, I was fascinated not only by all the different projects and platforms they were currently working with at that time but also the vision that they were able to communicate. I could tell it was going to be an important part of the space, so I applied and was able to start the conversation from there. The team, culture, and mission was exactly what I was looking for and, well, the rest is history.

What is your role at Pinata and what do you do? 

As the Head of Business Development I work with clients and prospects across web3 to help them reach their project and product goals.

A typical day can range from talking with prospects and discussing how Pinata can help them, to figuring out new ways to develop our current clients on taking the next step in their growth. Being part of that process is exciting—especially seeing all the amazing projects our creators come up with. We are here to support them along their journey.

Since Pinata can work with projects on any blockchain, we get a unique look across all types of projects, whether it's gaming, metaverses, marketplaces, or web2 companies exploring a transition to web3. We get to talk with so many people, every single day. It gives us a holistic look at the industry to help build our relationships and guide customers in the right direction.

How did you approach your web3 job search?

Even though web3 was (and is) new, I wanted to take a traditional approach to finding a role. I knew that I could take my expertise and skill set from the past six years and apply it to something else. That's when I really started looking into different sales, business development, and partnership roles across the space. I searched different job boards, including ones focused on blockchain and crypto, but then I moved to looking at traditional startup job boards like AngelList, which is where I came across Pinata. 

What was the hiring process like?

I started off with a phone screening with our marketing director, then had a one-on-one interview with our CEO and the end of that same week. The following week, I was able to have one last interview with a member of our design and product team to chat through the organizational goals, and specifically, what I had in mind to develop the business. 

Any tips for people looking to make a similar transition? 

Do your research and really understand what you're applying for. Not just what the company does, but also who they are culturally. Also know that you don’t know what you don’t know and it's okay if you don’t yet fully understand the ins and outs of the company 100%. That’s what questions are for. From a people perspective, find as many connections as you can with whoever you’re speaking with to humanize the experience as much as possible. 

At the end of the day, you're selling yourself to the company. But, if you respect yourself and understand what you can bring to the table, the company should also be trying to sell themselves to you. It should be a happy medium. When it feels right, it probably is.

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