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It's been awhile since we've heard from Jason Mayden, the former lead designer of Jordan Brand who, in 2013, we ranked as one of the most powerful people in sneakers. Since leaving the brand in 2014, he's largely flown under the radar, but a new interview with Fast Company sheds some light on what Mayden's been up to following his departure last year.
After a stint with startup Mark One, which saw Mayden offer his hand in the roll out of the calorie-tracking "smart" cup known as the Vessyl, the former Jordan designer joined Accel Partners, a venture capital firm that has made headlines for its investments in companies like Facebook, Dropbox, and Spotify.
Today, Mayden's role at Accel combines his design expertise with networking and even talent scouting. "The beauty of what I learned from my time in sports is you have a very limited amount of time to spend with the athlete to turn their [viewpoint] into a product," Mayden said, drawing parallels between his past work with athletes and current relationships with Accel's founders and CEOs.
As for the talent scouting aspect, it involves what Mayden calls a hunt for "cultural alchemists" across the country as Accel hopes to lock down the "next Mark Zuckerberg."
"The cultural alchemists have a very specific profile. They fall between 14 and 25. They're focused on immersive experiences, deeper engagements. They're not people who want to pick a lane, they want to be a lane," Mayden said.
Despite having an already full plate, the former Jordan designer has also been hard at work on another noteworthy, yet highly secretive, project with Accel. According to Fast Company, it's something of a startup of its own and involves former Nike financial expert Bryant Barr, software engineer Jim Cai, and NBA sharpshooter Stephen Curry. You'll have to stay tuned for more details on that one, though.