Jason Folsom, Commercial Head of Offshore Wind for the Americas at Siemens, is a Georgia native and a self-professed music guy, though surprisingly, he doesn’t play any wind instruments.
Jason started playing the drums, keyboard and singing background vocals in bands when he was 20 years old, which helped pay the rent while he earned his bachelor’s degree at Valdosta State University and his MBA in International Business at the University of Florida. He began his career at Siemens in 2000 as his first job out of college, and in 2001, he moved to Germany with the company for the next five years. After moving back to the United States to head a supply chains section in water technology in Philadelphia, then to Denmark to work in wind power sales, Jason landed in Boston in his current role for Siemens. He lives with his girlfriend, who he met in Denmark, and still plays the piano [badly, he says] every day.
What smartphone do you have?
An iPhone 4, so the old one. It’s a company phone. In Denmark, I had one of those tiny Nokias, but you would never use it because the device itself just wasn’t conducive for viewing anything. Then in the U.S. we were on the Blackberry – I can’t remember the model – that’s when I started using email on the company phone, which was extremely helpful. They phased out the Blackberries and phased over to the iPhone, and the first thing I did was disable all the notifications, because the Blackberry flashing red light would drive me crazy.
What are your preferred apps at the moment?
I’m a finance guy in terms of work, so personal finance is a passion of mine. I use a couple of personal finance apps – one of those is Mint. I’ve been a Mint user since they started the service – I use that to aggregate all of my finances. I own a boat service business in Georgia with my nephew and a rental property with a friend in New Jersey, so I’m able to view all of those accounts and see what we spent on, say, rental repairs, as well as my credit card and bank accounts. I use that one weekly.
The app SigFig aggregates investments, so there I can follow every holding in my 401(k) or my personal accounts on a daily basis. It also gives you advice on things it notices over time, like if a particular investment isn’t doing well, and gives you options to change it.
The Stocks app that’s standard on the iPhone that is through Yahoo. I do invest a small amount in individual stocks, so I look through that app to get a snapshot of how smart I am from an investing perspective [laughs].
We live in a fourth-floor walkup, in a brownstone in south Boston, and there’s no elevator. One of the first things we had to figure out living here was how we get groceries. So I started using the Peapod app, for the delivery service from Peapod.com. For the past two years, we’ve only bought our groceries from Peapod – they carry the groceries up the stairs. We make lists and menus and only stick to that. Because of that, it’s rare we need to go to the grocery store or get that extra pack of Oreos that we see when grocery-shopping while hungry.
I like Flipboard, which is a news reader app. It can tailor news to what you’re interested in. I love political news, so I tailor mine to get Politico and similar feeds.
The Hello Vino app is a wine rating app. You can share your ratings with friends, but I use it to catalog all the wines we’ve tried and take notes about how the wines tasted, as well as add their price and [purchase] location. So if I like a wine, I know where I bought it and what I paid. You can take a picture of the label, and it identifies the wine, links you to other reviews and tells you its country of origin.
The other one I’m super excited about is the Nest app. We installed a Nest thermostat, which calculates how much time it needs to reach certain temperatures and has a motion sensor to know when you’re home to adjust the temperature when you’re there. If we go home early or late, we can adjust the information accordingly from our phones. It’s cool that while she’s still in bed, my girlfriend can adjust the temperature in the house from her iPhone, which is just evil – we battle over the temperature a lot. We’re creating thunderstorms in the hallway because of the temperature war.
I use public transportation a lot, and I can see where the buses and trains are from the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) app, so I don’t have to wait out in the cold too long. I think you can also see the ferries and the water taxis from that app, though I don’t use them on my way to work.
Deem at Work is an app from our travel agent that manages all of our travel. It’s nice – you can put your travel in and it consolidates everything. You can see your travel schedule chronologically, so first you would see your first flight number, rental car confirmation next, hotel confirmation next, then flight number for your trip back home.
What’s your screensaver?
It’s a picture of one of our offshore wind turbines at the Greater Gabbard Wind Farm in the U.K. We only have a couple of those installed at the moment, and it’s beautiful. I’m very sentimental about it.
What’s your ringtone?
It’s one of those default ones now, but for a while, it was a ringtone I created from Jason Aldean’s “She’s Country,” but it started to annoy people. I live in the Northeast now, and there are just not as many country music lovers up here as there were in south Georgia. I got some strange looks.
What’s On Your Phone? is an occasional blog series that asks business leaders, celebrities and plain ol’ folks to tell us about their smartphones and apps.