Jason Flom On Why Email Overload Makes Him Feel Burned Out
The CEO of Lava Records shares the book that changed his life and how he overcomes failure.
When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.
Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Jason Flom: I kiss my bulldog and then inhale numerous double espressos.
TG: What gives you energy?
JF: Working out and helping other people (not necessarily in that order).
TG: What’s your secret life hack?
JF: Be kind.
TG: Name a book that changed your life.
JF: Les Misérables.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
JF: Unfortunately, yes.
TG: How do you deal with email?
JF: I type very fast with one finger, but never seem to be able to slay the email dragon — I am currently fighting through 3,000 emails in my office at 8:36 p.m.
TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?JF: Nap with my bulldog.
TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
JF: Now, because of email overload.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
JF: Not sure when the last time was, but I subscribe to the theory that you just pick yourself up and try again — I’m too stubborn to accept defeat.
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
JF: One of my favorite quotes was something my dad, Joe Flom, told my brother and I when we were little. He said, “Do whatever you want to do, try to be the best at it, but must importantly, make the world a better place, for that is the only true meaning of success.”
American music industry executive Jason Flom is the CEO of Lava Records and Lava Music Publishing. Flom previously served as Chairman and CEO at Atlantic Records, Virgin Records and Capitol Music Group and is personally responsible for launching acts such as Kid Rock, Katy Perry, and Lorde. The New Yorker described him as “one of the most successful record men of the past 20 years…known for his specialty in delivering ‘monsters.’”
Flom began his career at Atlantic Records as a Trainee Field Merchandiser when he was 18 years old. He rose through the ranks and was named Chairman and CEO in 2003. Artists who he discovered and developed during his time there included Kid Rock, Matchbox 20, The Corrs, Hayley Williams, Skid Row, Tori Amos, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Jewel, and Stone Temple Pilots. Flom became Chairman and CEO of Virgin Records in 2006 where he discovered and signed Katy Perry. In 2008, he was appointed Chairman and CEO of Capitol Music Group, where he oversaw the careers of such artists as Coldplay, Lenny Kravitz, and 30 Seconds to Mars.
In 1995, he founded Lava Records as a joint venture with Atlantic Records, which turned out to be one of the most successful startups in music business history. In 2009, Flom reclaimed Lava Records, forming a partnership with Republic Records and signing Lorde and Jessie J. In 2015, Flom created Lava Music Publishing. Jason Flom is a leading philanthropist who has long championed various political and social causes. He has demonstrated his commitment to social justice as a founding board member of the Innocence Project and a board member of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, The Legal Action Center, The Drug Policy Alliance, The Anti-Recidivism Coalition, NYU Prison Education Program, Proclaim Justice and VetPaw. Jason Flom is known as a leading civilian expert on clemency and is personally responsible for dozens of clemencies including 17 that were granted by President Clinton, all of whom were nonviolent drug offenders serving between 15 and 85-year mandatory sentences. He founded the Life After Exoneration Program and the Innocence Network Conference to provide support and social services for exonerees. In 2007 Flom co-founded the Freedom Fund at the Bronx Defenders. In 2011, he donated $1 million to the Innocence Project to establish a senior litigation position in honor of his late father Joseph Flom.
Flom is the host of the podcast Wrongful Conviction, now in its second season. Based on the files of the lawyers who freed them, Wrongful Conviction features interviews with men and women who have spent decades in prison for crimes they did not commit, some even sentenced to death. Within two weeks of its release, the podcast shot to #7 on the iTunes charts and is available now on iTunes, Google Play, iHeartRadio, and Spotify. To celebrate the launch of the podcast, Flom has pledged to donate up to $1 million to the Innocence Project.