About

A brief dossier (updated 11.14.2020):


A (Quick) Biography:

I suppose all stories have some sort of a beginning, right? So here goes nothing…

Born in Pusan, South Korea I was adopted with my twin brother by two amazing people in a cozy New Jersey suburb and eventually became the oldest of 5.

I was obsessed with tinker toys, legos, erector sets, lincoln logs, marble works and believed, at one point, that I’d become a car mechanic — the smell of oil and burnt plastic, the sight of sweat mixed with sticky, dark substances in every available pore — I can still feel the powerful but friendly handshakes, always covered in grease, that would welcome me into their dark yet exciting world every time we’d drop our station wagon to be serviced.

Math wasn’t my favorite subject (I still use my fingers to count) and I never found the classical sciences fully approachable. I didn’t have a natural or trained ear for music and my hands never wanted to cooperate with my head to create any decent form of traditional art. Instead, my mind became a canvas and my imagination became my toolsI that grew an insatiable curiosity for new things and new connections that have always kept me company.

It was all over when my father brought home a Sega Genesis one XMas and when my mother taught me how to type on her IBM Selectric. The combination writing and video games became my obsession and by 6th grade I had I taught myself BASIC and built my first functional piece of programming (a Choose Your Own Adventure video game) when I was 11.

I’ve never had a linear or understandable career path; I’ve stopped trying altogether at this point. I’ve done work filling bags with produce at my local supermarket to being a young and desperately-naive executive in a Fortune 500. I’ve been a senior leader at a non-profit and have built a handful of bootstrapped and venture-funded startups. I have published content for decades and have tried being a soccer coach, a professional speaker, a breakdancer, an amateur filmmaker, while trying my best to not fail at being an available spouse and engaged father.

I love learning and I don’t plan on ever stopping.

As far as I can tell, this is the only path forward and failure is just as good and useful as success at this point in my life. Both are tools that can be weaponized for future work.

My favorite family photo of all time.
One of my favorite family photo of all time. Image via Esther Havens.

Along the way I survived (literally) an undergraduate degree from Georgia Tech after failing / dropping out of the Computer Science program. Because some humans are amazing, I was generously allowed to return and I managed to finish a bachelor of science degree where I studied post-modern philosophy, the history of art & design, addiction, film, and how sound can create a physical sense of space and time.

Somehow, I also figured out a way to meet, convince, and marry the love of my life and I quickly became a parent to two beautiful girls and a boy while also finishing two Masters degrees (one in Education) at the same time.

Life moves fast.

I have discovered the joy of being an on the spectrum, the humility required when you’re an alcoholic, and the true value of time as a suicide survivor. Consequently, I desperately want to live with purpose and encourage everyone I meet to do the same.

Every year is wonderfully-crazy and sometimes I do a yearly review and retrospective like my 2012201320142015, and 2016, 2017 and 2018 and 2019.

I love this boy so much.

I am obsessed with the democratization of digital publishing and the formation of communities around data and meaning. Since I am a practitioner, I have been blogging my journey through technology, software, and entrepreneurship since 2001. I have even built a small, indie piece of macOS software called Desk (awarded 2014 and 2015 “Best Apps of the Year” via Apple) and another one called MNML App. I have since sunset these projects.

Currently, I’m experimenting with being an amateur filmmaker, using YouTube as my outlet and experimentation channel and run a newsletter for my friends (fellow CEOs and founders) that publishes weekly.

Finally, I really like video games and have been playing Blizzard’s Warcraft franchise for over 20 years and World of Warcraft specifically since vanilla. I’m obsessed with two iOS games: Pico Tanks and Phoenix II.

Lok'tar ogar!

We did the “RV” Thing!

John’s Personal User Manual:

If you would like a better idea of what it might be like to work with me, you can check out my Personal User Manual:

A fun but also very useful exercise!

Miscellany:

John Dot What? Why “John.do”? I answer that often-asked question here.

Why do you blog? That’s a really great question and I have a really great answer (I think). You can read more about that here.

Goodies: I’ve written a ton on a number of things that can help digital publishers become more successful as well as built a few free things that you can download for free.

Colophon: Interested in seeing how I get stuff done? I’ve created a page that I’ll continue to update as time goes on.

Coaching, Consulting, Speaking: I also enjoy coaching and consulting as well as speaking when I have time (I don’t do this as often these days). If interested, feel free to contact me.

Ask Me Anything: You can always tweet @ me or email me as well (use the form below). There’s also a good chance that I’ve written about the topic you’re inquiring about… so use that search box yo.