Who Is John Rowa?
John Rowa truly knows how to create. As a 16-year-old, when the internet was just becoming a thing, John created an internet radio station so he could chat about sports. He just wanted to find a way to share his voice. And it went viral.
Then through amazing circumstances he managed a Forex hedge fund in his early 20s! And then came the crash of 2008 and he felt the blow severely. He had just gotten married and he had no idea how to support his family. But John always knew the way out was forward. He put his head down and went to work.
After remembering his passion for growing things online and connecting with Greg Trimble, he went from a lonely IT guy to the President of Lemonade Stand. John has never forgotten his roots or struggles. He continues to give and give. He’s all about helping the underdog, about finding those less fortunate and giving them an opportunity to succeed. Enjoy!
A little more about John
John was born and raised in Southern California. His dad, who was from the Marshall Islands, was an IT guy and was massively into computers and technology. At the time, the subject didn’t interest John, but that side of things would soon become an important part of his fate.
John began his extraordinary career at just sixteen years of age. Back in the golden age of the internet, he created his own internet radio show to talk about sports called Fans Alternative Radio. At the time, it was just a bit of fun, but it soon wound up going viral. The station featured 20+ broadcasters in the US & Canada and streamed hundreds of sporting events and talk shows. John’s small startup soon served thousands of listeners simultaneously throughout the world as they tuned in to the site’s play-by-play commentary of live sporting events.
In 2006, he helped launch IntegrityFX as the Executive Director of Marketing and Technology. The hedge fund managed millions of dollars in assets and John oversaw the company’s currency traders and strategies while publishing articles, videos, and training materials that were read and watched by subscribers around the world. Later, as the company launched its brokerage arm, he moved over to developing new products and technology, marketing to customers, and creating policies and procedures.
In 2016, John became a partner at Yalla in Orem, UT — a software enterprise developed by the team at Lemonade Stand that makes it easier for creatives, teams, and agencies to work together. Its product helps teams better manage their tasks, client interactions, and billable hours. It also allows colleagues to chat in real-time instead of relying on email — something that is particularly relevant in today’s work-from-home era.
Helping people is important to John
John is also involved with City Church, a community faith organization that inspires people to live more like Jesus. As a multicultural organization, it works to invite people into the faith community, no matter their life experiences and helps them become more fulfilled. It focuses on healing from addiction, restoring marriages, and overcoming past pain and emotional baggage. John helps strategically develop environments, processes, and leaders that serve people as they walk through the door of City Church — entering into a vibrant atmosphere where people seek to address problems with real-world service.
John is a family man with a wife and five children who keep him busy. He is also semi-fluent in several languages, including sign language which he learned to communicate with his wife who is hard-of-heaering and her deaf brother and sister.
John joined Lemonade Stand in July 2011 and describes it as the most fun and challenging part of his work-life so far. With his help, the agency went from having a single client to growing into a seven-figure business with hundreds of clients worldwide. Even though much of the management team has moved to Lemonade Stand’s Utah office, John has stayed close to home in Riverside because of his hectic family schedule and the fact that he is a “California boy” at heart.
Outside of work, John is a man who likes to share his insights on success with the people around him. He is famous for describing himself as “brown, bald, and genuinely nice guy.” He believes that if you want to live an extraordinary life, you must endure exceptional circumstances to get there. All great people experience crucibles as they get older. It’s how you overcome these situations, according to John, that form the basis of your character.
The power of teamwork
John is also somebody who believes that if you’re trying to do everything yourself, you’re not doing it right. Life is a team sport. And to be successful, you need to get other people on your side.
John has helped multiple businesses expand their operations since joining Lemonade Stand. Many are impressed with his professionalism and commitment to his work. John is able to manage multiple projects at once, all in a detailed and conscientious manner. For instance, John worked with the team at RighTime Home Services to generate massive growth in their business. In 2014, he helped the brand by building a high-impact website with reliable content and multiple brand awareness campaigns. Later, he assisted with PPC and SEO, online marketing, filming commercials, and even print media. Part of John’s appeal is the fact that he can see outside of the box. The company’s website traffic went up more than 1,000 percent after he and the Lemonade Stand team took over, allowing RighTime Home Services to get closer to its vision.
John is still based in California to this day and has vast experience across content strategy, marketing consulting, social media marketing, content marketing, search engine marketing, and search engine optimization. But it’s not the geekiness that appeals to him — it’s helping people get to where they want to be that is the real driver in his career.
John Rowa Podcast Transcription
Charan: We’re rolling, I’m rolling right now, okay?
John: I’m going to do the Lemonade Stand Stories intro, can I just hum it? I’m just-
Charan: Yeah, will you hum it right now? Go for it.
John: [inaudible 00:01:39], never mind.
Charan: Your moment to shine has now dwindled, because you missed that opportunity.
John: I missed it, I missed it.
Charan: It’s all good. It’s all good though, because we’re going to start right now. We’re starting right now, but I’m going to include that first part because that was precious, that was very precious to me.
John: That’s horrible.
Charan: What’s going on, guys? This is Charan Prabhakar with the Lemonade Stand podcast, and I’m here with John Rowa, who is actually the president of Lemonade Stand, and it’s a very much honor to interview John. It’s been great. I’ve had the chance to get to know him a little bit through Greg Trimble, and Greg’s just been like-
John: Oh, Greg.
Charan: Ranting and raving about his amazing story of how he even got to be a part of Lemonade Stand, just the business. John just informed me that before, when he first joined in, there was no Lemonade Stand, it was an IT company. So I’m very, very excited to be a part of this, and-
John: Yeah, man.
Charan: To have you be a part of this, and to talk about your story, because this is going to be very exciting. But yeah, John, thanks, man. Thanks so much for giving the time to be a part of the podcast, like the company that you own, that podcast, so thanks, man.
John: No, thank you, dude. You’re doing awesome, this is cool.
Charan: I appreciate that.
John: My story is going to be, it’s not that exciting, but you made it so that people are going to tune in and be like, “Why did I waste the past however many minutes?”
Charan: No way, man. No, it’s going to be heartfelt, it’s going to be golden, I’m very excited.
John: No, it’s cool though, yeah.
Charan: Yeah, John, no, I’d love to hear more, a little about where you came from and whatnot. So you were raised in Southern California, is that what you were mentioning to me?
John: Yeah, raised in Southern California.
Charan: That’s awesome.
John: I’m an islander, born on a tiny island of San Diego.
Charan: Oh dude, that’s fantastic.
John: Just kidding. No, so my dad was from the Marshall Islands, and my mom was actually a missionary there. She’s a white lady, met my dad. They came back home and I was raised in Southern California my whole life. Yeah, I haven’t left here, but got to do a lot of cool things and been a lot of cool places, but I am a California boy for sure.
Charan: You stayed true, you have not left California, even though the rest of the guys are over here.
John: I have not. Greg’s been trying to rope me in and get me out to the Utah office, but I visit quite a bit, but that’s where we … I saw you last time I was up there, but we haven’t made the trip. I have a wife and five kids, five small kids, so uprooting them, it’s quite a lot, but who knows? We’re just kind of taking it one day at a time right now, so we’ll see what happens.
Charan: Absolutely, now is the time to look at different options, if things are going crazier and crazier, right?
John: Oh, for sure. I mean, you could live on the road right now and work, that’s like … there’s no offices in-
John: At least California, there’s a lot less offices and things happening here.
Charan: Absolutely, I know, it’s kind of wild. So, you were raised in California. Now, did you always have this passion for IT and passion for technology and whatnot? Because I’m telling you, when I first met you and talked about Lemonade Stand, and about SEO, and all these things regarding digital marketing and IT, I’m like, “Dude, my mind … I can’t even focus on this. I know you’re speaking English.” That’s the thing, I knew you were speaking English to me, but I didn’t know the meaning of the words, or the context, or anything.
John: No, dude, when I grew up, all I thought of was, “Man, I hope I can do SEO when I grow up.” I’m just kidding, that did absolutely not happen. I wanted to play football, and like with most kids, I’m going to be a firefighter at some point. Actually, it’s totally strange, me and my sister wanted to be the trash truck drivers at one point. That was our goal, like she would hang on the side, and get the trash, and put it in, and I would drive the truck. That’s a whole thing, but growing up, marketing, IT tech, technology, all that stuff—not really in the cards. I didn’t even think that that was something I would do.
John: Oh, here comes one of my little crazies right now.
Charan: Oh, fantastic.
John: Say hi, Mary.
John: Hey, I’m on the phone with Charan here. You’re going to have to step out so I can be on this call, okay? I love you.
Charan: Oh come on, that’s great. If you guys are watching through video, you would’ve seen the most beautiful daughter ever, but if you’re listening-
John: That’s Mary.
Charan: That’s fantastic.
John: Cool, so anyways, I grew up not wanting to do any of this stuff, and long story short, so I was actually … my dad was an IT guy. My dad actually has done computer stuff all his life, so I grew up around it, but it wasn’t really a passion or anything. My passion was what every other kid’s was. When I was 16 years old, because I had been around stuff for so long, I had this big passion for sports. So I figured out at one point how to build a internet radio station, and-
Charan: Wow, that’s crazy.
John: This was out of my parents’ basement, and I was 16 years old, and I didn’t know much of anything how to run a business or do anything. Long story short, we ended up growing this internet radio station to the point where I had maxed out how many users we could have simultaneously on a show. It was like over 3,000 people.
Charan: What year was this? What year was-
John: This was like 1999 or 2000.
Charan: Oh my gosh, okay.
John: So this is like dot-com bubble. If I was really smart, if I knew what I was doing, I would’ve blown that thing up, but I was like 16 years old. I wanted to talk sports with my friends. So what we did is we would watch sporting events, and then do our own commentary over it, because back then, if you didn’t have the cable network, or if you didn’t have a subscription to the radio service, or you’re out of range of the radio station, you couldn’t listen online. It’s not like now where you just click through a few buttons, go watch or listen. So we would watch the TV, and then broadcast our commentary of what was happening over the internet. The biggest thing we did was, it was the Tyson–Holyfield fight, so we did the Tyson … I think it was either the first or second one, I can’t remember which one it was, and-
Charan: Is this the one where he bit the ear, or it was after-
John: I can’t remember, I cannot remember, but I managed to get a guy who had actually … he was right in line to be on … he basically was the runner-up for this contest where people tried out to be an announcer for boxing events. So he was really good, and I got him to do this fight for us, and he ended up … It was so cool, he was awesome. We had this whole thing going, he was broadcasting the fight. We had over 3,000 people simultaneously login, and-
Charan: That’s amazing.
John: [crosstalk 00:08:48] concurrent users back then, 3,000 people at once, you’re like, nobody had … that was unheard of. So we were maxing out our bandwidth, and the thing kept crashing, and we had to cap it. All this stuff, I was 16 years old, didn’t know what I was doing, my parents probably didn’t even know what I was doing.
John: I was just this little nerd kid just trying to do some fun stuff, and so that’s how I started really with a … It triggered my passion for like, “Oh man, this could actually turn into something, like I could actually maybe do something with this.” So I kicked around a few different things, I ended up … I didn’t know how to make that into a business, so I gave up, did something else, started doing website design for people, doing all this crazy stuff. Ended up getting into forex, currency exchange trading, so-
Charan: Oh yeah, of course, yeah.
John: And this was huge, this was like 2004 or ’05, and I ended up, I don’t know how, I was like 20 years old, 21, 22, ended up running a hedge fund.
Charan: What? You did?
John: Yes, with like $15 million of assets, which is not [crosstalk 00:09:54]-
Charan: This is crazy. I think I just learned what a pip was last year, so the fact that you are running a hedge fund for forex is insane.
John: So yeah, you said pip and it just gave me PTSD, that’s how-
Charan: I’m so sorry, okay.
John: So we started growing this other company, and I think at one point we had about $15 million of assets under management, and it was pretty cool. We actually were starting to branch off into a brokerage, because the hedge fund side is hard, and you don’t want to lose people’s money, but we were starting to do this brokerage stuff. However, what happened in 2008, like-
Charan: Oh man, it was destruction.
John: Market crash, everything happened, everybody lost their shares [inaudible 00:10:39]. This is where I went bald, and it was so bad. I would have blisters on my hands, it was just so bad a stress and-
Charan: That much amount of stress, everything just kind of …
Charan: That’s so hard, oh wow.
John: So it was rough, it was a rough time in life, and right around the same time, I found my wife. She wasn’t my wife yet, but we were dating and stuff like that. So I’m going through all this, stress-eating and all this crazy stuff, and we ended up getting married, and this is the point when that business just blows [inaudible 00:11:16], we just lost everything.
Charan: Let me ask you, you were dating and everything, was the business successful at the time, or was crashing while you guys were dating, and-
John: Yeah, it was … I don’t know what my wife was thinking, God bless her, she stuck with me throughout the craziness. So it all crashed down, it was a tough one, but you know what, I think the cool part about us is we just were young, and we were just … we were flexible, we were whatever we were going to do, we’re just going to try to … I just hustled for a year, you know what I mean? I’m just going to hustle, try to make ends meet, do websites for here and there for a few people, just do a bunch of stuff, and it worked. That was about a year of that craziness, and it worked, until the point when we had our first child, and then I was like, “Oh my God, I need to find a real job,” you know what I mean?
John: At some point, you’re like, “Okay, the hustle part’s cool, but I’m tired of …” dude, macaroni and cheese and hotdogs. If we had the hotdogs, that was like the … that we were doing good.
Charan: That’s like, I don’t know, crème de la crème, man, [crosstalk 00:12:33]-
John: Right, macaroni and cheese was like six days out of the week, but one day we would have enough to get a hot dog and slice it up and throw it in. That’s so gross when I think about it now, but I’ll eat it, dude. It sustained us.
Charan: That’s fantastic.
John Rowa Talks About Getting Involved with Lemonade Stand
John: So it was crazy, dude. We literally were living in families’ house, and our son was born into a closet, and I was like, “That’s enough, I need to get a real job,” and so that’s when I went online, went on one of the sites, and found a listing for … Greg says it was just for a exchange server administrator, so email administrator, email server. So he says it was just that, but I swear it included SEO in it, because that’s when I would get interested. I’m like, “I know how to do a little bit of SEO,” so it was like this weird combination of IT person and SEO, and I’m like, “That’s super weird,” but that’s me. I know how to do a little bit of tech in weird ways, and grow things. So I applied, and I met with Greg, and that was the start of everything. So Greg-
Charan: What year was this, would you say?
John: That was 2011, I believe, [inaudible 00:13:49]. 2010, 2011, somewhere around [inaudible 00:13:51].
John: Yeah, and-
Charan: Greg had mentioned, and you better clarify this story, he had mentioned something about how you presented yourself very under-qualified. Tell me about that, I want to know all about that.
John: Wait, did he say over-qualified or under-qualified?
Charan: Under-qualified. You presented yourself as a very under-qualified guy and he’s like, “I like that guy.”
John: Well, so Greg always says … So this was back in the day when Google+ was just blowing up, and if you searched for somebody’s name, their Google+ profile [inaudible 00:14:20]. My Google+ profile said, “I’m a brown, balding, and genuinely nice guy.” That was my bio, and Greg just thought-
Charan: Oh man. Dude, that’s [crosstalk 00:14:29].
John: He got a kick out of that, and that’s why he says, “That’s why I responded,” because in my resume, I had all this random stuff on it, like “What does forex have to do with exchange server administration?” So it had all this random stuff on it, and he was like, “Well, this seems like a cool guy.” I joke around, but Greg, the genius of Greg Trimble is that he doesn’t look for qualification. He looks for a person that would fit and grow into those qualifications, right?
Charan: Yeah, absolutely, that’s the only way I got in here. That’s the only way I’m running a podcast.
John: Right? It’s really ingenious, so he finds just good people that’s he’s like, “Man, this person can get after it, and I think they’ll grow into it. Let me give him a shot.” So he did, he gave me a shot, and we had … At the time, it was a IT company, he had a few IT guys out in the field, a few of those, and it was me, and Brian, and Greg working on the website side. So this is how we started, so [inaudible 00:15:35] IT company, and this is how we started the marketing side.
John: He had got like one marketing client, that was his first thing, he said that’s when he was like, “I’m going to hire a marketing/exchange server administrator.” But the deal was, we were going to build these websites for people and try to upsell them to do marketing, so what we did is we would do free websites. We called it FreeCustomWebsite.com, that’s what it was, so we started growing that.
John: The whole thing is, I didn’t know what I was doing. Honestly, I would take IT phone calls for half the day, the other half the day I’d maybe try to build websites. I sucked at building websites, I’m not a great designer. I can make it work, but I wasn’t great. We actually laugh at one that’s still on the web. There’s one that I built from way back in the day, it’s still live, and I show it to everybody.
Charan: What is it [crosstalk 00:16:25]?
John: I am not … I can’t tell you, it’s so bad.
Charan: No, pretend nobody’s listening to this.
John: Nobody’s listening-
Charan: Nobody’s listening to this, so you can just tell me, it’s fine.
John: Well the thing is, I think the guy still uses the site, so I can’t …
John: It’s LawsonsGlass.com, I think that’s what it is.
Charan: Lawson’s Glass?
John: Yeah, and it’s got this lens flare on it, it’s just a horribly built site. [crosstalk 00:16:54]-
Charan: I’ll tell you what, when we put this podcast up, I’m going to link that site on the podcast.
John: Oh God, I’m sorry.
Charan: That’s amazing. No, it’s good.
John: But it works. The site works, and it’s just … it’s ugly, and it’s just a site that I … It was a free website, right?
Charan: Sure, yeah.
John: So the deal was, we would do free websites for people, we would help people that were just learning, or just growing their business, and just trying to-
Charan: Yeah, man, because the thing is, look, typical brick-and-mortar businesses that have been around for forever, like in the 70s, 80s, 90s and stuff, and the internet comes out. It’s like, how in the world do they compete when the market suddenly is global, right? How do you do that?
John: Yeah, 100%.
Charan: And they’re not very tech-savvy, they’ve never had to be tech-savvy to survive in the world, so it’s so awesome that you guys were able to provide a service like that.
John: Yeah, and this is the other genius about Greg Trimble. Greg doesn’t see the… Greg sees the short-term [inaudible 00:17:57] of course, but he sees past it quite a bit. So the short term is like, how are we going to make money building websites for people when we’re giving them for free? We’re not. His goal was like, “Hey, if I can build 10 websites for people, and one of them’s a lawyer who has enough money to pay us reoccurring marketing fees to do SEO, that’s where we’ll actually make money off it,” and it was ingenious, it worked.
John: And now people … at that time, the market had crashed, nobody was going to pay for some random dude’s $5,000, $10,000 for a website, but now we have people who, because we have this huge portfolio that was built on the foundation of Free Custom Website, we have this massive portfolio of thousands of sites, so much experience, people are going like, “Man, those guys know what they’re doing,” so of course they’re going to pay in.
John: So he saw way beyond that, which was really cool. We started growing it, just … I said, “Long story short,” like five times already, and this turned into a long story, but-
Charan: Dude, I love that you just did that. Go on.
John: The cool part about the story is, we just started growing it. So we built it, he was able to sell off the MSP, the IT company, and we launched the marketing side, and just marketing website. Lemonade Stand wasn’t even the first iteration of that [inaudible 00:19:18], it was like we’ve gone through … If you look, in our Riverside office, we actually have all of these old versions of sale sheets and all this, from different names of companies, and random stuff-
Charan: That’s amazing, man.
John: All the stuff that we went through, and one day he … I think it was Greg that landed on like, “Hey, let’s try Lemonade Stand.” I’m like, “Oh, dude, I love that, that’s so cool.” It’s the entrepreneurial spirit, right? [crosstalk 00:19:43]-
Charan: It’s such a beautiful name, man. It’s such a great name for a company, and I love that. Because the thing is, immediately when you think about a lemonade stand, you immediately be like, “Oh yeah, I get what they’re trying to do.” It’s like the first go at doing a business, the lemonade stand.
John: Well, some people actually see it and at first they’re like, “Wait, is that a real company?” But at least it gets them thinking, right? It’s very noticeable, so it works well in two ways. From a marketing standpoint, it’s catchy, and then from people who get it immediately, it’s like, “Oh man, I get it, it’s about growing something.” So anyways, we just started building, started growing, getting more and more clients, doing good work for people, learned a whole bunch along the way.
John: My story is ultimately not that I’m some amazing SEO person, or amazing marketing person, and I’m not … Trust me, I have a long way to grow, I have so much more to know and learn, and I’m hungry for that every day, but my story is that I went from nothing to being able to be part of something really special by just literally putting my head down and working my butt off, and try to grow something. So when you talk about passion initially, what’s your passion, I’m really not passionate about marketing and SEO and websites, but I’m really passionate about building something sustainable that can help people, and help families that we provide jobs for, help organizations that we donate to, and all the stuff that we’re able to provide people now, because of what we started building.
John: So all that happened, we built all this thing, and Greg along the way has been just awesome. I brag like crazy on Greg, but man, I just really wouldn’t be here. He made me a partner, he made me an executive of this company. When he hired some random dude, brown, balding, and who was kind of nice, that’s all my qualifications I had, and so here I am.
Charan: You know, it’s crazy because I knew of Greg. I mean, this is great, this is like a testimony about Greg Trimble. That’s what this podcast is going to be called, and he’s going to love listening to this, and he’s just going to be gushing, feeling so flustered, which is why I’m going to keep going. No, it’s interesting because I knew of Greg Trimble, I hadn’t met him, but I knew of him when I was living in California, because I was trying to make ends meet. I was trying to figure out internet marketing, and Greg Trimble’s name kept popping up.
Charan: I would read these blogs and stuff that he would write, and I remember thinking, “Oh my gosh, this is great, he’s doing some cool stuff,” but I just didn’t feel like I had that skillset. I just didn’t feel like that was me or whatnot. It was very interesting, when I met him a year-ish ago, or two years ago, anyway, it was like last year, and then from there, to meet him, to now being like, oh my gosh, now we get to work together and stuff. It’s fantastic, it’s awesome.
John: It’s so funny, he’s just the … I mean, he’s a nerd, he’s just a [crosstalk 00:22:56]-
Charan: He really is, yeah, [crosstalk 00:22:57].
John: I mean, he’s a nerd, like he works his butt off and he does all this stuff, but he’s actually super athletic, and he served some [inaudible 00:23:05], he played baseball, he’s a really good baseball player and all that stuff, but he’s this weird mix-
Charan: Yeah, he did however do something with his knee when he was running one of the bases though.
John: Oh, dude, this fool was gardening and broke his ribs. He slipped on bricks and broke his ribs, and so-
Charan: That’s fantastic, and the world needs to know about that.
John: Yes, they now know, there you go: Greg Trimble cannot garden.
Charan: He cannot garden to save his life. Well, listen, this has been awesome, and I love this whole trip that you’ve gone through of memory lane and everything like that, right?
John Rowa Talks About Overcoming Challenges
Charan: But it’s interesting because I was thinking, you had a little bit of success when you were 16 years old, right? You were doing the internet radio company, and then it shifted to managing a hedge fund, and you were doing all these things, and managing a lot of people’s money, and yada yada yada, and everything came crashing down, it came crashing down. I want to talk a little bit about that moment, because when things go big, and you start feeling this level of success, and it’s your first go-around, and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, this is amazing, my first go-around, I’m doing this-“
John: Yep, bought the sports car, did the whole deal.
Charan: Yeah, you got all that stuff, and you’re like, “Okay, this is great,” and then unforeseeable circumstances like 2008 happened, and the landscape completely changes. You get decimated. How did you pick yourself back up? Because did you feel that you had a bit of your identity based off of your hedge fund, and your success, and stuff like that?
John: Well, yeah, and so … I wouldn’t say that my identity was in there. I think for me, what we were building, the company that I was part of, this hedge fund, and that I got a chance to do some pretty cool stuff with, was just a moment in time. I think for me, my identity is … and not everybody listening to this is going to be spiritual, and that’s okay, but for me, my identity is locked into who God says I am. That’s me, like if Lemonade Stand tomorrow crashes all down, I’m going to be bummed out one minute, and then the next one I’m going to be like, “Dude, let’s do something else. Let’s make it [crosstalk 00:25:26]-“
Charan: Let’s do something else, yeah, I like that.
John: And we got to, we have to move forward, because to me, the bigger picture is that we … I have a purpose here on earth to do something, and so no matter what the circumstances, I got to move forward. That doesn’t mean that life didn’t knock the junk out of me and I wasn’t slapped or beaten down, it gets hard sometime. Periods of life are hard, and for me, when the market crashed, and we had to move in with family and do … it’s defeating in some point.
John: You’re like, “Man, this sucks. No, I’m supposed to be a man, take care of my family, and do all this stuff. We just got married, and this is not going how I thought it would go and all this stuff, and that’s always difficult. I’m not saying that it’s not hard, and I’m not saying it didn’t work me over. Greg says on a blog post, he said my eyes were all beaten down, and it looked like I was balding, and now I’m totally bald by the way, and I just-
Charan: You look aerodynamic, is what you look like.
John: Obviously, exactly. This is all … I just do this just so I get faster, it’s acceleration is the only thing.
Charan: Dude, it’s amazing. Wherever you’re going to go to, you’re going to get to there faster for sure.
John: So anyways, we had got worked over, and it was tough, and it was hard, but my heart, though my body was beaten down, my heart was like, “I want to keep moving forward,” instead of, “Yeah, I’m just going to sulk through this,” and, “Oh, we just had a baby. You know, this is going to be tough.” I was like, “I’ve got to do something. I want to do something, I’ve got to move forward.”
John: So between that whole time, I just hustled, I was just working, and we made it work. We enjoyed it, it was an enjoyable part of our life, actually. We don’t look back at it as, “Oh my God, that was so bad.” We look back at it as, and thinking of it as joyful and like, “Hey, this was us building something.” Like this is, “Remember when Mason was born and we had his crib in the closet?” For us, actually it makes us smile instead of …
Charan: Well, it’s interesting because, when you look back on memories like that, you realize what a significant moment that was, right? It’s interesting, I think back in 2017, I was dating someone and we broke up, and it was a pretty painful breakup. It was pretty painful, and just the circumstances that led to 2018, it was really, really rough, but I’m friends with her still.
Charan: We’re really good friends actually, and it’s interesting because we had a conversation just the other day, and I just realized and I said, “You know what …” because she had apologized many times, and she said, “Look, I wished it didn’t go down the way it did. It was kind of crazy,” and all that stuff. I honestly was like, “You know what? This sounds kind of crazy, but I look back at all of those moments as precious. I know that sounds kind of word because you’re like, “It was a painful experience,” and I don’t know why it was precious, but it just was.
John: Yeah, 100%.
Charan: I look back on it with fondness, and I just think … just invaluable lessons, because surrounding those painful moments were incredibly joyous moments.
Charan: And I think the key is to find those joyous moments, pay attention to those joyous moments, and see if that can help you elevate yourself.
John: Yeah, enjoy the journey, right?
Charan: Enjoy the journey.
John: And you’re totally right, and for you that’s … If your identity and who you are and everything was tied to that person alone, it would still … not like it’s not going to hurt, but you would still be there and hurting and stuck there. So I think it’s important just to, whatever it is, whatever you believe in, or whatever, just for me it was tying my identity to God and saying, “Hey, I’m going to move forward, because I know there’s something bigger. I know I have a purpose, and it’s not just depression and anxiety [crosstalk 00:29:48].”
Charan: It’s so interesting because there’s a lady I know, a very, very sweet lady, who’s probably in her, gosh, I’d have to say 50s or 60s, right? She had a very tragic thing happen to her. Back in her 20s I would say, maybe 30s, both her husband and daughter were killed in a car accident. Tragic stuff, very, very tragic, but what’s even more sad than that is the fact that even now to this day, she’s so traumatized by that. I’m not saying that, “Hey, look, it was not sad, it was not a tragic event,” and everything like that, but I can sense from my conversations with her, she still feels the victim of her circumstances. It’s amazing how things like that can last almost a lifetime, and I’m not saying-
John: Yeah, it really can.
Charan: I’m not saying, “Hey, what she didn’t go through wasn’t hard,” that’s incredibly hard, incredibly hard, but like you, I believe in God, and he has been the reason I’ve been able to let pain go away, and enjoy, “Hey, you know what? Yes, that was painful,” but honestly, I can look back on those moments when it was kind of painful, and I look back on them with fondness, and I kind of laugh, even though it was a painful time when I went through it.
John: Man, I think for … and this is going into, “Oh man, we’re going to have a sermon pretty soon, come on somebody.”
Charan: Yeah, let’s do it.
John: For me, when I hear about that story about that lady, that just literally breaks my heart because I’m like, “Man, I really feel bad for her, but I really feel like I need to help her.” I would love to have the opportunity to take her hand and help her move past that, and I think for me, that’s purpose. We’re building this thing in Lemonade Stand, of course it’s fun to build a company, we want to all do well and take care of our families, but beyond that, I want to be able to take care of other people and help other people. I think that’s why I’m wanting to move forward constantly, just got to keep moving forward, so anyways …
Charan: That’s exactly it, it’s like you can either get stuck and just stay stuck, or get stuck and be like, “Okay, this was painful, this was extremely rough. Now, let’s figure out what we’re going to do to move forward, and not fester in anger.”
John: Yeah, so just getting to my story again just a little bit more, we-
John: When we were still growing Lemonade Stand, early on, we actually … This is just to show how important a culture of caring for people inside a company, and building a good culture within a company, how important it is. When my mom, about six years ago, it’s about six years ago now, my mom, she ended up passing away from cancer. She had cancer, like New Year’s Eve she went in the hospital, basically didn’t come out again, and a couple months, she was gone, and it was just rough.
John: It’s super fast, crazy, and it was a tough period, it was super tough, but there was a lot of people there for me. I had a lot of friends, a lot of family, and even a lot of coworkers. You don’t know how awesome it is to feel like that the people at your office genuinely care for you, and I always say this: People always say, “Man, do something you love. Quit your job if you don’t love doing it.” I’m like, what? No, don’t quit your job if you don’t love doing it. I don’t love doing SEO, I’m not like, “Yay, I get to do code today! This all [crosstalk 00:33:56]-“
Charan: Yeah, “I get to optimize some engines,” you know? [crosstalk 00:33:58].
John: Yeah, exactly. It’s not that that makes me excited. The problem-solving within it all does, but the thing that I love, the reason why I love coming to work, is because of the people there. So you spend 30% of your life, literally eight hours of your day, is spent with the people you do work with. You might as well do it with people you love, right?
John: So instead of looking for a career that you like doing the work in, look for a company that you love doing the work in because of the people that you get to do it with!
Charan: I love that, yeah, that’s great.
John: So for me, when my mom passed away, they were there for me, and they helped me. I remember right after it happened, I was back at work, at everybody just come and gives me a hug, just is there for me. It wasn’t that it wasn’t tough, but we got through it together, right?
Charan: Yeah, I love that.
John: And for us, that’s the culture of Lemonade Stand. It’s not like ping pong tables, and Xbox, and all the silly stuff, it really is how we do life together, and that’s what’s made Lemonade Stand so much more special than just a job and just a career. Man, I get to do life with cool people like Greg Trimble, and Derek Miner, Chris Lendzion, and all these amazing people. Amanda Dunn, who just had a baby, she’s awesome, and her husband, Taylor, man, I love these people. These are such the coolest people. Charan, I mean you’re-
Charan: Oh, come on, yeah.
John: Dude, you know how awesome it is?
Charan: You know what, I’ll tell you what. You’re speaking my language, man. Here’s the deal, we’ve had all kinds of different people here on this podcast, right? And they have all kinds of really cool stories, they’re sharing what they do, why they do what they do, and all that stuff, right?
Charan: But I will completely resonate with what you just said. For me, life is all about making memories. It’s about making memories with the friends that you care about. A real quick example of as to why I even got into acting to begin with. Back in high school, I had a friend of mine who was always like, “Let’s make memories, let’s make memories!” I was always into acting and making little funny videos and stuff like that, so I made these movies with him. Really, it was our senior year that we became really close friends. I always kind of knew of him, but we became friends our senior year.
Charan: Just in that short year, we just became so close and had all kinds of fun memories. Well, after high school, he got into an accident and he passed away. And now all of a sudden, those videos that we made were completely priceless. They were a way for us to preserve those amazing memories that we had with each other, right? I kept thinking, if I never took the time to spend time with those friends, and make those wonderful memories with them, how sad of a life would I live, because I just didn’t have a chance to make incredible memories?
Charan: I love what you said, because more importantly than the exact task at hand of, “Oh, I got to do this, and I got to do that,” it is like, “I love doing this stuff, but with you,” and to see what a joy it’s been, and to see if you can find a way to have both things where you do have a little bit of passion in what you’re doing, and you have a great passion with the people that you’re spending time with, it’s amazing, and I think that that’s what make the whole experience of living worthwhile. Spending time with those people that you love and care about, and just creating awesome, fun memories together.
John: So good, and it’s 100% true, man. When you’re on your deathbed, you’re not going to remember what you got and what you did, you’re going to remember who you did it with.
John Rowa Talks About Racism
Charan: Yeah, absolutely. So, I want to shift topics very briefly. I know you and I have both talked about this very, very, very briefly about the topic of racism, and we both kind of mentioned that just being a person of color, which we both are, sometimes-
John: Wait, what?
Charan: Well, yeah. I mean, don’t let this lighting fool you. I’m getting emotional, [crosstalk 00:38:29]. Something is in my throat. No, it’s interesting because I was having a conversation with my dad, and he was asking me, he’s like, “Hey, have you ever felt racism in your life?” I was thinking about it for a second, because other than maybe some comments that kids had made when I was in sixth grade and as a kid, it’s like, I don’t even count those because those are just like, kids are just being stupid. Other than that, have I ever experienced something where it was an intentional attack on me, and the truth is, is I haven’t. I don’t remember anything.
Charan: I think people, out of their genuineness, genuine kindness of their hearts, are trying to connect with you, and sometimes they fail because they misunderstood, and I do not view that as a malicious thing. I don’t view that as a negative thing, but I’d be curious, have you experienced anything in your own life where you’re like, “Oh, that felt pretty bad. That felt like someone was attacking me because of my color.”
John: I have a very similar, probably, experience than you. I grew up in Southern California, a very diverse place, obviously. If I grew up in a different area, obviously a different country, maybe it’d be a little different, but beyond just the area I lived in, I think for me, my parents … we were living in a Christian home, and the church, the school, everything I went to, was actually very diverse. I grew up with black folk, white folk, red folk, yellow folk, all of whatever you color you imagine, I have had … And for us, growing up, racism was honestly not … it just wasn’t an issue.
John: I had never saw it, and I think it’s a testament to actually who my parents put my around. They were intentional on who I got to hang around with, and the people that were involved in my life. That doesn’t mean though that… Have I ever experienced racism? I think at some point, like you said, people give you little funky comments [inaudible 00:40:47] here, [inaudible 00:40:48] look at you a little weird, but for me and my experiences, most people haven’t viciously attacked me with racism, and they just haven’t. I’ve been blessed in that way. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, like for sure it exists, but for me, I have probably very similar experiences to you.
Charan: Well, it’s been interesting because what I’ve learned is, whether it’s racism, or like a woman feeling like there’s sexism everywhere or whatnot, sometimes I feel like it’s our own insecurities projected out, that come back to us. Because my dad had explained to me, when he was on trains going home, he felt like people didn’t want to sit next to him, which was sad. That was real sad, but the thing is, I haven’t had experienced that. People sat next to me, and I think it’s like, well, what’s the difference?
Charan: I think it just had to do with the fact that maybe I carried myself a little differently, because I just believed differently about myself than maybe how my dad does, right? It’s interesting, because I grew up … I lived in California for a long while, I was there for like nine or 10 years, but I grew up in Utah. In Utah, there isn’t that many … there’s not that much diversity, especially when I was growing up. I think I was the only Indian kid in school for a lot of times. In high school, I was like that, and everything like that, but what I have found for me is, that gave me the perfect opportunity to just own who I was, you know what I mean?
Charan: I just was like, “All right, cool, this is great. I can create my own path and my own, unique way of experiencing life, because it’s a little bit different.” I used to be so self-conscious with dating. I was like, “There’s just no way a girl that’s an American girl would ever go out with me,” you know? I just had that preconceived thought, because it’s like, “No, well, she’s a white girl, she probably wants a guy with blonde hair, blue eyes, and stuff like that.” So I’d always overcompensate, I’d always overcompensate, and then when I finally started growing up and understanding the nature of life, I’ve noticed that for myself, having that feeling of love for yourself changed the way things sort of transpire outside. So even in your life, I was going to ask you, have you ever noticed times when just the way you viewed yourself changed the way things happen for you?
John: Dude, have you ever seen my wife? Oh my God, she’s this thin, blonde, beautiful woman. Let’s just say, look, most people, they see you have five kids, they’re like, “Man, you must really like kids.” I’m like, “No, I really like my wife.” Come on, so now we really preaching, come on. Yeah, man, so when you talk about how you see yourself, she always says I am super confident. I just know what I want, and I think you are right. I think a lot of times, if you aren’t confident in who you are, you’re going to most likely let other people’s opinions and thoughts and projections weigh you down.
John: That will affect you, you’ll take offense to it, and it very well may be that I’ve experience racism, but I just look past it, and I think that is actually possible, right? Because to me, I’m going to … and this is for me, and trust me, I’m not saying that there’s not racism. We’ve seen it in the past few months, we’ve seen some horrible things happen, but for me, offense is just something that I’m just not going to let affect me. There’s the saying, it’s unforgiveness, like holding onto unforgiveness, is like drinking poison and hoping it hurts the person that affected you, that offended you.
Charan: Yeah, it’s like that whole thing, it’s like forgiveness is to set a person free, only to realize that the prisoner was yourself.
John: Right, exactly, so for me, I’ve chosen to look past a lot of stuff. Now, that doesn’t mean … I really do think that we, especially in America, we have problems. We’re not the most perfect country, we have things to work through, we really do. But for me, I feel like this is an issue of the heart. If the problems that we have … we can solve them by loving on each other, being unified, caring for one another. There’s a story, I don’t know if you’ve heard this story, it’s a guy named Daryl Davis. It’s a black guy, he’s a blues guitarist, and he basically is this black man, black blues guitarist, that goes to KKK rallies. He goes to these rallies, and befriends the KKK members, and he has a closet full of KKK hoods and clothing of all of these friends that he’s converted out of the KKK.
Charan: Oh my gosh.
John: He’s changed the hearts of hundreds, I think it’s over 300. You can look it up, Daryl Davis, it’s the most interesting story. He’s changed the hearts of over 300 clan members. He’s a black man who’s befriended and loved on people when they’re at their worst, and we talk about all these problems that we have, nobody’s got the solution. What are we going to do, like we’re relying on politicians, who we vote for is going to change it? I’m not saying this is not important, trust me, it is important. The laws we have in place, the things, the policies that we put into place, all this is so important, but the issue is the heart, and how we love on each other, and how we see each other.
John: Some people say, “Oh, I don’t see color,” I see color. I call myself a brown, bald, genuinely nice guy. I see color all the time, but I think the point is, instead of not seeing it, it’s seeing it and celebrating it, and loving it. I love the fact that most agencies, they’ll put this buttoned-up white dude on the microphone, and then they have a whole bunch of Indian people in the background doing all the work. We put a Indian guy as our most front-facing person, and we have a whole bunch of [crosstalk 00:47:32]-
Charan: I know, I’m like, “Greg, why did you do such a thing? This is going to be disastrous,” but [crosstalk 00:47:37]-
John: And we have a bunch of Americans, stereotypical Americans doing all the work. We got the Indian guy out front. So for me, I was just saying it like it is, like you’re Indian, I’m Marshallese. I grew up, one of my best friends, I love the dude with all my heart, I grew up with him, we lived together, and every Saturday, I’d wake up to stinking Earth, Wind, and Fire blaring through the house, this black dude. I love the dude, he’s like my best… and we disagree on everything. We disagree on everything in politics, every stinking thing, but I call that dude all that time, and I love on him, he loves on me. We see beyond policy issues, because we know our hearts, and I think for me that’s, right there, is how we fight racism. Anyways …
Charan: You know what, it’s interesting because there was an image that came in my mind when you were saying all this stuff. It’s like a little parable, a little story that I heard, but they said that in hell, there is this huge, grand feast, filled with the most delicious food you could ever imagine, just incredible amounts of food, and an abundance, and everything’s everywhere.
Charan: People, instead of their arms, they’ve got these really long spoons that are attached to their shoulders, and it’s hell though, because those spoons are so long, they can get the food on them, but they can never feed themselves. They can’t bend, so it’s so upsetting because they can never come close. Now, in heaven, same feast—beautiful banquet, all the stuff—and instead of their arms, they’ve got spoons. Long, long spoons, but they’ve discovered that they can be happy because they can feed each other.
Charan: Isn’t that great?
John: That’s so good.
Charan: Isn’t that so good?
John: I love that.
Charan: Doesn’t it make you want to eat some food? I will feed you, John, I will feed you.
John: Let’s get the charcuterie board out, is that-
John: That’s the least brown thing that I think we [crosstalk 00:49:46]-
Charan: Yeah. Dude, you know what, it is so true. It’s like, I think the answer to all of these problems are, to solve the problem of the hole in your heart, is to extend love, is to extend love, man. For me, I look at success that I may have had in my life, and I just think … I think it’s because I genuinely love myself, and I love other people. As a result of it, people just are drawn to that, and they’re like, “This is what we’re looking for. This is what we’ve been searching for, even though we didn’t realize this is what we’re searching for,” you know what I mean?
John: Yeah, and for me too, I feel the same way. Look, toxic people or racist people that are bad, doesn’t mean you have to invite them into your life. Don’t be stupid, like we don’t want toxic people in our life, but I think just … Look, see beyond, see beyond even the moment they’re in, see beyond what even the vile stuff that might be coming out of their mouth at the moment, and just see a person that is lost, and maybe is completely ignorant.
John: I mean, Daryl Davis, this guy, people at their very worst, he’s going to rallies and befriending these people. They literally are preaching hate against the person he is, and he’s given them love. Dude, to me, when people talk about, “What are we doing to do,” I’m like, dude, he literally has solved the problem. He has the solution, and so I just wanted to share that. I think it doesn’t mean we don’t have problems, we got a bunch of problems, everybody does, and we definitely should fight against racism, we should definitely fight against a lot of the negative stuff happening, and stand with people of color that are hurting.
John: I’m totally empathetic, trust me, I am super empathetic of people that are hurting. It stinks, I know it stinks, but the hate is just not going to get us, cancel culture is not going to get us, anywhere. It just really won’t. We’ve got to love each other and unify if we’re going to [inaudible 00:52:07].
Charan: That really is it, and then I keep thinking, look, everything about this year has tried to cause division among people, right?
Charan: COVID made it so you couldn’t connect with each other, you have to isolate from each other, you have to stay at home, you couldn’t work, you couldn’t go to school. Depression is at an all-time high, the suicide rates are at an all-time high, because of all of this separation that we have from each other, because in truth, we need each other. That social bonding, it’s so important, and it’s so true. I think that the key, and as cliché as it sounds, the answer to it all is love, and it’s to figure out ways, okay, despite the limitations that we have in our world right now, how do we love, and how do we extend that kindness to other people? Because that’s what they need, so-
John: Yeah, 100% agree. I think the other thing too is celebrate differences. This is, and I [inaudible 00:53:13] mention it quickly, this is … I’m a evangelical Christian, I’m not like what … You and Greg I think are LDS, right?
John: And we have people at our office that are straight agnostic, atheist, and we just are respectful of each other, and honor each other, and are accountable to each other, and humble, and love each other. I think that for me is what has … that’s what sets strong cultures apart. That’s what sets things in motion, that of unity. Instead of, either one way or another, ignoring the differences, or instead of fighting about the differences, look, let’s just see above the problem, above the differences.
John: Transcendence is to look past it all and still love regardless. Instead of fighting, we’re just going to go above that, and let’s just love each other, let’s be respectful of each other, honoring of each other. I always say, honor goes up, down, left, right, it goes all around, and I think that is something we strive to do at our company, and what I’ve striven to do in my life as well. Is it striven, stroven, what’s the word? Strivved, strived?
Charan: Oh, barbecue. That’s the word.
John: That sounds good.
Charan: Strive, just strive. Dude, I’ll tell you what, man, you’re absolutely right, you’re absolutely right. The thing is, it’s beautiful that we have differences, first off, because every single person has experience life their own way, and that’s beautiful. It’s beautiful that you’ve experienced life your way, it’s beautiful that I’ve experienced life my way, and every single person needs to be honored for the way they experience life, because we’re all here, we’re all doing it together, man. We’re all here, celebrating life together, so it’s great that you’ve discovered that for yourself. I think that’s a beautiful way to even wrap things up, but I think loving each other and celebrating each other’s differences is the only way that we can find unity in a divisive world.
John: Yeah, 100%. Yeah, it’s-
Charan: Do you-
John: Go ahead.
Charan: No, you go, you go. What were you going to say?
John: This is a tough year, and we’ve seen some crazy stuff, and for me, and I’m not saying I don’t understand people that are hurting. I’m super empathetic to them, I feel for them, but for me, I just definitely want to keep loving on people, and that doesn’t mean … Look, I’m not perfect. It’s like, somebody slaps me across the cheek, I’m supposed to turn the other technically, but let’s be honest, is that going to happen every time? Probably not, right?
John: But I think we all make mistakes, we’ve all done some stupid stuff. Some people are completely ignorant, some people are completely racist, and I’m not saying bring them into your life necessarily, but I’m just saying we’ve got to fight the problem with love. We have to, [crosstalk 00:56:33] solution.
Charan: That’s the only way.
John: It’s the only way.
Charan: That’s the only way.
John: Anyway, go ahead, I interrupted you.
Charan: Well, I was just going to kind of say, I think uncertain times, and dark times, and things that we’re facing, is … the key to all of that, the key to facing this is to do it together, and to not say, “Oh, well because you’re this way and you believe this way, I can’t experience uncertainty with you. There’s no way.” It’s like, “Look, we’re all kind of facing the same battle together, so why are we fighting amongst ourselves?” Let’s unite together, and together, through the power of love, you can kind of vanquish the forces of evil. That’s just how I look at it.
John: This is starting to … it’s like a Disney movie now.
Charan: Dude, this is fantastic.
Charan: Oh my gosh, I had no idea that that was a skill that you had as well.
John: Oh dude, no, that was … No, no, no, no, [crosstalk 00:57:37].
Charan: Don’t worry, I’m going to do that on auto-tune as well. It’s going to be great.
John: You’re going to have to cut out like 15 minutes of me just [crosstalk 00:57:47]-
John Rowa’s Advice to His Younger Self
Charan: No way, man. This has been beautiful. John, seriously, I really appreciate you taking the time, man. This has been so awesome and enlightening, and it’s been great to get to know you more, but thanks, man. I guess just wrapping things up, anything you would tell your younger self?
John: Man, you got to throw that in at the end, like I’m all ready for that question. Oh my gosh, okay, something I will tell my younger self, and this is something I think a lot of, both Millennials and, what’s the … oh my gosh, why did I just forget the-
Charan: Gen Z?
John: Gen Z, wow, I think this is something I’ve seen consistently happen with a lot of them. I’m actually a Millennial too, technically. I know I’m old and fat and ugly, but technically I’m [crosstalk 00:58:39] Millennial.
Charan: You look wonderful.
John: Oh, thank you, how sweet of you. Not just Millennials and Gen Z, just anybody who’s younger and especially getting into the workforce, or graduating high school, or whatever, there’s a couple things. One, don’t waste time. Everybody says, “Oh, the college years are where you’re supposed to have fun and do all that,” that’s nonsense. [inaudible 00:59:04] just start doing something that gets you moving. That’s like four years of your life that could set you so far apart from your peers, like that period.
John: I wasted a lot, so at 16 years old, I started this whole company. When looking back now, I’m like, “That was stinking tight. What was I thinking? I’m a freaking idiot for dropping that,” because instead I was like, “Well, I guess I got to go to community college,” and I just, I fooled around. I took bowling and karate or something, like underwater basket weaving was my major, it was just stupid. So I wasted time. Go ahead.
Charan: I’m excited for your baskets, but continue.
John: Yeah, so just don’t waste time. That’s a very important period, just hit that hard, do something meaningful. Even if it’s not meaningful at the moment, and this is the second part, it’s do something in the direction of meaning. So, everybody, Millennials, Gen Z, anybody who’s like 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, that age group especially right there, this young 20s, where you’re trying to figure out life like, “What do I want to do,” they get really discouraged if they aren’t fulfilling their mission or their ultimate purpose. They get super discouraged, and I see that, and not everybody, but I see that quite a bit where they’re just like, “I just don’t know what I’m going to … I don’t know if this is what I want to do with my life.”
John: No, of course it’s not what you want to do all your life, right? It’s okay that it’s not exactly what you want to do. I would say just point yourself in the right direction. So don’t worry about making a million dollars, don’t worry about finding the perfect job, just find a company that’s growing and see if you can do something special there. Learn, apprentice, do something. Educate yourself. Whatever it is, if you can see … Don’t think of a 20-year plan, don’t think of 10-year, five. People always say, “What’s your five-year goal?” I don’t stinking know. I don’t know what I’m going to do five days from now, let alone five years from now, but what I want to do is take one day at a time and get better than yesterday.
Charan: Yeah, I love that.
John: So just get yourself in the right direction, start moving forward towards meaning, and that means if it’s … Look, if I’m doing something, and I know, “Hey, this is not even remotely close to where the direction I mean,” then that might be time to realign yourself. But for the most part, just get your head down, start working, move forward. Just make sure the next day is better than the last one, and that’s what I would tell myself.
John: When I started doing stuff, I worried about what I wanted to do, I jumped around, I worked … The next job after the internet radio station was Disneyland, doing audio-visual, and so I got all these crazy, cool, fun stories I’ll have to tell you on some other time there, but to me, I probably wasted time on stuff that probably didn’t align with my ultimate purpose. So either way though, I learn. Point is, is to put your head down, keep working, move yourself forward, make sure the next day is better than the last, and you’ll look back one day, you’ll be like, “It’s already been three years, but oh my gosh, I’m growing.” Anyways, that’s it.
Charan: That’s awesome, man. Seriously, that’s a great way to wrap things up, like just focusing and working hard, and having a direction, even though it might not be the ultimate direction, I think it’s a beautiful thing, because then when you do that, these things just kind of transpire in your life, you know?
John: Yeah, man.
Charan: This is a very small example, but I was working with my buddy, and I made a YouTube video with him, just for fun, because I knew that he had great skills as a director, and I wanted to act, and we just wanted to do this thing for fun. So we did, and we made this video, and we put it on YouTube, and it got like four or five million views or whatever it is right now, and all of a sudden, I’m driving home to California from Utah, and I get a call from DreamWorksTV, and they’re like-
John: No way.
Charan: “You need to come in and pitch us.” I’m like, “Wait, what? What are you talking about?” I said, “I have nothing to pitch to you guys,” and they’re like, “We don’t care. We love that video so much, we know you’ve got skills,” all because we decided to make a silly YouTube video, and we were like, let’s just go have fun.
John: That’s so cool.
Charan: We had a direction, and then we made it happen, right? That’s just how the world works.
John: That’s so cool.
Charan: That’s just how the universe works, and that’s just how I felt God aligns things in our lives, but if you’re not doing anything, then nothing can really happen to you, right?
John: Yeah, dude. Hey, we’re doing the Charan podcast next, like I’ll interview you, we’ll switch it around and-
Charan: Oh, dude, no, it’s all good.
John: There’s good stuff happening here.
Charan: It’s going to be fun. John, seriously, thanks, man. You’re the best, and I really appreciate you taking the time and chatting, and I can’t wait to see you in person very soon.
John: Yeah, well, I’ll bring all my little niños out, and we’ll have …
Charan: Yeah, we’ll have a party [crosstalk 01:04:22].
John: We’ll have a party. Are we allowed to have parties in COVID? Is that …
Charan: I mean, a COVID party. We’ll be isolated from each other, but [crosstalk 01:04:28].
John: We’ll just see each other through glass?
Charan: Yeah, it will be great, it will be awesome.
John: Awesome, and thanks for having me, bro, appreciate it.
Charan: Awesome, man. Well, thank you so much, I really appreciate it, okay?
John: Much love.
Charan: Have a good one, take care. Okay, bye.
Charan: Thank you so much for listening to the Lemonade Stand podcast, and we hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you use to be alerted when we release new episodes. We’d also love to hear your feedback in the reviews, and if you or someone you know has an awesome Lemonade Stand Story, please reach out to us on social media and let us know. Thanks so much, and have a great day.