Thursday, September 29, 2011

[Interview] Building a business for social good with Brian Johnson [Philosophernotes]

Welcome To Aunt Bertha's Blog

Aunt Bertha is a website that helps struggling individuals and families find programs based on need(food, health, education, etc) in seconds. Think: 911 meets Google meets the Aunt that keeps it real at Thanksgiving and is always willing to give you a hand when you're in need.

Interview Series

Aunt Bertha is still organizing all the need-based programs in the United States. We are still recruiting volunteers for team Bertha, but we also realize the need for real conversations. We want to talk to people who care, who want to make a difference, and who have been where we want to go, and shares our values. 3 other important reasons:

-We want to share our journey of becoming a national organization.

-We want our readers to have strategies to keep going on their projects for social good or social work.

-We want to break down the process of building something bigger than all of us for social good.

Our first interview is: Brian Johnson

Why are we interviewing Brian Johnson?

-He has experienced setbacks and overcome difficulties.

-He knows how to integrate passion+purpose into businesses.

-He has successfully built and sold two extremely valuable companies.

Who is this interview for?

-Human service providers: I specifically ask questions in service of non-profit and human service professionals on how we can stay in our best shape to serve the world.

-People who start amazing projects and want to know how to stay focused.

-People who have great ideas on how to improve the world and don't know what to do next.

-Anyone who wants to know how to integrate serving the world and being financially sustainable!

-Advanced business advice (you will be surprised by the answer)!

Find Brian:

Full Bio:

Brian Johnson is the Philosopher & CEO of en*theos--a company that creates cool stuff to help people optimize their lives. He's the co-founder (with his wife, Alexandra) of the en*theos AcademyPhilosophersNotes and Blissitations and is the author of A Philosopher's Notes. He's also featured in the documentary Finding Joe and has a monthly "Big Ideas" column in Experience Life magazine.
In one of his past lives, as a 24-year-old law school dropout turned Founder/CEO, Brian led the creation of eteamz-the world’s largest amateur sports site that currently (and profitably) provides team and league web sites and a comprehensive suite of services to over 3 million teams from over 120 countries around the world. (For example, Little League Baseball® uses the technology.) After spending the requisite time in “garage-mode,” eteamz won UCLA’s Business Plan competition, raised over $5 million of capital, grew from 3 to 45 employees in less than a year (including the CEO of Adidas and the eventual winner of Apprentice II) and was sold for over $13 million of stock and cash to The Active Network, Inc. in 2000.
After successfully leading the integration of the two companies as a Vice President at Active, Brian spent a few years as a philosopher, immersing himself in philosophy, psychology, mysticism and optimal living. He read hundreds of books and traveled a bit-studying Jesus in Jerusalem, Marcus Aurelius in the Danube of Hungary, Rumi in Konya, Turkey, and Socrates in Greece. On his return, he created, a site where he began distilling the universal truths of optimal living. Over 10,000 people signed up to receive his daily newsletter where he shared the wisdom of his favorite teachers, showing how everyone (from Nietzsche to Buddha to Emerson) is saying the same thing.
In 2004, in an effort to integrate his philosophical and entrepreneurial selves (yes, he’s a Gemini :) and to put the truths he was studying into practice, Brian created Zaadz (now Gaia)-a company named after the Dutch word for seed committed to leveraging world-class social networking tools to connect, inspire and empower people committed to transforming their lives and our planet. (Think: Facebook for people who want to change the world.)
As the Philosopher & CEO of Zaadz, he raised $3 million to finance the launch of the business. Investors included a billionaire and his family and the CEO of Whole Foods. Feeling the dharmic pull to immerse himself back into studying and living the universal truths, Brian sold Zaadz to Gaiam, Inc. (Nasdaq: GAIA) in the summer of 2007.
Before all of that, Brian graduated Magna Cum Laude with Phi Beta Kappa honors from UCLAwhere he studied Psychology and Business. Brian has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and various other publications on everything from philosophy and business to his vision on how to change the world. He has presented on various panels, served as a judge for the Anderson School at UCLA’s Business Plan writing competition, and given lectures on conscious capitalism, entrepreneurial finance and the Internet economy at USC’s Marshall School of Business, Claremont McKenna and Cal Tech.
Brian is also a contributing author in Michael Strong’s book Be the Solution: How Entrepreneurs & Conscious Capitalists Can Solve All the World’s Problems where he joins Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, Nobel Peace Prize-winner Muhammad Yunus, legal reform expert Hernando de Soto and others in discussing how we can leverage entrepreneurialism as a force for good. His chapter focuses on the role of the conscious entrepreneur in transforming our world.
And, look for Brian in the upcoming documentary on Joseph Campbell calledFinding Joe-all about the role of myth/ritual/spirituality in the 21st century.

If you enjoyed the interview please share!

Mozart Guerrier is a social worker and the community manager at Aunt Bertha.

What BIG idea did you take from the interview?

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