SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Insured since May 2017
I’m not a big fan of coffee - I love hot chocolate or tea
Spotify’s Daily Mix
SAN FRAN SPOT
The Yerba Buena gardens - Apple used to announce their newest products there
“Good artists copy, great artists steal.” - Steve Jobs
FAVORITE THING ABOUT LEMONADE
It’s affordable, simple, and easy to set up
Hey Justin! What's the first thing I should know about you?
I run a startup called Visionary! It’s designed to help young people identify their passions. This is the first time I’m building something of my own after working for so many years.
What’d you do before you created your startup?
Well, I started my first business when I was 8. You know how most kids want to start a lemonade stand? I didn’t really wanna do that. I wanted to do something entrepreneurial. I learned how to build a website, and I made one for my Kool-Aid business. My friends were like ‘whoa, you can make websites!’ Most of them didn’t know much about tech, so I launched a consulting firm in high school to teach other people tech skills.
Sounds like you have entrepreneurial blood! Tell me more about Visionary.
We’re trying to reformat the way we think about education and technology. It’s very community-focused. Our first product is an online community for artists and creators to learn how to make a living on the internet. So many people want to be the next Snapchat influencer or Instagram celebrity, yet our schools aren’t preparing people for the future. So we’re helping people become content creators or influencers by providing programming and mentorship.
That’s so cool. What inspired you to start it?
I just saw how crappy our education system is. I never understood why kids sit for 8 hours in a classroom and just do grunt work. Kids are not to taught to actually go out and experience. Another problem is consent: no one asks kids what they want to learn. And there’s no support for kids who have an alternative passion.
What do you think should change in our education system?
Young people should have the choice to be creative, do what they want, and discover their passions. Kids should have more of a choice. I want to help people make positive changes in the world, and I want to help them learn by doing. If you implement that into schools, you can make people actively want to solve our world’s problems.
What’s one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned along the way?
There are so many – which one to I choose? When I first moved to San Francisco, I’d say adulting was one of the biggest lessons for me. I came here with $1,500, and nobody really taught me everything I needed to know to survive and be an adult. So I’m just self-taught. But the best way to learn is by doing!
What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own company?
I definitely would recommend that they’re super passionate about what they’re doing. You have to have that initial drive. You have to be willing to sacrifice literally everything for what you want to carry out. One of President Roosevelt’s lines was: “believe and you’re halfway there.” It’s really a mindset game.
I love that. What’s some of the best advice you’ve gotten?
I love what Michelle Obama said: “When you walk through the doorway of opportunity, you don’t slam it shut behind you. You reach back, and you give other people the same chances and opportunities that helped you succeed.” That’s one of my mottos – once I make it, I want to help other people make it. And it all goes back to why I’m in education in the first place: I could never work in a position where I wasn’t in the position to help other people.
That’s so great. Are there any other causes you’re passionate about?
I’m really big on human rights and supporting LGBT. That’s why I chose the ACLU as my Giveback cause with Lemonade. Human rights benefit everybody.