John Greathouse | [Top UCSB Entrepreneur Series] From GoToMeeting to VC to Professor of Entrepreneurship

John Greathouse 6:19

I don’t understand you. So yeah, so it was like, hey, let me just do it. And then the next wave was all these big software companies. And then we were actually doing pretty well. So we created a product that some of your listeners will have heard of, it was called GoToMyPC. So it allowed you to work from home remotely. And this is back when that was new. I remember it. Yeah. And people would either have a VPN or they’d have to go into their office. And so we said, you don’t need either, just download this little tool for 19 bucks. We sold a ton of that software, like we crushed it. So then the third product we came out with so the first one was a support product called dumb go to assist. They went to GoToMyPC, then we did GoToMeeting. And what we did with GoToMeeting is we made WebEx simple. So WebEx was already out there. But you needed a PhD, I mean, it was like, I literally needed a tech person sitting off screen, so that he or she can jump in and fix something. And our tool is easy. So GoToMeeting, you know, it was a hit from the beginning, Citrix came knocking on our door, we weren’t for sale, we ended up negotiating with them. I did that deal with Mark Templeton, the CEO at the time, and they ended up namja doing really well with that investment. So we were all happy with this about 240 million. Whenever after the earnout and everything. We were all looking pretty pleased. And that was in 2004 dollars. So now make it you know, you have to put a little bit of inflation on top of that for today.

John Corcoran 7:40

Right? But that was also a time when you know so you were in Santa Barbara right? Yeah. And Santa Barbara for those who don’t know it, is a beautiful town. I love it. I miss it. Such a great town to live in, but not close to Silicon Valley on the same coast but a distance away. And if the time didn’t have a whole heck of a lot of tech companies, right, so what was it like to develop? Did that benefit you? Was that a detriment? What was it like developing a tech company in Santa Barbara?

John Greathouse 8:08

That was the second woman I developed we skipped over, which is fine. I helped create. I was the first business person at a company called computer motion which we helped create the medical robotics industry. So we went public in 97, we raised a bunch of money, we ended up merging with Intuitive Surgical, which is the leader in that space looking at a $80 billion plus market cap company. So that was also another transaction that worked out pretty well. But to your point, the reason I thought of that was when I was building that business, I spent a lot of time in Silicon Valley and I caught the constant refrain was, when are you going to get serious about your company and move into Silicon Valley? And my response was usually dude, have you ever been to Santa Barbara like we’re not moving, though, but it’s gotten a lot easier. I mean, when when I started working on a computer motion, it was kind of the mid 90s it was a struggle because we didn’t have all these businesses to point to we have multiple unicorns now we have businesses, you know, that are about public and you know number of businesses so I think for anyone to say you know, you guys are still in the junior leagues. I mean, we have to think of on you think Microsoft or LinkedIn ended up buying them. We have Procore which is filed to go public we have at folio which is a multi-billion dollar public company. We have a rights scale, which is sold to a big company. We had a Eucalyptus sold to hp. We have invoca with Starbucks on the border for years. It’s gonna have a great exit, so on and on and on, right impact radius. I mean, we Commission Junction started here, I mean, there’s been a lot of successes here. I just recited like 15 to 17 years of history, right. So it took some time. We’re on generation three of successful companies in town, so that makes it a lot easier. So now you’ve got people like when we sold our business to Citrix for major companies. Those core talented people that left LogicMonitor when I mentioned LogicMonitor were sold to private equity for 300 plus million dollars. That was the guy that ran our architecture. He founded a business. 

John Corcoran 10:14

So it’s a little PayPal mafia coming out of it

John Greathouse 10:15

Yeah, yeah. Well, it’s been called the ExpertCity mafia because of the successes that have come out. Yeah, the woman that was running my case, which recently had an exit, she was with us, experts city. So anyway, to answer your question, it was difficult at the time, I think it’s a lot easier. Now we have, we have, we’ve gotten venture capital from all the major top firms at this point. So, once they make one investment in a locale, it’s a lot easier for them to make a follow on investment. Yeah, because we’re already visiting. They’re already going to be there.

John Corcoran 10:45

Yeah. Now what was it like for you moving from working in startups to into actually investing being an investor in venture capital?

John Greathouse 10:56

So for me, I had a transitional period where I was an angel investor, right? So when you’re when you do a lot of startups in that startup world like I was, if you’re lucky, you have a lot of smart friends that start businesses. So I was a, I was a seed investor, and at folio and rightscale, and Eucalyptus and some of these other businesses that are going on and on Well, I’d like to think it was because I was just so savvy, but it really was just because I had smart friends. And they said, Hey, if you want to put some money in you can you don’t have to do that kind of thing. But I did enough of that. I did about three or four years of that and had a little bit of success. Kind of thought now maybe I can be an investor. I do have a teaching gene. My father was a teacher, he was a professor. So I knew that I liked to teach an early stage venture for anyone who’s done it. It’s really a lot of coaching and a lot of teaching, you have to enjoy working with curious, excited people. And if you don’t, then you probably should do a later stage or do something else. But so I felt like here I am. I’m leveraging my teaching, I’m doing writing. My investing seems to be going pretty well so far. So that’s why I joined Rincon Venture which had already been formed, but it only had one $27 million fund. So we went off into two follow on funds after that. As you mentioned, in my bio, we raised almost all things considered as about 100 million, which we deployed mostly in SAS, so mostly a software as a service, because that’s the area of expertise I had in mind where they all companies out of Santa Barbara, or out of the Central Coast area are no not not really, we would have done quite well, if we had if we had just focused on Santa Barbara button, a lot of Santa Monica based companies, some Bay Area companies as well, one or two in the East Coast, which proved problematic for a small firm because it’s just, you know, early, you should be close, like you really need to be able to get down or get up whichever direction to the company and be hands on. I found that my ability to help folks from across the country, even with Zoom and GoToMeeting and everything else, is just more limited than if you could just pop down to their office. Right? 

John Corcoran 13:00

And what was it like with a brand new VC fund establishing yourself people hadn’t heard of you before? What was that like?

John Greathouse 13:08

Well, you know, this is gonna be a shocker. It’s a lot like a startup, you’re going to get most of your money from friends and family people that know you. Right, so we pass the hat on fund one just among people. We didn’t even try to raise money from people that didn’t know us, because we knew that would have not worked. Yeah, um, fun too.

John Corcoran 13:25

We would have had on the deal flow side though.

John Greathouse 13:27

Well, deal flow, I think. Yeah, that’s a good question as well. We never had a problem with deal flow. I think maybe because at that point, I had a profile locally, that was high. I don’t know. I just saw a lot of deals. I was writing when I was an early blogger. Yeah. I don’t know. I never probably deal with flow. But on the money raised inside it, the second fund had to be friends and families. Well, we ended up getting institutional money involved, which we were surprised by. It was the easiest fundraiser ever, because it’s like, Oh, you guys raise it again. Sure. I’m gonna get you know, my year was crazy. Like, the amount of time to raise funds three was like, you know, a third and fun too. And fun, too was like, you know, yeah, tend to fund one. So,

John Corcoran 14:09

yeah. And what year was where you’re at? What year? Were you raising? Round three?

John Greathouse 14:13

Ah, good question. So we were kind of, Oh, 5078 1011 or maybe 1112.

John Corcoran 14:22

Okay. Something like that. Okay. Okay. Yeah, I was trying to figure out if it was something in the economy, you know, people say like, Oh, it’s so easy to raise money. You’re like, Okay, that was 2000. Right?

John Greathouse 14:36

No, I think it’s because we had institutions in our fund already. And they were like, Yeah, sure. And our funds are small For God’s sake, and he wants money.

John Corcoran 14:43

Now you have. You’ve been teaching at UCSB. And there’s this technology management program, which is an interesting name for a program that helps in the entrepreneurship space. I didn’t study entrepreneurship when I was at UCSB and they don’t have a business degree, there’s no you can’t get an MBA from the program. So talk a little bit about Were you there at the beginning at the outset of the technology management program? Why is it called that also?

John Greathouse 15:11

Yeah, yeah. So I was there pretty close to the beginning. And we do just to clarify, we do have a Master’s of technology management. Now. We’re in our fourth year. I teach there as well. I’m advising a couple student groups right now. But yeah, so go back in time, this was probably like, oh, five ish. We. So the two guys that I had success with at the robotics company, and at the company, we sold to Citrix, were both former professors that decided to go into business. And so the idea and both had tremendous success, the idea was that Elon and Klaus had been able to just have a basic class and options, you know, VC, you know, just real basic stuff, they certainly would have been able to get up to speed faster. So the first class was just entrepreneurship, it was only for engineers. And it was just to do that it was just to teach the super basics of, okay, you think you have an idea, here’s how you can keep getting ripped off. That became so popular, the dean decided to open it up to the broader audience of the university, then it became two classes, then it became 468 10. So now we have a certificate where you have to take a certain amount of classes, it’s open to every single major, we are the most popular program on campus, we accept every major, and you know, I’m just a virtual this quarter, but my class is going to end up about 350 people. You know, and I can take more like the demand for the classes are tremendous. If people really want to understand, you know, are they an entrepreneur like, what, what is entrepreneurship all about? You know, just if they have a thirst for this knowledge

John Corcoran 16:46

says a lot about what’s the most popular class and how things have changed? Because I think when I was there, I think it was the sex class, which Yes, they’re they’re still teaching that anymore.

John Greathouse 16:54

But no, I was running neck and neck. So I wanted to kind of see how big a class I can teach it and have it still be effective. So I let it get up to about 750 students. And I found that, you know, I was in the second biggest lecture hall on campus. Campbell Hall. It wasn’t Campbell. IV theater one. Okay. Yeah, it’s a huge room. Yeah. Um, know what the max is. I don’t want to teach that again. But I was in, I was vying for the sex ed, like, who can have the biggest class? 

John Corcoran 17:26

Yeah, I stopped taking classes of that size, because it was just that I couldn’t handle it was too big.

John Greathouse 17:32

Well, I did the whole Phil Donahue thing from the 70s. Like, I would go up and down that microphone. And I would like to pass the microphone and make people talk. And it was kind of fun from that standpoint. Like, those kids had never seen that, like their minds were like, I thought I was coming to this class to sleep right? and weak so that at the end of it, I was like, you know, peace out. I can’t do this. So it was a fun experiment, but I wouldn’t do it again.

John Corcoran 17:54

So, you know, I wasn’t the kid who was out there selling popcorn on my parents lawn. I came to entrepreneurship later. In fact, I studied English when I was in college. But when you have kids who enroll in your classes, and they’re asking themselves, am I an entrepreneur? What do you take them through? How do you help them figure that out?

John Greathouse 18:13

Yeah, it’s funny that you asked that because a lot of people want to be anointed an entrepreneur, right? I’m friends with a couple I won’t name droppers. I’m friends with some pretty high profile people and they get into the entrepreneur world, they get people coming to them almost saying, am I an entrepreneur? Can you bless me? Can I you know, and it’s not that way like, well, what I think about your entrepreneurship or not is irrelevant, right? So I asked students to rather than asking me what I think of their entrepreneur abilities, I just asked him to think back over their lifetime. And, you know, have they been attracted to ambiguity? Do they run from ambiguity? Because most kids, you can’t say, well, what’s your risk profile? Because they’re gonna go I don’t, what does that mean? Yeah, trying to ask the questions kind of differently.

John Corcoran 18:58

It’s actually an interesting point. Do you find that people who are more open to risk are better entrepreneurs? Or is it the opposite? Because it’s kind of an interesting debate, whether entrepreneurs are risk takers or not, I would argue that there are some entrepreneurs that are very much risk takers than there are others that are risk avoiders.

John Greathouse 19:19

Yeah, but see, I do so again, just because I teach you UCSB doesn’t mean everything I say is based on science. It’s not what I’m about to say is not but my belief is that entrepreneurs are not classic risk takers in the sense that I never saw a risk. If you had met me in 1994. And I was talking to you about the medical robotics company, and how we were going to change the world and how it’d be routine for you to walk into a hospital and get a robotic surgery which you can do right down the street from where I’m sitting right now. I wouldn’t have thought it was risky. You would have laughed off when I walked away, right? You would have been like that guy’s a nut like nobody’s gonna let a robot operate on them. But in my mind, it was just preordained like it made so much sense. Are you telling me you can make the surgeon’s hand movements, you can scale them down to 100 of an edge and allow them to suture on parts of the body? They can’t do it now for them like, Okay, what let’s go. But it’s because I had that, just that that personality trait where I was already sort of three or four years ahead of where I probably should have been, like, I should have woken up in a cold sweat every morning going, you know, what are we trying to do? I mean, it’s hard enough to start a company, it’s really hard to start an industry. And that is what we tried, right. And we were successful. And we were successful, in some part because of what Intuitive Surgical did as a competitor. So it was that classic, like we were missionary selling, and we were actually pretty psyched when they came on the scene, better-funded higher profile entrepreneurs, because they were breaking ground for us that, you know, would have been even harder for us to break on our own.

John Corcoran 20:53

You mentioned you didn’t want to drop any name drop, which I appreciate, that’s totally fine. But I’m gonna ask you a question that might require you to. So are there any interesting entrepreneurs, interesting, successful entrepreneurs that you’ve maybe had the opportunity to observe? Up close? Perhaps working with them in some capacity or another? Who would you highlight as someone doing something interesting, or really embodying what is a truly exceptional lunch entrepreneur?

John Greathouse 21:28

Yep. So I’ll, I’ll focus on sort of just the pure entrepreneurial focus on an entrepreneur that ended up becoming an investor. And so I think, and I also am self-aware enough to know that we’re often attracted to people that are like us, or that we perceive are like us, or we want to be like, so I went about when I’m about to tell you is I put myself kind of in the same boat, which is probably why I admire these people somewhat. And what I’m alluding to is what happened in the kind of the 2010s, right, the teens, where a lot of entrepreneurs went to become VC they became, so they went from being an operator like I was to an investor like I did. So who do I like in that class? Well, I really like what Mark Suster has done at Upfront. In fact, the very first investment he did was with Invoca, which I mentioned earlier, a local company, where I knew the founders and I had a real long history with Invoca. Mark made that investment and I was able to sit on a board with him for I don’t know, 11 years. Long Haul, right? And he was awesome, and I can stop saying this, I don’t need or want anything. I know a lot of people do, right? Because he’s a very influential person. He’s a friend of mine, that’s all it is. But I was able to see him work with the company, we had to, we had to swap out CEOs, it was just, you know, never easy and over a decade. And that business is well suited to have an awesome exit. And I give Mark, as one of those the CEO who’s there, and I haven’t been there for several years, Greg, but I get a lot of credit for that, that that deal could have gone a lot of different directions and Mark has a hands-on appropriately, hands-on investor came in and help fix things. So you know, others that are in that, you know, like Brad Feld is another person I consider a friend. I’ve never worked with him as I have with Mark. But I think Brad has a similar sentiment, right? He really is. He doesn’t want to run the ship. But he can lean upon his operating skills to help advise the executive team in the appropriate way. Hmm.

John Corcoran 23:31

Anyone else you care to highlight?

John Greathouse 23:33

Well, I mean, gosh, and I don’t want to. I’m just if I start making a list, I’m going to leave people out. And they’re going to go. I saw your podcast, stop there. Those are two very well-known investors that I admired there.

John Corcoran 23:44

Yeah, yeah. Talk about some of the companies that you’ve had the benefit of witnessing or been involved with that have come out of Santa Barbara over the last 10-15 years, 20 years that you’ve been observing it because there you’ve had unicorns, a lot of amazing, interesting companies, including a few that have come out of your classes. So talk a little bit about those.

John Greathouse 24:05

Yeah, and the fact that the founders took a class for me is irrelevant to their success. I don’t want to try to tie those two together by any means. But I’m very proud of them. One of them is James Rogers, who started Apeel. He was a PhD student at the time, and he launched or he pitched in my class, which the objective of the class was you had to pitch an idea and form a group around it, and then it’s been 10 weeks vetting that idea and then if your idea was good enough, you could then roll into our new venture competition, which has been going on now for about 27-28 years. James is an exceptional human being he’s now you know, just done incredibly well. Apeel is a unicorn. The last valuation was well over a billion dollars, I think they’re gonna change the world. But another one that I’m quite proud to have just been a very not even I won’t even say a bit of a small part of it. Just don’t watch it grow. Next Energy Technologies, the love Corey was the PhD founder who figured out a way through material sciences to turn clear windows. So not like a window, you can’t see through it. But regular windows turn those into solar panels, that is now commercial technology. So it took, you know, seven or eight years, but it’s commercial. There’s a big plant in the middle of the United States whose name I cannot say, but they are going to start pumping out that glass. And we’re and I’m now an adviser to the company and have been for a couple years. We’re going to be launching in Europe, we hope, by the end of this year, if not early next year. So that’s another fun one. Inogen is one a lot of people know, that is a oxygen concentrator company, that it’s a multi-billion dollar public company, the three founders all came out of our new venture competition. And they’ve changed just, you know, 10s of 1000s of lives. My wife’s father, who recently got ill used in energy and unit, my, my father in law, I mean, my, my sister side, another relative used and I mean, I really love to sing the praises of businesses that change the world in a positive way, right, not just make a lot of money, but actually have an impact. And next in appeal and energy and all three have done that.

John Corcoran 26:08

Give me some examples of companies that have come to you with an idea that’s not quite shaped yet not quite ready yet. Maybe they need to go back to the drawing board. How do you approach that? That’s such a difficult and sensitive topic. And, and not easy to, to advise, especially when there could be a kernel of an idea there, or it could be just Sorry, guys, you got to come up with something else. How do you approach that conversation?

John Greathouse 26:34

Yeah, so get smarter. When somebody asked me, you know, am I an entrepreneur? And people come to me and say, Do you like my idea? What do you think of my idea? You know, it’s like, it doesn’t matter what I think of me, right? What do you think of it? So I’ll spend a lot of time talking to these young people, I wouldn’t say that to a 45-year-old. But these are young people that are still figuring things out. And what we usually go with it and what I impart on them, or what I try to impart on them is the reason I’m not being flippant when I say it doesn’t matter what I think if your idea, the reality is, it doesn’t matter what I think of your idea, what I want you to do is to go into the marketplace with your idea, talk to people in that industry, talk to potential customers, you know, all the basic MVP one on one type stuff that everybody who’s not 22 knows. And then you’ll change your idea. And you’ll morph and evolve your idea to fit the market, if you have what it takes as an entrepreneur. I don’t say that last part. But you know, if they’re truly an entrepreneur, and they want it bad enough, they’ll probably figure it out. So if I, if I see an idea that I unless it’s just horrendous. I mean, there have been a few times where I’ve just said, you really might want it, that’s a crowded space, you’re gonna need $100 million. I mean, I don’t say that I don’t tell every person with every idea that they should just try to launch. But if it’s one that is doable for a young person, I don’t want to discourage him in any way. I don’t want to be the person that sort of took the air on somebody’s balloon when you know, when that wasn’t appropriate.

John Corcoran 27:57

Right. Right. And they’ll come to the conclusion themselves, right?

John Greathouse 28:01

Well, yeah, so you’ve seen it, you know, with lifts that came out of UCSB of which I didn’t have anything to do with that business. But you know, that didn’t start out and we ended up. You mean, Uber was basically a black car service. It was like a good cab service. So I mean, we know over and over and over how businesses that started one way Pinterest started, you know, something completely different, like Snapchat was basically a filter for software. I mean, we know that many, many very, very, very successful companies started out doing something either slightly different or entirely different, but very few times, yeah, was exactly what they, you know, ended up doing.

John Corcoran 28:36

So many of these folks that come through your programs have been or they have an engineering background, or they’re scientists of some sort, they come from the sciences, what sorts of challenges do they have stepping into the role of entrepreneurship when they come from that specific training background?

John Greathouse 28:52

it’s gonna sound like I’m stereotyping. But I oftentimes, I mean, if you, you’re asking me to generalize, so if I’m going to generalize, I think oftentimes, someone that is attracted to an engineering degree, is, isn’t always as comfortable selling their idea, or trying to raise money, or even recruiting other people to their team. So you know, it’s, that’s not a big deal. Like, that’s just the way life is, right? I have certain strings that have a lot of weaknesses, I think knowing those two things as a young person is highly important. So what I spend a lot of time with, with engineering folks is trying to help them find that person to partner with, like, find that gregarious non-technical, maybe a little bit more exuberant person, that that you can partner with and they can go out recruit people, they can raise money, they can market your idea, or whatever. The ones that really struggle are the ones that aren’t open to that personality type. You do see some and some pretty small percentage, but you do see some engineering types that almost feel like that’s a Flim Flam man or that’s a used car salesperson and I do my best to try to explain No, that’s in the movies in real life, you can be totally ethical and still be excited about your product. But I do think that’s a challenge for some engineering and venture types. Yeah,

John Corcoran 30:09

yeah. There’s so many different technology areas that are booming right now. As we get close to wrapping up this conversation, are there any particular areas that get you excited? I know you were involved in SaaS for many years, and you’ve worked in, you moved into some other areas, but what are you excited about?

John Greathouse 30:27

Well, I’m not going to surprise anybody that’s listening. You know, I’m not gonna say big data, but, but I just said, No, I think I really like non-game, kind of maybe non-consumer applications of VR and AR. So sort of the boring stuff that you heard a lot about a few years ago, and then it seems to kind of got overtaken by Oculus and some of the other cool stuff. But it you know, we all kind of know, like how that technology tends to evolve, games are usually very early adopters, I think it’s gonna become commonplace, I think we’re not, we’re gonna call it something different, we’re not going to call it VR, AR, it’ll just, it’ll just be so ubiquitous, that it will just be part of our daily life. But I think that’s going to be some sort of an overlay in some modality that if I was smart enough, I would start a company right now and create it, but somebody will figure that out. And it’s, it’s simply, you know, it’s, you know, we have movies for 2530 years ago that did this, it’ll just be a way to bring all of the power of the internet and, and all that data right into our daily active lives, not not an in screen format, but just more than just all the world around us. So I like what we did and invested with, in Toronto ventures, where I’m an advisory partner in applied VR, which is using it for therapy, which is using VR for therapeutic therapeutics. So I think in the medical world, there’s going to be a whole, there’s going to be a whole industry of applications work. You know, what if a doctor wants to, you know, using artificial intelligence, of course, and big data? What if they want to, you know, match up a scan or something that they’re looking at, you know, like, is this? Is this a tumor? Like, I’m not sure we know that AR, excuse me, we know that AI has a better track record of identifying what is and what isn’t a tumor. So you can imagine using the power of AI in a visual form, maybe overlaying with a tumor or showing some probability or I don’t know, I just think that’s going to be part of our lives. And what is funny is movies, you know, you know, 10-15 years now, so many are watching movies, and somebody will be holding a smartphone or someone you’d be looking at a laptop with now and they’re literally going to go, what is that? Like? My kids would do with a payphone? Right? Yeah,

John Corcoran 32:32

it’d be funny. Well, this has been great. John, I appreciate you taking the time. I want to wrap up. But two questions I already ask one of which you’ve kind of already answered. But the first one is, you know, a big fan of gratitude. So as you look around at your peers, your contemporaries, which you can define wherever you like, who you respect, who you admire is out there doing interesting things.

John Greathouse 32:57

I mean, I kind of want to see Mark Suster again, because he’s still out there doing really interesting things. He’s really made himself available to so many people. I don’t know how he gets through his days. He’s so busy. But he’s transformed this. So now the venture community, like It Wasn’t, was a wasteland when he came to GRP years ago. And so I’ll just stick with him for now for that I’ll use him for two answers. No, but what was your other question?

John Corcoran 33:24

Then? Well, okay, then the second one was, you know, it, let’s pretend we’re at an awards banquet, much like the Oscars or the Emmys. you’re receiving an Award for Lifetime Achievement for everything you’ve done up until this point. And many of us mentioned our family and friends, that’s totally fine. But beyond that, you know, who are the business partners? Who are the mentors? Who are the coaches, were the teachers, who are the people that you would acknowledge from any stage in your career, it could be from childhood, could be from high school, could be from the NBA whenever?

John Greathouse 33:52

Yeah, yeah, that’s a big must not be a very prestigious awards event. But getting that award. You know, as you said, there’s a lot of people that qualify for that list. The one person I would highlight is somebody very early in my career that I really feel like I’ve had to like full on long term mentors, and he’s one of them. Small software company. I’m still pretty young, I got to do everything from support to writing the manuals to helping the customer run the customer support desk, everything was all right. So for coating sales, and we’re probably the most important thing was sales. We got to year three with him. And he literally said, John, you know, I love working with you. And you know, we have a very close relationship. But he’s basically pushed me out of the nest in the sense of, you know, this is never going to be a big company. And I’m not gonna name the company. They’re still around today, like literally all these years later, and it’s not a big company even today. So he said, there are bigger things waiting for you out there. There’s always like being 18 years old and getting kicked out of the house by your parents or something. It was a little bit I wouldn’t say it was off-putting it was very emotional for me. But that led to that. Just don’t Bring me up to coming to California and doing some of the things that I’ve been lucky to do with some really smart people. So I have to give him because I think it would have been easy in retrospect, now that I’m about the age he was at the time, he said this to me. If you have a young, aggressive, young person at your business, you know, who might take it over at some point? You know, I think it’d be hard to say to that person. I think you should move on. Right?

John Corcoran 35:23

Yeah. Cuz I’m sure that we’re dependent. Not. Yeah, I’m sure that I’m sure he was dependent on you for a lot of things. So, yeah.

John Greathouse 35:32

Well, that was their second. I don’t want to say how important I was. But certainly, you can see a more selfish person would have said, Hey, I want this young person to stay and keep working hard. So

John Corcoran 35:41

yeah, for sure. And then was there a second person that you said? Yeah.

John Greathouse 35:46

Yeah, he’s actually still a mentor. So he’s, he’s, here’s what I tell students. They’ll say, What do I do to find a mentor? How should I look at the world? And this is answering your question about the other person, I say, find someone who’s maybe you know, 357 years ahead of where you want to be. So they’re walking a path that you want to walk down one day. And so you just want to find out like, what’s it like walking down that path, where you could see it, people that aren’t watching this, my gray hair right on me in my late 50s. So I connected with somebody who’s about 14 years older than me, who was at that time just starting to retire, and watching the way he was tackling the world as a newly retired person, sort of the hobbies he took up, he sort of took me under his wing. And, you know, we’re best friends. It’s kind of weird having a best friend in your late 50s. But we do a lot of stuff together. And I’ve just learned a lot from him. And what’s interesting to hopefully, it’s interesting to people listening, he was not a business person. So oftentimes you think a mentor has to be someone that can help you, right? I used to be somebody that can help you in your career. This individual has helped me in so many ways, personally, but he was not a career mentor. He didn’t know anything about business, really. And I think that’s part of why we got along so well. He was bringing to me insights and things that I couldn’t have gotten from a business mentor.

John Corcoran 37:05

Very good. John, it’s been great talking to you. Where can people go to learn more about you and follow along?

John Greathouse 37:13

Yeah, you know, I’m mostly writing on forums. Now. I think the whole medium thing has collapsed. And I have my own blog for you know, I have 12 or 14 years. But most of my new stuff I wrote an article on today, most of my stuff is coming down to Forbes. And I tend to focus on traditionally underrepresented entrepreneurs. So if there’s anybody out there that has a cool business that they got going on, and they want to get some, a little bit of exposure that might be hard for them to get, you know, maybe they’re younger, or they’re just, you know, coming from non VC backed background minority woman and anyone who feels like they want their voice heard. If I can amplify it, I’m happy to try.

John Corcoran 37:50

That’s great. 211 years later, the first woman to earn a patent continues to shape Easter celebrations. That’s the title of the most recent one. It looks like

John Greathouse 37:58

it’s not a clickbait title or what?

John Corcoran 38:00

Well done. Well,

John Greathouse 38:02

I like this, I write about women a lot. But this month, I wrote about a lot of women from the 1800s that did such crazy inventive stuff in an era when they couldn’t even own their own property. 

John Corcoran 38:13

So yeah, yeah, that’s cool. That’s fun to unearth those stories, John, it was a pleasure. Thank you so much.

John Greathouse 38:18

Right on. Thanks, John.

Outro 38:20

Thank you for listening to the Smart Business Revolution Podcast with John Corcoran. Find out more at and while you’re there, sign up for our email list and join the revolution. And be listening for the next episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast.