Thursday, December 20, 2007

Celebrate Passion Project - Who Is Jon Ray?

Who is Jon Ray of

He is 23. An actor. The producer of music videos. Cutting edge marketing consultant. Generational media guru. Web 2.0 sculptor. Blogger. Student of humanity. And so much more. Jon is a guy full of passion for life.

I originally discovered Jon when he started following me on Twitter. I found his twitter mini-posts and his blog to be entertaining and educational on topics marketing, branding, image and capitalization of all areas of new media. Today I spent ninety minutes with him at the Starbucks at 5th and Lamar, simply because I could. You see, Jon lives and works in Austin, Texas. I figured I would invite him to coffee and find out the answer to "Who is Jon Ray?"

I know from following his variety of online social media adventures that this man does not sleep much. I was surprised that someone who burns the midnight oil would so readily accept an invitation for 8 AM coffee....but he was there, and awake even before his latte kicked in.

Jon's entrepreneurial instincts ingited early, as he was working as the sales manager of a health club while most of his peers were still trying to get a drivers licence. He launched his music video production company at 20 years old with his younger brother, whom he describes as "the best natural cinematographer ever born in Texas."

He admits that he has been both tactical and lucky in having achieved so many different things at his young age, including serving as a New Media Consultant to one of the country's largest advertising agencies. I was not surprised that he has had so many people mentor and assist him in his efforts, as he is instantly likable, engaging, and loud (I am sure all of Starbucks now knows more about marketing via social networking than they did yesterday!).

I have been looking for people like Jon Ray all month for this Celebrate Passion Project. It is exciting and contagious to encounter raw excitement and the ability to execute on dreams. I asked Jon four questions that I will share below:

1. What excites you? - Having ideas and having the opportunity to test those ideas. The reason many people find corporate jobs monotonous is you don't get the freedom to explore.

A paradigm shift is happening with companies that take risks and look at the long term in regards to brand loyalty and marketing. People do not always realize how easy and inexpensive it is to position yourself as an expert and demonstrate your value.

I get excited by clients who accept crazy ideas and let me run with them. Not all of the ideas will work, but many do and I love to see those results.

2. Why do connections with other people matter? - The old saying "its not what you know, its who you know" still matters. You never know who could be the person who is plugged into the opportunity you need. Pre-judging people for being young or showing up in jeans is a bad idea, as in today's environment anyone could positively effect your future.

Every business should treat every person as if they are the most influential customer or referral source on the planet. Every contact is important and the more people whom speak highly of you and your business the higher your chances of success.

3. You are 23 year old today. Who is Jon Ray at 41? - I hope to be drinking a cocktail on a private island while the Google guys fly in for a consultation. Hopefully I am not the Britney Spears of the social media world!

That is 18 years from now, and everything will be so different both for me and with the internet. 18 years ago I was running around drinking Cool-Aid and eating Ruffles. It is hard to predict the future, but I hope that I am constantly trying to learn about the media and marketing world and seen as a person who pioneered new forms of communications and promoted clients' brands.

4. Where do you see passion in the world? - Young people! I know I am young, but I mean those even younger. I am only five years out of high school, but I work with some web designers who are seventeen. Talking to today's kids you can quickly identify the trends of the future.

Young people do not have the "filters" that keep them from saying what is on their mind. They just say what they feel.

I am inspired by people who really love what they do. It amazes me how many people do not enjoy their lives and their jobs. Instead they just play it safe. People who try new things are what inspire me to do more. Positive energy is contagious. The more people you can get working together who are passionate about the cause, the bigger dent you can make in any problem.

I really enjoyed talking with Jon and look forward to continuing to get to know him better. I asked him to write a guest blog for Celebrate Passion Project, so check back in the next ten days to read his own inspiring take on the topic of passion. He was funny in accepting the invite to guest blog, claiming he had read my online appeal to bloggers to write for me. He said that "I wanted to wait for our meeting first and make sure you weren't a dick".

That made me laugh. It is a clear generational difference,..... while I would have thought the same thing, I would never had said the words. I guess I passed the test!

Have A Great Day.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great article on this young man. How cool to be so young and inspired. Tell him he should drink red wine in the photo.

Mary Pat