I am a firm believer that a great entrepreneur can come from anywhere, regardless of pedigree.
As long as I can remember, music has been one of my biggest passions. Some of my earliest childhood memories involve going to the local record store with my dad and browsing through vinyl 45s for our family’s jukebox. As I got older, this turned into cultivating my own collection of CDs, spending hours listening to them, and eventually teaching myself to play the guitar at the age of 13.
I also grew up with a keen interest in technology. When I was young, this mostly revolved around PCs and gaming. As I got older and the internet began to emerge, this evolved into building HTML websites, usually focused on music and sharing my collection of MIDIs.
Then, one day, a simple compression algorithm changed everything.
Everyone has those “I remember where I was” moments in their life, where something was so impactful that the details of the memory stick with you after many years. For me, one of these moments was the first time I heard an MP3. The minute I heard those first few notes of Enter Sandman by Metallica play through my friend’s computer speakers, I was hooked. I then proceeded to spend hours and hours joining Usenet newsgroups and finding FTP servers where I could download my favorite music. Then Napster came along, and from that point on, I never looked back at physical media (at least until recently, that is – just ask me about my vinyl collection).
Ever since, I’ve been fascinated by the power technology has to transform the way things are done. If something as simple as a compression algorithm could spark a change to the way music was distributed and consumed, just imagine the power that other technologies like this could bring to the world.
Coming from a family of accountants, I followed the family tradition and began my career in public accounting at Grant Thornton, where I was able to get a crash course in business fundamentals and operations. However, I was never quite able to shake my fascination with technology. This led me to eventually break the family tradition to join PJC, an early-stage venture firm, in 2011. During my time at PJC, I was fortunate to meet Vivjan – and eventually joined him in starting Hyperplane in 2014. I’ve since had the good fortune to work with some amazing entrepreneurs who are doing for their industries what the MP3 did for music – defying convention and changing the way things are done for good.
From my experiences as both an accountant and a musician, I’m a firm believer that there is both an art and a science to entrepreneurship. Like music, there is no perfect “genre” of entrepreneur – a great entrepreneur can come from anywhere, regardless of their age, experience, pedigree, or background. For every Eddie Van Halen, who was classically trained on the piano starting at age 6, there’s a Kurt Cobain, who taught himself to play guitar and composed everything by ear.
Entrepreneurship is messy and requires just as much perseverance and grit as it does knowledge and experience. Through my experience working with the entrepreneurs we’ve backed at Hyperplane, I’ve developed a firm belief that, in the early stages, patience is the best trait an investor can have. The ups and downs of the early stage are unlike any other stage of company building, and I hope to continue to bring a perspective of patience and perseverance to every company I work with.
What outside-of-work accomplishment are you most proud of?
I’m a 6 time Boston Marathon runner with the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team.
What was your first job?
Scooping ice cream
Favorite concert you’ve been to?
Catfish and the Bottlemen is the best concert I’ve seen, but The Darkness and The Menzingers are the bands I see every time they tour.
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Huberman Lab
No Laying Up
Bill Burr’s Monday Morning Podcast
John's Top 10 - Updated regularly!