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Meaningfully Impacting the Economy in The Philippines: John Jonas, CEO of (Part 1)

Posted on Wednesday, Sep 25th 2019

John has built an online job portal specifically focused on the Philippines. Very interesting story of how one entrepreneur has held steady his priorities and built a terrific lifestyle business! Kudos!

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?

John Jonas: I grew up in Los Angeles. I grew up in a well-to-do area, but we were the poor kids in there. My dad always had a job and my uncle was rich. He was a lawyer. From a young age, I associated having a job with being poor.

That was a driving force for me. I didn’t have a business that I was running when I was graduating from college. I knew I wanted one. I got a job. My only goal while I had that job was to quit and run my own business. It took me 10 months to quit the job.

Sramana Mitra: That’s really quick.

John Jonas: I’m a terrible employee. If I finished my task, I worked on my own projects. I was terrible. I did good work. The incentive system of being an employee didn’t work for me. I do good work, you pay me the same. I do bad work, you pay me the same. It really doesn’t matter.

Let me give you a little bit of why it took 10 months. Every night when I went home, I was working my butt off, not knowing what I was doing. I was just chasing internet dreams. I had a consulting job on the side that I did a little bit of work for. Then these guys decided they were going to be serious. They hired me. They would pay me $10,000 for two months of work. This was 2004. It was awesome and I didn’t have any debt. Me and my wife owned a house but we had renters in the basement paying almost all of the mortgage.

The fact that there was very little commitment made a big difference on being able to say, “I have two months to make this other stuff work. I can take this risk.” That’s what we did. I quit. I did the two months of work for these guys.

Along with that, I was working hard doing other stuff online. Over the next couple of months, things started to make money, so I never went back and got a job.

Sramana Mitra: What did you start with?

John Jonas: This was the early days of the internet. I didn’t build a business. I just chased these random things that I heard people were making money doing. At that  time, I didn’t think it was a get-rich-quick thing. I didn’t get rich.

There is some software that would build a website for you. You gave it a list of keywords and it would build the entire website. Within a couple of days, it was on Google and was getting traffic. You put ads on it and you would make money. I put it up. Three days later, I made $10.

Sramana Mitra: What year was this?

John Jonas: This was 2004 to 2005. 

Sramana Mitra: People have not yet quite figured out the extent of Google’s effectiveness.

John Jonas: I did.

Sramana Mitra: You had, but the market at large hadn’t. The keyword prices were so much cheaper at that time.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Meaningfully Impacting the Economy in The Philippines: John Jonas, CEO of
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