We recently asked you to nominate young leaders living or working in North San Mateo County for Patch's "30 under 30" series recognizing young leaders.
We've been impressed by the talented and influential young people in our area. We'll continue publishing profiles regularly until we hit 30, and we invite you to continue sending nominations of people who you feel should be honored. To nominate someone, send an email to email@example.com with the person's name, contact information and a short description of why they are a young leader.
Name: John Ramey
Residence: San Mateo
Education: Dropped out of Indiana University School of Business with six courses left on two degrees. Ouch =(
Occupation: Founder & CEO of isocket, a VC-backed start-up that makes direct ad sales easier.
Why did you choose your industry or field?
I didn’t choose to be an entrepreneur, it’s just who I am. There are days it really sucks and I wish I wasn’t tuned this way – but overall it rocks and I’m lucky to be able to work in a field that rewards my quirks (like disregard for authority/norms and stubbornness). With regards to the advertising industry, no one ever really chooses to get into ad tech, you’re either drugged, dragged, or tripped into it. =) Over my first few businesses things migrated into the marketing realm, and then I chose to start isocket because I believed I knew the solution to a massive problem in our industry.
How did you get into that area?
Like most young nerds around the year 2000, I started getting odd jobs building websites, computers, or software for people. Then it turned into a service business that helped SMB’s “get on the Internet”, which started to include early forms of online marketing.
What kind of challenges have you faced? How did you overcome them?
Over 14 years I’ve faced almost any kind of challenge you can think of as an entrepreneur (except for a public scandal – whew!). The largest challenges all come from the fact you’re essentially trying to assemble an airplane for the first time ever while mid-air after jumping off a cliff. You’re literally learning as you go in the most not-learning-friendly environment around. Beyond that, as a young entrepreneur I almost always face ageism in some form. People automatically treat you differently as a young Founder or CEO. It can really suck sometimes, but it’s also human and I don’t blame them for it.
Who inspires you?
Thomas Jefferson. And all the employees, investors, advisers, and friends who actually invest in and contribute to our startup’s success. I see myself reflected in their eyes and try to live up to it. Some of the best people in the world support me and what we’re trying to accomplish, and sometimes I don’t feel worthy of it.
What is your advice for aspiring leaders?
Most people who have ambitions of being extraordinary still manage to do things the same old ordinary way. Have the courage to actually be different, buck convention, grab the flag and charge up the hill you want.
Check out our previous 30 Under 30 profiles of and .