My name is John. My parents met at the Los Angeles Playboy Club somewhere around 1968. My old man was (and still is) a savant musician. Mom was (and still is) amazingly beautiful. I was born in Hollywood. I got his looks and her talent.
I grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles and witnessed the transformation of orange groves into endless stretches of tan stucco mini-malls. With the exception of grades 4-6, I am the product of CA public schools. School, sports, and ladies never came easy, but on occasion I tried hard and was successful.
In college, I changed majors four times. I took Marine Science until I hit the wall with required math classes, Music until I realized how much practice it was going to take, and then Business Economics for a stretch. I was good at Economics. The Chair of the department begged me to take advanced classes. Maybe that would have positioned me well to be part of the 1%, but it was boring. Instead, I decided to ponder timeless questions in the Philosophy department.
Philosophy was the best thing that ever happened to me. I learned how to think critically and construct arguments. That has served me well. Also, I can safely use words like “ontology” and “epistemology” at cocktail parties.
After college, I tried to grow my first beard, studied Jazz guitar with Ted Greene, had a glamorous job booking concerts, moved to the beach, married a woman who was (and still is) way out of my league, and started raising some beautiful kids.
At 30, needing to be a provider, somehow, I found myself with a fascinating real job at a top ranked research university. I worked with professors and researchers doing something known as Research Development. Every day – for a decade – some of the smartest people in the world would walk into my office, share their best ideas with me, and I would help them distill their busy thoughts down to elegant words for grant proposals. I got a little smarter and the university made a grip of cash.
Being exposed to lots of smart people fed my irretrievable curiosity. I decided to go back to graduate school where I earned a PhD in Education. I was the black sheep in the School of Education because I wasn’t interested in “schools” or “policy.” I am interested in how people make sense of their worlds and I’m trained as an “interactional ethnographer.” Basically, I watch people really closely to answer the question: What’s going on here?
Now in my 40s, things are good, but I’m still cultivating the life I always wanted. MAKE MOVES is my dream project and I’m happy to share it with listeners like you.
In conclusion, here are some useless facts about me:
• When I was in fourth grade, I got lost in the mountains at camp.
• I have a particularly hard time remembering names.
• I once won a national contest and was featured on CNN for asking Larry King the best question in America.
• I have four velour track suits.
• I enjoy doing subtle social experiments in bars, elevators, and supermarkets – just to see what happens.