A career-inspiring moment happened when John took an entrepreneurship class during his junior year. “We had a guest speaker, an entrepreneur from Decorah, and I thought he was really interesting,” John says. “I had never considered a career of running my own business so after his presentation I asked if he was interested in getting an intern. He agreed to meet with me the next day. We met for what I thought was going to be an interview so I brought my resume and was ready to tell him why I was going to be a great fit for working with him. When he arrived, he dove right into the conversation and said, ‘Okay, here’s what you’re going to do first.’ I spent the next summer and my entire senior year working for him and learning about the life of an entrepreneur. That was a defining experience for me.”
John feels that the most valuable part of his communication studies major was that it offered a lot of opportunities to learn what it’s like to prepare for business in the real world.
“Experiences like writing papers, giving presentations, and working in small groups all helped me prepare for professional life. We also analyzed interactions, learned a lot about rhetoric, and looked in-depth at the meaning behind a message,” he says. “I’ve definitely applied what I learned from those experiences to our business. Whether it’s working with clients, trying to get new business, or managing our team, it seems there’s always kind of a message hidden behind what you see. And having to present your ideas and communicate thoughts, that’s the work I do every day and Luther helped prepare me for that.”
John looked to Luther’s Career Center to help him land his first professional job. “A company named Accenture came to campus during a job fair. I went through the interview process and they offered me a job by November 1 that year,” John says. “Working there was an interesting learning experience. I discovered what the corporate world is like, the different dialogue that exists there, the power struggles, and the unique dynamics. But in just a few months, I knew it wasn’t quite the fit for me. I had bigger plans and was ready to build something new.”
John worked there for nearly a year. “Shortly after that, I started talking with my brother (also a Luther grad) about starting a business. We applied and were awarded a $15,000 grant for technology-related businesses. From there, we wrote a business plan. In hindsight it wasn’t so much about the grant but it was a validation that we could maybe do something cool. So we formed 9 Clouds in June of 2009,” John says. “Even though my career path started at one end of the spectrum and I’m currently at the other, I felt I needed that experience to get me where I am today. After 9 Clouds, I started another company called Lemonly, a visual marketing firm. We create infographics, data visualization, and interactive graphics for big brands and startups.”
John’s dream job has been to work for the Minnesota Twins.
When I realized I wasn’t going to be able to play baseball for them, I wanted to be the general manager and I went to Luther with that being my goal. I was a communication studies major and on about the third day of school I walked into the sports information department and said I wanted to help out. The director gave me a great opportunity to experience this during my four years as I announced games for basketball, soccer, volleyball, and football. I also took stats and covered the details of the games. I still am planning on being the GM of the Twins. Stay tuned.
—John Meyer '08