Devin Johnson

CEO of The Reputation Management Company

Devin has spent his career trying to find ways to impact others positively, serving as many people as he can in as many ways as he can. During this endeavor, he’s become a serial entrepreneur and highly sought after businessman, as people love being around him and can quickly sense his passion for being present and getting involved. He loves working with youth, and has done so as an educator and mentor. His time in building technology businesses has blessed people all around the world with products used in businesses and homes. These products focus on providing security and freedom through technology.

Devin has been part of starting and growing more than 20 companies. Some have gone on to become leaders in their industry. This includes one startup Devin was a part of (DirectPointe) partnering with Intel to coin the term and create a new industry sector known as the Managed Service Provider (projected to be a $309 billion dollar market by 2025). He later launched products and services to enable MSPs to utilize cloud services with the debut of the Hybrid Service Provider market. As the companies Chief Operating Officer, Devin led this company with business partner and CEO Michael Proper to serve tens of millions of people located in over 150 countries. Their server operating system was adopted by hardware manufacturers like Dell, and HPE (Hewlett Packard Enterprise) as a turn-key solution with a Marketplace full of apps to simplify IT at the Server, Network, and Gateway layers.

Devin is a passionate mentor, working with Nonprofits, Charter Schools, and other institutions to do something meaningful. As a driven leader, Devin is often involved in many projects and initiatives, but finds the greatest reward seeing others discover their individual potential as they unlock their unique abilities to do what they’re passionate about. His help building Our Little Ones (OLO) has helped the organization provide for orphans in Tanzania, and throughout the world through it’s orphanages, schools, clean water well-development, and humanitarian endeavors.
Devin has operated in executive leadership positions most of his career. He is currently the CEO of The Reputation Management Company (RMC), and it’s group of associated branding companies. RMC is a leader in online branding and reputation services, with several companies under their portfolio serving several individuals and corporations, by helping position and bridge gaps in corporate and personal brand narratives.

Devin is an avid fisherman, gearhead, gardener, and can usually be found doing something outdoors when away from the office. He is a proud Husband and Father of four; two sons and two daughters.

Where did the idea for The Reputation Management Company come from?

I’ve been fortunate to be a part of several companies during startup.

We launched a company called ClearCenter, which has evolved into the Clear Companies years later. The idea behind this was to create a technology that’s transparent (clear), yet usable and secure. The software would be open to the world using Open Source technologies which given our history building service based IT companies, we’d apply those services in a for profit company (ClearCenter) servicing our operating system ClearOS that’s part of the ClearFoundation community. This has since grown to serve over 17 million people in 154 countries, and is adopted by top companies such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Microsoft, and others. Our company has expanded to include ClearEnergy, ClearHealth, ClearCellular, ClearUnited, and a few other divisions. Each is centered around blessing humanity with tools to keep their data safe, owned, and controlled by them.

ReelWorld Gear came from my love of fishing. I believe that when people are outdoors, doing what they love, they’re most real in those moments. Having a company with a motto like “Be Reel, Live Reel” was a fun play on ‘keeping it real’. We set out to make apparel for fishing enthusiasts that real (reel) people wanted to wear. From this mission, ReelWorld Gear was born.

The Reputation Management Company, and our group of affiliated companies, was named to simply tell the world what we do. In an industry that’s full of smoke screens, magic tricks, empty promises, and sometimes shady tactics, we wanted to reimagine what ORM (online reputation management) looked like, and help the world understand why it’s a critical part of their business operation. Our customers find that the experience working with RMC is far different than anything else they’ve experienced with ORM companies, as we feel it should be. We do have a unique rebrand in store for late 2020, early 2021 so stay tuned for some exciting things to come as we expand on our service offering.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My day starts with a snapshot review of the day, from weather, meetings, and pressing tasks. Before I can start my work day, being present for my kids starting their day is paramount. This sets the tone for my day in the office where I’m blessed to be surrounded by capable people, driving me to be at my best.

How do you bring ideas to life?

The execution of a great idea comes down to a few key things:
1) There needs to be a plan; a vetted & strategic plan.
2) Necessary resources need to be in place to allow for a smooth delivery of ideas, converting to tangible outcomes.
3) There needs to be real purpose behind the idea.

What’s one trend that excites you?

More and more I’m seeing people realize the negative effects of Social Media, on themselves as adults but especially on youth. This exodus from social media platforms excites me that people may become truly social again, value true “friends” in their life, and truly communicate more.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

There are several tools and techniques that have helped me become more productive over the years. Tools like, Asana, Hubspot, Salesforce, and others can provide great insight across the organization which is tremendously beneficial. As a bit of an old school guy, sticky notes however still get used, as they clutter my desk, driving me crazy, and causing me to respond quickly to the task written on them simply so I can get it off my desk.
Strategic innovation within the business requires a different approach. I keep a stack of blank Moleskine notebooks in my office. I prefer blank paper notebooks, as opposed to lined as this blank canvas allows me to write, draw, model, and build out workflows. Taking a fresh notebook, by myself to a coffee shop, park, or quiet location away from the office is instrumental in allowing ideas to flow without the whirlwind or day to day operations causing interruptions.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be kind to your body, it’s the only one you’ve got.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

I believe that the US education system, designed around the time of the industrial revolution, is causing more harm to children in America than it is good. Children who individually have unique abilities, passions, and interests are being forced fed biased information, grooming them on an assembly line that’s regulated by the government. Creativity is being ripped away, and even looked down upon. In many cases, creativity and uniqueness is being medicated out of kids who could otherwise learn to master their unique abilities and lead communities, industries, and nations.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Everyday I take a long soak in a hot bath. Many men don’t care for a bath, but aside from soothing sore joints, this quiet time allows me to reflect on my day, plan for another, and strategize things I could be doing better. This helps me as a father, a husband, a leader, and a friend.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

A rule of thumb I’ve always applied to each business, is that as a company, we don’t have an inherent right to exist. We must serve our customers as we do ourselves, and care about them, their businesses, their team, and their mission as our own. Doing this ensures our business becomes valuable to more than the people employed there, and has led to incredible growth in almost every venture I’ve been a part of.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Twenty five years ago, I’d designed a product that would have greatly impacted conservation for landscaping, farmers, and gardeners. After investing thousands and thousands of dollars into prototypes, doing a great deal of market research, and having several large groups make verbal commitments to buy large quantities if produced, I let social pressures and Fear cause me to fail at bringing this product to market. FEAR was my failure. The thought of raising or borrowing money to cover tooling costs, manufacturing, and patent registration led me to put my prototype on a shelf, where it sits today, as an example of how not to let fear influence opportunity.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

A business I’ve held in my back pocket, is a franchise business rolling out rage rooms. What’s a rage room you ask? These demolition centers are designed to allow people to unwind, have fun, release stress, and smash the heck out of stuff. Imagine a date where you and your friends are all smashing old cars with bats & hammers, fun right? Absolutely, but let’s also think therapeutics, as too many people suffer from anger issues, depression, PTSD, and other forms of mental stress that a controlled release environment could greatly help with. Hit me up if you beat me to market with these awesome gathering places. I’ll be the first in line!

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I recently bought another pair of Altra running shoes. This team of avid runners created a shoe they wanted to wear, designed around how God designed our feet. Seems obvious, yet no one else had done this! I have been a fan, and friend of the Founders since this Utah born company appeared on the world stage. Since launch they’ve consistently been on the top of almost every review list for ‘Best Running Shoes’ globally. I continue to be impressed by their innovation and quality over the multiple acquisitions in the company’s past. I believe my families now amassed over 40 pairs, and with my recent purchase of the King MT 2’s, my feet have never been happier.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Hands down my favorite tool is Asana. There are several great systems we also use in different capacities from, Google Apps, Quickbooks Online, Hubspot, Intercom and others. But my personal favorite has been Asana for keeping me on task with critical items.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Richie Norton is a friend of mine, and a world renowned business coach. His book, The Power of Starting Something Stupid is a favorite, and helps shed light on what really stops us from jumping into opportunities. I highly recommend it, and recommend finding his podcast The Richie Norton Show and listening to more of his great insights.

What is your favorite quote?

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. – Dalai Lama

Key Learnings:

  • Being good at what you do is admirable and often critical; but equally important to customers (and your own team) is your willingness to listen, learn, and act with kindness and good intent. Remember, mistakes are quickly forgiven when effort is being shown.
  • The best coaching advice I give to new sales team members is to care. Care about the customer, care about the business, care about your reputation and integrity. If we care about our customers’ business as much as we care about our own, we’ll have customers sticking around for a long, long time.
  • Ask good questions, but don’t forget to listen to the answers being given.