John Meyer – Co-founder of 9 Clouds

[quote style=”boxed”]Ask for help. I think having the title of “entrepreneur” makes us believe we’re all alone and need to do it by ourselves.[/quote]

John T. Meyer is the CEO and Co-Founder of, a visual marketing firm that specializes in infographics, interactive graphics and UI/UX design. His mission is to make the world an easier place to understand. He started his entrepreneurial career in his college dorm room at the age of 22 and in 2010 was named to Bloomberg Businessweek‘s “Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25” for his work as “Brofounder” of 9 Clouds, a company he started with his brother in 2009. If Meyer isn’t working on, he’s probably complaining about his beloved Minnesota Twins.

What are you working on right now? We’re trying to figure out new ways to make the world an easier place to understand.

Where did the idea for 9 Clouds come from?

We actually started making infographics at 9 Clouds about two years ago, and people took notice and really loved what we did. So we decided we had something here and spun it out as its own company with its own mission.

What does your typical day look like?

For me, lots of time spend in Gmail, communicating with current clients and talking to new ones. But the best part of the day is when I white board with the team, drawing up ideas for visualizations and really focusing on storytelling. Lots of design work going on in the office on a typical day.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Through visuals. We are basically visual storytellers. We have to make both our ideas and our clients’ ideas come to life.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I’m fascinated with my phone becoming the new Swiss army knife. It’s starting to replace my wallet and has already substituted for shopping malls, banks, video games and, at times, my doctor. I think it is only going to continue to disrupt industries right within my pocket.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Say “no” way more often. You have to have a clear focus on what fits within your company’s goals and what doesn’t. If it doesn’t, no matter how attractive of an opportunity, you must say no.

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

Ask for help. I think having the title of “entrepreneur” makes us believe we’re all alone and need to do it by ourselves. It can be humbling asking for help, but other people have great ideas and, more importantly want, to help. Just ask.

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

Right now I’m looking for a way to get an email whenever someone likes my Facebook page. I know it can be done with some coding, but why not a simple app or plugin to make it easy?

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?

More thank you notes. People need to step back and say “thank you” more often. There are so many people that help us every day—give them a sincere thank you.

Tell us a secret.

I get scared about once a week that I have no idea how to run a company. In fact, I truly don’t know how, but I show up every day and try to figure it out.

What are your three favorite online tools or resources, and what do you love about them?

1.  Basecamp – Keeps our team organized.
2.  Skype – Keeps our team connected across state borders and international waters.
3.  Freshbooks – Keeps our team profitable.

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

Rework. My absolute favorite business book. It’ll mess with your mind a bit and make you step back and ask “why?”

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

1.  @danmartell – Full of sincerity and experience.
2.  @slobotski – In the Midwes,t this guy is the most connected tech person I know.
3.  @zefrank – His creativity blows me away.

Who is your hero?

As a kid? Ken Griffey Jr., no questions asked. Today, it’s my dad. Best man I know.


John T. Meyer on LinkedIn: 
John Meyer on Twitter:  @johntmeyer
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