Jonathon has had a foundational and operational executive role in several cannabis companies over the last three years. He is currently a partner at FocusGrowth Asset Management, and was the CFO and co-founder of Standard Farms, Local Dispensaries and Deseret Wellness.
Prior to cannabis, Jonathon spent the majority of his career at Fortress Investment Group’s Credit Funds, one of the largest financial investors in the credit and lending industry. Jonathon worked at Fortress through the Global Financial Crisis and Europe’s debt crisis in the firm’s New York, San Francisco and London offices. He was also a Senior Analyst at Wingspan Investment Management.
Jonathon graduated from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
March 17th, 2018 was the first day that our first portfolio company made a sale. It was a really memorable day as our printer broke down the night before and we basically spent all night manually labeling and packaging our first shipment.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Wake up, clear out my head by meditating, clear out my inbox, check headlines, surf (if there is surf to be had), get back to my desk in time for calls. Then I am on calls for most of the day.
The key to my staying productive is threefold;
– Meditating to clear my head in the morning
– A defined beginning and end point to my day
– Giving myself space in between meetings/calls for reflection
How do you bring ideas to life?
Using a flow chart of my ideas. Starting with my big concepts/ideas and moving down to a course of action.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The illicit cannabis markets moving into the legal and regulated world.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Reading everything I can on the industries that I focus on.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Have patience – take a pause before you make any decision. The bigger a decision the longer the pause.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
This time is not different.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Put yourself in the shoes of the person on the other side of the table whether it be a customer or a negotiating counterpart. Use this to create a set of principles to define that relationship and interaction.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Do your own sales and marketing as much as you can in the beginning. People really appreciate the owner of a company taking the time with customers in the early days.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Hiring the wrong people and ignoring red flags. You have to rip off the band aide, move on and take it as a lesson learned for the next one.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Onigiri (Japanese rice cakes with different fillings and wrapped in seaweed) should exist as a snack in the US. Cheap, healthy and delicious.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Mandolin slicer – it’s almost like cheating my way into cooking better.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Simple but effective – Evernote for general note taking and to-do lists
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“On Grand Strategy” by John Lewis Gaddis. It’s shows you what works and what doesn’t from a philosophical and practical standpoint, over long long periods of time while also giving you a incredible history lesson.
What is your favorite quote?
E pluribus unum
- Gain as much perspective as you can through reading, conversation, travel etc.
- Create a process/routine to gain that perspective
- Use that perspective to create process in what you do
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.