JOHN ROCHA

John is a guy who is in control of his own destiny, a visionary who doesn’t see limitations in the areas that he is unfamiliar with. His father emigrated from Mexico as a young man and has owned several businesses over the years. Everyone has their motivation for being an entrepreneur and he gives that credit to his father. In college at the University of Notre Dame, John studied Political Science—though he always had a passion to start a business of his own. He would often find himself concluding these thoughts like many of us, that he would start something only if he had that one big idea.

As an avid shopper during the early years of Gilt.com, he found that many of the clothes, especially jeans, didn’t fit properly. He would often spend so much time speaking with customer care to send jeans back, that he felt he wasn’t saving much money through online purchases. John’s pivotal moment came while customizing his character in the video game Madden Football, where he had his one big idea. Why can’t we shop online with similar 3D graphics, in order to ensure that the clothing will fit as expected when delivered? Using his resources efficiently while still in school, John went to the computer science department at Notre Dame. There, he spoke with programming students to figure out what it would take to make his concept a reality. He also took several business courses and used his idea in as many of his case studies for class in order to seek consultation from professors—free consultation that is. John and his co-founder Rick both followed that semester with a summer in the library studying everything in the law books about intellectual property, in addition to anything else relevant to the startup ecosystem. That summer, they designed the concept for myfit.co.

After designing a plan of action, they went on to find the missing piece, an engineer. Now in the beginning of any business it is important to either be or partner with someone who can turn your idea for a product or service into a reality. In the case of starting a tech company it is important to either be or partner with a programmer to write the code for you proposed idea. John explained to me the difficulty that’s associated with finding a programmer. “In Silicon Valley, where most programmers are busy working on their own companies or have high paying jobs that keep them quite busy, finding a programmer is easier said than done. Unfortunately, many founders end up outsourcing their development work. In the end, they pay twice the amount because they spend twice the time. The code is so poorly written that it’s not transferrable from old programmer to new.” Needless to say he is a proponent for learning how to code, even if you aren’t the one who is the programmer. Why? For quality control. How else would you be able to tell whether the code is good and useful for future programming teams. I suppose this can be compared to a blind man telling a painter how much red and white to mix together in order to make the perfect shade of pink.

As they say, a closed mouth doesn’t get fed. John networks daily, he attributes much of his success to it. So from the beginning, not only was John heavily into networking by shaking every hand in every room he visited. At night he was also teaching himself programming on sites like Lynda.com. During our conversation he expressed how many times he’s seen companies fail due to their lack of communicating with others about their company. How amateur entrepreneurs approach too many conversations with NDAs in hand, even the ones with investors. According to John, entrepreneurs shouldn’t be afraid to share their business idea with other entrepreneurs. The truth is that the majority of the time it isn’t the idea that makes you successful, it is in fact the execution. Ideas are a dime a dozen, but entrepreneurs who are willing to dedicate at least 4 years to growing a business aren’t. I gotta say, I agree with him. I’ve seen many people over the years get really excited after hearing about a new idea. First they try to replicate it and then within a matter of months, quit. Why? Because they weren’t truly passionate. Stealth mode isn’t one you want to be in for too long or at all, really. Who is going to give you money if they can’t see you?

Today John is not only still highly active in myFit.co but he is also a partner at two consulting firms and advising an additional startup. Juggling four ventures isn’t an easy thing to do he agrees, but he is very methodical with the twenty four hours that he has in a day. The same amount of time that we are all given. He makes sure to make a plan daily and stick to it, paying close attention to not unfairly spend more time on one venture more than another.

What are John’s future plans? To make sure that every online clothing transaction in the near and far future includes myFit technology to guarantee the perfect fit.

What are some words of wisdom that you would give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

"Most people don't pursue entrepreneurship because they find it to be too risky. It's true—entrepreneurship is incredibly difficult. However, if your goal in life is to make an exceptional impact, then it is far riskier to pursue anything other than entrepreneurship."
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Chadwick Daniel