Profile: Joshua Johnson of Mindbox Studios
How did you come to be an entrepreneur?
It probably all started at home for me. My parents inspired me to think
beyond just being employable by the way they approached their work. I
saw them start four or five businesses over my childhood, and so I guess
I was sort of nurtured into it. When I became an adult, like everyone
else, I was trying to figure out what to do with my life. I didn't have
too much time to think, however, within a two year period I was married,
expecting a child and building my first startup, Mindbox Studios.
Why did you start your business?
I wanted to be in the business of ideas, period. I loved helping others
take an idea and bring it to life. I especially love building my own
ideas too. Technology is really a by-product of that core desire. Most
of the ideas I saw making a difference in our world was centered around
some sort of technology. It seemed* like a lower barrier to entry, too.
It could be as easy as a server, some HTML files, a database, and some
user experience and someone could have a business off the ground fairly
quickly. This was very attractive to me, because, although my family
started some companies when I was younger, we were far from rich. And,
even though my family was a huge help early on, I really needed to make
it on my own, one project, one idea at a time.
* I was delusional. It was much harder to have an idea, execute an idea
and then make a business out of it. You know, where you actually make
money? Not many people talk about that part.
What resources here did you take advantage of and how did they help?
First, my family. I had support from my wife, my parents and even
extended family and friends all over. For some reason, they believed in a
kid with no experience, who had a laptop, Converse All-Stars and a bit
of passion. Outside of that, there were a plethora of other resources
that made a huge difference in the Mindbox story.
HCBC: Pat Longo and the crew at the Hamilton County Business Center was a
very early backbone that helped my partner, Lucas Cole, and I sink our
teeth in the startup world, and most importantly, learning how to build a
The "Cunninghams": I'm talking about none other than Bill and Jim
Cunningham. They aren't related, but their passions certainly are. Bill
is Mindbox Studios' wise uncle, and Jim loops us into things like
Morning Mentoring and the Startup Bootcamp. These guys should be paid by
the City of Cincinnati for all they do to inspire young companies.
What advice would you give to someone starting a company here?
Do everything you can to get hooked up to the larger startup ecosystem
as soon as possible. Make yourself available for all of the GCVA, Metro
Innovation, Continuous Web, Circuit and C-CAP events. Then find which
sub-groups provide your specific company or idea the most nourishment
and get rooted in those networks.
What inspires you?
Being around people that love life, play hard and work hard.