👋 What’s goody? I’m DJ!
📚 I am an Economic Futurist that was compelled to become a Venture Builder in 2010, in order to put my theory about the future of entrepreneurship into practice.
🧪 Now after 11+ years of R&D, I am ready to invite collaborators to build this vision together and reimagine what innovation can be.
🙃 Join me!
As an 80's baby growing up in the inner city of New Haven, Connecticut, I was obsessed with basketball, music, and video games. I was a honors student and the starting varsity point guard in high school.
I was one of the first in my family to go to college. In 2001, I attended Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) with the goal of becoming a walk-on for the basketball team, and honing my entrepreneurial skills.
Unfortunately, those plans didn’t come to pass as I couldn’t afford out of state tuition during my second year. This led me to begin a career in Sales and indirectly foster my desire to become a founder of my own business in the future.1983-2002
Time to Hustle
Throughout my sales career, it was challenging to find a company that offered innovative products that excited me; especially one that had a culture that aligned with my personal values.
So I jumped from sales job to sales job, until I eventually stumbled upon an opportunity to start my first side hustle: selling cannabis to my network at my former university.
Everything was going smooth until a string of unexpected events happened: My father passed away due to health complications, and a couple months later I was charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana.2003-2009
Finding Gold in an Unexpected Place
I ended up being incarcerated for a total of 4 months at a federal prison camp. Fortunately, that was a blessing in disguise for me as I discovered what I wanted to do with my life during this period.
I became fascinated with the barter economy that operated within the prison camp; which inspired me to begin thinking about how to fuse experimental economics with the power of social networking.
I was determined to begin my research and development into these spaces once I was released.Feb. 2009 - Jun 2009
Pushing Life's Reset Button
In the Spring of 2009, I was finally free from the criminal justice system, and my life’s focus shifted. The majority of my time was spent on learning about and practicing eastern spirituality, doing a deep exploration into economic innovation and technology, and working a part-time seasonal job at the only place that would hire me: a local movie theatre.
After getting laid off as a seasonal worker in February 2010, I was filled with both excitement and fear. Was the Universe trying to communicate with me? What would I do for income?
However, I vowed to myself that my circumstances would not hold me back. I was going to create my own future. This was the moment I began to take action towards my dream of becoming a full-time entrepreneur.2009-2010
The Dream Journey
My entrepreneurial journey started with three significant events. The first was on Labor Day 2010, when I was inspired to create a blog about a new economic model that I was designing called “Producism”.
The second event was when I began presenting this new idea to students at my former university, and eventually co-created an idea incubator cooperative with them.
The third and most challenging event was creating a personal challenge that forced myself outside of my comfort zone and helped raise awareness about the work we were doing. This challenge entailed giving away 90% of my belongings to the homeless (only minimalist living), having no home of my own (only couchsurfing), and having no guaranteed income (only freelancing, bartering, and gifting). In exchange for room and board from my supporters, I offered my skills to help them begin building their startup ideas.
This challenge began in Oct. 2010 and lasted until Oct. 2013 when our team received a $50K grant from a successful tech entrepreneur. This adventure was documented as a YouTube series called “The Dream Journey”.2010 - 2013
Coming Full Circle
The grant that we received funded a pilot we were developing at my former university, VCU. The project was called Producia, and it was a social marketplace for cash-strapped college students to find resources to build their creative projects; it used a time-based digital currency instead of traditional money.
Unfortunately, we didn’t reach our goals for the pilot, eventually ran out of funding, and was rejected by all of the accelerators we applied to. I believe we failed because we were too early to the market, the product had a high learning curve, and we focused more on creating new features instead of building community.
Eventually, my co-founders and I parted ways to work on our own digital agencies. I continued to refine my work and skills knowing that I would eventually get back to working on creating new products instead of only exchanging my time for income.
Fast forward to July 2018, taking what I learned from my previous entrepreneurial journey, I started a mission-driven venture studio with the goal of co-creating crypto-infused social apps with passionate contributors on the Internet. After 3 years of additional research and development, I'm ready to get back in the game and help build the future of entrepreneurship.2013-Present
- Emotional Intelligence
- Innovation Management
- NoCode Website & App Development
- Strategy Development
- Business Development
- Systems Design
- Community Currency Design
- Instructional Design
- Gamification Design
From the Book: "Don't Sell Me, Tell Me" by Greg Koorhan
A combination of the following:
Motto: If you can imagine it, it can be done
Core Desire: to create things of enduring value
Goal: to realize a vision
Strategy: develop artistic control and skill
Talent: creativity and imagination
Weakness: perfectionism, unfinished projects
Greatest Fear: mediocre vision or execution
The Creator is also known as: The Artist, Inventor, Innovator, Craftsman, Musician, Writer, Dreamer
Motto: The truth will set you free
Core Desire: to find the truth
Goal: to use intelligence and analysis to understand the world
Strategy: seeking out information and knowledge; self- reflection and understanding thought processes
Talent: wisdom, intelligence
Weakness: can study details forever and never act
Greatest Fear: being duped, misled, or ignorance
The Sage is also known as: The Scholar, Detective, Philosopher, Researcher, Mentor
Motto: I make things happen
Core Desire: understanding the fundamental laws of the universe
Goal: to make dreams come true
Strategy: develop a vision and live by it
Talent: finding win-win solutions
Weakness: becoming manipulative
Greatest Fear: unintended negative consequences
The Magician is also known as: The Visionary, Catalyst, Shaman, Healer, Medicine Man
- Self Published the book "The Producism Manifesto" (Jan. 2013)
- Featured or Mentioned in the Following Publications (2011-2015)
-The Next Web
- Became a Panelist at the Following Events (2011 -2014)
-SEED @ Harvard
-Penn Microfinance Annual Conference @ the Wharton School of Business
-Shareable Magazine’s SHARE NY @ Parson's New School of Design
-InsideBitcoin NYC & Las Vegas
-The Future of Money and Technology Conference
-Living the New Economy Conference - Oakland
- Raised a $50,000 grant for a next-gen social marketplace startup (2013)
- oTrep's startup pitch was invited to submit a full proposal for an opportunity to receive up to $1.75 Million in grant funding from the National Science Foundation's "America's Seed Fund" - Proposal currently under review (2022)
- Mirchi Market