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Climber, Makerbot Maker And Marketer Jon Chang

We talk to Jon Chang, Makerbot maker and marketer and General Assembly teacher on rock climbing, marketing, and being a great mentor. Catch him at BKB speaking with Startup Rock Climbing on August 26th!

jon chang

When was your first experience climbing, and how did you feel about it?

My first time was in elementary school. The first time I really started to climb is in college. A college in Minnesota– we had a nice climbing wall there, and we had a good bouldering wall. On the weekends we would go to a place 45 miles away, it’s called Taylor Falls– we’d boulder and camp and get back for classes by Sunday. I usually just went with experienced climbers.

Taylor Falls
Climbing Taylor Falls via

What do you do for regular exercise?

So I’m really big into running. I’ve done three marathons, I’ve done a iron man bike ride–I don’t remember the last time I went to the gym.I would run up and down the Hudson, but I just run outside my apartment–I live in south Williamsburg, and I’ll run up through Greenpoint. I wish the bike trail on Kent was a little longer.

What is your philosophy for balancing work + life?

I’m not good at that at all. Right now I’m spending my vacation teaching high school kids marketing, from 8am to 4pm. I’m not very good at staying on a beach for a couple weeks. There are different kinds of work to make you better. This is my fourth year teaching high school students; it forces me into a new habit and around international students, with different age groups from different parts of the world… it’s my work-work balance.

Your best advice for effective marketing:

Planning everything ahead of time, by far. It’s actually changed recently. Most recently I’ve gone back to Marketing 101 in terms of branding consistency. It’s been consistency come back to “is this what we’re doing on brand and is the new marketing we’re doing on brand.” Students at General Assembly– we focus on measuring, so we’ll spend time on Google Analytics and tracking.

Latest book you read:

I recently reread a book– Start with Why–I reread it before I teach because I use it in my lessons. He talks about brands talks about what they do in the future of the product rather than why they exist. The only book I read Creativity, Inc.— how Pixar got started, and how to maintain the growth of a company.

Simon Sinek, author of “Start With Why”, unpacks his leadership model in this TED talk. 

What are your resources for professional development?

Peers- when I first moved to New York, I  found people who I wanted to be, and I’d ask them what their advice was, and what they did. I have a subscription to, and because I teach at General Assembly, I get to go to their workshops, which are really useful.

What are your resources for personal development?


What are effective qualities of a good mentor?

I feel like  mentoring the high school students I teach– active listening. I only every now and then give them the answer, but everything is structured for my mentees so they can figure out the answer. I listen and follow up, letting them play their course.

What is your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Depends on what they are trying to do and who they are, but… just get into your community. Get into your community, and be known. I went out four nights a week and went around shaking hands with people, talking to people about what their doing, and a big part of that is how I was able to move.

You can follow Jon Chang on Twitter at @changahroo.


Join Startup Rock Climbing’s marketing workshop featuring Jon Chang on Wednesday, August 26th at Brooklyn Boulders.

It’s the last day to participate in their ultimate giveaway. Sign up before August 12th to be one of three winners receiving an awesome rock climbing gear and tech stash.

Startup Rock Climbing also meets every Wednesday at 7PM at Brooklyn Boulders.


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