Michael "MJ" Johnson
I was a geology major in school until I figured out it was all about rocks. Also, I realized that my idea of fun was not to spend nine months in the Andes with six other guys looking for minerals. Now, I have nothing against geology, it’s just that when I thought about what I wanted in a career, it appeared that a career in film and television would be a better fit. I could employ my creativity with wildly talented people, learn ceaselessly, satisfy my nearly unquenchable curiosity and do something useful for the greater good. So I scrapped all those hard science credits and started over to earn a degree in Film and TV. But my subsequent Master’s work in Educational Technology taught me there was a science to learning. Being a student regularly told throughout primary school that “Michael seems smart; he just likes to visit with his neighbors a bit too much," I knew that chalkboard and “student-bored” methodologies didn’t hold my attention. I wanted to pioneer the emerging technological landscape and plant it with seeds for the common good. So for the next 25 years, various teams I led created highly sophisticated, engaging, immersive training and educational products and services using virtual environments and leading-edge technologies, including interactive television. And we won awards for our work. Lots and lots of them, including some Emmys. But we didn’t care about the awards. We cared about reaching millions and millions of viewers and learners offering them content that served to help improve their lives in some way, shape, or form. THAT is the sweet spot for our teams.
Somewhere along the way, a young man I was coaching gave me a copy of Daniel Quinn’s “The Story of B,” the middle book in Quinn’s trilogy that begins with “Ishmael”. Well, I ate it up like a bowl of popcorn…and then I read everything Daniel Quinn ever wrote. Turns out I wasn’t the only one whose world was hurled upside down by his writings. Apparently, people from across the globe clamor to sit at his feet to learn how to think and act our way out of the mess we’ve been creating for some of the last 10-12,000 years. Turns out my geology background was about to serve a purpose. That, my friends, is where THIS story begins.
Personal stuff: When I’m not torturing my wife of 30 years by being her husband, I love hanging out with my two grown daughters, traveling, cooking and eating healthy (except for all that Dan Quinn popcorn), enveloping myself in the natural world every moment I’m able…and hating on proper things like Nickelback, vegan ice cream, and SoCal traffic. Oh, and I have a dog, Cha-ka. Named after a character from Land of the Lost. A son, really. But that’s another story.