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Episode #52 - John Shegerian

Episode #52: John Shegerian – A Serial Entrepreneur Doing Serious Good

Apr 18, 2018

“It’s easy to get intoxicated with the social impact, but if we forget the bottomline, we’re not gonna be able to ultimately achieve the goals that we set out. “


The cans that John is holding in his episode cover shot are produced by his latest venture: Som. An all-natural, vegan drink, formulated to help you fall asleep.

Being one of those people whose mind starts going off in a hundred different directions as soon as my head hits the pillow, I was really interested to try this (and I share my experience in the interview, the good and the bad)… but that’s far from the only reason why I wanted to talk to John.

He’s one of those people who seem to have entrepreneurship genetically coded into them, but what sets him apart from a lot of serial entrepreneurs is that the bottom line and impact go hand in hand for him. It’s not just about filling a void or solving a problem – it’s about finding problems to solve that will make the most good for the planet and everyone on it.

And then, of course, being exceptionally good at it, because bigger profits equal bigger impact.

It’s a hugely important lesson that mission-oriented businesses often overlook. John Shegerian lays it our clearly in this talk on social entrepreneurship, changing lives, and taking care of yourself first to be able to serve others – especially when it comes to sleeping enough.

I hope you enjoy listening to this at least as much as I enjoyed interviewing him!

Main Points Of This Talk


[05:06]                                                 John’s perfect recipe for doing good in business.

[07:30]                                                 How love of horses translates into business.

[10:15]                                                 Seeing the world as a series of voids with the potential to be solved – and knowing how to pick the right ones for you.

[12:11]                                                 Nothing stops a bullet faster than a job – Homeboy Tortillas.

[16:52]                                                 Early dot-com success at ground zero of internet business.

[19:54]                                                 The three essentials of a socially-impactful business.

[23:57]                                                 Social responsibility, marketing, and constantly evolving and re-evaluating how to utilize forms of media.

[28:22]                                                 Re-learning the ropes with each new business launched.

[29:58]                                                 Managing the hours an entrepreneur puts into a day.

[32:36]                                                 The creation of Som from a series of sleep problems.

[37:32]                                                 Packaging a product for sleep to sell along aside energy drinks.

[44:55]                                                 Jerry’s sampling of Som and falling to sleep.

[48:40]                                                 Flying planes, driving trucks, surgery, sports… all go much better when you sleep well.

[51:00]                                                 Sleeping entrepreneurs – it is a non-negotiable necessity for resilience!

[53:29]                                                 Putting yourself first.

[56:41]                                                John’s journey to full-on veganism.

[59:23]                                                Inspiration in the vegan business space – and we are only getting started!

[1:02:39]                                             Positive improvements happening in the world with – stats and quotes to back it up.

Show Notes

John’s personal website:



Som Sleep’s website: Get Som

Article on Som and NBA sthletes in Sports Illustrated

John’s long-running environmental and sustainability podcast: Green Is Good Show

Other of John’s multiple ventures that are currently active

The evolution of Home Boy Tortillas: Home Boy Industries

The largest electronics recycling company in the world: ERI DIrect

And Som is not John’s first foray into the drinks market, either: Bulldog Root Beer

People mentioned in this episode

The co-founder of Home Boy Industries: Father Greg Boyle

One of John’s mentors, the aviation entrepreneur Maury Gallagher

Michio Kushi (Introduced the macrobiotic diet to America)

Rich Roll on Green Is Good Show

Ethan Brown on Green Is Good Show

NY Times’s Nicholas Kristof

Other resources

John’s early source of vegetarian food: Souen

The background to Home Boy Tortillas story: 1992 LA Riots

Natural Products Expo West

Why 2017 Was The Best Year In Human History

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