Continuing to celebrate Hispanic heritage in the U.S., I’m promoting Latina(o)/Hispanic leaders in my blog.
Meet Johnny Rivera, Co-host for “Off the Kuf” FM morning talk radio show, Syndicated Writer, Social Media/Internet Marketing Guru, Network (Computer) Engineer, Web Developer, Owner of ThinkRivera Technologies. Johnny Rivera is very perceptive about people and has been blazing a trail on the Web for almost two decades. Tweet with this Latino leader in Twitter: @John_Rivera and become a friend on Facebook. Read John’s blog, The Latino Edge.
John, where did you grow up and how did your upbringing and environment contribute to the person you are today?
I like to say I was born in Brooklyn and raised everywhere else. It’s true. After my mother divorced my father, we moved to Puerto Rico for two years. My mom married my dad (step dad) who was in the Army. Traveling became the norm after that. When I was 18, I moved out on my own. I spent 11 years in the South and 8 years in the Mid-West. The extensive traveling gave me a deep understanding of different cultural dynamics within America and Puerto Rico.
Who were your role models as you were growing up and how did they affect you?
Over all, Jesus Christ is my primary influence. He taught me to be a man of compassion and substance. He also taught me to look at a person’s heart rather than their pocket (occupation). Jesus was a carpenter. To ascribe wisdom to Him according to His occupation would have been degrading.
At what point in life did you realize your inner strength and fortitude?
There is a point in time in everyone’s life where our mettle is tested brutally. This test is pass or fail. There’s no in between. Often it comes at the heels of suffering a great loss. For me, that life defining moment came twice: when my mother died in 2001 and the other during the Spring of 2008. On both occasions, it tested everything I am. It took faith in God, belief in myself, experience and sheer guts to keep moving forward. Those two events changed my life forever.
Given the recent study done on U.S. Latina high school students’ drop-out rate of 41% , what’s your advice for Latina(o)/Hispanic students who are in high school or college? (This report addresses reasons for 41 percent dropout rate among Latina high school students http://bit.ly/2aNrYz )
Stay in school. I am adamant about education. It may sound cliche but knowledge is power.
What’s your advice for those who may have already dropped out of high school or college?
Try everything you can to get back in, no matter how difficult.
Why did you launch your business?
I always had a penchant for business. My mother was a master haggler. Naturally I followed suit. I could either work for others or for myself. I blended both. I work for my customer but ALL the money goes into my bank account.
What is your UVP (Unique Value Proposition)?
Good question! I’ve never been asked that question before today. My UVP is, oddly enough, similar to the mega-band KISS. When anyone attends a KISS concert, you get good music and a great show that kicks you in between the eyes – all for one price. Their CD’s go platinum and their shows sell out everytime worldwide. Their marketing is unlike anything anyone has ever seen. When a client calls Thinkrivera Technologies, they get most everything under the sun – Network Engineer, Web Designer, Internet Marketer, SEO Guru, Information Architecht – I have the ability to design and build the foundation, the network and cutting edge website including content. Not only that, I have close to 15 years experience with Fortune 500 companies. More bang for you buck. That allows me to be head and shoulders above my competitors.
KISS also has its hands in everything you can think off – from lunchboxes to coffins. That’s what I am doing now. I have a successful blog, The Latino Edge, which by the way jumped from 7400 readers to over 11,000 readers within three days of the re-launch. I also have a book in the works and I write aritcles for seven publications. My articles have been read in places like India and South Korea. Recently, I’ve guested/co-hosted an FM radio show called “Off the Kuf” hosted by Tom Sumner. We’re developing the show to take it national.
Describe your ideal client or project or give one or two case studies so that people can clearly understand how you’ve helped clients.
When I do an order for a client, my main thrust is to do it as efficiently as possible. I cut out all the frills and most of the overhead. For one client, an elite private school, I re-worked the code to a vital computer program, saving them thousands of dollars. For CB Richard Ellis, I helped move their Help Desk from NYC to Seattle, Washington, all online. For another client, I re-negotiated contracts and cut unnecessary services saving him $70,000.
What other services does your company provide?
I also do contract negotiations and technical writing.
How does your Latino heritage help you achieve your goals?
I was raised to do what it takes to get the job done. Period. No excuses. No fru-fru allowed. When I look back in Puertorican history, that’s exactly what my heroes did.
How did you hear about Latinos In Social Media (latism.org)?
Through Facebook. At first I thought it was just another hack job. I was so wrong. I was so impressed with their commitment to the Latino community. There are some organizations that are cheap boloney. LATISM is filet mignon, hands down.
What would you like to say to companies who are thinking of marketing to Latina(o)s/Hispanics but aren’t sure of what to do first?
Some of us are members of the Hispanic Chamber of E-commerce (www.hiscec.com). It’s all in the R&D. There’s plenty of statistics available to give an immense insight on our market. Forget the stereotypes. That’s a big no-no.
What would you like people to remember about you after you’ve passed on (many, many years from now)?
“If a broke down kid from Brooklyn, NY made it, so can we.” Also, when the chips are down, don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself.