Interviews

Conversation with Mike Johns Founder and President of Digital Mind State

Written by Xavier Murphy

This week we interview Mike Johns, the Founder and President of Digital Mind State, the Los Angeles based company that bridged wireless technology and hip-hop culture. A true liaison between urban youth culture and the mobile industry, Johns has been successful at building and maintaining profitable business relationship with some of the biggest company names in mobile industry including T-Mobile, Zed, Fun Mobility, Nokia, Microsoft, amongst others. Motivated by leveling the playing field of the “Digital Divide,” he’s been dubbed “ambassador” of the urban/hip-hop lifestyle segment as well he’s achieved numerous “first” in the mobile entertainment space. He has provided digital marketing and consulting services to some of hip hop’s & reggae’s biggest names, including Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Beastie Boys, Souljah Boy, comedian Katt Williams, Dave Chappelle as well as Elephant Man & Beenie Man; is a pioneer in the field of mobile media. He is the Keynote Presenter/Speaker at Caribbean Beta 2012 in Jamaica. Here is our conversation with Mike Johns.

Q. What is your connection to Jamaica?
Jamaica is me, I am Jamaica. Mother & Father both Jamaican. I grew up sending most of my summers in the country, Jackson Town, Falmouth, Clarks Town, Ochie. Dad side is from Spanish Town/Kingston. Maroon at that!

Q. How did you get involved in the Entertainment industry and technology?
Entertainment was always a passion I started as a consumer of technology to a developer filling the needs of Hollywood’s entertainment industry when the mobile revolution just began.

Q. Describe your company Digital Mind State? How did you come up with the name?
Digital Mind State was created as result Hollywood and the world must think in a Digital State of Mind in everything we do. Literally everything is or will be going digital in the next five years from birth certificate to death certificate and everything in between! Having worked in the Telecom Industry aggregating and creating content with various celebs the need for establishing’s one ‘digital real estate’ assets for celebs and brands came into fruition.

Q. Do you see yourself as a person who can help the music/entertainment industry “bridge” the mobile technology gap with today’s youth?
Humbly stated Digital Mind State has been a pioneer in bridging the two worlds starting with the creation of ringtones, caller tunes, wallpapers and branded mobile games. We went from that to mobile apps to now creating interactive videos and television programming. At DMS we are very serious about creating awareness, education and self-empowerment through technology for our clientele be it music or consumer brands.

Q. What is the biggest mistake companies are making today when it comes to the mobile industry?
 Forgetting to have a website that’s formatted to be read on the tablet and most of all mobile phone. Is your site ‘mobile friendly’ is a must if you want to move forward! This followed by creating innovative ways through mobile to collect data. “The mobile phone is the remote control to one’s life!”

Q. You have worked with many of today’s top Hip Hop artists. How do they use technology to reach their audience and maximize their brand while making a profit.
Hip Hop the son of Reggae Dancehall has been VERY embracement of technology since day one first and foremost. When we speak of technology I’m going to narrow that down to “digital technology” including mobile, pc, and social media as the term is so board. Hip Hop is about creativity at its core, artist are developing news ways to use social media, video platforms such as YouTube and UStream as well distribute content via IOS and the Android. Digital Technology makes it very easy for SMART musician to take full advantages of its capabilities to generate revenue. I will be talking more on how Reggae Dancehall must do the same at the Caribbean Beta, Nov 16.

Q. You will be the featured speaker at Caribbean Beta this week in Jamaica. How do you feel about this? Is this a homecoming for you?
I’m honored to be a keynote but I’m trained for this. As for homecoming, its deeply woven in the family to come back, so I’m typically here at least 5x out the year.

Q. What do you see happening in the music industry that should concern Jamaican reggae artists?
Music is now a component to a bigger picture. As well music is now about access to and not ownership. Jamaican artist need to know this.

Q. How would you describe your life in one  word?
Perseverance

Q. What is your motto?
Focus, Strategy, Determination!

Q. What are your 5 favorite reggae songs?
Big up’s mi dj’s dem: Sizzla, Capelton, Vybz, Mavado.  My favorites songs are :

  • War, Bob Marley
  • Gimme A Try, Sizzla
  • Rise To The Occasion, Sizzla
  • Informa- Jah Vinchi ft Vybz Kartel
  • Murderer- Beenie Man

Q: Thanks for your time. Any closing words for our audience?
The future is already here all you have to do is download it! Its at Caribbean Beta you I aim to disrupt your mind!  Love God, Work Hard, Enjoy Life!

About the author

Xavier Murphy