Today we’d like to introduce you to Julian Keaton.
Julian, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
A good starting point of my story is the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey. In 2009, I participated in a business bootcamp in St. Louis called Minority Youth Entrepreneurship Program (a.k.a MYEP). My parents were apart of the inaugural class back in the late 1980s and I had become the only legacy child of the program. During this time, I learned how to write a business plan and effectively communicate with peers on various mock business projects. At the completion of the program, I started to think about how to convert my love for music and turn it into a business.
During my freshman year of college (2010), I started a company called Stereo Assault. Over the last decade, we operated as a college radio show, blog, event producers (concerts, festival showcases, art shows) and talent managers. We’ve booked, promoted and interviewed some of America’s favorite popular musicians/artists including Chance the Rapper, Run the Jewels, The Foreign Exchange, G-Eazy, Oddisee, Dee-1 and countless others. After a string of bad concerts in 2014 and 2015, I became burned out and needed to recharge. This is when I had my eyes set on Los Angeles.
In late April/early May 2015, I made the decision to move to Los Angeles with a business partner and friend of mine named Dennis Preston (a.k.a DJsNeverEndingStory). I caught a one way American Airlines flight with one bag of luggage, my laptop, $50 and my cell phone. Outside of a friend from high school, I didn’t know anyone that lived in SoCal. This was also my first time navigating Los Angeles since my last visit as a young child. You could probably tell I didn’t belong because my thick St. Louis accent confused Los Angeles natives.
During my six month stint of being a Los Angeles transplant, it took a while before I felt even remotely comfortable. After two weeks of looking for work, I found a position as a VIP Concierge at the Hyatt Regency in Huntington Beach. As I started to transition into my new position, housing became my next priority. Over the course of six months, I lived in Inglewood, North Hollywood, Huntington Beach and Buena Park. There was a one week stretch I found myself homeless with nowhere to go. I find a really quiet and dark spot in the locker room at my job and would get about three hours of sleep before I would have to start my day. Once I found housing and settled in Buena Park, I spent 90% of my time in working at this beach resort. The other 10% I spent trying to become acclimated to the region. It was incredibly tough because Google could only provide so much information and because of my work schedule, I hardly made friends outside of work. If it weren’t for the ocean breeze and California sunshine, I probably would’ve fell into a deep depression.
After altercations with gangs and police in Orange County, I made the decision to move back home to St. Louis. My grandfather had passed recently and felt it was best to be around family. This was also a crucial time period in my life as I started to explore what I wanted the rest of my life to look like. Living in a neighborhood plagued with extreme poverty, my spirit kept telling me to pour into community. Since 2016, I’ve produced and managed initiatives that devote resources to economically empowering communities that are and continue to be underserved.
These initiatives ultimately became the pilot programs of my current business venture, Dimensions.
Has it been a smooth road?
I could list all the challenges I endured in my life but the greatest challenge I had to overcome is the challenge of beating myself up because I couldn’t acquire perfection. Perfection is a myth. The moment I learned that all you can do in this world is fulfill your purpose doing what you love daily, putting your faith in God, and practice living out the Universal laws of life, my life changed for the better. Since then, my outlook on life has changed and I pave smooth roads for myself each day.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Dimensions – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
My newest venture is called Dimensions – an interactive gaming experience designed to acclimate college students and transplants to their new city. Our vision is to curate these experiences that promote cultural exploration and smart growth by designing and developing equitable communities.
Since October 2018, we have partnered with internationally recognized universities by giving their non-resident students opportunities to learn about their new city. One experience I’m extremely proud of is partnering with the St. Louis entertainment district, “The Delmar Loop” (“one of the 10 greatest streets in America.” – USA Today), to highlight the history, culture and service providers of the community through an interactive scavenger hunt.
Our 2020 goal is to grow this venture into a mobile app game that will help facilitate the vision of Dimensions. As we scale our business model to reach more students and transplants, we will partner with community organizations to support communities that have faced long term disinvestment. This work includes working with lifelong residents, neighborhood associations, community improvement districts and real estate developers on using data to develop more equitable & inclusive communities.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
The diversity of Los Angeles was one of the main things that have shaped my perspective on multiculturalism. Coming from a relatively smaller Midwest city, it was incredibly to see what a culturally diverse region looks like. L.A’s diversity is one of the leading factors in my development of my new business venture.
One of the things I liked least about L.A is its homelessness problem. I’m not sure exactly what initiatives are being done to tackle that challenge but too many talented and skilled people are living on the streets.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/JulianKeaton
- Facebook: http://facebook.com/julianrkeaton
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/JulianKeaton
- Other: https://www.linkedin.com/in/juliankeaton