Ryan Johnson saw a need and he’s working to fill it.
Johnson, 29, is the founder of Cxmmunity, a company whose goal is to increase the participation of minorities within the ever-rising industries of esports and video games. On May 5, Cxmmunity hosted a live gaming and concert event at the Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta on a bill headlined by Duke Deuce.
During the event, Johnson discussed his rise in entrepreneurship.
How are you feeling right now?
I feel good. This is our first event in a venue this large. So one thing I’ll say is it’s been really relaxing having the support of Live Nation and their staff, and also [this] is our first physical event with this many people. So for us, it’s a great opportunity to bring people like rolling out, some of our investors, some of our brands, some of our other corporate partners to see what we’re doing, [and] what we’ve been up to for the last few years.
What advice would you give to young Black business owners who are looking to get into other areas like tech or media?
I know, there’s this huge notion of, “How do I start?” Or, “Where do I start?” I think a lot of times that prevents people from taking that first step. So for me, I was like, “You’re gonna mess up in the very beginning, it’s very much inevitable.” So taking that first step is getting started.
Second, once you’re on that journey, be sure you’re reading and staying up on the right and relevant information. So that way, you always have certainty as far as what you’re doing and how you’re going about that process.
Then, always being authentic in your approach and connecting with the right people along the way. Be vulnerable, put yourself in spaces that you generally may feel uncomfortable, but in those rooms is usually where I found over the past, two to three years, is where I’ve had the most growth.
That’s always something I share, whether we talk to college students, high school students, middle school students, is just [to] start. Because for me, I learned about all of this when I was about 25, 26. There are some kids now [who] are learning about this at 8, 9, 10, 16. That’s why we say get started. Then, if you’re authentic in that journey, the right people will meet you, come and support you along the way.
Music has always been cool. Video games, on the other hand, haven’t always been, until now with Twitch. Where do you see video game culture in social circles?
The non-cool kids are playing, but the cool kids are playing it, too, they just don’t want anybody to know they’re playing. That’s the reality, and sometimes, they’re playing even more. What we’re doing is blending those two, bringing them together and letting them know it’s socially acceptable.