Alumni Interview: John Wander & Ameet Mehta


John Wander and Ameet Mehta are graduates of Los Angeles’ Digital Marketing course and co-founders of CHNL, a simple and beautiful way to share content from the web that allows users, professionals, influencers and brands to collaborate and share information publicly and privately. They brought their need for a digital marketing strategy to their GA course and have graduated ready and able to drive CHNL’s growth.

What do you think about Los Angeles and General Assembly?

John: LA is important right now and content is king is pretty real right now; Ameet and I have been around the since web 1.0. And what is separating successful companies today is content, and LA plays a much bigger role than it ever has because a lot of the content creation is done down here.

Ameet: A lot of technological innovation is being done up in the Bay Area but then a lot of business is happening down here in LA. There is a need for really good developers here in LA. I am a developer and it has been a challenge finding good developers but places like GA teaching the immersive courses is huge. GA is providing a resource for LA.

Tell us about your life before coming to GA & why you took this course?

John: I’ve been an entrepreneur in start-ups in a business development role, my background is in investment banking and I’ve been involved in an angel investor network, and was doing all this until I quit it all to dive headfirst into CHNL. The reason I took the GA course was because it was important for: a. to go really deep into an understanding of the whole process and implementation of a digital marketing strategy and b. hire the right person for our company and be able to measure their success.

I have met a lot of great people here – that we will be working with – and I am big believer that if you are not growing you are decaying. I felt it is our responsibility as co-founders to know all parts of the business. We don’t have to know everything but we need to be able to delegate and know if they are doing a good job or not.
Ameet: I am a computer science nerd who has been in the game as a developer and designer for 14 years. I jumped back and forth between engineering and creative direction. My background is in design, development and coding things but I had to make the jump to the business side, and how to you get a product to market.

Taking this course fit a particular niche for us: we wanted to grow our business and figure out the right tools for that.

John: The most valuable thing for us after this course is that we have crystallized our message (for CHNL). We now know exactly who the audience is; we’ve been struggling with this for months, but going through the whole process of the course – and working through the final presentation – we know. It made sense for us to be here at GA.

Ameet: On day one we demoed the project and no one knew what we were doing; by the end we have shaped our message. I understand now how to run campaigns and that is all from this course.

John: I went through a full marketing semester; but the thing that made sense for us to be here (at GA) was because we needed to market and be the most relevant and be leveraging the new platforms. And that is where GA has a huge advantage over traditional programs. It’s real time instruction; it’s about a relevant as you can get.

How do you know each other?

We met through a friend. CHNL needed a UX/Product/Engineer, and Ameet was that guy. We are both DJs, have a connection to the music industry and have 3 year olds.

What is CHNL & what are the plans for your business?

Ameet: Our tag line is CHNL allows you to collect what you love. CHNL is a tool to collect what you love and share privately and publically. It can be used for knowledge sharing about work teams and individuals and can be used a showpiece for your content.

John: We used CHNL as our final presentation. We aimed to have a big impact on the class and created a digital marketing CHNL; it is beautiful and our class and the previous digital marketing classes have been invited to this private channel. It will be the GA digital marketing alumni living channel.

Ameet: The channel is archived forever, and the class links and discussion live on. This is a perfect use case for education and a valuable tool for the course. We are just launching CHNL and this class helped us do this in a big way and this was our “go-to-market” class.

What lessons did you learn in this class?

John: When you walk in the door you need to drop your ego and when you are willing to learn, you open yourself up to knowledge. A willingness to learn new things in the course just changes the dynamic of the class.

Ameet: We are both partners in CHNL and we both needed to be here. When you are running a start-up you are wearing many, many hats and are doing everything, and we needed to be on the same page as partners. This class for us was to give us the knowledge to hire the right person for a digital marketing role. The exercises were real; the media plan we did is real, and we are using it moving forward.

And finally, what do you love about LA?

Ameet: The people are amazing. Down here in LA I can meet people that are doing great work.

John: I surf, so that! The weather and the people here; It is diverse. Another thing I love about LA is the timing: there is so much going on in the world of technology and content and we are sitting right in the middle of it.

Just a note from John and Ameet: they have hired a classmate to do work for them right out of the class as a graphic designer and another classmate wants to be an intern!

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