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Featured on Jan 13, 2011

John F. Laramie

"Just Do It."


John Laramie is the President, CEO and Founder of ADstruc, an online marketplace for outdoor advertising, where he oversees all of the company’s business operations and sales. He graduated from Loyola University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Concentration in Marketing. John, a two-time entrepreneur, is an active member of the New York Tech Community and enjoys playing ping pong and tennis. John was also featured in Silicon Alley's 2010 Top 100 People in NYC Tech.

  • Title: Founder and CEO
  • Age: 26
  • Location: West Village, Union Square
  • Contact: @ADstruc

ADstruc was part of the TechStars Colorado program and on the company blog you say that involvement with the program helped with being able to raise $1.1M in VC.  Do you wish TechStars NYC started a year earlier so you could have stayed in New York?  Were there any advantages or disadvantages with being in Boulder?

TechStars was instrumental to helping us lay a strong foundation for our company and setting out a clear direction for success.  I am glad TechStars NYC started after we completed Boulder because now we can be involved in helping the new TechStars community here.  There were great advantages to being in Boulder: the new network and connections, the culture, and lack of big city distractions.  I hope I can go back soon!

The New York Tech Community is obviously important to you.  What do you think is the best way for those involved to help foster its growth and strengthen the community as a whole?

On Monday night, we presented at the NYTM and had a blast.  Presenting or simply attending one of those events is one of the best ways to get involved in the community.  You are surrounded by a bunch of passionate entrepreneuers and it’s great to share stories and learn from each other.

Your company ADstruc is currently growing and hiring.  Let’s assume two people with equal skill-sets apply and interview.  What are the main traits that you look for in a person when determining which one gets the job?

We thought a lot about this as a team.  ADstruc isn’t building a sexy app that is going to be on everyone’s iphone but we are changing an industry.  When hiring, you need to simply connect with that person and understand their passions.  If it’s a big salary, it’s not going to work.  If it’s building a sexy app, it’s not going to work.  If it’s being a part of a movement to change an industry and someone is more interested in being/having a part of the company, then we are getting somewhere.

A large part of NY street art is to “manipulate” subway ads in variety of methods including “the splasher,” the “moustache” moustaches, and cut and paste “mash-ups.”  Obviously these actions affect your company’s clients in a very direct way.  Do you have any opinion on whether this should be considered art or is just criminal vandalism that should be punished?

One, I am a huge fan of the mash-ups.  I met an infamous ad agency guy who was arrested once for hiring that guy.  The absolute core of advertising is creative art, and it’s a shame that it gets a bad rap sometimes.  While this can affect our company’s clients, we cannot legally protect them from it – and quite frankly, nobody can.

What skills did you develop from owning your own agency that really helps with running a product startup?  What were some of the new challenges that you had to tackle that you’ve never experienced before?

I think the skills actually come from way before running my own agency.  Since I was a kid I was always developing products, creating new inventions, building awesome lego structures, you name it.  I think my product vision and how we approach it comes from legos.  There is some serious strategery that goes behind that stuff!  Sam, our co-founder and lead developer, is the one actually building the legos now…since I can’t code.  Some of the new challenges come from simply corporate/legal structures but again it’s because of my team, Josh and Chris, that can manage it all!