"One of the best connected in San Francisco" - The New Yorker 10/14/13

About Me


experiences and engagements (alphabetical):

Asana (Consultant on 2011 launch)
damntheradio (Co-founder / CEO; Acquired by Fanbridge)
Dreamworks "Ptch" (Consultant; Acquired by Yahoo)
Patreon (Advisor)
Plair (Consultant; Acquired by Samsung)
Lever (Advisor / Investor)
Stanford University (BA/MS | d.school, GSB, HCI)
The SUB (Co-founder)
Thistle (Co-founder / Advisor)


Johnny Hwin is an artist, entrepreneur, and advisor previously featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and SPIN Magazine.

He most recently cofounded Thistle—a subscription-based health foods delivery company—as part of the early stage investment & incubation efforts of a private family fund of which he is an advisor, and is currently the singer-songwriter/producer of Cathedrals, an indie-electronic duo The New York Times describes as "R&B with 1980s rock swagger."

He was formerly co-founder and CEO of damntheradio, a Facebook marketing platform that powered promotional campaigns for artists such as Lady Gaga and The Black Keys, and brands such as Wrangler Jeans and Gatorade. damntheradio was acquired in January 2011 by email marketing startup FanBridge (investors include SoftTech VC, Lowercase Capital, 500 Startups, First Round Capital, Founder Collective, et al)—6 months after launch. In the spring of 2011 post-acquisition, he opened for Moby at SXSW, playing bass in the live outfit of electronic dream-pop artist Blackbird Blackbird. 

Prior to damntheradio, he studied social psychology and technology entrepreneurship at Stanford University, where he launched his first company from the Stanford Facebook App Class (profiled in the New York Times), a viral quiz platform that grew to 15M users and was sold in 2009 to SpeedDate (and later acquired by Match.com).

A former course instructor in Stanford’s Technical Communications Program, he has lectured at UC Berkeley’s Haas Business School, University of Montana’s School of Entertainment Management, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music—and was a panelist at Wisdom 2.0 in 2011 on Experiments in Conscious Entrepreneurism

He currently spends his energy writing and producing music for Cathedrals, advising value-aligned companies, and cultivating a community of creators in his San Francisco Mission District based art warehouse space, affectionately dubbed The SUB

I had the privilege of working with Johnny as an advisor when he successfully sold a business nearly a decade ago. Since then I have been a frequent collaborator and investor in projects that Johnny has worked with; I have seen endless creativity and inspiration paired with rapid execution and iteration. His marketing and design instincts are rare, even in the heart of Silicon Valley where Johnny is deeply embedded into the inner circle of founders and product luminaries.
— Aniq Rahman, President @ Moat (Acquired by Oracle)
Johnny has an incredible talent for combining companies’ intentions and industry trends into actionable plans for new products and marketing angles. Unlike some consultants who give vague advice, he efficiently crystallizes specific ways businesses can improve with detailed roadmaps for execution.
— Josh Constine, Editor-At-Large @ Techcrunch
We all have a few key people who deeply influence the way we work and think. For me, Johnny is number one on that list. He has been an essential thought partner throughout my time at Patreon, always offering fresh perspectives that balance user empathy and strategic thinking.
— Tim Wood, 1st Head of Product @ Patreon