Jan Roessner is Co-Founder and CEO of One Earth Rising, a social impact gaming company with a mission to harvest and harness the power of philanthropy through interactive experiences, providing a playful path to social impact.
Jan Roessner was born in Germany to a creative father and a loving but disciplinarian mother. After a fifteen-year career in the German military leading operations in a helicopter squadron and as a drone pilot in Afghanistan, Jan transitioned to the creative industry opening a marketing firm, sagency in Berlin in 2012. Serendipity led him to New York, where he met his current business partner and pivoted to social impact gaming and launching One Earth Rising.
In Part One of this two-parter, Jan discusses his childhood, his education, his early influences, and desiring a life of impact. We cover what set him on a path to the military, discuss his experiences of serving in Afghanistan, before transitioning through education to political lobbying and finally taking the entrepreneurial way and opening his agency in Berlin.
In Part Two we dive deep into Jan’s journey to social impact gaming, examples of his early successes with Animal Rights Organization PETA, the power of game-based storytelling to educate people on social issues, the philanthropic value of gaming to NGO’s, and the benefits open to brands and the market potential.
Jan discusses the business model, the evolution of the sector, and the impact AI will have on gaming. He also reflects on stoicism, managing fear, failure exercise, curiosity, and serendipity.
I hope you are inspired by the integrity, playful passion and social impact focus of Jan Roessner.
What We Discuss
Jan discusses his memories of growing up as a single child to loving parents but always being surrounded by extended family.
He recounts his experience and gratitude for the values and disciplines his mother instilled and the creative influence of his PR and journalist father.
His freedom to explore.
Being a follower in his peer group setting but establishing his own identity as he matured.
The influence of being exposed to travel and other cultures.
His early exposure to military culture and values.
The impact of a friend’s mother called him out as a ‘smartass.’
How he internalized his ‘smartass’ behavior and discarded that attitude.
His school life and high performance in academics.
The cultural diversity of this school that led him to be open to comfortable across cultures.
The appeal of the military and the values of bravery and honor and desire to make an impact.
His early exposure to international deployment in Bosnia.
His love of Top Gun and his journey to becoming a helicopter pilot.
Spending 15 years in the Luftwaffe and spending the latter years as a Drone pilot in Afghanistan.
The experience of Drone missions and psychotherapy support.
His changing mindset on why the military was not making the impact he wanted.
Gaining a degree in the military and transitioning to politics as an advisor to make an impact.
The stark realization that the only way to make an impact would be to follow an entrepreneurial journey.
His desire to be creative and opening an agency in Berlin with his wife.
The serendipitous opportunity that led him to New York.
His transition to a focus on gaming as a tool for storytelling and social impact.
Meeting Luc Barnard.
Having their first break with Kitten Squad for Peta.
Jan discusses the value and mechanics of social gaming.
Measuring impact for the NGO’s.
The business model from in-game purchases.
The value to NGOs to educate people on social issues.
Sector $137 bn gaming industry and 155 m people playing in the US alone.
Launching Paresio Island for All Hands and Hearts got Hurricane Relief.
His mission to harvest, harness the power of philanthropy through interactive experiences.
The need for innovation in digital fundraising.
Dealing with fear and his stoic mindset to manage stress.
The importance of exercise.
Building belief in investors through his passion.
Impact on the global goals and SDG’s.
AI and gaming.
The serendipitous events of meeting Luc.
The value of his curiosity and being open to others.
The value of Mentors.
Never Split the Difference book