Pay it forward

Pretty much everyone has a vibe. If you spend enough time with someone or pay enough attention, you can usually sort out the type of person someone is.

Jon Woodroof's vibe, very simply, is that he's a guy who gets it.

What's "it" you might wonder? It's that element in life that kind of slots things into place, moves things where they need to be and connects people to who and what makes sense. 

That's not to say that his life has gone entirely to plan, but he seems to know what to do when it doesn't, and that's most of the battle.

Jon is an bike-fanatic American who was born in Germany, grew up in Oklahoma and Georgia, and now lives happily in Amsterdam with his wife and two children. Not your average "about me" statement, if you ask us.

But his background informs much of his vibe, so we're here to tell you his story as you enjoy today's box of southern soul food - food that speaks to Jon's heart - Cropbox style.

Like we said, Jon was born in Germany at an air-force base where his father was stationed. They eventually moved back to the US and he spent his childhood bouncing between Georgia and Oklahoma, eventually landing in Griffin, GA (which he describes as a "huge bummer") where he went to high school. His senior year of high school saw him as an exchange student in Germany, indulging a fascination with the country and culture that began as a result of his mother's lineage.

From that time on - even as he returned to Georgia for university and graduate school and eventually met his wife and had their children - Jon knew he wanted to get back to Europe, especially Germany. So when a software start-up company offered him a position in Amsterdam in 2013, he figured it was his ticket over.

"I always thought I'd live in Germany again... I still love Germany and have a lot of friends there... but the Netherlands is way more chill. I love the freedom and pragmatism here of the way things work. Like the way traffic works here, I mean Germans would go nuts!" he says fondly.

After working for a few software start-ups here (see this excellent editorial on his philosophy of "getting dropped") Jon started freelancing, eventually building his sales/marketing/PR consulting firm, Twotone Amsterdam.

A long time cycling fanatic (he earned his "two tone" nickname long ago because he used to always match his clothes to his bike), Jon quickly honed in on cycling clients, especially a new breed of cycling-related start-ups he's been seeing pop up rapidly.

This enviable ability to combine his passion for cycling and his knack for sales and networking goes back to what we said earlier about Jon getting it. In fact, when asked what the key to building good relationships is, he described expert networking like a boss - it's obviously something he knows intrinsically and understands fully.

"The pay it forward mentality is really important. Starting conversations and relationships with 'How can I help?'", he says.

"If you do a favor, then you've done an initial gesture and the instinct on [the recipient's] end is to reciprocate." he explains. "But whether or not it's profitable or productive or efficient at that time, if you do it all the time you build good will everywhere and you kind of become known for that. It becomes instinct."

This mentality is what ultimately draws him to cycling as well. Sure it's practical from a transportation and fitness perspective and he can do it in any city thanks to his bike he can pack up and carry on. But it's more than that for him.

"It comes down to the people and the shared experiences," he says. And ever the connector, he uses it to meet people all over the world. "I now have this tremendous network and we all share this passion."

At the end of the day, Jon is down-to-earth, chill guy with a genuine enthusiasm that's hard not to catch. He's the kind of guy you should know... and even do a favor for if you get the chance.