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John  Jacobs

John Jacobs

Co-Founder & CCO (Chief Creative Optimist) of Life is Good


John is the co-founder of the $100 million lifestyle brand Life is Good. When he and his brother Bert started the company in 1994, they had $78 in their pockets, lived out of their van, and sold t-shirts on the streets of Boston. Was this their way of avoiding the “real world”? You betcha. Did it turn into something much bigger? Absolutely. Read More >

It has been 25 years since they sold their first t-shirt, but John and Bert champion the same mission: to spread the power of optimism. On their journey, they’ve been inspired by a vibrant community of resilient optimists — people from all walks of life who identify deeply with the brand and who constantly demonstrate the depth and meaning behind the three simple words “Life is Good.”

But here’s the thing: While John and Bert believe life is good, they also know life isn’t perfect, which is why Life is Good donates 10% of its annual net profits to the Life is Good Kids Foundation. Through its signature Playmaker Program, the Life is Good Kids Foundation helps over 1 million kids overcome the impact of poverty, violence, and illness each year. In making their company a fully integrated for-profit/ non-profit model, the brothers hope to use their business as a vehicle to do good in the world.

As the co-host of the Life is Good Ping Podcast, John interviews some of the world’s most influential thought leaders about using optimism as a practical way to overcome adversity and lead a fulfilling life—all over a game of ping pong. Naturally. Guests include Ringo Starr, Katie Couric, Scott Avett, and more.

Because of his unique perspective that ties rational optimism to business, John has been asked to share his transformative message at a wide range of corporate and thought leadership conferences including Inc’s ICONIC Tour, SAP Sapphire, Indeed Interactive, Discover, Bose, and more. He and Bert have been featured in Forbes, NPR’s How I Built This, CNNMoney, CNBC’s Business Nation, ABC News’ Nightline, NBC’s The Today Show, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, and Men’s Health Magazine, among others. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

5 Tips From the Life Is Good Guys

Positive Purpose and Spreading Optimism

Life is Good Virtual Commencement Recap

Optimism & Politics

Learning Optimism from Adversity

Speech Topics

Life is Not Perfect. Life is Not Easy. Life is Good.

John Jacobs founded Life is Good to inspire people to celebrate the good around them. Over time, a vibrant community grew that taught them that optimism is the most powerful strategy to living a happy and fulfilling life, especially in the hardest of times. In times of uncertainty, fear, loss, and tragedy, we still have the choice to focus our energy on what’s right in our lives and the world around us and find the opportunity instead of obstacles. We have the ability to use these times of darkness to come together, to see each other as humans (not just co-workers or clients), build unbreakable bonds, and innovate like never before. Through this virtual keynote experience, John Jacobs will share the inspiring business story of Life is Good, from the humble beginnings selling T-shirts out of a van, to finding opportunity in the face of hardships like the Great Recession & unthinkable tragedies like the Boston Marathon Bombing, which took place steps from the Life is Good Headquarters. Audience members will leave this keynote with a renewed sense of optimism and with the tools and inspiration needed to find and grow the good around them – in business and in life.

Optimism Can Take You Anywhere

John Jacobs and his brother Bert launched the Life is Good Company with $78 in their pockets selling t-shirts on the streets of Boston. Today, Life is Good is a $100-million, positive lifestyle brand sold by more than 2,000 retailers across the U.S. and Canada. Their inspiring business story and lessons on optimism and corporate social responsibility will demonstrate how focusing on the good can transform your mindset, business, and take you anywhere Read More >

Tailor your keynote to emphasize: Read Less ^

  • Embracing the power of optimism to innovate and thrive in times of change: Business leaders see significant change ahead for their companies as 71% of CEO’s expect the next 3 years as being more critical for their industry than the last 50. Jacobs dives into creating a “yes, and” culture focused on opportunities (not obstacles) and brand-building that will stand the test of time.
  • Cultivating a culture of optimism from the inside out: Jacobs shares experience from Life is Good to help audiences discover their own sense of optimism to uncover a deeper meaning to the work they do. Lessons on gratitude, openness, and compassion show how simple mindset shifts can transform company culture that can be felt by your customers and beyond.
  • Going beyond “customer-focused” to build (and keep) your audience: Life is Good was built largely in part by its customers to become the iconic brand it is today. Jacobs shares lessons on brand building with your community to build loyalty and relevance.
  • Positive Purpose: More than ever, consumers are demanding brands they buy from are socially responsible. Jacobs shares the LiG story and inspires audiences to integrate a deeper meaning into their work... the authentic way.
  • The Power of Optimism: in Jacobs’ keynote talk, discover how to live life with purpose and enjoy the ride.

Life is Good: The Power of Optimism

In this heartwarming, funny, and refreshingly human keynote, John tells the story of how the $100 million lifestyle brand Life is Good came to be — mistakes, missteps, and all, including an unlikely and humble beginning. John’s story will leave audiences with the tools they need to develop an optimistic mindset that leads to success, along with tips on building a vibrant community and brand that will stand the test of time. Get ready to laugh, and maybe cry (have tissues on standby), but most of all, be ready to uncover a deeper purpose in both business and in life. Your audience will leave united, connected, and ready to spread the power of optimism.