John Paul DeJoria, the bashful billionaire.

Posted by Liz June 13th, 2013

IN0613WIW01-pano_26147 Writing The Way I Work column for Inc. is one of my all time favorite gigs–because I get to talk with company founders and CEOs who have created successful businesses, and are still as excited about their work as when they first launched.  John Paul DeJoria, or as he prefers, JP, is known as the man behind Paul Mitchell Hair Systems (can you say Awamphui shampoo three times fast?) but I was amazed to learn that he also founded Patron Tequila (and is credited for making Tequila a top shelf drink in the US). He also co-founded ROK, the now publicly traded mobile technology company, and recently launched a pet care line called John Paul Pet. But he spoke excitedly about other companies that he is involved in including a beer company in Germany he recently purchased (all he would say is it is among the oldest breweries), a conflict-free diamond company in Zimbabwe (JP Diamonds) and several water companies, one of which is Texas based. But when pressed on these lesser known companies, he did not want to give any specific details. “I have been trying to get off the Forbes list forever,” he said during our interview at his Austin, TX based home last February. “If they knew how many companies I am involved with, my number would go up. I even talked to Steve Forbes face-to-face and said, ‘take me off your list.’ He said, ‘We can’t.'” When I asked him why he was so keen to get off a list many only dream of being on, this was his response: “I don’t want to be known as this guy who’s worth four, five or even ten billion dollars. That is not what matters to me–that’s not my goal in life.”  “What is?” I asked.  ” His answer?  “To do good work.”

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