123 Online > About Us > Meet the Team > John McLean

Meet John McLean

John McLean
Director of Systems & Product Development


When I finished high school, I didn't know what I wanted to do. All I knew, is I really really didn't want a job. It wasn't out of laziness; I just needed a direction, a calling. I didn't want to go through the motions and live out my day-to-day, I wanted to do something big, and make a difference.

In an attempt to find that calling, I spent the next four and a half years chasing letters (B.A. P.G.Dip.B.A. Grad.Dip.Bus. Dip.M.Com). I got them – now what? Although my background was in psychology, I definitely didn't want to be a psychologist. I wanted to take something to the masses. Then it came to me - the answer was business.

In 2004 I started my own web hosting company, and my team and I successfully managed to convince around 250 clients to change their existing web hosting provider. I started 123 Online as a side project, but when I teamed up with Justin, who was working in corporate at the time (and hating it), it quickly became the main focus, and we set off to take over a market.

Justin brought in the business and looked after the marketing, and I did the project management and designed the websites. Back then, I even coded them as well. Now, I couldn't code my way out of a cardboard box.

Dollar for dollar, we were fantastic. However, in order to get mass market penetration we needed to exceed people's already high expectations. To achieve that, we needed to invest in our product and our people. We're now at the point where we've got the market leading product, hands down, and an amazing team of good people to pull it off.

So what do I actually do? Churning out 50+ projects a month is difficult. My job is to make it all come together behind the scenes. There are hundreds of little things that need to be done, many done by different people, all in the right order, all with timelines and priorities met. Expectations need to be managed, and promises need to be delivered.

Without an efficient structure, and technology to back that structure, you'd get speed wobbles, and the wheels would fall off. In order to be able to offer an affordable solution, we need to keep our costs down. I go through every aspect of our business, finding ways we can simplify tasks, getting rid of them all together, delegating them so they can be carried out in a streamlined fashion, or better yet, automating them. "Maximum output for minimum input" has been my motto for years. It's the only way you get a scalable solution at an affordable pricepoint.


John's good hair day


       Say.... lock jaw!


Rub the magic lantern

Part of that efficiency is empowering our clients so they don't rely us, but they empower themselves through the technology we provide. For that to happen on-mass, the technology needs to be really easy to understand.

That's where my involvement in product development comes in. I spec out the developments on how things need to work, so they're easier for our clients and scalable for us, and our very talented development team turn it into a reality. Shift is one of those very exciting realities that we've put together.

A little about me... I love my friends, my family, my lady, my snowboarding (although sometimes I hate it), my beer, my quiet nights in and my big nights out. I love my life. Love love! Good stuff! My lady's the biggest part of my life outside of work - she's an amazing human. She's really good to me – and she's really pretty (bonus). She puts up with me rambling on about work all the time. I talk to her in my sleep about systems sometimes. She doesn't even mind that – she's a keeper. I just like to enjoy life and be good to people - pretty simple really. As a result I'm actually a really happy guy.

Now, a few words about Justin. You could say Justin's the yin to my yang. Or the yang to my yin. Or something! Justin is my best friend, and the best business partner I could have ever hoped for. When Justin talks, you're inspired and you understand our vision. He's got an amazing talent for empowering people to take control of their lives and take action. This is the case in both our friendship and our clients.

Marketing and copywriting is the one skillset that we share, but for everything else we're on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Our talents are very complimentary, but we always share the same vision and the same ultimate goal. We've got synergy – the sum of what the two of us put together can accomplish is miles ahead of what we could do on our own. I don't think that's common in many business partnerships – I lucked out on that one.

Thanks so much for your time and taking an interest. I hope you come on board with us, and I look forward to seeing your business grow.

John McLean