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Interview with Vashaun Jones, September 24, 2018

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:46 - The importance of failure / early life

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Partial Transcript: And it's a great journey, and it started for me born three months premature in Portsmouth, Virginia...

Segment Synopsis: Jones talks about how he achieved his dream by having everything he wants, being in great relationships, starting several successful businesses, and helping thousands of people across the world. He goes on to describe the importance of acknowledging failure, highlighting his divorce, bankruptcy, dropping out of tenth grade, blindness, and business failures. Jones talks about his early problems with his vision that stemmed from his premature birth. He mentions having sixteen unsuccessful eye surgeries before having one that restored his vision. He recalls disobeying the doctor's orders by playing sports which caused him losing his vision again a few years later as a result of two detached retinas. Jones describes how failing the third grade motivated him to try harder in school.

Keywords: Doctor Sponaugle; Doctor Valone; Portsmouth, Virginia; astigmatism; class clown; cross-eyed; empowerment; encouragement; jokes; nystagmus; travel

00:08:57 - Dropping out of school

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Partial Transcript: And I'm visually impaired. I'm blind. I'm visually impaired. I'm blind. And, you know, what's the difference?

Segment Synopsis: Jones describes the difference between being visually impaired and blind, noting his experience with both. He talks about dropping out of the tenth grade since he was already making a lot of money selling newspaper subscriptions. He states that leaving school was an empowering failure because it taught him that he was in control of his life.

Keywords: Individualized Education Program (IEP); computers; education system

00:14:13 - Business experience

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Partial Transcript: And so you fast forward to business.

Segment Synopsis: Jones describes his experience working as a center director at the large telecommunication company, MCI WorldCom, before leaving to start his own business. He talks about starting multiple failed businesses in the debt collections industry before he finally started a successful business.

Keywords: bonuses; corporate; failure; goals; profit; self-employment; success; telecommunications

00:19:39 - The blind community

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Partial Transcript: And I sell the business and I get a divorce.

Segment Synopsis: Jones describes struggling after his divorce until he embraced the disability community through Georgia Library for Accessible Statewide Services (GLASS) and Stella Cone, specifically. He talks about learning from the experiences of other blind people and then working to help others by sharing his failures and successes.

Keywords: Clarke Atlanta University; Dave Ramsey; GLASS; JAWS; Ray Charles; Savannah Center for the Blind and Low Vision; Stevie Wonder; Zig Ziglar; case studies; daughter; parents; the Center for the Vision Impaired and Vocational Rehabilitation Services