Otherwise known as the man behind Humans of SKY (Seddon, Kingsville and Yarraville), John was born in Malaysia and grew up in Singapore, coming to Melbourne’s west and landing in St Albans in 2005. His plan was to study for a Bachelor of Communication as a mature-aged student, and life moved into fast forward when he got engaged to his girlfriend of four years.
“When I proposed to my wife I had no money or job. She said yes. I thought she was crazy”
Working through a series of short term jobs, John again found himself out of work when the couple’s son was born in 2010.
“It was hard. I was temping – doing office work, whatever I could find.”
Finally things started to turn around. Although he had no banking or finance experience, John was offered a job as a debt collector at a large bank, and started to do well. In 2014, they wanted to be nearer to the city and moved to the heart of the inner-west, Yarraville, and sold their St Albans house in 2017.
“We decided to live in the area we wanted to live. People want to get to know you, they’re less guarded. That suits me.”
But it still wasn’t enough for John. Working long hours and not always getting as much time with his family made him question what it was he wanted. This was the moment he decided he wanted to pursue something that exercised his soul, to leave a legacy of sorts.
“I wasn’t really a good writer, but I’d done blogs and I missed it. Missed meeting people. Then I saw Humans of New York and thought ‘wouldn’t it be cool if I could do a local version?’”
In 2017 John decided to get out of the “8am-6pm brigade” and left banking to become a mortgage broker. The feedback he’d received was that he was friendly and likeable, and that this would translate well to other areas of finance. The flexible lifestyle meant he was able to dedicate time to Humans of SKY, and after a slow start it took off, then suddenly – boom! With more than 2,500 followers and more than 60 ‘human’ profiles, his venture has become practically an inner-west household name.
In what’s left of his spare time he likes visiting Cruikshank Park with his family, and just living and breathing all that the inner-west has to offer.
And his legacy? “One human, every Sunday”.
Check out some of John’s work at : https://www.facebook.com/humansofsky