ImagiNation with Jason Rhoades


Jason Rhoades

Occupation: Owner of a User Interface design and development company called Toolbox No. 9. As the president, I have many priorities, it’s hard to simplify what my focus is. I try to find ways to help our clients, my team, or colleagues. It’s different every day.

Favorite Productivity Tool: Currently I use Todoist for random task management — and a lot of Google spreadsheets. So many spreadsheets. I keep records and track KPIs of a lot of aspects in my life. 

Most Recommended App: Spotify revolutionized how I consume music. Anyone who doesn’t think great music is being produced anymore hasn’t taken the time to explore. Add in the back catalog of 100 hundred years of music instantly accessible for $10/month. It blows my mind, and can’t believe people take it for granted

Last Thing You Read: Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules of Life. I’m predicting that Peterson is going to be the new voice of intellectual conservatives.  I’m quite liberal, but his book is brilliant and worth reading.

Website: My company’s website is

Instagram handle: Instagram is @old_man_rhoades (my college nickname) It’s just a few of my favorite photos from the past couple of years. I don’t believe that my Instagram should have selfies, updates, or family photos, that’s what Facebook is for. 

Tell us about your journey? This is too big of a question, but the short of it is was: Quiet Kid -> Art Student -> Graphic Designer -> Web Designer -> Web Developer -> Company Founder -> This Podcast

What what's your favorite part of your day?  

  1. Work - When I’m in front of a whiteboard.  I’m most passionate about creative concepting. Concepting anything, really.  I force my team to take 15 minutes and brainstorm something every Monday morning as practice. I think it’s one of the most valuable skills you can have: Rapidly generate useable ideas.
  2. Me Time -  I like going to the gym if I’m working on maxing something. I usually choose one focus and work on it until I hurt myself. Right now it’s weighted pull-ups. No injuries yet. 
  3. Family - I like the end of the night, climbing into bed next to my wife and dog. We make fun of our ridiculous dog at the end of every night and all fall asleep together. It’s the most peaceful time of the entire day.

When do you feel most successful? When the people around me are happy and feel successful. Other people’s emotions weigh heavy on me. Good and bad. 

What do you do to recharge when you’re feeling drained?  Most of my hobbies are pretty draining, so the best thing for when I’m feeling drained is just switch focus to something else (usually equally draining). To relax, I take walks with my dog since I bring her to work. I meditate on nights when my mind is too busy to sleep. 

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?  I started the company when I was 27. It was also the year I got married and bought my first house. In retrospect, I didn’t know shit about business. It was a lot of work and a lot of change, but it all worked out. If I would have told myself what I know now I doubt I would have started a company because it would mean eventually giving up what I was most passionate about - design. I’m glad I made the decision to start a company but owning a business forces change on you. Some you are ready for, and some you fight for years.

How do you optimize your day?  I don’t think I’m the most optimized person. If you are like me, you need to hire people who are really good at details and try to create a lifestyle that allows for some flexibility. You also need to put in an extra 1-2 hours of work at night than most people because you know you’re going to waste time in some rabbit hole during the day.

Who is the person/people who allowed you to imagine more? Too many to list, but of course, it started with my parents. My father worked hard to create a standard of living that enabled me to go to great schools and follow my passion. My mother is an artist and nurtured all my creative instincts. It’s the thousands of little things they did for me growing up that probably made the biggest impact on my creativity. I recently sent them a postcard every day for 100 days thanking them for something they did for me as a child. 

What does imagining more mean to you and your story? Imagining and Doing are Yin & Yang.  Imagining doesn’t mean anything if you’re not willing to roll up your sleeves and make it happen. I see a lot of heavy-thinkers who have great ideas and aren’t really willing to put the work in. They tend to be the biggest complainers and most dissatisfied with life.  The people who work hard but never take the time to experiment, take risks and create new ideas usually take soul-sucking jobs or get burned out. So if you want to be fulfilled, “imagining more” means "doing more”  (and vice-versa).

If you could do more of one thing every day what would it be? If I had a strong answer to this, I’d like to think I’d be doing it right now. It’s amazing how much time you can create to do the things you want if you really want to do them. If you’re not doing it now, you probably don’t want it that bad.  That being said, I wish more of my time was spent moving things forward and creating. Life requires a lot of maintenance: Shaving, mowing the lawn, running errands, brushing your teeth, conference calls, etc. If I could bend the laws of the universe I’d spend more time creating than I do maintaining.