Riddle me This… Jonny Goldstone
Up close and personal with co-founder of Green Tomato Cars
If you knew then what you know now… would you still do it?
Absolutely. Looking back at when we founded Green Tomato Cars, it’s tempting to say I wouldn’t make the mistakes from the first time round and would do everything better and more quickly, but it’s those experiences that teach you the skills and build the fortitude you come to rely on later.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Stay true to your convictions and compete on your own terms. What we do best now is what we did best when we started out – our focus on how we treat people and the environment. Over the years, lots of people have asked us to change our priorities or try to be more things to more people, but whenever we’ve been tempted to try going down that road, it hasn’t gone well, because it just isn’t the Green Tomato way.
What was your biggest break?
After we’d been trading for about a week, James Murdoch, then CEO of Sky, booked one of our cars because his regular driver was off sick. He chatted with the driver we sent and was so fascinated with our business model that the next day we were invited in to pitch for the Sky account. That was the launch pad for our early success and we’ve built a great relationship with Sky over the years.
When I think about it, I’m as grateful to the driver who was so passionate about Green Tomato Cars, as I am to James and Sky for the way they took us under their wing.
What’s the weirdest rumour you’ve ever heard about yourself?
I can’t tell you – but unfortunately, it wasn’t true!
Do you consider yourself lucky?
No doubt. I’m lucky to have had the opportunities I’ve had and to have met the people I’ve met. I’ve worked hard to make the most of a good hand, and sometimes things haven’t always worked out, but I’m not going to take all the credit for the successes.
What’s most important in your life?
Family and friends. Nothing that brings true happiness isn’t better shared.
What brands do you admire?
TOMS, the not for profit company for their focus on giving back. Their “one for one” promise is to deliver a pair of free shoes to a child in need for every sale of their retail product. And TESLA, for taking on an old industry on their own terms, but through a positive brand culture that respects its environment and shares its knowhow. We’ve been delighted with the Tesla we have on our fleet and our customers love it too.
Do you have a guilty pleasure – if so what is it?
I love watching boxsets, including some fairly trashy series. Running a business and running after three children means it’s a real luxury to switch off at the end of the day.