The Most Inspiring Moments from This Year's Oscars
This was one Academy Awards that held attentions from start to finish. It might have been Jimmy Kimmel’s comedic timing, an unusually packed slate of hit films, or even the jaw-dropping reversal in the event’s last moments. But in part, the spark came from the night’s theme: inspiration.
Here are just a few of those moments from this year's Oscars:
1. Recognizing a real hero
2. Making History
3. Never stopping
So bring on the rebels
The ripples from pebbles
The painters, and poets, and plays
And here's to the fools who dream
Crazy as they may seem
Here's to the hearts that break
Here's to the mess we make
6. A last-minute reversal
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February 26, 2017 at 04:09PM
Phonemakers pile in to exploit Samsung weakness
Phonemakers are piling in to fill a gap in the market left by Samsung, still licking its wounds from a costly recall of its flagship Note 7 and with no key device of its own to launch at the telecom industry’s biggest annual fair.
China’s Huawei, the most likely contender to fill the hole in the premium end of the market, took the wraps off a new phone in its quest to displace Samsung as the world’s no. 2 smartphone maker after Apple, during a rush of new product releases on Sunday ahead of this week’s World Mobile Congress.
Chinese challengers Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Gionee are in hot pursuit, while BlackBerry and Nokia announced models exploiting their retro appeal.
Samsung itself presented two new tablets pending the launch of its next flagship device, the Galaxy S8, expected now at the end of March rather than at Mobile World Congress, its usual showcase.
“The past six months have undoubtedly been one of the most challenging periods of our history,” Samsung’s European marketing chief David Lowes told a news conference in Barcelona. “We’re determined to learn every possible lesson.”
Samsung withdrew the Galaxy Note 7 last October after faulty batteries led some devices to catch fire, leading to a loss of consumer trust, wiping out more than $5 billion of operating profit, and allowing the iPhone to overtake it in sales.
“The competition is feisty but I think we have a good chance,” Richard Yu, chief executive of Huawei’s consumer business group, told Reuters in an interview.
Samsung’s smartphone market share dropped to 17.7 percent in the fourth quarter, while Apple’s rose to 17.8 percent, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics.
Independent research analyst Richard Windsor of Radio Free Mobile doubts whether Samsung can quickly regain its position.
“Samsung has taken a massive $5.4 billion hit to profits, apologized profusely for the recall and admitted shortcomings in its quality and assurance process but I don’t think that the full effects of this issue have fully hit home,” he wrote in a blog post. He pointed to a survey from Harris Poll which shows that Samsung’s reputation has fallen from No. 7 in the United States to No. 42, just one position above the U.S. Postal Service.
Huawei has aggressively expanded its mid- to high-end phones and is going head to head in Asia and Europe with Apple and Samsung in the premium phone market.
Its new high-end P10 phone will go on sale from March at 649 euros ($685) in Europe, its key target market, likely ahead of the expected Samsung S8 launch.
Huawei, which made its name as a builder of telecom networks and only entered the phone market this decade, has made no secret of its ambition to be the world’s number two.
But fortunes can change rapidly in the smartphone market, with little-known names in the West pushing established Asian players such as ZTE, LG Electronics and Lenovo-Motorola into the second tier.
Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi are now the fourth, fifth and sixth-biggest smartphone makers in the world, according to Strategy Analytics, with Sony number 16, and HTC in 20th place.
“The long game in smartphones simply is a marketing game,” said Tim Coulling, an analyst at research firm Canalys.
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February 26, 2017 at 03:49PM
The director of the Oscar-winning Pixar short reveals the painstaking 3-year process to make it
Less than a mile from Pixar Studios in Emeryville, California, there's a calming stretch of beach that animator Alan Barillaro visits often. Three years ago, while walking along that Pacific shore, Barillaro came on an idea that has become the latest great Pixar work.
It's "Piper," the short film that showed before the hit "Finding Dory," and won the best animated short Oscar on Sunday.
At the time Barillaro, 41, was heavily involved in what Pixar calls a “Tools” session. It’s when animators basically spend time messing around with the company’s proprietary software to see the ways they can implement new tools for their projects.
Barillaro didn’t get into specifics of the session when he talked to Business Insider recently, but Pixar CCO John Lassetter wasn’t that into it anyway. But the character Barillaro created for the test had promise.
Starting out with the crow from “Brave,” Barillaro transformed that into one of the tiny sandpiper birds he saw constantly on his trips to the beach running back and forth from the tide.
With the encouragement of Lasseter and “Finding Dory” director Andrew Stanton, Barillaro found himself working on storyboards about the sandpiper.
“I got to be totally honest,” Barillaro told Business Insider, “it was outside all of the normal development structure of the studio.”
Barillaro, who has been at Pixar since he was 18, has worked on almost every level at the studio — animator on "Monsters, Inc.," supervising animator on "The Incredibles" and "Brave" — but having never directed before, he was searching for advice.
“I assumed with directing, I would get the secrets of how to do it from Andrew and John, the tools they use to guide themselves,” but then he realized something else about those filmmakers' talent.
“What I found I was lacking was how personal they take their work and being honest in what you’re trying to say,” Barillaro said.
He spent a year with storyboard artists trying to formulate his sandpiper, which he named Piper. What he came up with was a baby sandpiper who is no longer being fed by his mother, so he has to overcome his fear of the water to get his own meals.
YouTube/Disney/PixarLasseter was impressed by the progress and greenlit the project to be Pixar’s latest short for "Dory."
Barillaro said it was working with Stanton as animation supervisor on “WALL-E” that made him understand how to make a compelling and personal six-minute short about a sandpiper and his mother with absolutely zero dialogue.
“People have to remember, when we start these things, we have no idea how we’ll pull it off,” Barillaro said. “I remember reading the script for ‘WALL-E’ and going to Andrew’s office and reading act one and couldn’t believe we were going to tell a love story between two robots with no dialogue. I felt I was taking lessons learned from that film and applying them to mine.”
It took just over a year and a half to do the animation for “Piper,” which included close to 7 million feathers created for the sandpipers and billions of sand pebbles to make up the beach.
“At some point you just realize numbers haven’t been created to count how many we did,” Barillaro said of the sand pebbles.
But seeing as “Piper” was born from a Tools session, Barillaro wanted to push the animation technology at Pixar as far as he could. The short uses the new render software that Stanton also used in “Finding Dory,” and to get the sandpiper feathers and the rushing tide to look right, animators — who totaled up to 40 — did almost everything by hand, as opposed to having the software create simulations.
Deborah Coleman/Pixar“We pushed the rendering power to its limit in this film,” Barillaro said.
But with all Pixar projects, short or long, focus on the story is paramount. And Barillaro’s biggest challenge was finding a way to have Piper and his mother carry a conversation without it looking too human.
Dialogue that was written by Barillaro guided the team initially, but by year three of production, they had to figure out how to make Piper and his mom communicate on their own.
“I was very passionate about not humanizing the story and not going to gestures that are very human, like using hands,” Barillaro said. “One time I asked the animator to do a head shake for the bird, like a human saying ‘no.’ And what I appreciated was a note that John gave me saying, ‘I know it’s hard, but look for another gesture.’ His encouragement to keep looking and not going for the easy one, that meant a lot.”
Barillaro finally handed off “Piper” a few weeks ago — literally hours before the deadline to have the short attached to “Finding Dory” when it plays in theaters. He admits it’s a bittersweet feeling.
“It’s the moment you feel you know how to do it,” he said.
But he also knows that at Pixar, there’s always something else to tackle.
“You come back to the office the next day and after all those years being a bird, now you have to be a monster or a fish,” he said.
Watch a clip from “Piper” below:
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February 26, 2017 at 02:57PM
Jimmy Kimmel tweeted at Trump live at the Oscars: '#Merylsayshi'
Jimmy Kimmel, host of the 89th annual Academy Awards, just tweeted at President Donald Trump during the ceremon, after making note of the fact that Trump has still not weighed in on the awards online.
In one tweet, Kimmel asked Trump, "u up?" and in another he let the president know that Meryl Streep "says hi." (Kimmel asked for Streep's approval of the message from the Oscars stage.)
The first tweet already has over 190,000 retweets as of this writing, and got thousands within seconds. Trump has not respodned to either of the tweets yet.
Trump called Meryl Streep "overrated" in response to her speech at the 2017 Golden Globes criticizing the president. He has also live-tweeted his thoughts, mostly negative, about the Oscars in years past.
See Kimmel's tweets below.
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February 26, 2017 at 02:45PM
How ESPN's 'O.J.: Made in America' became the first ever TV series to win an Oscar
Many of you may be wondering how a documentary produced by ESPN and made as a series for TV, "O.J.: Made in America," won an Oscar on Sunday night.
As the docuseries' director Ezra Edelman said during his acceptance speech for best documentary feature, the path to ESPN's first Oscar nomination and win, and the first ever Oscar win for a TV series, was "untraditional."
"First of all, ths is incredible," Edelman said. "I want to thank the Academy for acknowledging this untraditional film. I want to thank ESPN for allowing us the canvas and the time to tell this story. This is the only way it could be told."
So how does a TV series end up winning an Oscar?
The series had to fulfill the Academy's requirement that submissions for nominations have a theatrical run. In this case, ESPN combined the five 90-minute episodes for an all-day experience that debuted in movie theaters in New York City and Los Angeles on May 20 for about two weeks, ahead of its June 11 TV premiere on ABC.
The decision was made after a successful premiere during last year's Sundance Film Festival.
"It was solidified at Sundance, as we saw the audience engaged for almost eight hours, how powerful the experience is," ESPN Films' senior vice president and executive producer Connor Schell told Business Insider. “It led us to decide we should really show it in theaters.”
Getting the series as a film into theaters was the first challenge. ESPN also had to make sure that film critics at the New York Times and the LA Times reviewed the movie, and they did. It also had to play four times a day – a tough rule to meet due to the film's eight-hour duration. Schell told us that ESPN brokered an agreement with the Academy to show it twice a day, with three brief intermissions during each showing in order to stay eligible.
By the way, "O.J.: Made in America" wasn't the first time ESPN Films has tried to give one of its docs a chance for an Oscar. In 2010, it had an Oscar-qualifying run for “The Two Escobars,” but it didn’t get nominated.
Kevin Winter/Getty ImagesThe docuseries follows the rise and fall of O.J. Simpson while also delving into the bubbling, decades-long issues between African-Americans and the Los Angeles Police Department, which flared during Simpson's murder case.
For Edelman, the documentary's combined movie and TV audiences have clear advantages beyond winning prestigious awards. The extra exposure offers a chance to spread a message of justice to the largest potential viewing audience.
"I wouldn't be standing here tonight if not for two people who aren't here with us: Ron Goldman, Nicole Brown," Edelman said on Sunday of the victims of the 1994 crime for which Simpson was tried. "This is for them and their families. It is also for others, the victims of police violence, police brutality, racially motivated violence, and criminal injustice. This is their story, as well as Ron and Nicole's. I'm honored to accept this award on all of their behalf."
Jason Guerrasio contributed to this article.
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February 26, 2017 at 02:39PM
How the Oscar-winning O.J. Simpson documentary got never-before-seen evidence from the case
Sundance Film Festival
It was two years ago when filmmaker Ezra Edelman got the offer from ESPN Films’ senior vice president and executive producer Connor Schell:
“I want you to do a five-part movie on O.J. Simpson,” he was told.
The network has found success with its the award-winning “30 for 30” documentary series, which looks at particular sports moments and figures. But for Simpson's story, Schell wanted a deep-dive that put the life, career, and celebrity of the man under a microscope.
“I said, ‘I don’t want to do this,’” Edelman told Business Insider. “Because I lived through this and what could I say about this that someone else hasn’t said.”
Then a few days later Edelman was in L.A. and told some friends about the offer. They scolded him for not saying yes immediately. “They said to me, ‘Are you crazy?’” Edelman recalled. “Out there it’s different in terms of the story and what it means to people.”
Frederick M. Brown/GettyEdelman eventually agreed to do it. Titled “O.J.: Made In America,” the close to eight hour movie (which ESPN broke into a five-part miniseries) doesn’t just recount the main points of Simpson’s career and infamous fall from grace, but also dissects Los Angeles’ relationship with law enforcement, specifically in African-American communities, which the movie points out could have played a factor into why Simpson was found not guilty in the “Trial of the Century.”
Looking back on making the film, which won the best documentary Oscar on Sunday night, Edelman told Business Insider he couldn't pinpoint one moment that was the hardest to pull off. “Everything about this was exponentially harder” than anything he’d done before.
But one particularly hard part was was getting anyone to talk for the film.
Edelman knew he wasn’t going to get O.J. to talk (who is currently serving a 33-year sentence in Nevada), and attempts to get Simpson’s first wife, Marguerite L. Whitley, or his loyal friend Al Cowlings (who was the driver of the white Bronco during the infamous chase from police in 1994) on camera never materialized. But the interviews the film have are incredibly insightful and in some cases brought revelations to the surface that the general public never knew about Simpson or the murder trial.
A major reveal is that Simpson’s father was gay. Edelman said he uncovered this from the research he did, but it was one of Simpson’s childhood friends in the film, Calvin Tennyson, who willingly brought it up.
“Calvin was my first interview for the movie, it was back in October of 2014,” said Edelman. “I was going to bring up his dad. I didn’t know that he knew [he was gay], it wasn’t something O.J. talked about. But he brought it up and told a story about [O.J.’s] father very organically.”
Then there was getting some of the jurors from the Simpson murder trial on-camera. Again, insight that's never been made public. The movie features two, but it took months of conversations — even one of the film’s producers gardening with one of them whenever she’d visit L.A. — to gain their trust.
APBut Edelman wanted to show that even though there were eight black women on the jury, it was far from a slam-drunk win for Simpson and his “Dream Team” of lawyers.
“So much of this story is about what we reduce it to. ‘Oh, there were eight black women jurors.’ What was striking about them is the way they look at the evidence, and the people, they think completely differently, that’s important to see,” Edelman said.
A revealing comment one of the jurors gives about the case is that she voted not guilty during the trial because the police officers who beat Rodney King didn’t go to jail.
“It’s interesting to have someone give voice to something they had on their minds during the case,” said Edelman. "But did I ever think she was going to answer that way? No."
APHowever, out of all the surprises Edelman got while the making of the movie, nothing was more shocking than what district attorney William Hodgman presented him with. Hodgman was on the prosecution during the Simpson trial and, while being interviewed by Edelman, he presented crime scene photos of the murders of Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.
"Again, we had to convince him to sit down and talk, and when he realized that we were serious and not sensationalists, he came and gave this presentation about how he believes the murders happened and went through the photos," said Edelman. "They had never been shown to the public, and I asked him if he would trust us enough to let us show them."
The photos are extremely graphic, showing the enormous cuts that Simpson and Goldman sustained during the attack. There were loud gasps when the audience at the film's first-ever showing at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival saw them presented on screen.
APWhat Edelman quickly realized is that Simpson still fascinates audiences, especially the murder trial that happened 21 years ago (in a weird coincidence, FX is airing the much anticipated "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" next week). When asked if he believes Simpson committed the murders, Edelman said his opinion doesn't matter.
"I knew I had to satisfy that part of the narrative, but I want you to evaluate what you think of the evidence and make your own decision," he said. "I don't want to take away from the larger point of the movie, which is about more than whether this guy's guilty of murder."
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February 26, 2017 at 02:33PM
Viola Davis delivers a powerful and historic Oscars acceptance speech
Viola Davis won the best supporting actress Oscar for her role in "Fences" on Sunday night, her first win after being nominated two previous times, and she didn't downplay her win as she went onstage and gave a moving acceptance speech.
"We are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life," she said of the importance of being an actor.
"So here's to August Wilson, who exhumed and exalted the ordinary people," she added, referring to the playwright of the stage play on which her movie is based.
The win makes Davis the first black woman to win at least one competitive acting award at the Oscars, Emmys, and Tonys. She won an Emmy in 2015 for lead actress in a drama series for "How to Get Away With Murder," and in 2001 she won a Tony for "King Hedley II" (she won another in 2010 for the Broadway version of "Fences").
Watch Davis' Oscar-winning speech below:
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February 26, 2017 at 02:26PM
The winner of the best foreign film Oscar boycotted the awards because of Trump's immigration ban
In one of the most dramatic moments of the 2017 Oscars, the director of the best foreign language film, Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, had Iranian-American engineer Anousheh Ansari accept the award on his behalf and read a prepared statement that protested President Donald Trump.
Farhadi boycotted the awards show in response to Trump's immigration ban, barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, as well as refugees from coming to the United States.
“I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight,” Farhadi's statement read. “My absence is out of respect for the the people of my country and those of the other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S.
“Dividing the world into the us and our enemies categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war," Ansari said onstage, as she continued to read Farhadi's statement.
Farhadi's statement closed with him giving praise to his fellow filmmakers who "break stereotypes."
“They create empathy between us and others,” he said in the statement. “An empathy that we need today more than ever.”
Watch Ansari read the entire statement below:
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February 26, 2017 at 02:06PM
Jimmy Kimmel brutally mocks Trump in Oscars opening
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Jimmy Kimmel certainly pulled inspiration from President Donald Trump for some biting commentary about the leader during his Oscars monologue on Sunday.
"This broadcast is being watched live by millions of Americans and around the world in more than 225 countries that now hate us," Kimmel began, referencing Trump's strained relationships with certain countries, for example Sweden. "And I think that is an amazing thing."
But the host quickly found a balance with the opening joke by making a plea to Americans for unity.
"As you know, I don't have to tell anybody, the country is divided right now. People have been telling me, 'It's time to bring people together. You have to say something to unite us.' Let's just get something straight off the top: I can't do that. There's only one Braveheart in this room, and he's not going to unite us either," Kimmel said, referring to Mel Gibson, who appeared awkward in a reaction shot.
That didn't mean that Kimmel was done with Trump, though. He soon referenced the opinion of many of the president's detractors that his policies, including his embattled travel ban affecting those from seven predominantly Muslim countries and refugees.
"I want to say thank you to Mr. Trump," Kimmel said. "Remember last year when the Oscars were considered racist? That's done. Thanks to him."
Kimmel also had to recognize the ongoing war of words between Trump and celebrated actress Meryl Streep. Trump called Streep "overrated" after her impassioned speech criticizing him at the Golden Globes.
"We are here tonight to honor great actors, but we're also here to honor the actors who seem great, but actually really aren't," Kimmel joked of Streep, who's nominated for her 20th Oscar this year. "Of all the 'great' actors here in Hollywood, one in particular has stood the test of time for her many uninspiring and overrated performances... Meryl Streep has phoned it in for more than 50 films over the course of her lackluster career."
Even Trump's daughter wasn't safe from Kimmel's hits. He also poked fun at her ailing apparel business, which was recently dropped by Nordstrom and other retailers.
"Nice dress, by the way," Kimmel told Streep. "Is that an Ivanka?"
While expressing how special the Oscars are, Kimmel took a final jab at Trump during his monologue by making fun of the president's love of tweeting, especially in the early-morning hours.
"We're at the Oscars, the Academy awards," Kimmel said. "You're nominated, you got to come, your families are nominated, your friends. Some of you will be able to come up here on the stage tonight and give a speech that the president of the United States will tweet about in all caps during his 5 a.m. bowel movement tomorrow."
Watch Kimmel's opening monologue below:
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February 26, 2017 at 01:18PM
You Can Embrace Failure but Don't Expect a Hug From the Business World When You Do
F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, not to me of course, that there are no second acts in life. Tom Hanks, playing Jimmy Duggan in A League Of Their Own said, “there’s not crying in baseball.” Joe Martin, the creator of the comic strips Willie and Ethel and Mr. Boffo, tells the tale of him as a young man receiving a check for a million dollars. He claims that he tore it up and went up to the top of a mountain to contemplate the mistakes of mankind…one man in particular. What each was trying to convey is that there are no “do overs” in life. One can’t change the formula of Coke, have ruinous consequences and simply ask for a mulligan. To be sure, the corporate world is long on memory and short on forgiveness.
This got me thinking about what successful entrepreneurs would they could do over. If given the opportunity to do something differently to what seminal moment in their lives would they point; what would be the one thing they would change? I asked four questions:
My research for this piece was both positively enlightening and disappointing. I selfishly saw it as an opportunity to promote some highly successful entrepreneurs from my hometown, Detroit. The first lesson I learned is that Detroit entrepreneurs tend to be smug, condescending and completely uninterested in communicating with me or Entrepreneur. I sent my questions via email, not expecting that they would want to meet with me or have a conversation with me even via phone, but I did think the self important bags of puss would have the courtesy that God gave geese and at least send me an email answering the four questions. I received a series of curt and condescending responses letting me know what they thought of my request; I half expected them to send me coupons. Another disappointment was the owner of a internet marketing company who ironically didn't seem able to answer the questions put to him with any sort of coherency.
After broadening my search I hit pay dirt. I found three really interesting people who, more important than being interesting, were willing not only to talk to me, but were genuinely interested in helping fledging entrepreneurs to learn from there mistakes. The three: Gary Alexander, a self-self described “a serial entrepreneur” who joked that he had “made a more than (his) fair share (of mistakes)” and may struggle to choose just one (Gary has built numerous companies from nothing into multi-million dollar concerns that he sells and starts over); Devin Alexander, a celebrity chef, Media Personality, Healthy Comfort Food Chef, Weight Loss Expert, and New York Times Bestselling Author who is perhaps best know as the Chef of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser”; and Dr. Paul Marciano, a leading authority on employee engagement and retention, and best selling author of two books: Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work and SuperTeams: Using the Principles of RESPECT™ to Unleash Explosive Business Performance.
While I am disappointed that my hometown newsmakers snubbed me (as I write this I am mentally flipping them the proverbial bird), had they not, I would not have met three of the most dynamic and charismatic individuals in the world of entrepreneurship, so without any more yammering by me, is what they had to say:
Throughout your career, what mistake or bad decision did you make that you wish you could do differently?
Gary Alexander: “One thing I learned that every mistake or a set back can lead you to greater opportunity as long as you learn from it and stay persistent. Word of caution, don’t confuse persistency with stubbornness. I have seen so many good people and companies go down, just because they refused to learn from their mistakes and kept repeating them. Mistakes offer us a wealth of knowledge and great opportunity to learn. On personal note the mistakes that stand out for me the most:
Rapid expansion /New Product – As entrepreneurs sometimes we are too quick to get excited about new ideas and are eager to jump in head first. About 15 years ago I have decided to help my former wife to grow her small medical billing service. I just sold another company that done well and was enjoying the high of success. I felt that I can take the lessons I have learned and apply to any business, I felt I was invincible. My vision was to take her two-person medical billing service and turn it into a full-service physician medical management group for doctors. We hired a few expensive experts, expanded our staff and started door knocking… the sales cycles were very long and we met with a lot of resistance being new kids on the block. Twelve months into the venture, we were bleeding a lot of cash with not much promise on the horizon. I was faced with a tough reality of cutting my losses and getting out of the game.
The only thing that kept me in was my landlord who insisted that I would have to write a $300,000 check if I cancel the office lease early. I decided to give it another few months and started going on every sales call with our team. What struck me the most is almost every client had the same request… it went kind of like this "we are not ready to turn over the management to you but we really need help to hire/train some staff.” As a good gesture we were actually giving them referrals for free… the light bulb went on, “we are giving the service that they want for free?”
Within six months we had turned the entire business structure on its head. We fired most of our management clients (a really tough thing to do when you are losing money) and evolved as a highly specialized medical staffing service, specializing in staffing medium-size medical facilities with emphasis on a business office. Three years later the company had 17 offices across the country with a healthy revenue stream and tremendous growth path. I successfully sold that company and went on making other mistakes.“
Devin Alexander: “A couple of times early in my career, I didn’t hire the right attorneys. The first time, I was offered a pilot on Food Network and grabbed a quick referral from someone in the business and the attorney offered. The attorney was a super hot head and seriously annoyed the network executives. We never reached an agreement…and it wasn’t until later that I realized how obnoxious and overreaching my attorney was. I was super new in the business and didn’t have a giant income at the time and just didn’t know that something like that could happen. I also had one other experience where I had an attorney friend do a contract for a restaurant partnership. When the restaurant filed bankruptcy having not paid me (and before even rolling out my work), I was left realizing that my contract did not protect me.”
Dr. Paul Marciano: "Like becoming a parent, I don’t think we get a lot of advice -- or at least advice that we actually listen to -- regarding starting our own business. Both decisions are high risk and I strongly suggest not bringing both to life simultaneously. Along my 25+ year journey as an entrepreneur, I’ve had more “learning experiences” than I’d like to admit. Of course, what matters most is that I’m still hanging my own shingle, and I love what I do.
Among the many traits required to be successful, believing in oneself and persistence rank high. As I reflect on my career, these two factors have limited my professional growth and ability to grow my business. Failing to fully believe in myself has, at times, resulted in my listening to and being unduly influenced by others. As an entrepreneur, you should always seek advice and, in the end, always go with your gut. Believing in oneself is certainly correlated with persistence. Persistence requires truly being OK with being told “No” and coming back for more. You’ve gotta have the fortitude to hear – “I don’t want what you’re selling” – and not let it diminish you in any way. I’m not good at hearing “No” and probably move away from potential opportunities to easily. When you’re told “No,” figure out if you can make a smaller “ask” that gets you a “Yes.” When someone says, “That’s not possible,” shift the conversation into, “Then let’s talk about what is possible."
What did you learn from that mistake/decision that made you more successful?
Gary Alexander: “Since I don’t have a formal business degree, I pretty much depend on lessons from the past. Using this particular example, I would say few things. First the obvious, take your time to learn your market and your clients. But more important, every problem presents an opportunity…entrepreneurship is nothing more than a way to solve problems: yours or others. No problems, no business.
Devin Alexander: “I’ve had two instances since that time that companies tried to take advantage of me. Fortunately, I had hired top attorneys who made it impossible for them to get away with anything, on contracts valued way greater than the Koo Koo Roo one, so I’m glad I learned my lesson when it wasn’t critical.”
Paul Marciano: "A few months ago I had the birthday -- second perhaps only to 21 -- namely, 50. As I imagine most people do, I took an inventory of my life -- where I was, how I got there, where I might be interested in going. I consider decisions with greater thought and purpose. I’ve gotten more clear that saying 'yes' to one thing by default means you’re saying 'no' to something else. I’ve given up the word 'should,' e.g., 'I should re-build my website,' 'I should do more with social media', 'I should write another book,' etc. The only thing I’ve gotten from 'should' is a feeling of guilt. I realized that what I really should be doing was enjoying my life more. As I thought about my first 50 years, I realized that I had put considerably more effort into my work than my life. As an entrepreneur one could literally work 24/7-- and there are times to do that -- but not all the time. Don’t let life pass you by and don’t let work serve as the excuse for not spending more time with friends and family. You’ve got to create boundaries or work will eat you up."
Do you ever wish you had kept (or had) a 9-5 job?
Gary Alexander: "Are you kidding? I don’t’ even think I can get a 9-5 job even if I wanted one."
Devin Alexander: "NO!!"
Dr. Paul Marciano: "Do I ever regret having worked for myself instead of a 9-5? Not for a minute (OK – maybe a minute here and there). However, it is not for everyone -- especially if your life requires predictability with things like money. One tip, if you decide to work for yourself, create a social network of other entrepreneurs. It doesn’t matter if they own the local dry cleaning store, antique shop, restaurant, or printing company -- it gets lonely and the best people to support you are those that understand what it takes to stand on your own every day. "
Phil La Duke
Phil LaDuke is is a Safety Transformation Architect at Environmental Resources Management. An author, he writes about business, worker safety and organizational change topics on his blog. An avid user of social media for business...Read more
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February 26, 2017 at 01:18PM