- What is the #1 most costly mistake you have made, or seen many investors/business owners make that could be avoided?
Everyone seems to buy into this “follow your passion” thing and I find that, in many cases, entrepreneurs stick with ideas just because they are passionate about it and also because they can't come to terms that some ideas are simply not that great. Sometimes, they start out to be good ones but the environment changes and they are not so good in the current climate. Egos get in the way and folks spend so much valuable time hanging on instead of just accepting it's time to move on. They don’t have enough time for what might be better opportunities. I self-assess all my projects almost nightly and am pretty honest with myself. I have learned that time is my most valuable asset and I have to closely monitor how I use it.
- What is the most valuable strategy, worth far more than $1 million, that you wish someone provided you with early on that you can share here?
Figuring out from the very outset if a new idea for business is something you can protect from the sharks (the big guys). What happens when they find out what you are doing?(and they will). Can they beat you to the punch by allocating more money and resources? If you can’t protect it, it will be overtaken, so don’t waste your time. In my case, I always ask “what happens when Rupert Murdoch finds out about this? Can he blow me out? I use Rupert as a symbol of big media companies and their ability to simply throw lots of money and people and any new idea they think they can develop before you do.
- What was the major turning point, point of increased momentum, or strategic choke point, that once you acquired or completed, made everything you were doing surge forward?
When Alan Mruvka and I started E! Entertainment TV we were just two individuals with a great idea, big dreams, and fighting nature. We went out and got the movie studios to support us with content, then went to the cable operators and showed them how our new network would actually increase the enjoyment their subscribers had with their cable service. We signed deals with all and THEN announced. So, when the big media folks learned about it and tried to figure out how to compete with us, the key assets were already off the table. They had no choice but to join us.
- What operating businesses of yours are you most excited about driving forward? What 1-2 contribution projects or non-profits are you most focused on?
I’m working with a few friends from the LBGQI community to launch a new communications and content platform called BTYKWN.com (pronounced beauty queen). I'm trying to help them establish their voice in media.
On the for-profit side, we are launching a series of Immersive events in China such as van Gogh, Klimt, Mozart, Nutcracker etc. These are very popular in the US now and we have very high hopes for them in Asia. We are working with Lighthouse Entertainment from Toronto, who developed these shows and have been very successful with them in the US and Canada.
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