Entrepreneur - Damon Dash.

I read countless profiles of entrepreneurs I admired and they all inspired me in different ways. I will be profiling several of my favorites in my blog to introduce to my readers and to keep myself inpired and motivated. The first is Damon Dash.

Damon Dash. He started Roc a fella Records back in 1995 with partner Jay-Z and their empire now incorporates

  • A sports management company
  • A film and Publishing company
  • A non-profit community program called Team Roc
  • A urban fashion company Roc-a-wear
  • A Vodka distribution bussiness
  • A jewelry line that distributes the Tiret watches
  • A cigar line
  • A sports and boxing promotion company
  • And he has acquired the licensing to sneaker line Pro Keds.

As of late 2004 and early 2005, he and partner Jay-Z have split and gone on to successful business ventures of their own. Here is a great article on more of this great businessman.



Andy G. Rodie


Do you really need money? Maybe not.

As an entrepreneur working on launching two businessess , you're face with many issues daily, and undoubtedly, one of the pressing issues is money. It begs the question, do you really need money to begin. Of course, many of us have differenct advantages starting out, but as I continue to read, learn and dig for information, it is obviously becoming clear to me, that you really don't need money. You may already have what you need.

Here is poem from Walter Goodridge, a self-made entrepreneur, that reflects this sentiment.
More about Walt later .

You Don't Need Money

Perhaps this is the strangest concept most will ever hear I offer it to you today so henceforth you'll be clear For most suspend their actions thinking money's what they need And put their dreams on hold and wait for cash so they'll succeed
But think ye friend on this for lease on life by truth is gained: This universe is perfect, ordered well and self-contained And even in societies based on a quest for gold the principles of life remain and thus, my friend, still hold
For nothing can exist without the means for its arrival and life has been endowed with what it needs for its survival Like birds have wings and eyes and instincts all that serve them well You too have skills and talents once recognized that you can sell
The artisan and healer, farmer, too and natural scholar all managed to survive before the advent of the dollar For money's just one means we've all agreed for an exchange and what we trade's our value from which most are now estranged
By printed piece of paper people's power's been purloined and yet no fish or fowl needs cash, or credit, check or coin You don't need cash (it's true), despite how critical it seems the value in your passion is the currency of your dreams!

I received life Rhymes from Walt every friday.
His site is worth checking out. (www.waltgoodridge.com)
Thanks for your inspiration Walt.


Andy G. Rodie.


"A day that changed my life"

It was Saturday October 18, 2003, a record cold day, I attended an Entrepreneurial Seminar at the Brookdale Center at Hunter College in New York City. This seminar was hosted by Munson Steed, the Publisher of rolling out Urban Style Weekly and this event came to by attention by the local radio station that ran the ad.

The seminar was very informative and I was particularly impressed by the speech from Munson Steed, who talked about motivation, wealth building, networking, and entrepreneurship etc. His views and his work to help the community also left an impression on me. As a result, I have since followed his work and became a regular reader of his editorials and this particular one I would like to share with my readers.

Dual Reflections

Sometimes, it’s difficult to see ourselves as we truly are. Some of us live our entire lives without a clear perception of whether our public face is a sanitized version of who we actually are or a fair representation. We choose a public face to wear, and then promptly forget that it’s a fa├žade. So, not only is it easy to get caught up in our own propaganda, it’s inevitable.
It’s bad enough when we lie to others, but it’s an unmitigated tragedy to deceive your own self. The only way to build integrity is to honor your word. Do what you say you will do. Be where you say you will be. Arrive at the time you say you will. When our words and actions don’t jibe, a schism develops between our public and self-image and our credibility goes south. Over time, the chasm that results from our duality can lead to physical and psychological illness. Constantly struggling to put forth a good face—all while one’s foundation is crumbling—is more than a strain; it’s psychotic.
There comes a time when we must begin to be the person we purport ourselves to be. Individuals have to make the determination to be who they claim themselves to be, not who they want to be or who they’re striving to become. Our fellow human beings are not mind readers, the only thing they know about us is what we tell them or what our actions show them. The world can only gauge who you are superficially. Others can’t see past your outer trappings to your inner soul. In order to lead healthier lives, it behooves us to communicate openly and honestly and to live as authentically true to ourselves as possible.
There is no magic formula or genie in a jar that we can tap into to help us project an accurate image of the self who lives inside of us. But, life is a lot easier to deal with when you discard the smoke, mirrors and subterfuge and embrace your wholly real, inimitable self. Your brain can relax and perform all sorts of unbelievable functions, when it doesn’t have to keep track of your latest persona’s quirks. Don’t lose who you are while you’re out there trying to impress the world.
Munson Steed, Publisher

A quality publication, Thanks Munson, for your inspiration.


Andy G. Rodie


Talk about following your dreams

Here is a great blog I discovered today.
Damaris B. Sarria ultimate goal to become an astronaut and blogging her journey for the world to see. Great blog with great pictures. Good luck to you Damaris.



Andy G. Rodie

A dose of inspiration.

Being the information junkie that I am, I peruse several publications monthly for inspiration, motivation and just plain information. In the June issue of the Stanford Report, I found a little of each. Steve Jobs Commencement address to the 2005 Graduates. I would do my readers a
disservice by summarizing the article, so instead, here it is in its entirety.

'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.
I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.
The first story is about connecting the dots.
I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?
It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.
And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.
It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:
Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.
None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.
Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
My second story is about love and loss.
I was lucky ? I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.
I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.
My third story is about death.
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything ? all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.
This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
Thank you all very much.


Andy G. Rodie


A conversation with God ( very inspiring )


I found this link on one of my favorite blogs. Something like this you just have to share with the world.

Let me know what you think.



Andy G. Rodie


The one skill you want to master ( Part 2)

I hope the you read the previous post regarding the skill you must master, and also get visited Keith Ferrzzi's website at www.nevereatalone.com. Here are the summaries for two chapters.

Chapter three: Turning connection into Compatriots.

  • The only way to get anyone to do anything is to recognize their importance and thereby make them feel important. That's everyone's desire.
  • In your initial conversation with someone, find out what motivates them and follow up from there.
  • 80 % of building and maintianing relationships is just staying in touch.
  • You can be more successful in two months by becoming really interested in other people's success than you can in two years trying to get people interested in your success - Dale Carnegie.
  • Learn to become indispensible by start thinking about how to make other people successful, e.g when someone mentions a problem, try to think of solutions.

Chapter four: Trading up and giving back.

  • Be interesting.....people tend to hire people they like and they think can make them and their companies successful.
  • There is no better way to learn something and become an expert at it than to have to teach it.
  • Identify the people in your industy who are successful and try to connect with them.
  • Develop a niche. Preferrably an area that is underserved and/or unattended.
  • Consider writing articles for your publications.
  • There is no substitute for personal initiative

Hope you enjoy the summary. I will be several posts referencing this skill set and I hope I have nudge you in the direction of learing more about it.


Andy G. Rodie


I though I had enough PC skills.

I came across this article on a friend's blog about the 30 must have PC skills and I found out I did not quite measure up. I thought I should share it to see where you rank yourself.


Andy G. Rodie


To be or not to be common / extraordinary.

I am a firm believer in daily motivations.
Here is one of my regular read. A very inspirational one for any aspiring entrepreneur including myself.

I do not choose to be a common man,
It is my right to be uncommon ... if I can,
I seek opportunity ... not security.
I do not wish to be a kept citizen.
Humbled and dulled by having the
State look after me.
I want to take the calculated risk;
To dream and to build.
To fail and to succeed.
I refuse to barter incentive for a dole;
I prefer the challenges of life
To the guaranteed existence;
The thrill of fulfillment
To the stale calm of Utopia.
I will not trade freedom for beneficence
Nor my dignity for a handout
I will never cower before any master
Nor bend to any threat.
It is my heritage to stand erect.
Proud and unafraid;
To think and act for myself,
To enjoy the benefit of my creations
And to face the world boldly and say:
This, with God's help, I have done
All this is what it means
To be an Entrepreneur.
(Excerpt from Common Sense, written in 1776 by Thomas Paine)


Andy G. Rodie


Networking - got to share this tip I recieved in the mail today

The buy one share tactic and it is a classic. This is from an individual who finds a unique to way to meet his inspirational contacts. Here is his strategy. He started buying single shares in companies not for investment purposes, but to gain access to some his inspirational contacts, people he wanted to engage in mutually beneficial relationships.

Once a year, these public companies holds an annual shareholder's meeting, and even with one share, you gain access to the main event, gaining access to some of the most influential people in the world. Of course no one knows how many shares you own and won't even ask and you get treated with respect.

One point to keep in mind, most of the big companies will draw a crowd, but the smaller companies, only a handful of shareholders do bother to show up.

He used this tactic to meet two high level executives, who were previously on his list of inspirational contacts.

As you might be thinking about the types of people you need to surround yourself with to achieve your goals (whether it is to change jobs, attract investors for your startup, or simply to be your mentor), this might be another tactic to use.

Kudos to the guy for sharing this brilliant idea.

Andy G. Rodie


This is one skill you want to master.

After reading "Never eat alone" by Keith Ferrazzi, I was absolutely convinced how important building relationships in life are to your success. I think the quality of the your network is also inevitable. Here are some key points from the book your your success. They will more key points in subsequent posts. Stay tuned.

Chapter one: The mind-set.

  • When you help others, they often help you, success in any field is about working with people.
  • Instead of thinking "How I can you help me?" think "How can I help you"
  • Start finding future clients before you have anything to sell them, get to know them as friends, not potential customers.
  • There is genius, even kindness, in being bold, people with low tolerance for risk, whose behavior is guided by fear, have a low propensity for success, besides the worst any one can say is no.
  • Being liked can be the most potent, constructive force for getting business done.

Chapter Two: The skill Set

  • Before you meet someone, find a point of common ground that is deeper and richer than what can be discovered in a serendipitous encounter.
  • Try to make the gatekeepers your allies, never get on they bad side. Always respect the gatekeeper's power and treat them with dignity they deserve, and when you do, doors will open to even the most powerful decision makers. Also, don't forget to thank the gatekeepers later with a simple phone call or personal note.
  • Alway show gratitude.
  • Try to connect with super-connectors, people like Entrepreneurs, Fundraisers, politicians, Public Relations Specialists, journalists, you get the point. These people can improve your network dramatically.
  • The best icebreaker is often a few words from the heart.

I hope you begin to see the benefits here, stay tuned for subsequent posts.


Andy G. Rodie


Courage and why it is important. Part 1

This will be the first of many posts about courage to come.

A very interesting word that comes from the latin root cor, which means "heart"
So to live courageously is to live with heart.
I will try to shed some light on courage because it is one of those qualities I would like to develop more of and to share with you my findings.There are a lot of things you can't do if you're not courageous. You cannot be truthful, loving, trusting and even live a full life. It appears as courage first and everything else follows.

Courage is basically risking the the known for the unknown, the familiar for the unfamiliar, the comfort for the uncomfortable. Fearlessness is the ultimate experience of courage. The person who goes into the the unknown in spite of all the fears. I once heard a quote by a young entrepreneur who made this quote "everything we want in life is on the other side of fear". Now think about that for a second. It is one those statements you hear and you know instantly it is true.

What would our life be if we could act with a little more courage. Think about that for a second.
You would go after that job you really wanted, start that business you've been thinking about starting, forgive that person you've been meaning to forgive and whatever you have been meaning to do but are afraid. Ponder this until next time

Andy G. Rodie


Dance like no one is watching

As I was cruising the net this morning and I came across a document about happiness by an unknown source.
It certainly left an impression on me because it reminded me about one of my bad habits. Not enjoying the moments enough. I would like to share the last paragraph which I think captures the essence of the document.

"So stop waiting until you finish school, until you go back to school, until you lose ten pounds, until you gain ten pounds, until you have kids, until your kids leave the house, until you start work, until you retire, until you get married, until you get divorced, until friday night, until Sunday morning, until you get a new car, until your car or home is paid off, until spring, summer, fall or winter, until you die, until you are born again to decide that there is no better time than right now to be happy....."

Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when all these things get done.
The truth is, there's no better time to be happy than right now. If not now, when?
Our life will always be filled with challenges.

Work like you don't need money
Love like you've never been hurt
And dance like no one's watching

Andy G. Rodie