Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Great Return

     Last year I disappeared from this blog, and all other social media, because I opened a business called Gallery Tattoos. It was a combination fine art gallery and custom tattoo parlor. I was working fourteen hours per day seven days per week, and it was wonderful.
     I had the opportunity to try out many of my ideas on structural dynamics by operating a stabilized location. However, as much as I enjoyed it, there are still many things that I want to accomplish.
     So, I closed the shop. And, now I’m back in school working on my PhD in Business Administration. Getting a Doctoral degree is an astounding amount of work. But, it is still a lot less time consuming than running a small business. This means I once again have time to exist on-line.
     I just redesigned my website, and I have been making the rest of my sites more interesting. However, most of my on-line presence is very professional in it’s design.
     This blog is one point where I really have free reign to babble endlessly about anything that crosses my mind. And, that is what I intend to use it for. There will be regular updates about life, art, school, tattoos, business, motorcycles, and all of my many hobbies.
     While the rest of my internet presence is fairly conservative, this blog will be my place for going on tangents about all of the personal aspects of my life that aren’t generally appropriate for a professional profile. So, follow this site. This is where I am going to actually write like a normal human being.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Internal Affair

            Throughout this blog I have maintained a close focus on the entertainment industry and the technology related to the advancement of the industry. Additionally, I have included a number of posts that were directly related to the course work that I have been doing while completing my Masters degree. However, these are all impersonal matters generated from external sources.
            Being a leader, and a success in business, requires the ability to focus internally. You must be an independent thinker with the capacity for originality. With that in mind I would like to take this opportunity to write about my personal beliefs in regards to how a business should be run. Since these views are an intrinsic part of how I build and run my business ventures I feel that this is an appropriate forum to express my thoughts.
            The three most important aspects of my business philosophy are Employee Relations, Diversification, and the Value of Minimal Returns. These three concepts work in tandem with one another, and are at the core of my business model. They are also elements that I have seen either neglected or abandoned by other businesses.
            First is Employee Relations. This is what most companies refer to as Human Resources, which is a moniker that I take issue with. Names have power. This is a known fact, and is the reason why publicity firms are hired to determine the best names for movies, books, and companies. Yet, the name Human Resources is still used despite the fact that it sounds like individual people are nothing more than fuel for a machine that can be used up and disposed of. For that reason, I insist on using the term Employee Relations. The people who work for me have special skills, and they were hired for the unique abilities that set them apart.
            In terms of Employee Relations, it is my belief that a company should do everything in its’ power to improve the lives of those who work for the good of the corporation. If you expect employees to respect their jobs and the company that they work for you must actively show them that the company has the same respect for both them and the positions that they hold. Employees will not respect a company that does not respect them. This is why I make a point of actively pursuing positive reinforcement. People need to feel appreciated.
            Additionally, I believe in maintaining the largest number of employees that my company can support. That may sound horribly unorthodox during a time period when every other business is talking about “trimming the fat”. But, my view is that every employee is a customer. And, they bring with them all of their friends and family. Each person on the payroll is a representative of twenty other people. And, each of those people represents the type of “word of mouth” advertising that every company so desperately wants. 
            Also, when it comes to that "word of mouth" advertising there is one key factor that no publicity firm on the planet can achieve. They can get strangers to say nice things about your company, but they cannot get someone to stand up in a crowded bar and yell, “Hey! My aunt works there!” when a stranger is saying something negative about your business. 
             People only develop an emotional connection with a business that proves it cares about the people whom it represents. And, people only fight for the things that they have an emotional connection with. If your people don't think that you care about them, then they will never fight for you.
             Supporting that belief is the second element of my philosophy, Diversification. Right now every other business is eliminating all of their sideline endeavors in an attempt to “focus on their core business”. That roughly translates as, “we’re putting all of our effort into the one thing that makes the most money”. Or, as I call it, “putting all of their eggs in one basket”.
            The problem with minimalizing a company’s diversified output is the same as reducing advertising. The less you do, the less you are known. In addition to that, many potential side businesses are actually methods for reducing overhead for the primary business venture.
            As an example, I am currently producing a television sitcom that takes place in a tattoo shop. If I followed the industry standard practice of renting a soundstage and building a temporary set the pilot alone would cost 3.1 million dollars. Instead, I opened a functional tattoo shop and I shoot the show there on the days when the tattoo shop is closed. This has eliminated 2.9 million dollars from my budget. And, savings on expenditures translates into revenue.
            Businesses like this are called self-liquefying assets. They may not generate any substantial profits, but they pay for themselves. And, in this particular case, the side business is saving the primary business millions of dollars. The major corporations seem to be oblivious to this concept.  They spend money, and then consider the money to be gone. It is an extravagant waste that the current economy cannot support.
            The key to successful diversification is ensuring that you have multiuse establishments. Success can be advanced and enhanced by starting multiple businesses that compliment one another. Once you set up your first business you just need to take a look around and figure out what you are spending the most money on. Then, start another business that does whatever it is that you have been spending the most money on.
            Through that process you eliminate your greatest expenses, and you can reach out to your competition in order to make money off of them. Your main competitor may be making 30% more than you are on their primary business, but once you factor in that they are buying their supplies from your subsidiary you are making more money than them. And, the more small businesses that your primary corporation owns, the more this process is accentuated.
            This then leads to the third aspect of my greater business concept, the Value of Minimal Returns. Most businesses would sneer at an investment with a minimal profit margin. I happen to firmly believe that any profit is a positive. If a business only has a return of one thousand per year, my response is that I need to open one thousand more businesses so that I can make a return of one million per year. It is my deeply held belief that no profit is too small. Because, if you have enough small profits they will add up to create a large profit. It just takes a bit more work.
            And, that is the problem with other companies. They don’t want to do the work. They want instant gratification and large returns with minimal effort. But, the world does not work that way. If you want solid returns you must be willing to work for it. The reason corporate leaders have the highest salary isn’t because they had the best connections to get them the job. It’s because they have to work harder than everyone else in order to ensure that all of the employees under them are still in a position to feed their children.
            One of the most disgusting things that I have ever see was when Tony Hayward, the CEO of BP during the gulf spill, went on the news and said that he could identify with the victims who lost their jobs and homes because he wanted everything to go back to the way it used to be. For him that meant playing polo and doing nothing. He had no sympathy for the people his company hurt. He just didn’t want to have to do his actual job. That is why so many companies are failing. They just don’t want to have to work for a living. They want the money to show up without having to put in the hours that it takes in order to earn a sizable profit.
            The Value of Minimal Returns is based solidly upon this. No amount of work is too great if you are at the top and there are people depending on you to keep their jobs. No amount of profit is too small if the business is still turning any amount of profit. Layoffs should only happen after the CEO is working for free and every other option has been exhausted. It is about leaders taking personal responsibility. It is about placing value upon the lives and families of those who put their trust in you to lead them. It is about the fact that both of the previous elements that I mentioned are reinforced by this concept.
            This may seem like an idealist tangent by a youth who knows little of life. It is not. I am a man who is old enough to have his doctors complaining about the condition of my knees and my eating habits. I have been on every end of the business structure over the last few decades. My beliefs are based entirely on the experiences that I have had, the problems I have seen at companies where I worked that have since gone under, and my own personal knowledge of what both customers and low-level employees need in order to believe in a business.
            With the businesses that I now own, and the ones that I am in the process of starting, I have proven that my philosophy has a tangible merit. I entered into the business community with hardly any start-up capital, and in a relatively brief time I am already on the road to obtaining major returns. Regardless of what disagreements anyone might have with my beliefs in how a business should be run, I am actively proving that my system works. And, every time another mega-corp collapses under the weight of its’ own incompetence it only makes me look better. That just makes me more determined to prove that a positive, proactive, hard-working approach to business is the only way that we can ever save the American economy. I know that I am right. And, at this very moment, I am proving it.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Vision of the Future

            A new type of contact lens is being developed that has LEDs incorporated into them in order to provide a live display of information for the person wearing them. This can be seen at,news-13298.html for an explanation of the concept.
            According to the researchers that are quoted at, they are predominantly intending these devices to be used in the medical field for quick access to patient information under extreme conditions.
            However, this technology has the potential for wide spread use within the creative fields. An exhibit at the MOMA that can be seen at utilizes a technology called Augmented Reality. This technology makes it possible to use smart devices to see renderings of physical objects in places where they do not actually exist. The same technology is utilized in other methods seen at where augmented reality is used to give tours, post advertising, and display art in public spaces.
            By combing the digital contacts with augmented reality it would be possible for people to function in a completely virtual environment while operating in reality. This would be particularly interactive if combined with nonphysical motion tracking keyboards.
            The full extent of this would be an empty room that people can enter and sit down at a table. To an outside observer the person would be sitting in an empty room. But, to the person wearing the contacts the room could be decorated in any way they desire. It could be a tropical rainforest, a prohibition era speak-easy, or anything else the imagination could create. A room full of people staring at a blank wall could be watching a live performance of their favorite singer.
            With this technology entertainers could literally perform in multiple locations around the world at the exact same time.
            But, all things come with a price. And in the modern age that price is usually an abundance of advertising. An example can be seen at
            While the technology presents amazing opportunities for both science and the arts, it also presents the opportunity for commercials to be broadcast directly onto your eyeball. Everywhere you look you see advertisements scrawling by in your peripheral vision.
            But, as with any technology we must take the good with the bad. And, the possibilities for the creative advancement that will be possible a definitely worth the minor inconveniences that will pay for the technology to become a reality.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Learning Process

            As I approach the end of graduate school I find myself in the position of reevaluating a great deal of the work that I have done since I first began pursuing a Masters’ Degree in Entertainment Business. Many of my initial assumptions have been left behind in favor of new approaches that I had never even considered before learning more about the business end of the industry.
            For example, after studying the strategies of Daymond John and Robert Herjavec I have come to understand that finding investors is not a matter of simply cranking out a standardized business plan that can be sent out to as many people as possible while I sit in my office with my fingers crossed.
            Investors want to see something tangible. They want physical evidence that the person in charge of a project is personally invested in the production, and willing to put forth the effort to make it a reality. Both Daymond John and Robert Herjavec emphasized that a business plan is only a rough blueprint of what is intended, and that the actions of the project leader are far more important in terms of achieving actual results.
            Taking this information into account I have adjusted my initial strategy accordingly. I have reduced my focus on developing a business plan, simplified the over all design of the business plan, and redoubled my efforts on the tangible aspects of the production company.
            Instead of spending time researching what other production companies have done, I am rewriting the scripts to provide better material for the target audience. Instead of assembling biographies of work history on the people that I would like to hire, I have gone out and recruited the people that I need to get the job done. Instead of writing a lengthy review and budget analysis on soundstage rentals and construction costs, I have opened a business that pays for itself and can be used as a zero cost location for the show.
            This means that I won’t be approaching investors and saying, “I need $3 Million and here is a stack of pie charts explaining what I am going to spend the money on.”  Instead I will be saying, “I have already secured everything that $2.5 Million of the budget would have paid for. If you invest the rest of the money needed you can be the person who gets to come along for the ride and make a lot of money with me.”
            What I have learned, what I have adopted into my personal business strategy, and what I have made the focus of my business plan is to demonstrate that so much of the project has already been accomplished that when investors look at the production they can see that my company will be moving forward with or without them. It is an exciting message to deliver in a weak economy. And, it will draw far more attention than a simple standard approach, because actions speak louder than words.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Daymond John and Robert Herjavec

             Daymond John is a marketing expert who created the fashion brand FUBU. FUBU is a brand targeting urban designs that were previously neglected by other marketing endeavors, and proved to be highly profitable for Mister John. His key to success was in designing a unique and recognizable logo that he was able to place on a wide range of products in order to establish his brand and develop a large following that has lead to $350 million in sales.
            Robert Herjavec is a professional entrepreneur who has amassed a sizable personal fortune through repeatedly founding and selling a variety of companies. As a first generation Canadian immigrant from Yugoslavia he began his business career waiting tables while starting his first technology company out of his basement. With the mass publication of his book “Driven” that stayed on the best sellers list for eight months he is now considered one of the most prominent business experts in the world.
            Daymond John and Robert Herjavec both found places on a syndicated television series called “Shark Tank” where it was their position to judge the business plans, designs, and concepts of hopeful applicants who have submitted their entrepreneurial ideas in the effort towards obtaining funding for their various business endeavors.
            According to Forbes the most important things to remember in designing a business plan are to keep it simple, clear, and professional. According to Business Insider the most important considerations in a business plan are a concise summary, legible material, and avoiding any method of harassing potential investors before the business plan is delivered.
            However, Daymond John has indicated that maintaining personal involvement in a business and finding employees who can cover for any of the owners’ weak points takes greater precedence than establishing a business plan. And, Robert Herjavec has given the advice that,” people spend way too much time on a business plan”. It is Mister Herjavec’s esteemed opinion that a business plan is little more than a theory of slim use as it is impossible to determine the exact data applicable to a given business until that business has been established for a considerable amount of time.

Daymond John

Robert Herjavec

Shark Tank


Business Insider

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Evolutionary Media

            The growth of digital technology has generated a large number of opinions on the long-term viability of the technological precursors to modern media. In considering the value of the opinions, or the potential for long term viability within the use of digital media, it is important to develop an analysis of previous technology in terms of media as well as what can be conceived of as a media-form to begin with.
            The interesting aspect of this consideration is that media itself is similar to a meme in that it is truly an intangible. Media is simply the transfer or conveyance of information from one source to another. The real discussion is over the potential of various mediums, and how those mediums are utilized to support the existence of media.
            In the current discourse the transfer of media has been changed from print to digital. The medium involved in the first form would be paper. Over the centuries paper has undergone a variety of changes in order to be adapted for various uses and to make use of improved technologies for its manufacture.
            There were numerous mediums used prior to paper including carved wood, engraved stone, systems of braid work, and various uses of beads. However, the true precursor would be vellum. Vellum is a finely processed form of calfskin.
            With vellum being the most technologically advanced form of processed leather it can be seen that the earlier form of medium used for the conveyance of information would have been untreated leather. This base form of the medium can then be viewed simply as information emblazoned upon skin.
            The earliest form of the same methodology would have been the use of tattoos to convey tribal affiliation, social rank, religious alignment, or other forms of pertinent information. The use of tattoos as a medium to convey information is so ancient that it has been found upon some of the oldest human remains.
            To understand the potential for long-term viability in current and new mediums of media distribution we must look at the lifecycle of the earlier mediums. The most specifically relevant factor in this lifecycle would be intent.
            Each medium begins its life with minor distribution that is focused on communicating information of specific information that is deemed to be highly important. The second stage for each medium is the expansion of distribution. The interesting fact in each case is that as distribution expands the social importance of the information being communicated decreases.
            The final stage in the existence of each medium occurs after the media has transferred to a new methodology of distribution. This stage is art.
            Just as tattooing and vellum have transferred to this final state where they are in the singular hands of artists, so we now see paper following the same path. Art stores sell hand-made paper. There are schools that teach the techniques of hand binding books. Even museums maintain displays of items wrought from paper.
            With this understanding we can see that artists are a key component to maintaining the heritage of technology and the memory of our species. This also provides a glimpse into the future.
            While we cannot yet predict what the next medium of media distribution will be, we can see that the social relevance of information being distributed in digital format has lapsed in importance in conjunction with a small select group of enthusiasts continuing to work with outmoded components of the technology.
            Just as all previous mediums have become designated as forms of artistic merit, we can now look forward to seeing the existing digital medium becoming elevated to the same level of creative expression when new forms and mediums come into play. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Digital Pyre

            Reporters Without Boarders is an amazing independent organization based out of France that works to maintain international freedom of the press and supports the pursuit of independent non-regulated media throughout the world.
            As a component of this noble effort they release an annual report that details the level of censorship enforced by the governments of every nation, country, and regime. Additionally, this report includes a list of countries that are described as “enemies of the internet”.
            “Enemies of the internet” include countries that block sites, threaten those who attempt to utilize mass media, and actively restrict digital communications such as has been done in:
    North Korea
    Saudi Arabia
There is also a second list described as “under surveillance”. This list is technically more benign than the “enemies of the internet”, however it can be construed as representing a far greater level of ominous intent.
            The reason this second list is insidiously upsetting is due to the major nations that have been included, and the reasons for their inclusion. Representing primary nations that should be considered safe havens for free speech are France (the geographical home of Reporters Without Boarders) and Australia. The addition of Australia resulted from the wide spread use of a content filtering system that was intended to prevent the spread of child pornography. However, its’ development and function are too nonspecific to be considered as strictly existing for the enforcement of the single well intentioned concept that was used to justify its’ creation.
            The existence of this material then leads to the attempts to pass Internet restricting legislation within the United States. The latest effort to push this material consisted of a law called SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act).
            This law faced a drastic public outcry due to its’ capacity to allow the government to indiscriminately delete any online content without any form of trial or justification. Ostensibly the law was intended to prevent the spread of Internet based copyright violation. However, it had the same level of nonspecific flexibility as the system that got Australia placed on the “under surveillance” list.
            This means that had the law passed the United States would be placed on the list as well. The United States has long been considered to be the ultimate supporting nation of free speech. The nation takes great pride in this fact. And yet, the U.S. nearly joined the list of nations that hold little regard for such an important principle.
            Fortunately, the citizens of the U.S. were able to use their right to free speech in order to prevent the law from being passed. And, with the aid of organizations such as Reporters Without Boarders the citizens of every nation shall one day be able to enjoy the same capacities.

Cooper, Charlie (2012). Meet the ‘Enemies of the Internet’ 2012. Retrieved April 1, 2012 from

    <iframe src=";portrait=0" width="400" height="300" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe>