Posted by: georgeskaff | March 2, 2010

First Interview! – Jed Carlson of ReverbNation

Hey guys,

We had our first official meeting today with Co-Founder of Reverb Nation, Jed Carlson. For those of you who are not familiar with the company, they are the leading online music marketing platform for Bands and Musicians with almost 600,000 clients registered, to date. To find out more check out  http://www.reverbnation.com/main/about.

Meeting with Jed:

Jed and I sat down for lunch at Parker and Otis in Durham, NC. If you haven’t been there, you must go, great eats! Anyways, as I conversed more and more with Jed it was easy to see the reason that Reverb Nation has been and remains to be so successful and that reason is the sheer passion that he, and the rest of their leadership, have.

They have an Artist First Philosophy which entails “If it doesn’t first help the Artist, we won’t do it.”We must dedicate our resources to the customers needs.” He went on to say that they take the responsibility of acting on behalf of all independent Artists as a real responsibility. “If we don’t see their success as our responsibility, we will fail as a company and we will violate our reasons for existing.”

The conversation then turned to what type of things should one should think about when brainstorming ideas and thinking starting a tech –based business. Jed suggested that people shouldn’t ignore “old line” businesses, in any form, and putting a tech shell on it. He also stressed the fact that a very simple business model in today’s blog-heavy world is just “becoming important.” By making a name for yourself and being easily recognizable “you can do just about anything!” This brings us back to the beauty of today’s social media, ANYONE can become important! So why not start today?

As for Reverb Nation’s outlook, 2010 is going to be a huge year. They intend to focus on bringing their bands a plethora of amazing opportunities for them to be successful. Jed went on to say, with an excited smile, “As for 2011, there are tons of new exciting things in the making, but we will keep all of that under wraps for now”

I want to end this by thanking Jed for spending the time with me, and with a quote about customer service that really stuck out to me in our conversation. No matter what business you are in, this should be something you live by.

“ Whatever it is you do, no matter what business you may be in, you HAVE to be a ridiculously over the top, perhaps even embarrassingly so, advocate of your customer.” – Jed Carlson

A little about Jed:

Jed has been an entrepreneur at heart his whole life, being influenced by his father, who was a great business man himself. He always knew he wanted to work for himself and when we asked him when he took his “pants off”, he told us “I took my pants off at birth.

Upon graduating College he bought a failing commercial printing business with hopes to turn it around. He borrowed a lot of money. He explained the debt-financing situation as “running from a train with fear of getting caught.” After selling this printing business, Jed went back to school at Duke University to get his MBA (he got his undergrad in economics from Bowdoin College), though knowing he was never going to settle for the 9-5. Jed got the most out of the Duke MBA program because he was able to apply most of the things he learned there to his past experiences. While working toward his MBA, Jed concocted the vision for ReverbNation, although he attributes its ultimate vision to collaborating with his co-founders.

@pantsoffEntrepr

Posted by: georgeskaff | March 1, 2010

What would you do if…

You were you told to give a presentation in front of 150 people, with 20 slide  power-point presentation that changed every 15 seconds… and it’s of a presentation you’ve never seen. (actually someone else made the presentation)

This was the task I was charged with last month at Ignite Cincinnati. Ignite is an amazing event that gathers creatives, entrepreneurs, and other cool people under the tagline, “Enlighten Us, but Make it Quick”.

The speech below happened a full month before the Pants Off Blog was born. If you watch through the chaos of the random power point slides the mission and heart behind Pants Off begins to reveal itself.

Check out the next Ignite Cincinnati at the Know Theatre Wednesday, March 3rd. Spread the word, and check out when Ignite is happening at a City near you!

@pantsoffentrepr

Posted by: georgeskaff | February 26, 2010

We Have Lift Off!

It’s Friday February 26. For those of you who have been following our journey, you should know what this means.

After 6 months of work and 17 Thank You cards later, it’s time to say goodbye.

To be honest I couldn’t have asked for a better company to start my career at. The people I met and things I learned were priceless.

One of my favorite quotes is, never apologize for walking away from a relationship that is holding you back from being the best version of yourself.

Unfortunately the structure of the corporate environment I was in, didn’t allow me to be the best version of myself.

I wasn’t doing particularly well at my job, and I lost all the confidence I once had in myself. It took me a while to get out of the slump.

Instead of turning to Prozac or a therapist I found an amazing group of Entrepreneurs in the Cincinnati area who run a group called Continuous Web. After one night of networking with like-minded entrepreneurs I was bursting with energy and inspiration. I could barely sleep that night, and I woke up the next morning still buzzing from the interaction.

It turns out I wasn’t a failure in life! I was being forced to play a game that I wasn’t built to play. (picture Yao Ming trying to become a world-class horse jockey) I don’t want everyone to quite their job.

However, I do encourage anyone who wants more out of their work and life to begin taking steps to go in that direction. Whichever direction that energy may lead you.

“Easier said then done” you say. I agree. 

Here’s to the first step.

@bcroke @PantsOffEntrepre

Today when I was getting my hairs did I struck up a conversation with the lady with the scissors about life in general. Well as we got to talking we got on the subject of work and what I do for a living ect.

I am still very hesitant in responding to strangers and telling them my path:

1. Moved to North Carolina for work

2. Quit my job 6 months later

3. Starting a Venture called “Pants Off Entrepreneurs”

Well I proceeded to tell her anyways, we spoke about following dreams and people not being satisfied with their jobs in general. She gave me several instances of her friends with “great” jobs with “great” companies that absolutely hate these “great” jobs and want out, but they can’t. They feel trapped in what I like to call “Mind Shackles.”  THESE ARE ALL IN YOUR MIND, YOU CAN BREAK FREE.

Now her, on the other hand, explained a little bit about her past. She had went to a great university, she earned a degree in marketing, followed the norm and went out and got a job with a marketing firm, her “dream job.” Well she found out sooner than later that this wasn’t really so much her dream as it was hammered into her head as the “American Dream.”

1. Get a degree

2. Get a 9-5 in something pertaining to your degree

3. Work your way up the ladder

4. Retire when you are 65

But she didn’t do so. She had always had a passion for hair and beauty but it wasn’t acceptable to have a marketing degree and decide to cut hair for a living, but she took off her pants and did it..And has never regretted it since. She gives a damn good haircut too!

Moral to the story: Follow your passions. No matter what they may be.

And I know what you are thinking…how good of a cut does the lady give right?

THAT GOOD!🙂

@GeorgeSkaff

@PantsOffEntrepr

Posted by: georgeskaff | February 23, 2010

T-Minus Four

Four days left at work, and I’ll admit I’m a bit scared.

No more steady paycheck or health care, no more easy to follow job description. I hear being scared is a good thing, and as my Dad has advised, “you have to do it with fear”.

I wonder if other entrepreneurs have gone through these same feelings. Is being scared a good thing? Is it natural? I needed some inspiration last night so I grabbed  Seth Godin’s Tribes Read More…

Posted by: georgeskaff | February 22, 2010

Why is “Quit” a Bad Word?

It’s funny. When I tell people I am “quitting my job”, I get a series of mixed reactions. People that know me well and understand what I am about congratulate me. However most people don’t quite get it.

The "Office"

Look Familiar?

They see quitting as a bad thing and say something like “Oh I’m sorry you don’t like your job” or “What are you going to do now?” There is a certain social awkwardness Read More…

Posted by: georgeskaff | February 21, 2010

The Bottle Cap Understands Me!

While I was working on some of the logistics of this journey I was enjoying a beverage in the comfort of my home and This is what I came across… Really?

Don't be a Cog in the Cultural Fog

Take that for what it is worth. Read More…

Posted by: georgeskaff | February 18, 2010

Its Time. Take Your Pants Off

The idea behind this Blog began a few months ago when I got an interesting text  from my longtime friend Brandon Croke. It was fifteen minutes after I had gotten home from a long day at work and Brandon sent me a text that read; “There is no better feeling than getting home from work and taking off your pants”.

I think I read into this text a little bit more than he would have ever expected. 
He and I have always been idea people. We talk about  business plans and new product ideas enough to make Warren Buffet blush. We’ve also been working entry level corporate jobs for six months, and have been loosing our hope and creativity each day.

As most of America waits for our economy to recover there is a group of individuals with the weight of the country on their shoulders. America’s path to greatness was led by entrepreneurs. Brave men and women who dreamed and innovated some of the world’s greatest companies. Apple, Google, Facebook, these are just a  few world changing companies that have risen to star status in the past few decades. In order to remain competitive in the  global economy we must continue to produce some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs.

This is why we are starting on this journey. Pants Off Entrepreneurs is going to be a three month documented travel blog where two best friends drive the country interviewing big and small entrepreneurs throughout the country who went through with their ideas.

Our goal is to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs with battle stories of America’s business frontiersmen. It’s not going to be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. We are leaving our jobs, and following our dreams.

We hope you enjoy the journey.

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