Dave Meltzer is currently the CEO of Sports 1 Marketing, but before he became an entrepreneur he had the equivalent of nine professional lives. Growing up, Meltzer dreamed of becoming a football player, sports agent, doctor, and a lawyer, and finally, an entrepreneur. Over the course of his staggering career, he has been at the helm of Windows, the business behind the world’s first smartphone, the CEO of Leigh Steinberg’s company, (aka the man who is the inspiration behind a little movie called Jerry Maguire), and once infamously lost $100 million dollars – and made it all back.
As a serial entrepreneur, David Meltzer knows a thing or two about riding the wave of success and failure. Here are the three most important lessons David has learned along the way:
Be careful about who you take advice from.
After graduating from law school, Meltzer had two opportunities presented to him. The first – follow through on his plans to become an oil and gas litigator. Or, he could seize a new opportunity offered to him – sell litigation information through the Internet. Confused about his options, he went to his mother for advice. Her words? “You need to become a real lawyer, because this Internet thing is a fad.”
Dave ignored his mother and went on to make his first million through the Internet, back in 1992. His takeaway from that experience? Be wary about who you ask for counsel. “Usually we go to the people we love the most for advice, but ask them something they know nothing about and they’ll give you really bad advice – and then we end up resenting the people we love most.”
Find a mentor who’s been in your shoes or on the path you want to follow, and follow their advice or actions.
Innovation vs. entrepreneurship
Meltzer defines innovation as turning great ideas from the imagination into reality. But the crucial part of being an entrepreneur? Monetizing the innovation.
“For some reason when it comes to giving we have no problem. But when it comes to monetizing, we have this philanthropic type of attitude towards entrepreneurship: we’re doing it for the greater good, we have a passion project, we’re in love with our product…but the truth is, your product does no good for everyone if you can’t monetize it.”
If you want to become an entrepreneur, and not just someone with great ideas, monetization must be part of the plan for your product or service. Otherwise, all you’ve got is pie in the sky and a product or service that has no chance of changing the world or people’s lives for the better.
Monetization begins with content
David has four kids and was recently reminded of the show, The Mickey Mouse Club by his youngest. On a whim, he looked up the show on YouTube, and was amazed to find the show had 420 million views. His takeaway from that? “That’s what great content does.”
Meltzer believes there are three steps to becoming a successful innovator, entrepreneur, or someone who turns a great idea into a money-making reality:
- First, you create the content. Meltzer defines content as your idea. By having an idea, you imagine the possibilities of what this idea could do out in the world.
- Then, you find your Inspiration. Once you have an idea, the way to turn it into reality is to feel the inspiration (defined as being mentally stimulated to do something) about making this vision a real possibility, product, or service.
- Finally, you take action. Nothing happens without hard work. Feel the fuel of your inspiration and then use that exciting feeling to take the necessary hard steps to turning an innovative idea into a monetized future.
Watch highlights from Dave's talk at the 2017 Propelify Innovation Festival:
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