Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy New Year!

The end of a year is always great for two things: reflecting on the past year and preparing for the next. While doing both of these things I still have to remind myself to live in the moment, to realize how far we've come and to know that there is still much to be done. If I had to pick a word to sum up 2014, "inspired" is the word I would choose. We have learned so much from so many and have reached milestones that would have never been possible had it not been for our supporters. 

We'd like to thank everyone for sharing their feedback, comments, talent and for taking the time to leave us reviews to help us improve along the way. We truly believe that SPR is the future of digital distribution and have some pretty big announcements coming up in 2015 so stick with us! We wish you all a safe, prosperous and very happy New Year.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Happy Holidays Everyone

Happy Holidays from SmartPhoneRecords
We don't want to take up too much of your time this week, but we do want to thank each and every one of you for making it possible for us to exist. We wouldn't be doing any of this without your support. May peace be with you and your family this Holiday season.

Monday, December 15, 2014

SPR @ Pitchswag

My father use to always say to me "being early is being on time and being on time is being late." Til  this very day I live by that philosophy. Although the new year is still weeks away, most of my recent business conversations in past month have been about plans for SPR in 2015.

We recently received news that we are a semi-finalist for Pitchswag, a London-based global social network comprised of many entrepreneurs, investors, and skilled professionals looking to both brainstorm and fundraise. It goes without saying that we are both honored and excited to be considered for Pitchswag and hopefully find ourselves returning to London in the next few months. We'll keep you posted!

Monday, December 8, 2014

GMIC Wrap-up

The GMIC turned out to be a great event. Even though the weather and traffic didn't want to cooperate, hundreds of people  still showed up to see the latest that technology had to offer . Meeting different people enables me to see things from a new point of view.

People from all backgrounds can relate to music. Either they listen to it, create it or knows someone who does. Attending these conferences in the past few months have really inspired some great ideas. We have a lot of great features that we are excited about implementing in the future and look forward to hearing your feedback most of all.  Stay tuned! Big thank you to the many people who stopped by and to the GMIC.

Monday, December 1, 2014

SPR @ GMIC (Day 1)

SmartPhoneRecords at the GMICToday was the first day of the GMIC, the Global Mobile Internet Convention, held in San Francisco. When we arrived this morning at the Hilton there were a lot of people scrambling about trying to get situated.  

From the looks of it the turnout was going to be huge, some of the ballrooms even had headphones to translate the languages of different speakers.
SmartPhoneRecords App at the GMIC G-Start Up
We made sure everything was in order with our booth before the exhibit tomorrow from 10am-6pm. If you're in the San Francisco area make sure you stop by the GMIC. We'll have some cool giveaways and free SPR credits.  Lastly, thanks to the GMIC for allowing us to be a part of such an exciting event.

Monday, November 24, 2014


SmartPhoneRecords at GMIC 2014We're back home in the US and on to our next stop, the Global Mobile Internet Conference, better known as the GMIC. The GMIC hosts mobile executives, entrepreneurs, developers, and investors from around the globe and across platforms to build partnerships, to learn from industry thought leaders, to better understand mobile technology trends, and to shed light on how mobile is positively changing the world.  SPR will be part of the G-Startup Competition which is the global platform for innovative mobile internet startup and the leading launch pad connecting them to the international investor community to grow and succeed globally. Out of hundreds of submissions SPR made it in to the top 20.

We could really use your help!  To help SPR advance to the next round Click Here and stop by the SF Hilton Union Square Dec 1-3 if you're in the area.  We'd love to meet you! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

SPR @ Apps World Europe (Part 2)

Being that this was our first overseas convention, we didn't know what to expect when we arrived at the massive ExCel Center in London.   It was also the largest convention that we've participated in since launching last year.  Although SPR is a Bay Area-based startup, it was great to experience different cultures and get first hand feedback from so many different backgrounds. We met people from all over the world and their reception to the purpose of SPR's existence was nothing short of a mere confirmation  that we are headed in the right direction. The idea that artists should be able to be more hands-on over their own work was a constant topic of many conversations. This is exactly what we hope to truly provide our users, and dozens of convention attendees helped strengthen our belief that we have been successful in doing so thus far.

With that said, besides networking,  meetings and bringing awareness to SPR, we also had a chance to see what other tech companies and startups had to offer. So much of today's innovation inspires us to keep pushing the envelope and reminds us that we still have work to do if we want to make SPR the number one mobile app for digital distribution.

On another note, we did not win the Appster Award we were nominated for but would like to congratulate AppDirect on their win. It was definitely an honor just to be nominated among some of the industry's most elite companies.

AppsWorld was more than we could have ever hoped for and could not have been hosted by a better place. London is incredible, fun and downright awesome and we can't wait to go back. We'd like to thank AppsWorld Europe for having us and look forward to attending AppsWorld Berlin in April 2015.

We'd also like to give the utmost gratitude to all of you for your support, feedback and sticking with us on this journey. On to our next destination,  Helsinki Finland. If you happen to be in the area, stop by and see us at SLUSH Nov 18th and 19th. To make an appointment please click here, we'd love to meet you.

Until next time...

Monday, November 10, 2014

SPR @ The Appsters Awards

We made it! After 10 hrs of flying and navigating through the "Heathrow Express" we finally made it to London for AppsWorld Europe. In addition to being thrilled just to be here, more than anything we are excited about being nominated for an Appster Award. The Appster Awards are held annually during the AppsWorld convention.  Being a finalist is an honor in itself as only everyone who is "anyone" in the world of smartphone apps will be in attendance. The winners are decided by a judging panel of independent experts across a wide spectrum of categories. SmartPhoneRecords is nominated for "Best Use of the Cloud" for 2014.
As people become more familiar with SPR they also become exposed to  the various musical talent within the app, the artists from around the world who make it possible for us to exist. Win or lose, it is a humbling experience just to be recognized for this award, especially while only in our first year of existence. In my heart, we've already won.

As always, thank you for your support. We look forward to seeing you at AppsWorld.

Monday, November 3, 2014

SPR @ AppsWorld Europe

Great news! We're happy to announce that SPR has been invited to exhibit at AppsWorld Europe at ExCel London Nov 12-13. AppsWorld is the leading global multi-platform event in the app industry. 

SmartPhoneRecords at Apps World Europe
Visit the SmartPhoneRecords Booth @ Apps World Europe Nov 12-13

It's set to be the biggest of its kind to date with over 300 exhibitors and 12,000+ attendees across the app ecosystem. We'd like to welcome anyone in the London area to stop by and say hello.  To request a business meeting please click here.  We'd love to meet you!

Monday, October 27, 2014

SPR Affiliates

Getting the word out about a product is always a challenge for any business, but a startup budget for advertising can often be minimal at best.  By far, one of the best advertising methods for us has to been from our affiliates, a program we implemented to help give ownership of SPR to our users. We currently have over 250 affiliates from around the world from Australia to London to Africa. Click here for more info. It's free to join!
SPR Affiliate Program

Thanks for checking it out, and a special thank you to those who are already an affiliate member. We appreciate you!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Shoutout to Music

Music has the ability to bring people together more than anything else on the planet. Money can create jealousy, religion can divide us and even politics keep us separated. When it comes to music, even though there are many types, it has a way of inspiring us all. It has the ability to make us feel things that nothing else can. 
It's hard to believe there used to be a time when  recorded music was unheard of. You actually would have had to be in the same place with the musicians in order to just listen to music. Being able to hear music at our disposal is something we all take for granted. But thanks to technology advancement, we no longer have be near to hear. The connection we feel through music is what gives it the power to bring us together.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Who's Your Biggest Competitor? (Vol 2, Chap. 10)

Whenever I'm in a business meeting I am almost always confronted with the question, "Who's your biggest competitor?"  To be completely honest, I never really gave it much thought when I initially began building SPR. Actually, I wasn't trying to compete with anyone. I just wanted to solve a problem that would allow me more freedom to release my music, and to do so on my terms.

It never offends me when someone compares SPR to Soundcloud, iTunes or Pandora, etc. because the truth of the matter is, these are very successful multimillion dollar companies we are being compared to. So I understand the logic that one of the easiest ways to sell something is to compare it to another, but to me, I will always believe that the the art of creating is more productive than the act of comparing.

Monday, October 6, 2014

SPR @ Techmanity Part 2

If you've been following us, you know that we attended the 

Founder Damion Hollomon & Co-Founder Reyna Carrasco
very 1st Techmanity event this past week at the San Jose Convention Center.  It was many things, but above all, it was an honor to be able to experience all that it had to offer.

We didn't really know what to expect, as it was a first for us, but the turnout was fantastic.  We met so many great people and had the opportunity to interact with many great entrepreneurs.

One of my favorite things about this event were the questions people asked, because I found their input and feedback to be extremely valuable.  It was inspiring to see so many different ideas and innovations that people are coming up these days, and even more inspiring to see how supportive all of the other startups were to one another. Speaking of "support," even when we realized we didn't have our laptop cable connector, there were two ladies kind enough to lend us theirs so that our first day didn't end up a complete disaster. Thank you Doreen and Arielle of Stacklighting! And we can't forget about our motivated neighbor and new friend Tam at StudentHero. He came through with some much needed snacks to keep us going throughout the day.

In addition to these awesome visionaries, we had the pleasure of meeting great journalists like Adizah Eghan of KQED and Scott Budman of NBC news. Scott was kind enough to do a segment on us while at Techmanity, and I've provided a link of the story below so you can check it out.
We must also take a moment to thank Techmanity for the opportunity, and to IDG World Expo and Fast Company for providing a platform for start-ups such as ours.

Overall, being able to share our vision for SmartPhoneRecords at an event like this was an exciting experience, but having the chance to showcase the many talented artists and diverse music on our app is something that we're most proud of. So, thank you for being with us!

Stay tuned, we're just getting started...

Monday, September 29, 2014

SmartPhoneRecords @Techmanity

We're excited to tell you about the upcoming event that we'll be attending this week!  SPR has been invited take part in Techmanity, a Silicon Valley Tech Conference held at the San Jose Convention Center. Coincidently, it happens to fall on October 1st, one year to the very day of my father's passing, which I find both ironic and amazing in itself. It also happens to be our first major conference since launching in 2013. 

So what is Techmanity? Techmanity is about the up and coming technology that improves human creativity, productivity and the quality of life. SPR will be a part of the Startlandia Exhibit, which will be showcasing "the most dangerous and disruptive new start-ups."
So if you're in the San Jose area, feel free stop by and say hello to me and my co-founder. We'd love to meet you! We'll also be giving away SPR T-Shirts and SPR Credits as well. And as always, thank you for being a part of our SPR family. None of this would be happening without you.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Cross-platform...Why Not?

I had to consider many things from both an artist and a consumer point-of-view when it came to creating SmartPhoneRecords. I thought about all of the things that frustrated me as a musician, as well as someone who enjoys listening to music. I felt that even though SPR would be like David fighting against two Goliaths (i.e.,competing with giants like iTunes and Google Play) it was actually SPR who had the advantage. And that advantage was our ability to allow musicians a platform to distribute music without having to rely on a third party. In other words, convenience and independence. Additionally, we decided early on to design it with cross-platform capabilities. The fact that we were not exclusive to any one device meant that we could instantly reach more people simply by being accessible to more than one demographic. 

This is significant because what it essentially does is provide users the ability to sell their music to both iPhone and Android users, something neither Google Play or iTunes is structured to do. We still have yet to release a Windows or Blackberry version, but nevertheless, I find comfort in knowing that we are well on our way revolutionizing the digital distribution process.

Thank you for sharing your time.

Monday, September 15, 2014

WTF You Mean, "Show Me Something Like It?!?"

Building the first prototype for SPR was rough. I had done much on my own, but I knew the day would come  when I would need assistance to proceed any further, so I began searching for developers.  I skimmed the internet and made contact with several app companies, all to discover one very intriguing commonality. Each one was reluctant to take chances. Time and time again I was asked "Is there anything like your app in the store already?", "Which app is it most functionally similar to?" Or, my personal favorite, "Can you show me something like it?", to which I would benevolently reply, "No I can't, because it's the first of its kind." What bothered me the most about this question was the lack of vision by the very people who were suppose to be visionaries.

Moreover, you wouldn't believe how many times I was told that the idea just simply wouldn't work. And each time I would think, "It doesn't matter what you think, if I'm paying you to make it, just make it!!" But it was only later that I realized, after finally finding the perfect team, that it actually did matter. Working beside people that shared my vision and were willing to go the distance to see it through was the key to turning my dream into a reality.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Inspiration: Huffington Post (Vol. 2 Ch.5)

After my initial thought about how I would create SPR, I began doing a lot of research on the history and future of technology in relation to the record industry. While surfing the web I stumbled across a Huffington Post article titled "You're Out: 20 Things That Became Obsolete This Decade." Lo and behold, smack dab in the middle of the list was number 10, the compact disk. The first thought that came to mind was wondering how artists were going to send their music to distributors once CDs, in fact, became obsolete. This only helped reaffirm my belief that artists needed a new approach to getting their music out to the masses.

 Huffington Post
Ultimately, the CD will become obsolete, but the smartphone, however, will last for generations to come. And while there are many factors that helped keep my vision for SPR alive, this article somehow seemed to reassure me that I was headed in the right direction. See you next week.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Wouldn't it be cool if...Continued (Vol. 2, Ch. 4)

A couple of weeks ago I shared my first "wouldn't that be cool if" moment that sparked the idea of creating SmartPhoneRecords.  Having the ability to sell music straight from a smartphone was just what us music artists needed, but where would I begin and what would I call it? Since the idea was to create a platform exclusively for smartphone use, and since I had an iPhone, I originally named the app iPhoneRecords

But what I wanted was something more universal, and the truth was, not everyone had the ever-so-popular Apple product. The last thing I wanted to do was limit the amount of people that could possibly benefit from using it, which is why, my friends, we call it SmartPhoneRecords.

Thanks for reading. See you next week.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Thanks to Jason, the Real MVP (Vol. 2, Ch. 3)

The SmartPhoneRecords (SPR) that you see now is not the SPR I originally had in mind and I owe it all to a guy named Jason Fried. When I first began working on SPR I included a ton of unnecessary features. I was under the impression that in order for an app to thrive in a competitive market, it had to have the most sophisticated algorithms, graphics and technology.  However, it wasn't until I read "Getting Real" by Jason Fried that I realized I had been approaching it all wrong. Instead, I learned the importance of knowing how to take a large project and break it down into smaller pieces, thus making it easier to manage. I was also introduced to the idea of "M.V.P.," an acronym for "minimal valuable product." Basically, build the product modestly, with only what's initially needed to get it functioning properly, and forgo the rest.


Just by adopting these two concepts alone, I was able to eliminate over $65,000 in developer fees and release SPR in six months rather than the two years I had originally forecasted.

Not only has this advice been beneficial to me from a business standpoint, but in my personal life as well. Eliminating the clutter, keeping things simple and breaking down projects into manageable pieces has made my life much more enjoyable, and also managed to save me a little money in the process. Thank you, Jason Fried.

What about your M.V.P.? It's never too late to simplify...
Thanks for reading. See you in seven.

Monday, August 18, 2014

It All Started With "Wouldn't it be cool if..." (Vol. 2 Ch. 2)

When I left New York and moved back to California in 2011 to help take care of my father, he and I would spend a lot of time together in our backyard. He liked to dwell in an old red shed, which was referred to as "Big Beau's Crib." The trailer connected to it was used for storage and believe me, my parents stored a lot of shit in there. One day while looking for something, it hit me. It was the perfect size for a studio. It was small, easy to manage, and had all the accommodations to make it happen. All it needed was to be cleaned up. So after getting my parents blessing, I got to work.
Where it all began...
I cleaned out the trailer and set up shop. I didn't have much to start with. Believe it or not, all I had was my laptop, a software system (Protools), and my iPhone. I downloaded both the "Music Studio" and "BeatMaker 2" app. With these I would create beats from my smartphone, transfer them to Protools, and record my vocals via my laptop.

After months of recording and adding the finishing touches I was finally prepared to release my first track on iTunes. And then during what seemed to be a never-ending night of burning CDs for distribution, I had a sudden revelation. Wouldn't it be cool if...I could sell my music straight from my smartphone.

Thanks for reading. See you next week.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Welcome Back! (Volume 2, Chapter 1)

Here it is ladies and gents, another year for the SPR Blog. This time around, we've attached the word "inspiration" to our theme in addition to "Music and Motivation" because I believe that inspiration is key to every creation. I'll be sharing with you some of the stories that inspired the creation of SmartPhoneRecords, as well as some of the people that made it possible for us to exist. Additionally, I'll share some of the resources we use that help make our company run more efficiently, in hopes that you, too, will find them just as helpful not only for using our app, but for pursuing your passion for making music.

We will also be showcasing artists within SPR community that have compelling stories to share as well. This year will definitely include much more interaction with our readers and customers and we can't wait to get started. So with that being said, I'm going to get back to work.

One important message--we are still working on some updates, so if you run into any problems while using the app, please feel free to send us an email at

Thanks again for being with us on this journey. We appreciate you.

See you next week!

Monday, August 4, 2014

52 Pick Up

It seems like it was only yesterday when I made the decision to write a blog. The past year has flown by and it's hard to believe that I'm writing blog number fifty-two already. Throughout this time I've experienced some of the best and the absolute worst moments of my life. The best was getting SmartPhoneRecords off the ground while the worst was losing my father shortly thereafter. Yet even through my darkest days, writing this blog helped keep me focused, because I felt that if even just one person could benefit from reading them, that in itself would be enough for me to press on. So, in essence, I have you to thank, for keeping me going, for holding me accountable, for retweeting, forwarding and "favoriting," for your comments and responses, and most of all, for simply taking the time.

Starting next Monday the blog will be different. I'm not sure exactly what it will look like. I still have six days to figure it out, but whatever it turns out to be, I look forward to sharing it with you.

See you next week.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Well Rounded

It's great to be an expert at something, or a trade or career that we know like the back of our hand. However, we can't go wrong when we involve ourselves with things that are entirely different from our expertise. I used "entirely different" for two reasons: One, you can view a trade or hobby from a non-competitive point of view. And two, you never know what will trigger  inspiration to help catapult you to a new level of success. 
Take Henry Ford as an example. He built his vast fortune by mass-producing automobiles on an assembly line, but not without first being inspired to do so after hearing about how a meat packing company processed its inventory. In an ironic twist of fate, Berry Gordy got his idea for how he managed his Motown artists from none other than Henry Ford himself. Gordy wanted to build artists in the same manner Ford built cars. And just like that, three entirely different businesses soared (that may not have otherwise existed) due to the inspiration that was gained simply by these men's willingness to be a novice. So the next time you have the opportunity to learn about something new, take advantage and seize the moment, for you never know the ways in which it will inspire your life and your business.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Overrated "L" Word

Many of us are accustomed to wishing someone "Good Luck" when they are about to face a challenge or obstacle. We especially do so when they are approaching an upcoming exam, job interview, surgery or competition. What I have been trying to figure out though, is, why exactly we do this. Perhaps we find comfort in offering our support, or because we have been conditioned to say it in the way most of us say "Bless You" when one sneezes.

Personally, I don't subscribe to the notion of "luck". My take on it, is that nothing is ever a coincidence and everything good that happens to us (a.k.a. "luck") presents itself for a reason. If I'm being more honest, I think we need to start expecting good fortune to come into our lives rather than react with surprised emotion when we "get lucky." It's time we stopped "wishing" for good luck, and "hoping" for things to go our way. It's either going to happen, or it's not. If it doesn't, its not because you're unlucky, it's because it wasn't meant to be. Life is about taking charge of your destiny, not sitting around taking handouts from the "luck truck."  But one thing is for sure--you'll never know if you don't try.
So get going, and Good Luck! ;-)

Monday, July 14, 2014

It's Not What You Get, But What You Become

When pursuing a goal in life, most of us only focus on the end result, or what we're going to get once it's reached.  What seems to be widely  overlooked at times is what we become in the process during this wild dream chase, which brings me to this week's topic.

While on your ultimate trek, what are you learning?  Who are you meeting?  What have you discovered?  In what ways are you growing?  What do you know now that you didn't before?  These questions allow us see beyond the pitfalls that can sometimes arise, and help us to remember the progress that we are making in spite of minor issues we may face along the way.  How you handle the challenges that present themselves are what separates the winners from the rest. The amount of research, discipline and rejection that you must deal with is, at times, enough to make some people give up.  On the other hand, those same challenges can be interpreted as a form of paying ones dues, or even a "tuition" in the School of Hard Knocks.  When we overcome obstacles and extract the lessons from them, we are building our life portfolio, for it's the personal growth, and wisdom, and the ability to persevere throughout life that truly reflects what we're worth.  Reaching our goal is just the icing on the cake.

Monday, July 7, 2014

GPS Your Success

Life has a way of pulling us in a thousand different directions, which makes it easy to stray from making ourselves a priority. Sometimes we may stop and wonder where the time has gone, and before we know it, another year has passed. Times like these can be discouraging, but it doesn't always have to be this way.

One of the easiest ways to keep yourself on track is by figuring out where you want to be in the future. I have come to the conclusion that figuring out where you want to be is similar to setting a specific location into your GPS before taking a trip. It's a guide to help you get to where you need to go. Of course, even with the best GPS it's still possible to get lost or be rerouted in another direction along the way. That's an unavoidable occurrence that happens to everyone on the road to success. The important thing to remember is that even during these detours, your destination still awaits your arrival. It's what you do now that counts. After all, present decision making determines the quality of your future. Your health, finances, and dreams depend on it.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Embrace Your Constraints

I read something the other day that struck me as profound, because it made me really question myself. In this book, the author suggests that we "embrace our constraints".  He was explaining that by doing so, it makes us focus, and drives creativity by forcing us to do more with less. I guess it does, in a way. It made me think of stories about "Rags to Riches" where those who grew up in severe financial hardships go on to have success and wealth because of the lack of resources (a.k.a. "constraints") they faced during their childhood. Perhaps not having an abundance of things forced these individuals to push beyond those who may have had a more fortunate situation.

I grew up right in the middle. My family was far from impoverished, but we certainly weren't vacationing in The Hamptons every summer, either. We were comfortable. Had this conditioned me to expect "comfort" in my adult life too, or do I embrace the constraints I'm given? I'd like to think it's the latter, but maybe I'm giving myself too much credit. Either way, it's time that I stop wishing for more and start working with less. It could be the very key to my success. (And no...I didn't mean for that to rhyme.)

So what about you? Have you embraced your

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Greatest Motivating Factor

There are many things that can motivate people into action. For me personally, "progress" has to be at the top of the list.
It's progress that lets us know that we are improving. We learn this means at a very early age. For instance, going from 1st to 2nd grade is progression. As adults, this may apply in the form of a raise or promotion within a job. I'm sure it's safe to say that anyone pursuing a passion, or goal aspires for progress. But how does one know if advancement is actually taking place? Of course, there are many ways to gauge, but I have found that what works best for me is to measure my accomplishments with numbers.  If you're goal is to run five miles, start off with one mile first. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds, start with five at a time.  There are many motivational factors we can adopt, but seeing progress is  one that is sure to help you thrive and successfully meet your goals.

Monday, June 16, 2014

When All Goes Wrong, It's Still Alright

It's easy to get discouraged when you're taking on a new challenge or goal. Life is always good for getting in the way somehow. The silver lining is, it's never to late to get started again. Too often our passions take a backseat to unforeseen circumstances or setbacks, but this too, is a part of the journey. The knowledge we gain from pressing on is priceless and certainly can't be found on any search engine. So if you experience a hiccup or roadblock during the pursuit to your passion, embrace it and accept it, for you will never gain such wisdom if you give up.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Is THIS what you're waiting for?

Some of us need the perfect conditions in order to start a project or pursue a dream. If only we had enough money, or time, or resources, we could bring our dreams to life. Let's be honest--if we wait on the perfect moment to make our dream come true, chances are, it will never come. While it's true that certain times are better than others, there is rarely a "perfect time" when it comes to taking a risk or going down personal uncharted territory.
The Rare Road to Success

Starting a business, having a baby or going in for surgery, for example, are all very risky. Even equipped with the best plans, there's simply no way to predict the journey or the outcome. But one thing is for certain--if you stand around waiting for the perfect moment to appear, you'll be waiting forever. So now it's time to ask yourself, "What are you waiting for?"

Monday, June 2, 2014

Stay Out of the Convincing Business

SPR Blog: Stay out of the convincing businessWhat I mean is, don't bother trying to convert non believers to your way of thinking. Everything isn't for everyone. For instance, why date someone if you have to convince them to be with you? Chances are, if you have to convince someone to be with you, you'll probably have to convince them to stay with you, which, in the long run, may turn out to be more work than it's worth.

But don't confuse convincing someone with marketing your idea. I'm not saying you shouldn't try to attract people to what your doing, that's absolutely necessary. What I'm referring to, is the the point after you share your idea. By this time, either they're going to be on board with you, or not, period. And if they're not, its okay.  Its actually a good thing because it gives you the opportunity to see who is really interested and it's those people you want to focus on, not the ones who aren't.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Be Self-Centered

Social media just may be the best and worst thing that has ever happened to mankind. On the one hand, it has reunited old friends, introduced strangers, been a billboard for random news and announcements, created businesses, and evoked awareness to a wide range of hot topic issues that would have otherwise been overlooked. (There's more, obviously, but for the sake of this piece, I'll stop there.)

On the other hand, social media has a dark side. It has swiftly and easily become a platform for people to spread negativity and hate throughout the world simply due to the convenience it provides by allowing us to hide behind our smartphones and laptops and remain as anonymous as we want.

There's something else, too. Social media is one extremely big scorecard. Better yet, it's nothing more than a lifestyle pageant, the hub of who's who and who's-doing-what with their life. I consider this part of the 'dark side', because by nature, we are impressionable beings. We tend to get caught up in comparing what we have or how we look to the next person. But when we do these things, it leaves the door wide open for insecurity and self-scrutiny, or self-righteousness and supremacy. It will leave you feeling either inferior, or superior, neither of which is good for the soul. So this is my reason for saying "be self-centered." I don't mean in terms of being selfish, per se, but rather, centering on thy self, and putting that focus on you and what you're doing. Comparing yourself to others doesn't give you the chance to be who you're supposed to be, and that's cheating yourself. Because in reality, the only person we should be comparing ourselves to is the person we were yesterday.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Think Small (How starting small helps you grow)

Nature has a way of teaching us lessons.  What we see as everyday occurrences can hold a wealth of inspiration if we stop for a minute and think about our connection to the World. Which brings me to today's topic.

SPR Blog: Think Small

If you want to do something big in life you have to start small. In fact, that's how all things begin. From this planet we occupy and even our own bodies. We should approach our goals with the same idea. In my opinion, this really has nothing to do with size as much as understanding. When a project, situation or business is small it's easier to grasp. For example, what do you think would be easier? To plant a Large Oak Tree or a seed? The answer is obvious.  

I'm not saying you shouldn't have big dreams. Your dreams should be enormous because you are capable of achieving anything and the bigger the dream the more excited you'll be about achieving it. However, when we start small we start with more understanding and as we grow so does our knowledge about what we're pursuing. And remember, even people who you think are doing "Big Things" had to start somewhere and it wasn't the top.

Monday, May 12, 2014

My Three Favorite Five Letter Words, continued...


Alas, the final word of my three favorite five letter words. If you haven't already done so, I invite you to check out posts three and 25 regarding the first two. For today, I want to give the final word, and that is "until".

We all need something that motivates us to keep moving towards the future. For most, it's a goal or a dream that helps us to keep moving. For me, I find that the word "until" is like a bridge between you and that goal or mission. Moreover, it's a tough word because it doesn't let you off the hook. It holds you responsible for your promises. For example, when I'm writing these entries, sometimes the ideas flow easily, other times it's a struggle. When the latter happens, I sit down and tell myself to keep brainstorming UNTIL I come up with an idea or UNTIL my thoughts become clear. It's similar to learning how to ride a bike for the first time and falling UNTIL you get your balance situated enough to ride smoothly. Because what's even more important than having a goal is actually completing that goal, whether big or small. That feeling of accomplishment and knowing that you finished what you started is enough to boost your self confidence to pursue bigger dreams.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Are You Uncomfortable? Good.

Society places a lot of emphasis on comfort. From jeans, to furniture, to luxury cars, competitors spend  millions of dollars each year pitching comfort in their ads in hopes that it will entice consumers to spend money with them. However, when it comes to reaching your goals, this is where you should be least comfortable. The growing process is about expansion, similar to going to the gym and stretching your muscles. Your mind works the same way. In order for it to grow it needs to work beyond its current capacity, (a.k.a. comfort zone), and explore more possibilities. For instance, if you currently own a business, or have a dream of doing so in the future, what more can you learn about this business and what information are you lacking? Are there classes you can take? Seminars or workshops you can sign up for? Trade-shows to attend? All of the above can provide a wealth of knowledge about various industries and always have the latest information on surrounding technology.

Leslie Romine  Uncomfortable Shoes

There's nothing wrong with wanting to have a comfortable life. I think it's safe to assume we all do. All work and no play is definitely not a philosophy that I subscribe to. But I do believe that comfort can lead to complacency, and that in turn, can leave room for someone else to get ahead.

Simply put, you will always continue to grow as long as you are willing to go beyond what comes easily to you.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Lights, Camera...No Action

Let's face it, when it comes to things we want, we all know what it takes to get them. Whether or not we want to do the things that it takes is a different story, which brings me to today's topic: inaction.

Why is it that we can have all of the necessary resources, the ideas and talent to make something happen, yet, we sit back and do nothing about it? So many of us have a list of reasons (more like, excuses) that hold us back, but in reality the only thing that has such power to hold you back is you. Take Jay-Z and Beyoncé, for example. Together, these two artists have enough money to sit back and never do a thing for the rest of their days should they choose to, but instead, they keep working on their craft. More over, they did the necessary things to get them to where they are today. Without the action, hard work, and the sacrifices, they wouldn't have been able to achieve their ultimate goal of being mentioned in this blog (okay so that may not have been their "ultimate" goal, but I'm sure it was high on the priority list). The bottom line is that we all have our own personal brilliance waiting to be discovered. But until we take action, our dreams will just be a "what-if" instead of a "what-is".

Be well...

Monday, April 21, 2014

Time is NOT Money

Most tend to think that wasted time equals wasted money but in my opinion,  there's a completely different way of looking at it. Is money important? Sure it is. Is time important? Absolutely. But the way I see it, time is much more valuable than money for two reasons. One, if you lose a dollar you can always get another dollar back. But if you lose time, it doesn't work the same way; there is no way of getting that time back. Unlike money, once it's gone, it's gone. Secondly, people are also more willing to spend their money more freely than they are to spend their time. Just look at the airline industry for example. People would rather spend ten times the money to fly somewhere instead of drive simply for the convenience of getting there quicker.

My point is, life is too valuable to waste your time not doing what you love. Because in the end, life without passion isn't really's existing.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Practice What You Post

I'll admit it. My guilty pleasure is that I enjoy going online and browsing the various social networks.  I'm constantly entertained by the all of the memes that I see, especially the motivational ones, and man, there are some really good ones circulating out there. But often times I can't help but wonder just how many people actually practice what they post? In actuality, just because one copies and pastes an inspirational post to their social page doesn't mean they're really applying it to their life.

I know this because, at times, I've had to ask myself if I was guilty of doing the same thing.  Was I practicing what I post? Was I applying the messages that you read every week to my own life? 
Ideally, I'd like to say yes, but realistically, I'm sure there have been times where I could have done a better job. So that's why I've decided to revisit my posts throughout the week to ensure that I, too, am abiding by my own words. Looking inward during these moments aren't always easy, but they are necessary. The good thing  is, it's a conversation that no one else has to know about, and an opportunity to grow and become better.

Monday, April 7, 2014

You Have the Right to go Left

There are plenty of resources we can refer to that will teach us almost anything we want to know. You can learn how to do a long list of things just by watching YouTube, alone. But what if what you wanted to do didn't come with a how-to manual or video tutorial? At some point, every pioneer in every field and profession had to encounter this dilemma. From the TV in your house to the very device on which you're reading this entry. This also means that most likely, there was a time when these iconic products were rejected or dismissed. Even as I write this post I notice the copy machine in my office. It's hard to believe that there was a time when not only did people not want a copy machine, but publishers even tried to ban them because they were afraid people wouldn't buy books anymore.
SPR Blog: You have the Right to go Left

My point is when your doing something truly different and original, do not expect to have a group of cheerleaders rallying behind you showing their support. In fact, it's quite the opposite. What you will have, however, are doubters, skeptics, pessimists, and resistance. Use all of it as motivation to fuel your fire to succeed. And always remind yourself that it's YOUR dream--not theirs.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Big "O"

Hey get your mind outta the gutter. I'm talking about the other big "O".

Opportunities are all around us. In fact, I believe we have just as much opportunity as the air we breath. One of life's biggest challenges though, is trying to figure out which opportunities to embrace and which ones to ignore.  Allow me...

With so many products and new innovations available today, one would think that everyone on Earth is living the "good life". But here's the often overlooked part about opportunity--it works both ways.

Some opportunities we pass up because we perceive it as too much hard work, or because we fear disappoint or rejection. Perhaps you were told 'no' about something that matters a great deal to you.  You can look at this one of two ways: an opportunity to quit or an opportunity to try again. As most of us already know, opportunity doesn't always come knocking. So instead of sitting around waiting, why not take action by knocking on opportunity's door? The fact is, if you don't, someone will. So why not? The only thing you have to lose is an opportunity to make it happen.

Monday, March 24, 2014

M.V.P. (Most Valuable Property)

I would like to think that out of all the property a person owns in their lifetime, intellectual property would have to be the most valuable. For example, the ideas you have in your mind are worth something. They are waiting to be given life. The most fascinating thing about our ideas is their ability to outlive its creator--an idea that you bring to life today can help others years, decades and even centuries after you're gone. I often wonder what the pioneers of the aviation industry, the Wright brothers, would think if they were alive to see the jumbo jets and fighter planes we use today.

Ideas can also be inspiring.  Case in point, the smartphone. Think of all the businesses that emerged the moment a computer and phone merged as one. Entire industries and jobs have been created, solely off of inspiration from another individual's idea. So don't sell yourself short and discount the ideas you have. You never know what impact they may have on the world.

Be well.

Monday, March 17, 2014

A symbol is worth a thousand words

Symbols are amazing, and a part of our everyday lives so much that I think we often overlook the important messages they sometimes can represent.

Over the weekend I saw the yin yang symbol coming home from a family function. I've seen it a million times but on this day, for some reason it spoke loudly. Perhaps because I was a bit reluctant to go on the family trip when I first heard about it. It's not that I don't like to hang out with my family, but the workaholic in me kicked in and thought about all of the work that I would have to put off just to attend.

Needless to say, after going on the trip, I was glad I decided to go. On top of that, it gave me an opportunity to see how functional my business is outside the comforts of home, as well as indulge in spending time with loved ones that I rarely get to see.

Seeing that symbol was a reminder for me that balance is key, yet that very symbol may not represent the same thing to the next person. That's why I find them fascinating, because symbols themselves become powerful when they merge with meaning, but still give us the freedom to decide for ourselves what they each represent.

Symbols are everywhere. What will the next one say to you?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Permission Slip (Why you don't need approval)

I attended elementary school at Elizabeth Sherman in East Oakland. I remember whenever we would have to use the restroom or leave the class for any reason we had to get a permission slip. Now even though the slip was just a piece of paper, it gave me two things: authority and security.

Which brings me to today's post. As adults I think we often fall into that same idea-- the need for "permission" to pursue our dreams. The reality is, the fact that you have a dream and a clear vision of what you want to be is permission enough. The only thing holding you back is you. You don't need anyone co-signing your goals, and you certainly don't need anyone's approval. So get busy building your dream, or you'll find yourself helping someone else build theirs. Find the will to make it happen and the resolve to see it through.