One of my best friends, Adam "Peach" Gillem, married his college sweatheart, Caroline Pennington, this past weekend in Knoxville. I was so very blessed to be in the wedding and after a more than eventful bachelor party in Gulf Shores, AL it was off to Knoxville, TN this past weekend for the festivities. 

It. Was. A. Blast... We stayed at the RT Lodge in Maryville, TN and the wedding/reception was at Rarity Bay Country Club, all of which were beautiful. Typical day before the wedding events included a round of golf with the Groomsmen, the rehearsal (which I don't think a single member in the wedding party was sober for) and of course the rehearsal dinner where all of the guys surprised Caroline as we sung Sweet Caroline for her. The dinner was concluded by a series of speeches, which following the days agenda of non-stop drinking were interesting to say the least.

Ah, wedding day. Naturally, Peach, Dickey, Darville, and I got in a great workout during the day before heading to the country club. Before the wedding we took the typical series of Groomsmen's pictures; however, I'm almost certain we included a few pictures that the photographers had never seen before, including a pants off pic, which is promised to be epic. Upon arrival back to the club, Peach handed out his Groomsmen's gifts (awesome initialed travel vanity bags... with mustaches!) and we all said our final words. The wedding went off like a charm, even though Kacie B, and I could barely keep a straight face during the ceremony, sorry Peach, but alas it was reception time! We drank, we danced, we put Peach and Caroline on our shoulders, we drank, we danced, I gave the bestman speech - and almost cried, and we drank and danced some more. Awesome reception, hands down. 

As Darville and I drove back up North Sunday morning, I felt like the reality of Peach's wedding hit me like a ton of bricks. Wow, he was actually married. You see, Peach and Caroline have been dating since we were sophomore's in college, all of our college friends were there, the girls we __ with, the guys we chilled with, the stories were shared... it literally felt like the culmination of all that was college. Not to mention, Peach and Caroline have been through everything together. If this incredible couple can make it, anyone who puts their faith in God and in each-other can make it. I'm beyond proud of them, but 50 hours post nuptials, I am left still in a surreal state. 

At 27, where am I at in life? Where do I see myself now, 3 years, down the road? What have I learned from my past? Am I ready to let go of all that is in my past? How do I feel about getting married? Where do I think I will meet "the one?" Do I want to stay in the NorthEast? And a handful of other questions. I'm super excited about the fact that I am 10 months from completing my MBA from a top school at Villanova. I'm super excited that I have an awesome job at one of the largest financial firms in the world at BNY Mellon. My faith and relationship with God is continuing to grow more and more each day, I love my family with all of my heart, and I have hands down the most incredible friends in the entire world. But something is missing... did Peach find it? When/where will I find it? Should I be down in Texas with my Mother and Sisters or should I go back out to San Diego? The questions are only piling up more and more...

With all that transpired in CO this past weekend, coupled with seeing Peach and Caroline take the next step in life, together - I just cannot help but think more than ever that life is so precious, there are no dress rehearsals in life, if your heart is leaning a certain way by no means should we force it to feel any other way than it naturally does because we only get one opportunity at life and my goodness we should cherish every moment of everyday with those that we think about and love. 

I hate to keep going, but my mind is racing and putting finger to computer is one of the only ways I know how to harness my thoughts. I probably did not leave you with much tonight, and provoking thought in my readers is one of my greatest aspirations and goals, but I do hope that you too can ask yourself these questions. 

Below are some great pics from the weekend!
 
 
I recently started a new job at BNY Mellon in Global Product Management working in Foreign Exchange and Asset Servicing as a Financial Analyst... I still don't know exactly what all that means, but it's been a heckuva first two weeks. I'm also finishing my MBA, at night, at Villanova University with a concentration in Finance. My world, professionally, has completely changed, up-side down, the past month. I'm keeping my head above water, treading heavily, not because the work is overly difficult but rather because everyday I'm tackling new issues that are unique to my past experiences. 

After most recently spending my time in the technology start-up space, I cannot help but relate my current situation to that of a start-up (I know, how on Earth is the worlds largest Asset Management firm similar to a start-up?). Rather than bla you to death writing about myself, I'd rather highlight the successes of two friends and professional colleagues of mine, who are in fact running a start-up, and then briefly compare the similarities. 

Austin Evarts and Josh Emert risked everything. They had an idea, the idea changed, and changed, and changed some more. The two moved to New York, then Seattle (for TechStars), and then back to New York. They put the rest of their lives on hold, successfully raised capital, and are now working with some of the biggest brands in the world. Their company, Go Chime, is a social advertising platform, which mines social media for expressions of commercial intent, matching people talking about products and services they need or want with relevant offers. 

They lived on couches, shared rooms (their 1st hire / co-founder even slept in a closet for a couple of months), and worked out of coffee shops, on buses, and trains - barely getting by, with nothing to fall back on if they failed. Go Chime is their life, it's not their job, it's what they do. And, it's because of people such as Austin and Josh that when I am working long hours and then taking the train at night out to class and then the train back in to the city late at night that I'm reminded. I'm reminded that this is what it takes in life, to get to where you want to get to, and to live the life you've imagined rather than imaging a different life. It takes risking everything, whether that means starting your own company, or taking on $100k in student loan debt to professionally launch yourself. It means that everyday at your startup perhaps you're wearing all sorts of different hats, or if you're working in a new job, then going to class, then a different class the next night that you stay agile and light on your feet. As Steve Jobs said, "Stay Foolish. Stay Hungry." 
Austin (pictured above) was recently interviewed by Fast Company, which is awesome by itself, and then again by We Are NY Tech. Both articles, linked above, are great quick Q&A reads, but to see friends, peers, and colleagues continue to push forward, grow their businesses, and charge forward is very, very inspiring. There's a handful of other peers of mine who are also very inspiring, and as I continue this rigorous journey I will continue to highlight many of them. It is their energy, struggle, and success that thus fuels my fire to keep forging ahead. 
 
 
This past weekend I spent a bit of time looking back at my life and where I have been, at the beginning of June, over the past 5 years. Luckily, for those of us in our mid-late 20s, we have the luxury to look back "through the cloud." We are the first generation to have our lives published via social media and while we often freit over privacy and how we hate most of what is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. it's also a blessing. We are able to look back at the innocent laughs, the not so innocent adventures, the girls that stole our hearts, and even the hearts we reluctantly (and perhaps regrettably) broke. 

5 years ago I was off to Europe with one of my best friends, as we traveled all over Western Europe. That summer included the most amazing time of my entire life, studying abroad in Urbino, Italy. Urbino incubated the strongest friendships I have, as well as an introduction to the one girl who changed my life forever. Ah, looking back through the timeline. 

The past 5 June's have included moving to San Francisco ('08), leaving San Francisco for law school ('09), leaving law school for business school ('10), leaving business school to go back to San Francisco ('11), and thus leaving San Francisco to go back to business school ('12). WTF?!?! 

I have met the most INCREDIBLE people and I have been fortunate enough to experience some of the most AMAZING cities, countries, places, and cultures in the world. I have worked as an engineer, in technology, with start-ups, with Fortune 500s, I have had dreams broken and new ones created. I've screwed up, wow - royally screwed up, I've left ideas and companies that I still to this day think are going to change the world, and I've held on too long to some ideas. What is SO crazy is that it is all right there, in the cloud. 

No one has captured this concept greater than my friend Kyle Rutkin, who is one of the people I was blessed enough to meet along this wild and crazy journey that has been the past 5 years. Kyle is an up and coming artist who writes about the things we ALL experience; life, love, and the post-college conflict. Most recently, he tells the story of looking back at our documented lives in his newest book - A Life Told From the Cloud. Kyle's book is an incredible tale of one's memories via social media and he's currently raising money on Kickstarter to have his book published. No need to say much more, check it out, he doesn't disappoint:

As Kyle wrote in one of his recent blog post, I challenge each of you to look back at your timeline. Check out the laughs, the tears, the one(s) that got away, and the friendships that made it all possible. Each of us can do this... because it's all in the cloud. 

 
 
Over the past year I have been just overwhelmed by the successes of so many of my friends in their mid-late 20s. From friends who have secured financing for their start-up, to friends who have published books, to friends who are Presidential Fellows, etc. It. Is. Awesome. There are also so many of us who are in this sphere of uncertainty where we know we're talented, we know we work hard, but we don't know where exactly we want to go, and it's mentally tantalizing. I'm going to re-post an article I wrote roughly a year ago, and over the next month or so build off this post. Who knows, maybe all of this "MBA" coursework and consulting will turn in to my own book. 

On a day when contemplation, irritation, and suspension all seem to collide at the cornerstone of my mental capacity, I am faced with a predicament that most of my colleagues in the field of individualism and self-creation often face. The predicament is not one of simple solutions or even one to which I am at ease to explain, but rather it lies nestled deep within the confines of professional desires that are too frequently clouded by personal constraints. 

So, wtf am I even talking about? In the field of individualism and self creation lie some of the most innovative and game changing players in the business realm. They are those people who stare the naysayers square in the eye and say, “yes, I hear you, but I refuse to allow you to dictate my course.” They are the ones who vision innovation, and have the where with all for not only innovation but also the creation that comes from the conception. You see, innovation is meaningless, unless it means something to someone else (in the business world, your customer is ideal, haha). 

It is people such as these that I hope to shape my professional livelihood around, and because its a framework of individualism and self creation it is recognized that no two paths are the same, therefore, the shape of the course that I travel is merely an inspirational guideline. But the business men and women who have traveled down said path are often faced with the same predicament that I am staring at today and that is when you realize that you just may, indeed, be different. It’s a daunting realization to fully accept that the norms of life that society places just are not built for you and for you to work towards optimal happiness and success in life you will, no, you must, fight the winds, adjust your sails, and willingly go in the direction that your ship is crafted to go in. 

Contemplation. Irritation. Suspension. These feelings, these actions, these concepts eclipse where I stand, today. I am in suspension has as to where I should be focusing my efforts. They say that what lies before us and what lies behind us are nothing compared to what lie within us, but the truth of the matter is that what lies within us is a culmination one’s past experiences coupled with the desires of the future. 

This is a work-in-progress piece, and one I will finish this weekend and look to postI know this all sounds spacey, but I have a feeling it might just resonate with a few of you…
 
 
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Jean-Baptiste, a French economist, is believed to have coined the word, “entrepreneur.” He defined an entrepreneur as one who undertakes an enterprise, especially a contractor, acting as an intermediary between capital and labor.

Many entrepreneurs are either tired of working for the man, therefore, they’re going to “show him” and go work for him/herself (fail) or they are a person who has a trade, a passion, or a high level of experience in a given field and they create a company around their knowledge (usually fail). The common theme for most entrepreneurs is that they do indeed fail, but why in fact they fail is an inexact science. I’m sure all of you have heard the statistic that 70% of all small businesses fail within their first three years due to poor/mismanaged cash flows. It’s simple really, if your cash dries up, so does your company. But why does this happen?

The logic is typically assumed, and utterly false when one says because they are an entrepreneur, they are a businessman. If we break down the very basics of the word entrepreneur; entre representing enterprise and preneur meaning taker, or one who takes; we can logically deduct that an entrepreneur is one who takes on an enterprise. 

Most entrepreneurs are not MBAs, they do not have a business degree, nor have they ever taken a business class. Now, is this an absolute? Of course not, but it does shine a light on the gap between business knowhow and entrepreneurship. Business knowhow is a broad area, and I believe it touches on every aspect of a business, or simply business in general. The intricate platforms of tax implications, diverse global markets, legal aspects, supply chain and operations, etc. Even small businesses have inner supply chains and within those supply chains, logistics (logistics is a piece of the supply chain puzzle, not the puzzle itself) and understanding the different interactions of the different business arenas within your small business is a difficult and demanding task. 

The problem I most often see is that entrepreneurs become so myopic to their product, passion, or expertise, that they are blindsided by the harsh realities of simple business. Most entrepreneurs have no idea what it means to have pro forma financial statements, or a weighted capital structure. 

Again, is this knowledge an absolute for small business success? No, if you come up with the next Facebook, then there will be plenty of other people who will gladly take the business reigns of your company for you; however, if you’re trying to build your business from the ground up, bootstrapping all along the way, and fighting the competitive landscape that is today’s economy, then I strongly feel that a comprehensive level of business knowhow is a key hidden ingredient. 


 
 
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My good friend and compelling entrepreneur, Austin Evarts, recently interviewed up-and-coming Hip Hop artist, “D.P.” D.P., which stands for Danny Perez, is exactly that… an artist. He once created an entire album (and a damn good one at that) in 48 hours, captured the process, and posted it to YouTube.

The link to the interview is posted below and I HIGHLY recommend you check it out. D.P. is as fresh as it gets, and Austin Evarts is going to be the next big thing in the entrepreneur/business world. Two of my favorite artist, both in the business and musical sense, captured in one great interview… enjoy!


D.P. Interview w/ Austin Evarts of Full Foundation

D.P. - I'm Gone

 
 
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On a day when contemplation, irritation, and suspension all seem to collide at the cornerstone of my mental capacity, I am faced with a predicament that most of my colleagues in the field of individualism and self-creation often face. The predicament is not one of simple solutions or even one to which I am at ease to explain, but rather it lies nestled deep within the confines of professional desires that are too frequently clouded by personal constraints.

So, wtf am I even talking about? In the field of individualism and self creation lie some of the most innovative and game changing players in the business realm. They are those people who stare the naysayers square in the eye and say, “yes, I hear you, but I refuse to allow you to dictate my course.” They are the ones who vision innovation, and have the where with all for not only innovation but also the creation that comes from the conception. You see, innovation is meaningless, unless it means something to someone else (in the business world, your customer is ideal, haha).

It is people such as these that I hope to shape my professional livelihood around, and because its a framework of individualism and self creation it is recognized that no two paths are the same, therefore, the shape of the course that I travel is merely an inspirational guideline. But the business men and women who have traveled down said path are often faced with the same predicament that I am staring at today and that is when you realize that you just may, indeed, be different. It’s a daunting realization to fully accept that the norms of life that society places just are not built for you and for you to work towards optimal happiness and success in life you will, no, you must, fight the winds, adjust your sails, and willingly go in the direction that your ship is crafted to go in.

Contemplation. Irritation. Suspension. These feelings, these actions, these concepts eclipse where I stand, today. I contemplate my future. I am irritated with the structure my MBA program forces me to succumb to. I am in suspension has as to where I should be focusing my efforts. They say that what lies before us and what lies behind us are nothing compared to what lie within us, but the truth of the matter is that what lies within us is a culmination one’s past experiences coupled with the desires of the future.

This is a work-in-progress piece, and one I will finish this weekend and look to post Sunday night. I know this all sounds spacey, but I have a feeling it might just resonate with a few of you…


 
 
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Ok, ok, I know it’s January 12th, but I was busy cooking dinner for my Mom and friend last night and I wasn’t able to finish my article. My new desire to learn how to cook has been an adventure to say the least!

I wonder how many of you reading this have already broken, or steered away from your New Year’s resolution. To me, we place so much emphasis into our “resolution” that we hinge on this one act as if it is going to completely alter the complex of our coming year. Unfortunately, soon after the moment of its inception, our resolution is often lost and thus is our motivating factor for the coming year.

I have always leaned more on the idea of setting and creating goals for the coming year rather than resolutions. When we go against a resolution, i.e. have a coke, eat a sweet, or have more drinks than we said we would, at that exact moment the resolution is broken, we often throw it by the waste side. Personally, I would rather set a goal and place a 12-month, year-long, time frame in which I can work towards achieving said goal. Here, we understand that there are moments where we may steer away from the goal, but it is not that exact moment in time that consumes us, it is the bigger picture, the underlying goal that is our driving force. The goal is not lost because we missed a day at the gym like we said we weren’t going to do, or because during the National Championship game we had too many finger foods. We may, at times, set a tougher path for ourselves in order to achieve our desired goal, but the focus is not lost.

A great study was conducted at Harvard in 1979 (http://www.lifemastering.com/en/harvard_school.html). The graduating Harvard MBA class of 1979 was surveyed 10 years after graduation and they were asked two simple questions: 1) Did/do they have goals, and 2) Did/do they write their goals down. The results were astounding.

  • 13% of the graduates said they had goals, but did not write them down
  • 3% of the graduates had written goals / plans
  • 84% of the graduates said they had no goals at all


The results:

  • The 13% of the class who said they had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84% who had no goals at all. 
  • The 3% who had clear written goals / plans were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97%... combined.

My point is not that the key to high earnings and ultimate monetary riches is simply writing down your goals, but rather, without a plan and goals we set to achieve, we lead ourselves down an often misdirected path.

What are your goals for 2011, and more importantly, how do you plan on achieving your goals?


 
 
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So, I haven’t posted in a while, which is odd for someone who has so recently started their own blog. To be honest, it’s a bit out of character for me, because I usually have endless hours of thoughts. During this time of Thanksgiving, I have spent a lot of time reflecting (for those who know me, I know surprise, surprise, I’m thinking).

 

Do you ever have those nights where your mind is anywhere but here? All I can picture right now is a beach, a fishing boat in the distance, my laptop and of course my blackberry. I’m ok with the latter two items for I understand they are essential for me to be able to facilitate the lifestyle I am striving to achieve (and I need to be able to facebook). I just cannot seem to control my mind tonight; I am stuck on this island of thoughts, surrounded by the beauty that is outside the realm of reality. I cannot always understand why we fight to sit in our self-imposed creation of what we feel we must live in compared to what we actually exist in. Why is it that we must control everything from our thoughts, to our ambitions, to our desires, etc? I feel as though often times we live life according to a rock ballad where the structure is rather set, and we all know how the story ends before it ever begins. Why don’t we ever live according, to say, a David Guetta album? Ahh, could you imagine, the beat comes, it goes, the adrenaline pumps and you’re just moved by the emotion of the entire musical experience. Experiences should drive the inner force yarning for the meaning of life… not society.

 

I may be stuck in the abyss of life tonight where what I am thinking, and where my mind are going, are completely off the charts; but, I cannot seem to fight this urge to break all the norms.

 

Sadly, I’ve started to realize that 1) I’ve got to make some decisions in life and my constant floundering in indecision and complete lack of commitment (to anything) is going to start biting me in the tail.

 

I can say this… for once, I am enjoying the process, because if we can’t enjoy the process, what’s the point?


 
 
Today was beautiful. 72 degrees on November 10th, in East Tennessee, without a cloud in the sky is absolutely scenic. I spent a couple of hours today laying on the grass on campus, reading and simply enjoying the incredible weather. As I mentioned, I am reading (for the 2nd time) The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. The book is more or less a manifesto for the mobile lifestyle and creating businesses, which fit the mobile mindset. So what is this mindset?


The mindset discussed in the book is one I deeply share. I often have difficultly describing my outlook on life and business, but there is a section of the book that I am going to share with you now, which will hopefully give you a snapshot of how I process business/entrepreneurship questions and thoughts. 


What truly separates people such as myself from the typical entrepreneur (TE) is the desire to create options throughout life opposed to working your entire life, saving it all until the end, only to find your life has passed you by. My goals reflect very distinct life philosophies and priorities. Below, note how subtle differences in wording completely change the context:


TE: To work for yourself
Me: To have others work for me


TE: To work when you want to
Me: To prevent work for works sake, and to do the minimum necessary for maximum effect


TE: To retire early or young
Me: To distribute recovery periods and adventures throughout life; inactivity is not the goal, doing what excites you is!


TE: To buy all the things you want to have
Me: To do all the things you want to do and be all the things you want to be


TE: To be the boss and not the employee; to be in charge
Me: To be neither the boss, nor the employee, but the owner; to own the trains and have someone else run them


TE: To have more
Me: To have more quality, and less clutter


For those of you who have read the book, yes, I took these almost word for word out of the book. The way he views life, entrepreneurship, and business resognate deeply, and I hope this gives many of you a better insight into my journey... it may also be your journey ;)



 

    Carl Eppolito

    Picture

    who?


    Villanova University Graduate School of Business MBA '13

    University of Tennessee '07
    BSBA: Finance

    I'm a businessman who desires to escape the most fundamental of American questions, "What do you do?" My goal is to create a lifestyle where job descriptions are not self-descriptions. A lifestyle is a terrible thing to waste...



    ...This is my journey...


    Boisterous|ˈboist(ə)rəs| adjective   - (of a person, event, or   behavior) noisy, energetic, and cheerful; rowdy

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