When Gerard Adams first birthed the idea of having Fownders built in the heart of Newark, he didn’t know where to begin in finding someone who shared not only roots in Newark but his passion and belief in the Fownders vision. The name that kept surfacing in conversations was Anthony Frasier, a who’s who in entrepreneurship and community, so it made perfect sense to have Anthony join us as guest in Fownders’ fireside chat series joining the ranks of Ryan Blair and Lewis Howes.
The chat’s central focus was Anthony’s personal and professional journey as well his perspective on diversity and the state of minorities in the present-day entrepreneurial landscape. He got his first taste of his love for tech in the seventh grade when he decided he’d teach himself to code in his free time at the local library. He’s been on a whirlwind of a ride ever since.
From building a site that garnered 1MM unique visits per month to appearing on a CNN reality show about inclusiveness to founding an online interview platform that grew to a six-figure entrepreneur conference and moving on to writing his first book, “Don’t Dumb Down Your Greatness: A young entrepreneurs guide to thinking and being great.” (a book Frasier said he penned for his sixteen-year-old self and hopes to serve as a guide for other young entrepreneurs who start their journeys in the dark and without the connections or networks that are commonplace in other communities.). Frasier is now entrepreneur in residence at Newark Venture Partners where his mission is to increase and expand investments to minority entrepreneurs.
With well over a decade of experience in tech, media, speaking and coaching aspiring entrepreneurs and students from underserved groups, Anthony has amassed a wealth of knowledge along the way. He was gracious enough to share wisdoms of life and business with the Fownders family.
Here are 5 key insights from the chat:
When Anthony signed on to participate in Black in America: The New Promised Land Silicon Valley, he was young and had just flew his native nest of New Jersey to live in California. The show was to chronicle his journey through an accelerator program while there. His gut told him to be ready; to stay on his toes and practice his pitch. However, the show’s producers told him there would be no need, that his focus should be to enjoy himself and relax. An apprehensive Frasier took heed. Lo and behold he found himself at the Google headquarters meeting and rubbing shoulders with major players only to be blindsided by the announcement that the entrepreneurs would be pitching their businesses. He went on to pitch in front of a group of execs, one being Google’s now head of ventures, David Krane. Frasier was off-guard and sweating bullets. “I got through it but I f***** up.” Never again he told himself. His advice is to practice your pitch daily. Listen to your gut. Trust your instincts and stay ready.
CHOOSE YOUR PARTNER WISELY:
When Frasier launched Playd, a FourSquare for gamers, in 2011, he did so in part with a $100k investment from an investor he had the opportunity to build a relationship with. This relationship was key in having the investor become familiar with Anthony’s vision and work ethic. Unfortunately, as time passed, this investor became increasingly difficult and subsequently ‘scared off’ other potential investors. Coupled with the bankruptcy of one of Playd’s key partnerships, Anthony followed his gut instincts and decided to dissolve the company. He could not live with the decision of taking on a partner that sowed discord and constant friction. Anthony cautions; when you take on an investment, it’s not just someone with a lot of money who wants to help, you are taking on a partner who has stake and say in the decisions you make. Choose your partner wisely.
CREATIVITY IS THE GREATEST SKILL YOU CAN EVER LEARN:
Early on in his entrepreneurial journey, Frasier applied for an internship with an organization in Montclair. They were seeking a college-educated intern; he was out of the running by the time the interview was over. Before walking out the door; he decided to speak up. “Your site gets only ten-thousand unique visits a month; my site gets one million.” He started his internship one week later; and was hired as their full-time biz dev associate, within weeks. Frasier used his quick wit to identify that the organization was fixated on having a college educated intern because they felt the education would equal results. Thinking on his feet, he created his own resumé on the spot. Frasier says that if you can somehow make the dots of life connect, there is potential for great change. Creativity creates leverage.
Develop yourself as a human being by investing in yourself. Frasier’s first major self-investment came at a time where he was low on cash but high in drive to make a change. The 600-page book, “The 4-Hour Body” in an investment that helped Anthony shed 100lbs. Another similar investment was made in the book, “Choose Yourself”. It emphasizes the importance of a nurturing daily practice comprised of four components: Spiritual, Mental, Physical, Emotional. Frasier’s spiritual practice is made up of prayer and meditation – a practice that he credits with saving his life on multiple occasions. He keeps sharp mentally by writing down ten ideas a day. He engages in some form of physical activity daily as well as doing something that he loves – spending time with loved ones, laughing, gaming etc. Anthony says if you were to apply these principles in your own life, it’s guaranteed that you’ll see a change in your life.
IT’S BIGGER THAN YOU:
When deciding on how to brand yourself and determining what value you share with the world, don’t fall victim to apprehension and the laid-back, turtle-shell syndrome. Put your authentic self out there. Step up and be a leader; it’s bigger than building a brand. Share your stories, lessons, and insights. Bring positivity to the forefront because you never know who you’re helping by deciding to go for it. Frasier nearly talked himself out of writing his first book, “Don’t Dumb Down Your Greatness”. But he decided that someone out there needed the information and guidance he wanted to offer through his words. Recently he recalls a lazy day at home where he toyed with the idea of sending out a simple tweet that said, ‘I’m looking for black entrepreneurs to invest in.’ He nearly didn’t send it, but by taking action and using his voice, one of the tweet’s respondents was ultimately sent an investment offer letter by Newark Venture Partners. His decision undoubtedly resulted in changing someone else’s life; it was bigger than him. Your voice; your actions, are bigger than you.
To learn more about Anthony Frasier and his mission, connect with him at AnthonyFrasier.com
“Don’t Dumb Down Your Greatness” – Anthony Frasier
“Choose Yourself” – James Altucher
“The 4-Hour Body” – Tim Ferriss