Bryan Flowers is a Serial Entrepreneur who started very young and now owns a chain of 22 bars along with other businesses. He is also writing a book on “Growth Mindset“. We recently interviewed Bryan Flowers to know more about his businesses and his upcoming book.
Bryan, Thank you for talking to us. Kindly describe your journey as an Entrepreneur so far.
I started making money from around 11 years old, knocking on doors to walk dogs and washing cars, helping people around my area, I had 2 paper rounds for several years with many other failed ideas and dreams. At 14 years old, I had my first part-time job, and when I was around 17 years old I started on eBay, selling digital products which gave me a very good income, I then moved that to 2 websites.
By the time I was 23 years old, I was making more websites, doing SEO, internet marketing and I have been doing that right up to my age of 36 years old. I moved to Thailand when I was around 25 years old and at the age of 30, I started buying bars using investors money, I went from owning 1 bar in Thailand, up to owning/running a group of 22 bars, with around 7 investors in total. We currently have around 350 staff to manage, so I have a lot of experience employing people, setting teams up, setting up systems and processes. I am now free to work on other projects, while I oversee the business and 13 managers. I am obsessed with self-development and now that I have a very good income sorted, I would like to start helping people with their mindsets and personal growth.
What were the initial challenges that you faced in your endeavor and how challenging is becoming an entrepreneur?
The personal challenges I faced were listening to people around me, outgrowing most people, trying to ignore the noise, listening to what the market wants and not to be controlled by haters/negative comments. We have to adapt our skills, toughen ourselves up, learn to be patient and spend at least 3 hours a day learning is a must!
The biggest challenge was undoing many years of conditioning from my parents, friends, school, and relatives. I started by seeing Tony Robbins at a seminar and he changed my mindset and made me become a person that works on myself, my beliefs and how to get a growth mindset. Once I was in the self-development world, I was able to find more motivation, better ways to deal with people, more understanding, I have also been able to help many people around me.
“Personal Development is Directly related to success”. Being a big proponent of personal development, kindly tell the readers more about your views on the subject.
A lot of people seem to think personal development books are like some sort of cult, or they don’t work. I have had many people joke about this subject and its almost like its a subject that cuts deep into peoples wounds because they are trying to avoid growth, they are trying to avoid thinking about their potential, maybe they are scared of what money will do to them. I find studying successful people and their habits can catapult you into great heights, empower you and give you that growth mentality.
Tell us more about your upcoming book?
I am writing a book on growth mindset because I realised that many people simply do not have this mentality, I see it in the trading world, I see it in the business world, they either do not have the ambition, the drive, the know-how or they don’t have the risk appetite. I want to teach people how to get disciplined in all areas of their lives, so they can apply it to their daily business/work/learning tasks. I want to give people unstoppable motivation, control over their minds and teach them all the key habits of successful people. I study success, mindset, self-development, psychology all as a hobby mixed with all my investment/trading and internet marketing skills. My book will be out around next year because I am still finishing off the sections and adding to them. I am also creating a growth mastery course to help people, which may include 1 on 1 coaching.
You are also an owner of a chain of 22 bars. What are the key ingredients in a running a successful chain of stores?
The key to running 22 bars with 350 staff is to lead the business more than manage it, think big, remove negative people, train people to lead, honest and open methods of operating. You have to adapt to the markets, think out of the box constantly to settle staff disputes, to adapt systems as we grow out of them, be a strong leader that listens and see the best in people and try to work around their weaknesses with other staff filling in. We have over 60 chat groups to communicate with each other between different sets of staff, a communication flow is very important, everyone relevant needs to know what’s going on. I am also a strong believer, if you are not growing, then you may be sinking, so I keep buying more bars for our group and we keep expanding.
As a successful Entrepreneur yourself, what suggestion would you like to give to aspiring Entrepreneurs?
My suggestions for new entrepreneurs is to not waste time with courses/university degrees. All you need to do is read books 2-3 hours per day every day and you will get so much value for next to nothing. People have spent millions in mistakes to learn what they are going to tell you in the book. I have over 600 books on my phone right now and I get through around 1-3 books per week, but I do cheat and buy them on audible, so I can listen while I multitask, we have so much untapped time that we can utilise, if you are a driver and you are looking to start a business, then you are in a very very good position to learn and do your homework. I see people that learn all day and don’t make a go of anything, I see people then learn nothing but only take action, but they are always successful. It’s important that you learn and take action. I am guilty of over learning and not taking enough action, but I have taken enough to get me to a good place. I am taking more action by writing this book and growing my other businesses.
In this Interview, Leading AI Expert Mariojose Palma Talks About the Evolution and Future of AI
Mariojose Palma is a Florida based Artificial Intelligence Expert. Apart from his expertise in AI, he has successfully developed software applications for his clients throughout his career. An advent believer of the fact that AI is there to change the world for the good, Mariojose has written a famous blog ‘COVID-19 scenario planning using Artificial Intelligence’.
In this Interview, he discusses in detail the application of AI in various sectors and what AI holds in future for us.
Mariojose, Thank you for talking with us. Kindly describe your journey as an Entrepreneur so far.
This great journey started at the age of 15 years old when I began designing websites and developing applications which could play my favorite online games and of course win my friends because while I was sleeping or studying, my computer would be playing for me. Since that moment without me consciously knowing, I was trying to emulate human behavior through a machine to get certain actions as a response.
Later on, I started to work with different companies in my home country Venezuela, where they had the need to automatize processes taking data from different sources and with that data have the application make different decisions on its own.
One of the most interesting projects I worked on in my US first years was to develop an application which would obtain and show cars and boats real-time data in a user-friendly manner to make better decisions. In that time, I formally learned a lot about AI and how to apply it in a large-scale project considering smaller time frames where we would make it possible to get real-time data in 300 milliseconds which at the time was considered an “impossible” thing to achieve.
Currently I find myself working as a consultant for several companies in the financial and real state fields most of the time.
They way we perceive AI and ML has changed rapidly in the last few years. In your view, how things have changed in the last few years.
In my opinion, AI has substantially grown in the past few years. It just didn’t exist before, as a programmer you were limited to certain conditioning elements (ifs and else) to make a software work based on the current data but that did not mean it was an intelligent software as we see it now.
It is incredible the high number of Artificial intelligence frameworks that’s been born and keep getting better in only five years like TensorFlow, Keras and Cognitive Tools from Microsoft. These frameworks help to a great extent to comprehend how to solve AI problems without having the need of diving in each and every neuron of the neural network. The way AI has evolved makes me believe that with today’s tools it is possible to construct superior and stronger solutions, not only for high-end companies but for everybody in a very near future.
How can AI revolutionize health sector? Do you see its potential in the fight against Covid 19?
It seem to me AI could be of great help in the health sector specially in the preventive side due to the large amount of data a single person can have, considering all the family history for example, it is humanly impossible to analyze all the data from everyone, that is the reason AI will revolutionize this industry satisfying the need for more accurate percentages and patterns. Imagine how helpful would be for health care providers to view on their screens the key points of the patient they are about to see, that indeed would help recognize patters of symptoms and catch up with any disease in its early development.
In the case of already existing diseases like Covid-19 AI would be crucial because as I mentioned before the large amount of data that needs to be processed in order to find the best solution takes a lot of time and it is just impossible for humans to do it faster, in the meantime people die, AI is going to be essential in the fight of viruses like Covid-19.
In your experience, which sector has best used the powers of AI? Also, what are some of the untapped powers of AI?
I would definitely say the automotive industry is one of the pioneers using AI since we now have self-driving cars available for the public to buy. Cybersecurity of course, implements AI to detect credit cards frauds based on the transactions data, to name one.
The education industry could take a great deal of advantages from AI taking into consideration each and every student’s data, how does he learn? what does he likes best to learn? which is the best way he learns more? Is he a visual learner? Is he a participation-focus learner? There are so many things to be considered so our students can perform at their best, therefore AI will be a teacher’s best friend in order for them to personalize education and reward each student the proper way to maximize their outcome.
There are concerns around how AI can be detrimental to certain sectors. Moreover, there are fears around the possible misuse of the powers of AI. Are these fears justified?
As every new industry has faced in their beginnings with difficulties due to the instant and natural rejection we feel towards the unknown, AI industry is not the exception owing to the apparent fear of AI overtaking most of our jobs, such as repetitive kinds of jobs where machines take over, this staff needs to reroute and find a more challenging job which the machine itself can’t do, for instance controlling or repairing the machines.
The dark side of AI is not the AI itself but the humans behind it. AI could be wonderful or it could be dangerous if it ends up in the wrong hands, what I mean is that the same AI used in cybersecurity that prevents a credit card fraud could be used to actually perform the fraud, “attack” applications, servers, etc. What’s more there’s something called “Deep fake” which is an AI able to make any public person’s face “say” what you want, with the person’s voice and expressions. The way it works is by allowing you to video tape yourself saying whatever you want to say and the AI will transform that into the celebrity or public person of your choice, as a consequence in the near future we are not going to know for sure if what we are watching was recorded indeed by that person.
What future Trends do you see in Software Development?
In my view the trends will be towards developing applications with AI to communicate with us as if they were humans too. For example, the bots used in customer service call centers which sometimes are helpful and most of the time annoying, in this new trend, humans are not going to identify whether they are talking to a human or a bot, making this calls a lot more satisfactory and keeping the wait times very low. On the other hand, the people working on call centers are going to encounter the AI threat.
What suggestion would you like to give to someone who wants to make a career in AI and ML?
If you ask me, I think anyone who wants to learn can do so, there’s so much information on the internet and YouTube, anyone could learn anything. I’m not saying you’ll become an AI expert in one day, week or even a year but you will definitely have a better understanding on AI. I’ve been working in the AI industry for over five years and I keep learning with every project I involve myself in and It excites me that there’s still a lot more to be discovered.
An Interview with Veteran Actor & Dancer Deborah Lee Fong
Panamanian/American actor, Deborah Lee Fong is known for her critically acclaimed performances. An entrepreneur at heart, she has over 30 years of experience in Acting & Dancing and has played lead roles in several movies. In this interview, she shares details about her career and her future plans.
Deborah, Thank you for talking with us. You have over 30 years of experience in Acting and Dancing. Tell us more about your tryst with Dancing and Acting?
I suppose it started with my first trip to Broadway, as a child, to see Oliver. I was intrigued by the production, the music and of course the company of actors who made me believe I was in a different place and time. In my heart of hearts I knew I wanted to be a part of that world.
My career has taken lots of twists and turns, and careers; life does that to you. I am fortunate and grateful to be where I am in my life. It has been a dance woven between familial commitments, maturity, and patience. You start out pursuing your passion and along the way, there are entanglements, not necessarily negative, just events that take you on a different journey.
I was introduced to the theatre through dance and drama at the Neighborhood Playhouse children’s program where I attended classes every Saturday from elementary school up until high school. I also modeled for the ILGWU for several years and had tremendous fun walking the runway with my mom.
When it came time for high school, I auditioned for the High School of Performing Arts on 46h Street in Manhattan and was accepted. High School was an incredible time – studio every day, meeting talented young people from all the boroughs. (I grew up in Queens so Queens was home, the other boroughs not so much, lol) We were teens, with all the angst and traumas of teen years and we were also neck-deep in absorbing the details and discipline necessary to nurture our interests.
It is a time I look back upon with great wonder and affection for the patience and wisdom I received from many of my studio and academic teachers. Nothing is ever perfect, and there were difficult episodes in high school and during my teenage years, in hindsight, PA was one of the best decisions of my life. The lessons learned there have served me well throughout my entire life. And, many of the friends I made in high school are still close friends today.
Upon graduating from high school, I had my eyes set on one particular school and they put me on their waiting list. I declined offers from two other very fine schools, and waited for the letter saying I was off the waiting list and on the accepted list. However, it was not to be. I was kind of stuck. At the time I received the disappointing news, I was in Mexico City visiting my father who had relocated t from San Francisco. So, I figured I might as well try university life in Mexico, I was there and it made sense to me. I was accepted into the United States International University – lived with my dad and my stepmother and siblings and started my college life. It was all academics, I did well but I missed the creative process, the daily explorations of self and creativity. It just so happened that my university had a School of Performing Arts (kismet) division in San Diego (USIU SPA). I auditioned and was accepted.
Apart from skill, your field of work requires perseverance. These days, how easy or difficult it is for young actors to get a break?
Talent abounds and perseverance is still a critical factor in pursuit of crafting your skills and having the opportunity to practice them. Focusing on a result, like “the break” can be frustrating and self defeating.
You recently appeared as Agnes in the production of “Secret Santa”. Tell us more about this experience.
Agnes is everyone’s office mom. Kind, sensitive, and just a little overprotective of her office mates. She is the person who calms bruised egos and builds you back up! I really enjoyed Agnes.
Urbanworld Film Festival is one of the largest competitive film festivals. How was your experience in the recently held Urbanworld Film Festival?
It was really terrific and very satisfying. Outstanding talent sharing time and space, what can possibly be better than that?
You have played critically acclaimed roles in several films. Which is your most memorable role so far?
Several years ago I participated in an evening of readings and I had the honor of reading letters from survivors of the Greenwood Massacre. I carry that experience in my heart and soul.
What suggestion would you give to young aspiring actors?
Advice is a tricky thing. What I want to share is that while my journey as an actor did not follow a straight course, I know that my heart never let go of the need to be creative. I found different outlets for that creativity and developed some new skills along the way. I think it’s important to remain flexible, receptive to new opportunities and trust your instincts.
An Interview with New York City based Instapreneurs Sydney & Ame
Sydney and Ame are young Instapreneurs known for their talk show ‘Sista Chat‘. In this Interview they talked about their show and shared their views on the ongoing situation in the States.
Thank you girls for talking with us. Your talk show ‘Sista Chat’ is gradually getting more and more followers. What has been your experience on Instagram so far?
Our experience on Instagram has been educational, uplifting, inspirational, and challenging. We have learned so much from each of the guests on our talk show called “Sista Chat” and we have been uplifted and inspired by their stories and by their guidance.
The challenging part about hosting our talk show and managing our platform is being constantly reminded of the racial divide in our country and the overwhelming existence of racism, hate, and bigotry. Thankfully, however, we are committed to sending messages of love and we promise to use our voices to change the world.
What else do you guys love doing?
We have been actresses since we could talk, turning any room in our home into a stage! We love watching YouTube videos, making TikToks, and hanging out with our family and friends. When the world opens up, we can’t wait to hop on a plane and head back to Mauritius or Seoul South Korea! Oh!! And we need to get back to Indonesia and Italy, too!
How easy or difficult is live chat vis a vis recorded conversations?
Going live on Instagram is super easy and convenient! We love it! We are excited to take our talk show called “Sista Chat” to a major network one day soon, but for now, we are loving our Instagram home.
Which has been the most memorable experience for you guys on your show?
Each and every one of our interviews is special. So it is difficult to say that we have an interview that was most memorable. But we were very touched by the vulnerability that Broadway star, Elijah Ahmad Lewis, shared during his interview with us.
What has been happening in the States is horrifying and encouraging at the same time as so many people have joined this movement. Do you believe that social media has the power to guide this movement in a positive way? If so, how?
What is happening in the States is absolutely horrifying! The oppression of Black people must end. And it must end now! Social media has the power to guide the Black Lives Matter movement, but only to a certain point.
We have to use the momentum that we are seeing online and carry it offline and into real life. We have to vote. We have to speak up when we see people who try to stifle and marginalize Black people. And we have to work for equality every day until it is realized.
What are your plans with your live shows and acting?
We have so many exciting opportunities in the works! We are working on expanding our talk show called “Sista Chat” and we are working hard with our acting, vocal, and dance coaches so that we are always ready to be back on set! Our dreams are big – bigger than we can even imagine! And we can’t wait to see what’s next for us!
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