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Reflections

So I get up at 4:30 or 5 in the morning, no alarm clock, I'm just up.

January 12, 1988|PERRY C. RIDDLE

Bob Rice got into business as a teen-ager producing "rockabilly" concerts in Cleveland, Ohio. After college, he worked in real estate escrow, then moved to the Silicon Valley, where he was vice president of marketing for several high-tech companies. Four years ago he gave up corporate life to be a consultant. Rice works out of his North Hollywood apartment.

I was extremely successful in the real estate escrow business, right out of the gate. I had all the right buzz words, wore the right clothes, the whole package. I knew all the bankers. One day my sister just looked at me and said, "You are the oldest 22-year-old I've ever seen in my life." And it finally hit me: "God, she's right. I'm doing what I was told to do. I'm climbing this ladder, and I don't even want to get to the top." I decided to follow my heart and get back into the music business, so I moved to California.

I had this knack of promoting products to consumers. I set up all these promotional campaigns to give a little twist to selling the product. Prerecorded tape grew into a major business, and I became vice president of sales and promotion with the General Recorded Tape Corp. Then there was the personal computer software division at GRT, pre-Microsoft and pre-Lotus, and the video game thing at Activision and Data Age. These were all major brand new start-up entrepreneurial situations.

Four years ago I decide to really make a change and stop becoming so involved in the corporate stream of things. I just decided I needed a rest.

What I did enjoy about all of those companies I worked for were the stages when they were young, when it was pure spirit, and there was a lot of energy. I decided to focus my efforts on individuals and small or medium-sized companies that have a great idea but don't know how to manufacture it and package it and price it and advertise it. I can really relate to their energy, their dreams and aspirations. They are really laying themselves on the line. I like that. I'm always for the underdog.

So I get up at 4:30 or 5 in the morning, no alarm clock, I'm just up. From about 4:30 to about 7:30 I operate on a purely creative basis, because that's when your brain is working best. It's not cluttered with the news and the traffic and all that sort of stuff. By the end of those three hours I'll be able to put some things on paper.

At 7:30 I'll normally get on the phone to New York, Chicago, and by 9:30 I'll have breakfast. I'm still in my robe. I haven't even taken a shower. I just wake up, wet my hair down, pour some coffee, go over there and sit down and just start working on all those creative things.

I go down to the pool about noon in the summertime and hang out down there until about 2:30 to clean my brain because I've done so much since 4:30. Then I come back upstairs and do administrative things and make all my West Coast calls. And maybe once a week I'm interfacing with each client. Sometimes I interface once every two weeks. That's my life style, and I love it.

The bad things are, you don't have a secretary. You don't have the corporate experts. As a corporate V.P. I'd call up finance, product development, market research. I'd call up anybody I wanted to. But here you are tapping yourself. And it gets real lonely. You don't have the camaraderie. Once the individual comes to you and says, "This is the idea, now make it happen," you're on your own. When you have a success, you don't have that fixed group to share it with.

It is so wonderful not to have to deal with political battles within corporations. Now I'm doing only the good part, being creative, molding products and companies. In corporations you are bogged down with the reporting, the business meetings, just telling everybody what you're doing rather than doing it.

I've really gone full circle. What I had in Cleveland with the concerts was a great idea. I did it. It was successful, and it was a lot of fun. It's always been the challenge of getting something new off the ground.

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