All posts by Jan Landy

Ramblings of a Successful Entrepreneur & a not so Successful Comedian as well as, a man amongst men and women.

Celebrating 15 years as SoundBroker.com

I am happy to be celebrating my first 15 years doing business as SoundBroker.com.

On Sept 4, 1998 (15 years) I Registered the name SoundBroker.com with ICAN and the rest is history. I want to thank all the people that took a part of our growth. SoundBroker.com is the original and will always be the first and since that day, I have lived with the philosophy : If you are not the lead dog, the view never changes.

Family: Blood is thicker that water, but then so is..

For the Labor Day holiday, I went on a trip from Las Vegas, to Baltimore, MD to attend my cousin's second wedding in less than seven months. But more on that later, for now I am just covering the trip itself.

First, I had to buy the ticket and as I was not sure if I was going that took me a good month to figure out. As this was his second wedding. His first one was on December 12, 2012. 12/12/12. And the second one to the same woman I might add was scheduled for September 1, 2013.

I live in Las Vegas, and the wedding was going to be in Baltimore. In flying across the country, you need to not only schedule your transportation, but you also need to plan your lodging. The lodging was simple, as with most weddings the Bride and Groom usually block off a set of rooms for the out of town guests at a local hotel, where all the relatives and friends stay at a discount rate. I didn't like the discount rate and it turned out that I did better y booking through Hotels.com. I saved 7 dollars and night or so I thought at the time. I highly recommend that you do not do that or you may not get your welcome bag that your hosts put together for you. It took some work and time, but I was able to get mine.

I left my office on Friday at 11:00 AM to catch 1:20 PM AirTrans flight. Despite all you have heard, about AirTran, it is not as bad as I was expecting once I got over the shock of traveling steerage class and not being able to pick my seat. The computer picks it for you. I lucked out, 17D. I got an isle seat in front of the emergency row. That is not good news, that means that the seat does not tilt back as to not block the emergency row. I thought I might be able to get myself moved, but that was not the case. Although by accident I sat in 17C. At the when I sat down, my actual row 17D, E, F was empty and it was a legit mistake on my behalf, even though, in seats A & B, where 2 teenage girls, sisters, I might add, and very thin. That was to make a pleasant flight.

As the plane was boarding, seats 17 D-F the flight attendant happened to be right there when the overweight Asian women took there window and middle seat, the Asian man who commented, ” I think that he is in my seat” the flight attendant responded, don't you want to sit with your party? He answered I do not know these women and he is in my seat (pointing to me). It bothered me that happened for a few reasons, one is I was happy sitting next to thin women so I could have more space in my seating area, where there is very little as there is, and secondly the nerve of her type casting the Asian man, and not type casting me with the thin women!!!! Where as it was impossible for me to be traveling with young thin teenage women.

Some how he decided to sit next to the Asian women and I had a nice comfortable space thanks to the fact that the one sitting next to me was so thin. One other interesting thing happened on that flight that fate took a role in. When I went to put my iPad in the seat pocket in front of me, I found the latest issue of the Robb Report that the passenger traveling in 17C from the previous flight left behind. Made me think, who would fly AirTrans and read the Robb Report????? Talk about a wishful thinker.

The flight left on time and took only 4 hours and 10 minutes, rather than the scheduled 4 hours and 15. But not worry, the luggage took for ever to arrive.

Caught a taxi and 30 minutes later I was checking into the Marriott Waterfront Hotel at the Baltimore waterfront district, Beautiful location. Right on the water, next door to the Four Seasons and upscale shops. Checking in is where I had my first snag. By booking through Hotels.com, I was not confirmed to a king bed. Reading the fine print, it said, something like Blah, blah blah, king or full size bed. Full size is really not full sized. Full size is really a single and for what I was going to be paying, I wanted a King. I got the King but I had to pay an additional $50 a night. Not sure if it well worth it, but I had a nice Jr. Suite which I was told goes for $450 a night, and I was no where near that, so I guess I got a deal after all.

Okay, now for the inner story of the 2nd wedding. My cousin an American, who grew up in of all places, Baltimore, MD married a Brazilian woman that lives in São Paulo. My cousin also lives in São Paulo. So they go married in São Paulo on 12/12/12 and because most of the family could not afford the the excursion to Brazil for the wedding, they decided to get married in city where my cousin grew up for those family members that did not make it to Brazilian wedding.

I do not have much family and after this weekend I would have to report that I am right. In life they say, that 90% of the people you know do not care one iota if you live or die, 3% want to see you do well and support your efforts and the rest what to see you fail and do worse then them. Most of my family fall into the 90% category, but a few of them are in the 3% and those are the ones that I was looking forward to see and spend the weekend with and now that I am heading from Baltimore to New York City on the AMTRACK, I am so glad that I came to this event. I had a great time and was able to bond with my family.

I also had a great business meeting with one of SoundBroker.com's major vendors so all in all this weekend was one that I will think back fondly on.

On the Amtrack, it seems that they lost power on the tracks in front of us somewhere outside of Newark, DE and the train is moving at about 5 miles an hour and has been going that speed for the last 40 minutes.

If you ask me what the highlight of the trip was, it would be a no brainer. Bonding with my 3rd cousins, Isabella and Sam. Twins that just turned 6 months old this weekend. I need to say, that I have no recent experience with babies of any age, much less ones this young, but let me tell you, these babies were great and I loved playing with them.


More to follow………

 

Money can’t buy you happiness, but it makes misery much more tolerable.

I remember David Lee Roth plagiarizing Errol Flynn by saying in an interview, “People who say money can’t buy you love, just don’t know where to shop”. Personally, I think that just sounds funny but it is not true. Sure money can’t buy you happiness, but it sure is better to be unhappy with money than unhappy and broke. I know I have been on both sides of that fence and make no mistake that I am much happier now that I have money, then when I was broke. I even wrote a song about it called “Broke as a bloke can be”. Maybe one day I will play it for you.

To clarify, I am not equating being in love to happiness, but if you are in love it can make you happy and true happiness, one can say only can come from within, thus money cannot buy you love, money can only temporarily rent it.

I have never really had a problem with money, my problems always stemmed from the lack of money or having too little money. Having too little money as I remember it, makes you become a juggler. And although juggling is the secret of life, I don’t like jugglers. I didn’t always feel that way, but somewhere in my past, I was in a talent contest at the Mayflower Theater in Santa Monica, CA and I came in second to a juggler and ever since then, I am just not a fan.

So now I am 62 years old and have been working for myself for the last 16 years and I have made a good living but not a Bill Gates type of living, I have enough F-U money, but not enough retirement money. I own a house, an office building, a couple of cars, a Rolex, a bicycle and iPhone.

All in all one would say, I live a comfortable life, with all the creature comforts that money can buy. You would think that I have nothing to complain about and you should be right, but I can find plenty to complain about. And that is the challenge. With the amount of success in my life, I should not have one thing to complain about, except taxes and corrupt politicians. It is hard to believe that I still find things to complain about. Does that make me a bad person? I think not.

I have been dwelling on this the last few days, because I have been depressed. Not the type of depression that will cause me to drive to the Grand Canyon and take a leap of faith over the edge, or overdose on Twinkies and run nude on highway flailing my body parts and giving a policeman cause to shoot me, but a depression that made me think just how lucky I am and that I have a lot of nerve to be depressed. Maybe it is good to be depressed every once in a while. Maybe by being temporarily depressed, I can appreciate how good it feels to not be depressed and to be happy for who I am and what I bring to the party of life.

Those that know me, know that my favorite expression (and the one I want to be remembered for) is “You Make It Happen!”. I like the way it sounds. It just flows off the tongue. It probably should be “I Make It Happen,” but when you say it to someone, you sound too conceded. But when you repeat and say” You make it happen” then it sounds great. Either way, we make happen together. And to know that I am associated with a great phrase like that and having a lot of money in the bank, gives me reason to live.

Although I have been married and engaged and have had numerous love affairs, I never had any children. Unfortunately, that is a regret that I have. A selfish person might comment “but look at all the fun that you were able to buy yourself not having to give any money to your child’s college fund or for that matter doctor bills, birthday presents and the lot”. It is true that I have traveled the world and have enjoyed the company of strangers everywhere I have been. I might not have been able to do that if I had a wife and children.

Now I think that the time has come for me to settle down and find a woman that I can love and be loved by. A woman that will take care of me and one that I can take care of. One that finds me funny and lovable and one that I find that funny and lovable. I think that is a positive and rather than look at it as if I where alone, I look at it as I if am between marriages.

I have always chosen to look at life from the perspective that the glass is half full and that lemon is best when it is lemonade. That “No” is a term of endearment and love. I’ll explain. The first word we learned as baby from our mothers is the word “No”. We are taught that word only because our mothers care about and love us. They do not want us to hurt ourselves. Okay it is a stretch, but it is true. Delusional, but true.

I have heard the word “No” my whole life and I am sure that I will continue hearing it until I can’t hear any longer especially considering the fact that I am single and dating again in my sixties and want to be in a relation with a younger woman that has a teenage or younger child. I know what some of you must be thinking. I know that it will take a special woman to find me attractive and lovable. I know that it will have to be a woman that believes that age is only mind over matter and if she doesn’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

I am a lucky man and that although I have felt depressed the for the last week, I am confident that it will be short lived because I have a positive outlook on life. I know that I make it happen. I know that I have a lot to be thankful for.

I wish you all the best and hope that your life is filled with as many things to be thankful for as mine, and if you find yourself depressed, remember the good things that have come your way and that nobody cares that you are depressed.

I will never have another affair with a Hollywood Starlet.

Read to the end to hear about my affair with a Hollywood Starlet…..

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If you took the time to do the math, you would easily figure out that I founded SoundBroker.com 27 Nov 1997 (16 years ago). That is a long time to do anything even when you love what you do.  Sure many of you have trees in your back yard that 100s of years old and I do not underestimate, how difficult it must be to stand in the same spot, without clothes, never to able to sit down, or for that matter take a break.  Fortunately for me, I have taken many breaks, not stood in the same spot for any length of time and changed my clothes so often, I have lost count.

When you love what you do, it makes it easy to get up in the morning and do it again. I love what I do and I can’t wait to do it again.

In our industry, you get to meet a lot of interesting people in your life some you do business with, some you do not. Some you bond with and some you do not. Those that you bond with makes all worth while to get up and do it again.

One such person, that I have had the privilege to get know and bond with is Lauren Harakidas. Over the last 10 years, Lauren has been with me as my office manager, bookkeeper, secretary, inventory manager, why she has basically done everything any employer would hope for in an employee and more.

As you might imagine over the last 10 years we have become family, so it is with sad heart that I have accepted Lauren’s resignation.  I know that she has also touched everyone of you that is reading this newsletter.  I urge you to reach out and wish Lauren the best of luck in her future endeavors, I am sure that if you feel like I do, she will surely be missed.

My life is going through a myriad of changes at this moment and I am not sure what any of it means, I just know that I am a winner and a champion and living well is the best revenge. I must say I do live well. However, on to the list of challenges I face:

1) After 61 years of next to perfect health and never having surgery before, on January 25, 2013, I fell to the floor in the most pain that I have ever experienced in my entire life.  The pain lasted until April 9, 2013 at which time, I under went a double Hemilaminectomy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laminotomy).  Now I am getting healthier everyday and I would say I am at 96%. Still have some numbness in my things, but I will take numbness over pain any day of the week, including today. Physical therapy is a wonderful agony.

2)  After almost 10 years living in the same place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, I find that my roommate and I have decided to give up our place. I am sad about this, although I knew that it was going to happen for over a year, I just didn’t know when.
3) I broke up with my girlfriend. Although she was imaginary, I can tell you the pain feels real, unlike her.  I alway have had a good imagination, but this time it had me going.  I am sure given time my mind will come up with another one for me, but right now, I need the time and space to heal.
4) Lauren quit after 10 years of working for me.  The change in the office environment, the time I will invest in hiring her replacement and then the training. I have come to terms with the training as, I am going to take on the training personally.  I have come to know myself to a point where I can almost second guess myself.
5) I will be going through a rebirth of sorts as I will be in the thick of training. I am actually looking forward to this as I am sure that will reinvigorate me to strive to make the most of what I have built and make the necessary changes to forge into the future.  What better way, then to go back to the basics? And with the training I will trust back to the basics.
6) I am wondering who is still reading this
7) The bank that financed my office building 5 years ago, would not refinance my loan and the balloon payment is coming due, instead they extended the loan for a year. That by the way is the good news, I am not in the street and they lowered my mortgage interest from 5% to 3.4% and that is a significant monthly saving. Here is the bad news, I did not want to go through the refinancing next year, so I applied for a loan with a different bank, one that I do almost all of my business with, they have my home, my car, my, my, my…. And it turns out although they approved me for a loan, the appraisal came out so low that and the interest raised to 4.5% that it doesn’t pay to move the loan. Very depressing.
8) I am getting older everyday and James Wood is dating a 22-year-old.
9) The NSA is monitoring my phone calls and I have nothing to hide, not like when I was in my 20s and living in the Hollywood Hills of California.
10) I will never have an affair with a hollywood starlet.
11) My dog doesn’t love me. No wait!!! I don’t have a dog, that must be someone else’s’ life. But why not keep in here for the humor.
12) Paula Dean is called out for being a racist, rather than for all the people she’s given heart problems to with the amount of butter in her recipes.
11) I need to save more for later. Did I tell you I am remodeling my house in Vegas and I am Rio?
My friend Peter, told me this week that when one door closes an other opens. So it is at a time like this when I am feeling down in the dumps and wondering what the future holds in store for me, I remember my Uncle Al’s words to me. “You are a champion and when a champion gets knocked down, he back up and gives it his all”.
The one and only thing that is certain in life is that our lives will not stay constant. We are born (no one knows why) and from that moment on we are on a path to die (no one knows why).  From time to time, there are moments of joy,  happiness, achievements, friendships, magic moments and myriad of other occurrences that for a moment or two allow us the opportunity to forget that eventually……
I ran out of room on this blog to cover the part about me and the Hollywood Starlet,  tune in to my next post.

My Statement of Life

In the last three months, I learned a lot about me, my life and the people and things that are part of it on a day to day basis.

My life and the life of SoundBroker.com are non separable. I love them both and do whatever I need to do to make both the best that they can be. I am honored that you are reading my words and even more honored when I think of the people that allow my staff and I the opportunity to assist them when buying or selling what it is that we buy and sell for them.

If there was only one thing (there isn't one there are many) that would stand out as the most important aspect of my life, it would be my integrity. Thus in turn my word. Without keeping my word, my life would be meaningless. It is because of that fact, I take the responsibility that I must safeguard the money that is in trusted to me and insure that the buyer gets what they paid for and the seller gets the agreed upon price paid to them in a timely manner.

Most of the gear my company SoundBroker.com sells is over $1,000 and sales can run as high as a few hundred thousand dollars. Or in other words, we are not talking about chump change, we are talking about real hard earned dollars. So it is with great pride and no hesitation that I can report, since the day I started SoundBroker.com in1997, that every seller has received their money in a timely manner. To take that statement one step further, when someone new asks me for references, my reply is for them to talk to anyone that they have respect for and ask them about their experience with SoundBroker.com. Odds are that if they are a player in this industry, they have had a positive experience with me.

So on January 25th this year, when I was physically brought to my knees in the most horrific attack of body pain I have ever experienced in my 61 years, thanks to two herniated disks in my lower back, I persevered and did everything in my power to maintain a sense of being, as well as my desire to rise above the pain and fulfill my obligations to SoundBroker.com , it's members and my staff.

The last three months have been extremely hard on my body and soul. I have learned many lessons and experienced the most trying time of my life. In and out doctor's offices, pain pills and the loss of my mobility, friends that turned out not to be friends, and the fear of the known and the unknown.

Throughout it all, I hung in there and now as the pain subsides and my life is returning back into my control, or at least back to the point of lack of pain on a moment to moment basis, I look back and realize that my focus on doing the right thing by my members never once wavered. No matter how great the pain, no matter how much all I wanted to do was go to bed and sleep it off, the fact remains, I toughed it out, focused, and accomplished my goal of providing the best customer service for my customers/members.

In closing, the number one reality that shone through this whole experience is a lesson that I learned ions ago, and that lesson of life is this: The only thing in life that we are in control of, is how we react to what happens to us. There was nothing that I could have done to avoid going through the pain and suffering, all I could do was react.

I am proud of myself for being proactive, positive and determined to get my health back while keeping my life's priorities in order.

Bonding at NAMM 2013

Had a lot of fun at the NAMM show and ran into a ton of friends and acquaintances that I have not seen in a while.  Although there was nothing revolutionary at the show, there was a great spirit of optimism that I have not seen in a long time.  I posted my photos (not a lot) to my FaceBook page, as I post everything that I want to share with my friends and the general public.

One thing that surprised me is how many of the vendors that I do business with so many of them had a both. And in years past, I cannot remember that many vendors appearing.

I was not planning on going to NAMM this year as I was schedule to be in Asia, but my trip was cut short. So, when I knew that my plans allowed me to attend, I called my good friend and mentor Albert Siniscal. For the last past few years, Albert and I have attended NAMM to together, shared the car trip and hotel room and give us the opportunity to bond as good friends hardly ever get the chance to do any more. If nothing else, that made the trip and all over my other disappointment of cutting my Asia trip short, well worthwhile.

If hanging with Albert and walking the NAMM show wasn’t enough, I was happy to hook up with so many people that I have know for years and getting to press flesh with them.

Another highlight of this year’s NAMM show was going being invited to dinner by Matt Larson of Group One. I have known Matt for years, I’m guessing 15, but we never really got a chance to have a meal together or if we did, I can’t remember.  This meal was exceptional, Matt took about 10 people to dinner with us to an exceptional restaurant The White House in Anaheim,CA. We sat at a long table and the food delicious as it were, just kept coming along with the wine and the interesting conversation.

I am not going to mention all of the attendees, but I did sit between Albert on my left and Matt on my right and directly across from, another person that I have know for and worked with for years, Doug Kocsis, of DK Capital.  The highlight of the evening for me although there were many, including looking at Sarah McLachlan at the table in front of me (at least it was her from the consensus taken at our table), hearing all of the great stories of all the talent people at the table, was bonding with Doug and Matt.  They are both truly intelligent, super knowledgable, hard working, compassionate about their lives, and really love what it is they do. I feel fortunate that I had that moment in time to share with them and everyone else that was at dinner that night with us. Thank you Matt. 2013-01-27 13.49.42 2013-01-26 22.28.50 2013-01-26 23.47.25 2013-01-27 11.27.53

The only bummer of the entire trip, was that when I returned home, albeit, I was gelling my hands with hand sanitizer constantly and washing them with soap every chance I got, I had caught the flu.  More on to follow on this as, I have been coughing so hard, that hurt myself. ….. Stay tuned.

Swimming with the Sharks

Last week, I did one of the most amazing things of my life and that was swim with Whale Sharks. They are huge. The whale shark is the largest non-cetacean animal in the world. The average size of adult whale sharks is estimated at 9.7 metres (31.82 ft) and 9 tonnes (20,000 lb). They are docile and gentle. But to be less than 6 inches away from one is an experience, I will never forget, as I will always remember those of you that have supported SoundBroker.com that have allowed me to have this opportunity. Image

SoundBroker.com turns 14 years old

14 years ago today on September 4th, I registered the domain SoundBroker.com. Since that day, I never once looked back with a regret. SoundBroker.com has changed the way people buy used equipment in the world. All of my competitors (including Ebay, which I don’t really consider a competitor) have copied some of my ideas.

Happy Anniversary SoundBroker.com may you live forever.

DropBox Pro all day, everyday for 3 months

I use DropBox all day everyday, If you want to try the pro version for free for 3 months, let me know and I can hook you up.  Below is the email that I received from DropBox:

Hi Jan,

We just wanted to remind you that you can give a free 3-month trial of Dropbox Pro 100 to anyone you’d like. It’s our way of thanking you for being a Dropbox Pro user :).

To send your trial invitation, head here:
https://www.dropbox.com/gift/send

Enjoy,
– The Dropbox Team

P.S. The Dropbox Pro trial invitations expire on August 30th, 2012.

What do YOU think is in Romney’s taxes that he feels it is better for him not to release them?

What do YOU think is in Romney’s taxes that he feels it is better for him not to release them?

All is fair in love and politics? It doesn’t matter if what Harry Reid said or did is wrong or right, he did it and there is nothing anyone can do about that.

I think the bigger point is why Romney thinks it will be worse for him to release his taxes than go through this insane demand for him to release them.

I think that we all agree that if he did nothing wrong then it would be small point that he paid no taxes or he has money in offshore accounts. After all even if you are poor you still know that the rich have better ways to legally reduce their tax rates. Who doesn’t know that Buffet pays less taxes then his secretary. Does anyone really care if Romeny paid less taxes then they did? I don’t.

So my question is to everyone, what is in those taxes that is more damaging to him than not releasing them and getting all of this negative media attention? Because the way I see it, if he can keep the message on the economy, he will surely win the election. Yet, he continues to let his failure to release his taxes be the focal point.

Just think if Romney releases his taxes and he has nothing to hide, he will make Harry Reid look more of a fool than he already does, and he can then define campaign with his message. Because if there is nothing to hide and he doubles down and continues to refuse to release them, he is not only a bigger fool than Harry Reid, but he is so stubborn that he is not thinking clearly.

So I am very serious when I ask all of you have commented so far, to reply to my question: What do you think is in those taxes that he feels it is better for him not to release them?