Monday, December 12, 2011

Ali Rey Talks About Negotiation

Ali Rey is a young woman that owns her own video production company called Ali Rey Productions. The company specializes in motion graphics and post-editing. I interviewed her because she is experienced in the industry and is doing some of the same things that I hope to one day pursue.

Before she can ever do any work for a client, she negotiates with them the details and terms of the work that will be performed. After the negotiation process is through, she drafts up the final contract so everything is clearly stated and understood. Ever the urban professional, Ali Rey writes the contracts herself liking “to look at other contracts sometimes to make sure no useful clauses are being left out”. In the contracts that Ali Rey drafts, she always includes the price, whether or not she will be paid royalties, and some type of liability protection for the company. Also included in the contract, the client must agree to let her use any of the work that she does in any portfolio that she wants, including her website

I asked her if she can use any content on her website as objective criteria in the negotiating process? She responded “There is a special promotional that I offer to certain music artists if they show interest. This is where I work with artists who don’t have a huge budget and I do some promotion for them, in exchange for marketing opportunities instead of paying me any up front money. What they get is the opportunity to get exposure, and set themselves apart with better media than other independent artist for free at first. But I make them sign a contract that allows Ali Rey Productions to get a large percentage of what they make down the line. So the objective criteria would be the initial free production work”. Her website also allows her clients to view her work and request information. “The negotiating comes once I speak with them. The website lets the client know what to expect, and I can refer to the material on my website when giving examples of what I offer. But everyone has specific needs, and usually what needs to be negotiated are the prices and they are not posted on my website at this time.” Ali Rey is truly a woman that knows what she is doing.

Being in the entertainment business has allowed Ali Rey to learn a thing or two about the negotiation process. She never lets people use intimidation against her as a tactic in the negotiation process. If she feels that it’s not worth her time to continue negotiating then it’s just not worth her time and the negotiating ceases. Asked about some of the problems negotiating and how do you separate the person from the problem, Ali Rey said, “I just focus on my ultimate goal, which is getting hired. I try to see what the person or business wants, maybe something they are not saying, and persuade them with whatever is most important to them”. She goes on to note “If a client becomes too frustrating before any contracts are signed I will sometimes decide not to work with them”.  However, Ali Rey seeks mutual benefit in all of her deals and negotiations. She wants everybody to win in every deal that she does. “Everybody winning would include the client being charged a fair price,” says Ali Rey, “my company being paid, and the product to be good quality. This is what I hope for in every deal”.

With her passion, effort, and talent, I am sure that we will be hearing much more of her in the future and this is just the beginning for Ali Rey.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Keep Pressing On

With the many hardships people are facing in the current economy it can be especially difficult for them, particularly young people, to start up and run a business. Even established companies are dealing with tough times economically. In light of this unfortunate reality, the Small Business Administration and similar organizations are conducting initiatives and think tanks specifically geared for young entrepreneurs to gain an understanding of what is needed to sustain their small business. Going into business for oneself is nothing new, but many seasoned professionals and entrepreneurs suggest that instead of young people interested in getting a job by working for someone else, they should strongly consider the idea of becoming an entrepreneur and being their own boss. By young people creating jobs for themselves, they will also be creating more jobs in the economy because there are so many young people that are ready and willing to enter the workforce. Small Business Administration Deputy Administrator Marie Johns is a staunch proponent for young professionals doing such a thing. She and others believe that young people going into business for themselves can possibly play a role in reversing the economic downturn. At an event for young professionals that the Small Business Administration hosted, there were a number of young professionals that provided sound financial advice and other important information to aspiring young professionals.

Having a business of my own is something that I hope to accomplish one day. The realities people are facing can be at times downright depressing. A little motivation is needed to press on and continue in the face of bad times and this is a motivating factor. Hearing about their individual successes only provides me with more inspiration and determination to make it big and be financially successful so that I may in turn, impart some knowledge, wisdom, and advice to the next batch of up and coming young, urban professionals.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A New Brand

The Dangerous Negro label is a fresh concept to hit the world of fashion. With its uplifting and powerful messages that are inspired from popular culture, Dangerous Negro has struck a chord of empowerment for African Americans. The messages, images, and graphics on the clothing are different from the mainstream clothing of today. The trend in fashion now is “sexy” whereas Dangerous Negro is “smart”. Instead of making clothing that is belittling or degrading, like so many brands manufacture, Dangerous Negro makes clothing that incorporate positive messages and are thought provoking. This is a welcome sight in African American fashion where far too often the clothes worn depict negative images and there is a negative connotation associated with African Americans. Demetrius Walker, the founder of Dangerous Negro, has excelled in an area where many try, but few make it and truly flourish. Walker has embodied the essence of what it means to be an urban professional. He is young, fresh, gifted, innovative, passionate, driven, and unique. All of these elements add up to a successful entrepreneur.

When there are so many clothing labels in the fashion market and so many negative things in the public in general, it is refreshing to see the success that Dangerous Negro is enjoying. With the world in a time of economic hardship, and the United States of America in particular, Demetrius Walker has been able to keep Dangerous Negro financially successful and are currently in the process of growing the organization to include other ventures such as a record label to become more than just fashion. In addition to being the force behind Dangerous Negro, Demetrius Walker uses his success and accomplishments to talk to young African Americans about his life and the opportunities that are waiting for them if they go out and work for them.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Great Speech by Cat Laine

The TED speaker that I listened to was Cat Laine. The title of the speech is “Engineering a better life for all”. I found the speech to be rather enlightening and inspiring as well because she described of ideas so simple and in existence, yet out of reach to many, that can improve the quality of life for many people in developing societies. Cat Laine is a deputy director for Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group (AIDG). Working for AIDG has allowed her to travel the world and see things that not many people get to see and experience. Through these travels, she has seen the huge disparity between the haves and the have-nots. Cat Laine goes in to detail about how local communities in Guatemala and Haiti are ravaged by poverty or severely lacking in resources and infrastructure.

Philanthropy and charity are causes that I am deeply passionate about and I hope to one day be in a position that I can significantly contribute to the welfare and betterment of people in less fortunate societies than those of the industrialized world. I could tell that Cat Laine had the audience’s full attention because they were silent and attentive to what she had to say. When the camera panned to members of the audience, you could see that they were wrapped up in her speech. It was evident that the audience resonated with what she had to say. As a metaphor to help explain her story, she told about the Greek tale of Tantalus. Tantalus was a god who was constantly thirsty and surrounded by water, but as a form of eternal punishment, he could not drink any of the water. In some aspects, sadly, this is a reality for many people of the world today. In the plight of human suffering, there seems to be an indifference by those in power that can truly make a difference for those in need. Cat Laine illustrates how easily, with a little bit of foresight and planning, people can help impoverished communities and people in need of assistance. I think it was a great speech by Cat Laine and I will look further into ways that I can help or contribute to AIDG.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Self-Made Success

Tynicka Battle is a good example of somebody that is a self-made success. As CEO and founder of Think Tank Digital, a digital media agency, Tynicka Battle has worked her way to the upper echelon of the business world through hard work and persistence. I know how hard it can be for one to be motivated and stay motivated in the face of economic and career uncertainty. There have been times where I wondered if what I was doing at the present time would eventually lead to bigger and better things that would ultimately be more rewarding. Following the model used by Tynicka Battle, those interested in running their own business can begin to do so by utilizing some of the forms of new media, particularly ones geared toward social media, as a method to get their business off the ground.

By starting off small and focusing on immediate and necessary tasks, Tynicka Battle was able to expand Think Tank Digital into a larger company that specialized in other areas such as public relations and promotions, in addition to social media. Battle attributes her success to her perseverance, because not many African Americans, let alone, women were in her position, and she was determined not to give up in the face of adversity. Another reason for the success of Think Tank Digital is that it does not limit it’s scope or services to just the African American market. Think Tank Digital has effectively branched out to service and represent clientele of different demographics. This is a key element for any business. The ability to market to various audiences and not limit herself to the African American demographic has proved beneficial for her business. I like the fact that Tynicka Battle stayed committed to accomplish her dream not let external factors stand in her way of achieving them

The Atlanta Post

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Driving Force

A Driving Force

This is a great article written by Ronda Racha Penrice for Black Enterprise showing the collective power that entrepreneurs have in the United States. I feel that entrepreneurs of small businesses have a lot to offer the public and are a driving force of the American economy. The success of Tyler Perry is a testament to the hard work and dedication that many urban entrepreneurs have. Perry is an example of someone having a vision and the determination to see things through until completion. In the article, Penrice writes about how two-thirds, or 66%, of all businesses in the United States are small businesses.  Also, 75% of the United States Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is generated in cities. This is the essence of what it means to be an urban professional. Urban professionals are those people that are actively making things happen in their communities. With 84% of the country’s population in urbanized areas, there is an endless amount of talent that is waiting to be tapped in to. Urban professionals are a force to be reckoned with.

For African Americans, it seems like the city of Atlanta, Georgia is the place to be if you are trying to start up a business in an attempt to attain some level of success. I think the city of Atlanta provides an ideal climate for people of all ages that look to start their own business. Atlanta is a progressive city and has initiatives in place that can be used by many to eventually turn their ideas into small businesses, thus, allowing it to be a hub for many urban entrepreneurs. The growth that Atlanta has seen among businesses run by African Americans over the past few years is reason enough why it is central to the driving force by urban professionals.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Black Women and The Recession

The recession has hit everybody hard. The effect that it is having on the urban community has been seldom documented and this article here begins to shed some light on the issue. Black women, in comparison to Black men, have been acutely affected by the struggling economy. In recent years, circumstances have caused Black women to be the breadwinners and heads of households in increased numbers. This article struck me as particularly interesting because of the sheer numbers involved and the dynamics at play. Looking at the data it is shocking to see the stark reality that Black women face. In a two-year span, Black women have lost nearly 258,000 jobs. This number appears larger when we take into consideration that many Black families depend on the mother as a provider of income due to the absence of a father. The predicament is worse for the fact that Black women make 53.4% of the Black workforce and they are hard-pressed to find new jobs. These figures indicate just how important Black women are to the business world. Their impact is felt both at home and in the workforce. Women in general have been disproportionately affected by the recent economic downturn and the trend looks like it will last as long as the recession continues. There are a number of initiatives established aimed at assisting minorities find jobs, but there are relatively few that specifically focus on the needs of Black women.

For a real economic recovery for the United States of America, all professional demographics, including Black women, will need to be re-employed in the jobs that were lost during the recession. With cuts and programs being eliminated, the jobs available for Black women are becoming scarcer and the hope and opportunity for new jobs more grim. Maybe when the recession ends we will see a reversal in this trend and all professional demographics will be constructive in the workforce.