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Keen On

Keen On… Why Gang Members Make Wicked Entrepreneurs (TCTV)

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“So did you ever kill anyone?” I asked Ryan Blair, a former Los Angeles gang member who is now a successful serial entrepreneur and author of the new best-selling autobiography Nothing to Lose: How I Went From Gang Member To Multimillionaire Entrepreneur.

“No,” he answered, of course. But while Blair might not have killed anyone, he has certainly made a killing as an entrepreneur – forming his first technology start-up when he was 21 and currently running ViSalus Sciences, a high profile multi-level-marketing company. Blair’s savvy as an entrepreneur is articulated in Nothing To Lose – a self-help book that lays out the smartest route from the jail cell to the boardroom.

I have to confess that I was a little suspicious of the much-hyped former gang member and current Los Angeles entre-celebrity before interviewing him. But Blair turned out to be both articulate and measured – offering thoughtful advice to start-up entrepreneurs on everything from pointless business plans to “useless VCs” to not firing people quickly enough to why Facebook is in the same business as multi-level-marketing companies like ViSalus.

“Anyone can make it,” Blair writes in Nothing To Lose, Everything To Gain. Perhaps. But certainly listening to this wise young man’s advice can help even the most homicidal gang member make it in today’s wickedly competitive start-up world.

Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain


Did you ever kill anyone?


Why business plans are a waste of time


Million-dollar mistakes


Why multi-level-marketing companies aren’t Ponzi schemes