Monthly Archive for February, 2008

icondomz

icondomz

One of my good friends Dan Burdi started up his own business a few months back. He is selling protective devices for ipods. Not only do icondomz keep your ipods safe, but it is the sexiest cover I have ever seen for a portable electronic device. I am confident that Dan will be successful so I wanted to interview him while his business was still in its early growth stage. Here goes:

Interview Questions:

1. So Dan, tell me about your company?

iCondomz was an idea I got a few years back but never moved forward with until a few months ago. Making the decision to move forward with iCondomz was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I’ve been having a great time working to promote this brand and to get our name out in the industry. iCondomz believes that within the next few months we will become a force to reckon with in the industry and we can’t wait! We are just trying to add some fun to protecting your thingy, whatever it is.
2. What got you into this business?

I’ve always been pretty turned off from the other protective accessories in the market. I think iCondomz can add character to any device and our fans in general. Getting out in the industry and doing research has led us to believe that we can really make a real cultural shift in the way of electronic accessories.

3. How do you manage being a full-time student and running your own business?

I learn everywhere I go. Primarily I find myself constantly reading books and articles about business and other relevant areas. The things I’m learning for iCondomz is giving me the real world experience I need to comprehend what I’m learning in the classroom. I often refer to my calendar as a multi-colored death trap but I’m really only kidding. I enjoy being busy and always on the move. Life is all about a good balance of as many things you can think of. Beyond all of this my partner Justin is great! Justin has really headed up a lot of our marketing efforts and has great plans for the immediate and not so immediate future.

4. Who are your role models?

My #1 role model is my dad. My dad is an accomplished business man in the corporate world and has recently retired to do what he really loves…teach. My dad is a great teacher and has always led me to fight for what I believe is right. That whole thing about “life is all about a good balance of as many things you can think of” comes from my dad.

5. Tell me about your product.

iCondomz are fun! When comparing our product to our competitor’s we find that customers really like our brand name and quality. At this point we are just trying to give as many people as possible the experience of our brand; we have a good feeling they will prefer iCondomz above the rest. Our current product is just the beginning; keep an eye on the iCondomz site to see what else we release soon!

6. How did you come up with the name iCondomz? It sounds rather seductive, what a brilliant marketing idea!

I can’t say it enough…iCondomz is fun! I agree iCondomz does well for our marketing but beyond the business of it all I enjoy the reactions I get when I tell people the name of our company. I hope our fans get the same rise out of people when they tell others how they protect their device…its great!

7. I hear you have a contest coming up soon…

The contest is running now! It has been a great success but we want to get more people involved. All you need to do is logon to Facebook and search iCondomz, join the iCondomz fan page and you are entered to win iCondomz and/or a free iPod nano 3rd generation. The contest is running until March 15th.

8. Thanks for the interview, any parting advice for aspiring young entrepreneurs?

Read as much as possible and network constantly. Try to stay realistic in your goals but set them high and don’t let others bring you down. Network with as many people as possible. There are so many people in the business world that love to help young entrepreneurs; call me if you need anything too 516.714.3109. Thanks a lot for this interview Tom you are running a great blog here and I wish you all the luck in the world. Stay well!

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The Power of Plastic

Ok, I’ll break the trend of titling my posts with questions. As promised, on to my first financial post…

About a week ago I went into a store to buy some merchandise. I stumbled onto some great deals and ended up finding a great reversible belt, dress shirt, killer shades, and high-ball glasses. I was already to go and pay with my new credit card, but…. It didn’t work. I swiped it again…no luck. It had seemed as though my credit limit had finally caught up to me. I thought to myself, “ Ok, no worries, I have my visa check card to bail me out!” It didn’t work either?!? I was flabbergasted, millions of thoughts were racing through my head, nothing like this had ever happened to me. When the cashier asked me if she should cancel my order, I was totally embarrassed and skulked out of the store empty handed.

I started making some phone calls immediately after I reached the privacy of my own car. I wasn’t so surprised when the people at Chase told me that I had surpassed my eight hundred dollar limit by 78 cents. I know this is my first credit card but eight hundred dollars! Come on, am I still in middle school? The previous week I was denied a request to increase my limit to two thousand dollars. Yet the only things in my credit report were two college loans totaling less than seven thousand and I am told federal loans don’t affect credit. I also have recently graduated from college and there is a possibility that they may not of had this reflected in their records. Anyhow the denial was not too surprising, the credit crunch has tightened available credit for everyone including credit card companies. But get this, during that same call I was informed that I had a special offer. I was offered a Chase Platinum Visa with a credit limit of $7,500. I quickly accepted. After receiving my card in the mail I consolidated it and then had it canceled. Now my Virginia Tech card which had an $800 limit now has a limit of $8,300.

Example of Virginia Tech Credit Card

When I reached home I called United Bank to find out what went wrong with my Check Card. Someone from their fraud protection team informed my they had frozen my account because I received a suspected fraudulent charge for $9.35. Criminals like these sometimes charge a small initial fee and when they find out your account works they go for a bigger chunk. I canceled my card and went to the branch office the next day. I filled out a fraud affidavit and got sent a new credit card, unfortunately it takes ten day to receive it. I recently got reimbursed for the $9.35 that was stolen. Credit card and debit card fraud is a big deal, it happens to thousands of people every year and costs billions of dollars. The criminals who commit these crimes are hard to find and rarely get prosecuted. United Bank outsources its fraud investigations to a third party. I will be pleasantly surprised if I am ever contacted of the results of the investigation. I have learned that owning plastic can be quite powerful but with it comes with inherent risks.

Other fun credit card facts:

- It is difficult to pay mortgages with credit cards

- The black American Express does exist, unfortunately American Express is not accepted everywhere you want to be

- I can’t wait when the day comes when we can pay for all our goods using biometric scanners!

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What’s New?

Whew! That took awhile, I just finished selecting my job benefits. Explanations will have to wait because I’m leaving financial advice for the next post.

This post is just a brief update of what’s new in my life. Well I graduated on Dec 17th! It was…glorious! I dreamt the night before that I had actually overslept and missed graduation. Yes, in my dream I was running late and I couldn’t find a ride, so instead I tried to take the monorail. But Virginia tech doesn’t have a monorail! I think that’s around the time I woke up; I immediately looked at my clock and was relieved that I hadn’t missed it, but I was close. Fortunately, my friend Matt gave me a ride to Cassell Coliseum and I made it! It was great seeing my classmates and friends graduate with me. I have to admit that at first I felt a little gypped when finding out that a faculty member would be the commencement speaker, I was dead wrong. It was given by Dr. E. Scott Geller, Alumni Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for Applied Behavior Systems in the Department of Psychology. He talked about leadership from a human dynamics perspective. He used the acronym L.E.A.D to describe leadership and how we can become leaders, it was truly inspiring. If you get a chance check out the video!

Fast forward to January. I started off the New Year by going to see the Hokies play in the Orange Bowl. I received my job offer and accepted it on the ride down. It was a long drive but we eventually showed up in Miami. Unfortunately our football team didn’t show up with their A-game. From Miami I flew straight to Colorado on Jan 5th. Some of my best buds from my fraternity and I stayed in Breckenridge for a week. We had a sweet house with a hot tub and everything else we needed. It was my first time out west snowboarding and it was a blast! I took several lessons and improved my boarding enormously. We took day trips to Vale and A-Basin. The last day when we went to A-Basin it was the opening day of Montezuma Bowl, which expands the total available ski area by 80%.

After the trip I returned home and chilled out for two weeks before work started. Highlights included getting Verizon FIOS installed, receiving my first credit card, and watching the first season of Heroes!
Heroes
I started my job this past week. My co-workers are great and I feel that have re-adjusted myself readily. I am figuring out that eight hours of work doesn’t really leave much room for just hanging out. Nevertheless I am assured that if I properly manage my time I should be able to do everything I need to.

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