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Russ: This is the BusinessMakers Show, heard on the radio and seen online at TheBusinessMakers.com. for todays last segment we're going to share "defining moments" from there of our favorite guest interviews. First of Project Runway winner, Fashion Designer and clothing retailer Chloe Dao. Her family immigrated to the US from Laos when Chloe and her 7 sisters were all very young. Her parents wanted all of the daughters to be Drs, Lawyers and engineers - so in my interview with Chloe I was heading down the path to try to find out what caused her to cross the chasm and become a fashion designer.
Chloe: I was still trying to be a good daughter and just study hard. I was a major nerd but I loved fashion at the same time. I actually wanted to do but I never really - I made my own prom dress in high school, made my little clothes but really just thought that was just the backburner. I really won't ever be in fashion. What really changed me is I actually went to University of Houston to study business marketing because, "Okay, I'll be a fashion buyer. At least I can get it in that way."
Russ: Right, be in the industry.
Chloe: Yes, in the industry. But, Russ, what really changed my whole life is watching the movie Dead Poets' Society.
Russ: Dead Poets' Society.
Russ: Wow, to follow your dream. Don't waste your life.
Chloe: Exactly. It's Carpe Diem and the theme is got to be more, got to see more and got to do more. After I watched that movie literally a week later I drop out of U of H. I'm think in the middle of semester or at the end. I'm not sure. Then enroll in fashion design at Houston Community College. I pretty much - that movie changed my life to just it's okay to just follow your dream.
Russ: That is so cool. Wow. That is really neat.
Chloe: A movie.
Russ: So you went to fashion design at HCC and I know from there eventually you decided, "I guess I have to be in New York City to do this," right?
Chloe: That's also a fluke really. I mean I met a classmate at a party in the summer and she's like, "Do you want to go to New York just to see how it is?" I was supposed to go on just for a weekend and the weekend turned to eight years. I just went, "Mom, I'm not coming home."
Russ: Next up Bennett Greenspan founder and CEO of Family Tree DNA, one of the world's largest and most successful commercial DNA testing companies. I asked Bennett what triggered the idea to start is DNA testing company, and here is his answer.
Bennett: Well I've been a Genealogist since I was a boy - since I was twelve years old - and I've picked up and put down my Genealogy and in 1999 I happened to find someone in a database who lived in Argentina with the same last name as my mother's mother's father. I tried to put those Genealogies together and I failed, but this was just about a years after the Thomas Jefferson study which showed that s Jefferson male had gotten one of Thomas Jefferson's slaves, Sally Hemmings, pregnant. And I said why can't I use the same technology to prove that these folks in Argentina are related to my cousin out in California?
So I called the folks at The University of Arizona and I asked them, would you do this DNA test? And they said no, we only do it for Anthropological purposes. I said that's fine, where can I go write a check cause I just want to get the answer? And the - the scientist said well I don't know of anybody who's offering this kind of test anywhere in the world, and then he said but somebody should start a company like this because I get phone calls from crazy Genealogists like you all the time. At which point I rushed him off the phone, found my wife and said honey, I think what my next business career's gonna be is doing DNA testing for the Genealogical community.
Russ: And up last, from last month when we had former Baltimore Raven and Indianapolis Colt defensive safety, Gerome Sapp on The BusinessMakers talking about his new start-up Flencr. He had just finished talking about the commercial influence that football players have in the NFL - even if you weren't a big time star. And he continued with this:
Gerome: As long as you were influential to a certain sect of people around you, that your friends and followers, and you had a platform to voice that, you can be valuable to a brand. So when I retired, I really got into social media and the power of social media marketing. By accident, kind of, my aunt got me a subscription of Entrepreneur Magazine and I soaked it up like â€"
Russ: She must have sensed something there in you, Gerome.
Gerome: I don't know what she sensed, but I'm glad. I mean, that was one of the most important gifts she could have ever gotten me, because it really connected the dots for me, being an ex-athlete, never really paying much attention to technology, or at least the intricacies of technology, and what makes it so valuable, and it connected the dots with that and my kind of fascination with influence. So, the more I learned, the more I researched. I wanted to really figure out a way to connect influence with social media marketing, and combine a business model, a hybrid model, that allowed brands to leverage the power of both on one platform.
Russ: That wraps up our defining moments segment and this episode of The BusinessMakers Show, heard on the radio and seen online at TheBusinessMakers.com.