New Year Goals

blog Jan 10, 2011

With the New Year come new goals. In my last post, I recapped 2010 and, to say the least, I was thrown for a loop. I am trying to figure out what that big windfall means for my life, my business, and my identity. The fact is that my personality has two halves when it comes to my business. One half is a creative person that loves to write and just wants to focus on the creative side of the business. The other half is a hardcore business person that needs to have a plan and wants to know how everything is going to work out. I am happy to have both sides because I feel that it is necessary to be both creative and business-minded. I do not want to be one of those people who throws things against the wall and sees what sticks. On the other hand, I don’t want to be one of those people who is so married to a plan that I don’t see the opportunities in front of me. So much of my work is based on happy accidents.

There is part of me that does not like New Year’s resolutions...

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2010 Rewind

blog Dec 22, 2010

If I had to define 2010 in one word, that word would be surreal. It was definitely the most interesting year of my life with some of the most extreme highs and lows I’ve ever experienced.

In the middle of February, Rich came to me and said that he got a job offer. We discussed it for a while and I encouraged him to take the job. My thinking was that in order for me to get to the next level, I needed to hire a manager. So Rich took the job but remains my speaking partner. I hired my manager Kristi Walter in early March and we have had many discussions about where I want to go and how I want to get there. Meanwhile, my parents’ equity on the house was drying up in order to fund my company, which was tearing me up more than I can explain. I could see the day coming when I would have to give up on my dream and I was scared. There were a few bright spots. I got approached by Looking Beyond and they wanted to give me the Soaring Spirit Award for 2010. They held an exclusive...

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May I have your autograph?

blog Dec 16, 2010

Last Sunday night, the Cowboys were playing the Eagles and after the game, Jesse Palmer asked for the autograph of Michael Vick, the Eagles Quarterback. This whole week, the media has been arguing whether that was a good move or a boneheaded move. I personally think we should admire our colleagues; Vick is at the top of his game, so I see nothing wrong with Palmer wanting his autograph.

I have been wanting to write a post about autographs for a while. I guess now is the best time. I never understood the value of autographs. Is it an excuse to get close to somebody you admire? Is it something that you can put in a bookcase? When I was 17, I saw Will Smith in the mall and my mom asked me if I wanted to go get his autograph. I said no. I have to admit I got Pete Carroll’s autograph the first time that I gave him my book but that was on a football and somehow a football is different than a magazine or a piece of paper. I still have the football in my showcase and it looks...

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Technological Woes

blog Dec 09, 2010

I love technology. In fact, I could be called a geek. (And I have been quite a number of times!) I got a cell phone in 1997 before most people. In marketing, I would be considered an “early adopter” (look mom and dad that USC degree paid off!). Lately, I have been having some technical difficulties. I’ve noticed that all the new cell phones have either touch screens or tiny little keyboards like the iPhone or the Blackberry. I have a hard time dialing a cell phone with big old numbers as it is. About a month ago, I dropped my cell phone on the floor and when I went to pick it up, I ran over it with my 300 pound chair (not including my weight). I saw that the screen was all funky. (And when I say funky, I mean screwed up!) I put up with my problem for another month when I ran over it again. Now…let me explain. I’ve had a cell phone since ‘97, and never once ran over it. Sure, I dropped it a few times, but never ran over it. On a side note, I have...

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blog Dec 03, 2010

Lately there has been much news about the new TSA measures to make us safer and many people are upset because they say that it violates their rights or they’re embarrassed.  Yes, going through forced security is a hassle, but that’s all it is, a hassle.  Being disabled is a hassle every day...but I get through it.

I travel quite a bit and I'm willing to wager that there's a good chance my travels might be somewhat more involved than yours.  (Notice I said involved not harder.)  I’m telling you this not because I'm trying to elicit sympathy or make you feel bad for me, but because I want you to say to yourself next time you’re in an airport and frustrated about security and delayed flights, at least I don’t have to go through what the guy in the chair goes through. Another thing: remember, I’m Middle Eastern.  Strike two!

After I make my reservation, I have to call the airport and let them know that I have an electric...

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Giving Thanks

blog Nov 23, 2010 Rich and I had a weekly column on the USC football blog in the 2008-2009 season.  Every Thanksgiving, I would make a list of everything I was thankful for; it was a good idea then...and I guess it’s a good idea now.  So, I would like to continue this tradition on both Random Thoughts From the Chair

This year was an amazing year and I have a lot to be thankful for.  So without further ado, here we go:

  • Buying my first house
  • My amazing trips
  • The California Lottery
  • My Mom’s friend and co-worker Thao, who bought the lottery ticket
  • My friendships
  • The Lakers, who won the Championship
  • My new manager Kristi, who puts up with me every day
  • My award from Looking Beyond
  • DVR service “ one of the best inventions ever!
  • All my friends
  • My sister Sanaz, who gets to get spoiled
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blog Nov 18, 2010

If I tell you, describe to me spontaneity, you would probably describe someone who is always ready to do something like drive to Vegas in the middle of the night, which by the way I have done before. (I had a bad day, give me a break.)

I have a unique interpretation of spontaneity. I believe the definition of spontaneity is doing what you want, when you want, and how you want. Often times my disability forces me to plan extensively. My friends can’t just call me up and ask me to meet them here or there. (By the way, why is LA the only metropolitan city without a decent public transportation system?) Also, the idea of being spontaneous for me is just being able to hop in the shower or get a glass of water whenever I feel like. Every night before I go to bed, someone has to put a glass of water next to my bed so if I get thirsty during the night I don't have to wake anybody up. It’s like putting out water for the dog. In my creative work, I can’t always get an idea...

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blog Nov 11, 2010

In the beginning of any professional or personal relationship, expectations are formed. Once those expectations are formed, some of them may become persistent for future behavior. For example, let’s say a man starts dating a woman and for the first couple months often takes her out for one hundred dollar dinners. All of a sudden, one night, they decide to order in. No matter how down to earth the woman is, she will be a little disappointed. Not out of any snobbery, but because she is too used to the precedence of going out to a lavish dinner every week.

In business, it’s the same issue. A manager needs to be a little difficult in the beginning to set the tone of their professional relationships. It’s a lot easier to loosen up after some time, but it’s much more difficult to tighten the reigns once the precedence has been set.

At the beginning of any relationship, we all want to be the nice guy (okay, maybe not everybody). We want to show off how cool we are....

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THE VASSEGHI FAMILY STORY Love, Luck & a 175 Million-to-1 Jackpot

blog Nov 04, 2010

This week I’m going to do something a little bit different on my blog. My good friend and collaborator Jay Lavender wrote an amazing piece about my family.

Jay and I met through Dean Ellis at USC, who was a professor of marketing when I went there. I expressed to Dean Ellis that I wanted to write a book and ten years ago next month he introduced me to Jay. Jay is an accomplished screenwriter who wrote the 2006 movie The Break-up with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn.

So what happened to my family this summer? My mom actually won the California Lottery. It’s been an emotional roller coaster for the last few months. My friend Jay wanted to launch a company called ""> to tell stories through different media. When I told him about my Mom, he called his friend and said, I guess it’s time to launch the website. Last week he did it with an amazing story of perseverance about my family for...

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blog Oct 28, 2010

I love ribs but to be honest they’re hard to eat for anybody, nevertheless someone like me who needs assistance eating. Whenever I feel like ribs, I ask the waiter or the waitress if they could take the ribs straight off the bone. Most reply that they can’t do it. There is only one restaurant nearby that will accommodate my quirky need--that is Woodranch Grill. (If I’m going to talk about a good experience, I might as well give them a shout out!) Once in Vegas, I went to the Excalibur Steak House and to my surprise, they cut the rib right off the bone. The next day, I won quite a bit of money and went there again, taking three other people. In subsequent trips to Vegas, I went there again and again. One time I went there and to my disappointment, they changed their menu and they no longer had ribs, but I didn’t care. I was bummed...but it was okay.

In 2007, I took a trip to Vegas with 15 guys. And where, do you...

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