Last week I had the distinct pleasure of visiting with Mr. Rich Correll. Rich’s father, Charles Correll, was “Andy” of the famous radio duo, “Amos ‘n’ Andy”, which at its peak in the 1930’s was the most popular radio show in America.
To get a sense of how famous Rich’s dad was, in the early 1930’s Amos ‘n’ Andy had over 40 million listeners, at a time when the U.S. population was only 122 million!
So Rich grew up in the 1950’s and 1960’s surrounded by the movie stars of the day. His neighbor was Judy Garland, and a great friend of the family and hero to young Rich was Harold Lloyd, one of the most famous stars of the silent film era. As Rich tells it, Harold Lloyd’s Beverly Hills home was so large that “The Playboy Mansion could fit in its garage.”
Visiting with Rich at his home is memorable to say the least. And not just because he is an incredibly gracious host and wonderful teller of Hollywood stories old and new. You see, Rich also happens to own one of the largest and best collections of science fiction, fantasy, and horror memorabilia in the world.
And what a collection it is. From old school Draculas and Frankensteins, through Freddy Krueger and Saw, to Health Ledger’s famous Joker, Rich has it all, knows it all, and shares with great passion the history and importance of every piece.
Rich’s collection is so renowned that when he sometimes opens it for display on Halloween, more than seven thousand trick or treaters parade across his lawn. It is so amazing that he helps his good friend Hugh Hefner decorate his famous Halloween party with it.
Even better, Rich has an idea for a new business. And as a guy that hears a lot of ideas for new businesses every day, I can credibly say that Rich’s is a truly GREAT one.
And no, I am not going to share what it is, but suffice to say that because of who Rich Correll is and how he has lived his remarkable life, that he is the perfect person to pull it off. And I hope and believe that he will.
Now meeting with Rich got me to thinking about the big “why” questions of entrepreneurship. Why take the risks? Why put up with the hassles, the heartaches?
Well, to make a lot of money is more than a good enough reason for sure. And praise the United States of America and our way of life for the incredible blessing and opportunity this is.
But inspiration takes many forms, and I know that this nation and this planet depends upon the best among us, the most fortunate among us, to make this world more technologically fluid, more materially rich, more interesting, more beautiful.
And starting and making a business grow and prosper – whether it is a nice, little new restaurant, or a small IT business, or a really big and inspirational idea like Rich Correll’s, is the best way to make all of this good stuff happen.
And so I’ll say it – beyond making money, I believe that those with entrepreneurial gifts and ambitions should and must – risks be damned – be “all in” and use them.
Not an obligation from guilt, but one from possibility. Because if you, Mr. / Ms. Entrepreneur, have the chance to touch the stars and lift all of our gazes while so doing, then why wouldn’t you?