Austin – Gary Spirer, Author of Crowdfunding: The Next Big Thing

Gary Spirer – what do you think about life?

When I reflect on life, I ask myself did I live my life to the fullest and will I leave the world a better place for having existed.Life is bitter sweet.It’s not fair and full of unknowns and mystery. We all get dealt different hands and it’s what we do with them that makes for adventure and hardship if you believe in free will.

Somewhere, I don’t know exactly when, it struck me that you make a choice to be or not to be. The “to be” people have a zest for life. They face the slings and arrows of their destiny but they keep moving forward. They make things happen. They don’t have to be financially rich but rich in character, love and spirit. The “not-to-be” people somewhere deep within their psyche give up on life. They surrender. They are like Marlon Brando’s Terry in “On the Waterfont” : “You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.” The not-to-bes life is lived in a rear view mirror like Terry.

The question becomes when you look back on your life what are your regrets? We all have them. I would surmise that most of us probably imagine at times a life where we could take what we know now and again be 15 or 20 years old. But, since we can’t go back in time, it’s the regrets that our life didn’t turn out to be near what we had dreamed or expected. These regrets can turn into a sense of disillusionment. Our regrets and disillusionment become ingredients that we pour into the cauldron of our lives and mix with our courage and fears to forge our character, soul and being.

My litmus test is can I live my life with all its emotional ups and downs, all the hype, all the masks and still not be cynical? To me, cynicism is when life becomes a deadening monochrome. People exist only for their own interests as Thomas Hobbes describes in “Leviathan” and there is no social contract that binds together the community of man.
I feel you need luck in life and I am grateful that my luck is to be an optimist.I see the world through the lens of the glass
being more half full. Every time I have started to feel down someone serendipitously appears to guide me. That’s the Spirit that makes life worth living.

Can you give us some professional background on yourself and some of your accomplishments?

To the world, my life has some accomplishments: NYU Literature Award, Phi Beta Kappa, MBA Columbia University, Lazard Freres real estate affiliate, owner of Capital Hill Group (investment banking firm; FINRA member); one half billion in real estate transactions; capital-raising expert.

The real accomplishments that resonate with me: two daughters; a wonderful girlfriend; a mom going on 92; a passion for ideas; a desire to find patterns and principles that repeat throughout life; a semi-pro baseball player; a poet and novelist; and love for teaching others how to reach their dreams.

I often wonder about the road not taken. At NYU, I turned down a Wilson Scholarship for literature and I was runner up for a Rhodes Scholarship in Literature. I decided to go to NYU Law School. I left after a year and taught literature at Wagner JR High School (Upper West Side in Manhattan) for a year to kids bused in from Harlem. Then went to Columbia Business School (MBA in Finance) where I chaired the investment banking class and researched two articles – one appeared in Harvard Business Review since the professor for who I did the research graduated from there.

From business school, I went to work for an investment banking firm Lazard Freres’ real estate affiliate.I had the good fortune to receive mentoring from Andre Meyer, the senior partner and patriarch of Lazard Freres. Meyer counseled former president Lyndon Johnson and the Kennedy family money. His net worth in today’s dollars would be in the billions. Having learned money-raising,investment and business-building secrets from my mentor Meyer,I left Lazard Freres to test them out. Ironically, what I learned worked too well when it came to making money. Over the next two years, I entered two partnerships to syndicate real estate. Each partnership ended within a year. I made each of my two other partners way too much money. They decided I would leave them since my share amounted to millions of dollars-that was thirty plus years ago dollars.They kept my share of the money and interests in the buildings that we were to own together..

From those very difficult experiences,I found myself with little money and a young child crying in the next room to support. I borrowed $15,000 and put myself into the money raising and business-building business.

You wanted to become an author and we know your new book just came out shortly. Please give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline:

Title: Crowdfunding The Next Big Thing. Tagline: Money-raising Secrets Of The Digital Age.

Cover.4320408.indd

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

The audience are investors in early-stage companies and those seeking capital such as creative-types, small businesses, intra-preneurs in corporate America, small entrepreneurs and those entrepreneurs who want to create the next Google, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube.There are five major money-raising strategies laid out for each of these groups and how these strategies can be applied step-by-step to their specific needs for capital.What makes the book compelling is understanding how , when and why to use different strategies to get the most favorable terms from investors and what investors should look for to avoid being hyped or even defrauded. Then, readers learn how social, mobile and the web can be used to build traffic, audiences, influence, evangelists and a money machine that creates income and wealth by following the various models that simplify the money-raising mystique.

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

Crowdfunding covers the next big thing which is raising capital using the web,social and mobile. The Internet has transformed everything it has touched and will do the same for money raising. The next big thing is all the industries that will grow to support those who want to raise money from crowds. To succeed at crowdfunding, you will need web pages, copy, videos, social media, mobile and content marketing and advertising.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

The cover art shows all the different services and connections that make up crowdfunding and the winners get the thumbs up sign. During the entire money-raising process, you have a series of go or no go decisions. In the end, you need a thumbs up by either venture capitalists, super angel investors, angel capital networks or the every-day investor when crowdfunding equity is allowed to go live

What is your favorite part of your book and why?

I really like every part of the book. My favorite part was showing how all the puzzle pieces of money-raising fit together and which of the five money-raising strategies I laid out you should use-how, when and why. Then how money-raising works with social, mobile and the web. I reveal secrets of how the experts drive traffic, get sales ready leads for their products and convert to them to sales.I show how investors are also your customers and how to similarly target them,develop leads as to who they are and how to close them so everyone feels that they made a good deal

Give us an a few interesting facts about your book

Crowdfunding is not new. Neighbors came together to help each other and donate money and services to get projects such as homes built in Revolutionary times Crowdfunding was used to raise money for the Statue of Liberty. Crowdfunding in modern times was used by rock groups to finance tours.In 1997, a British rock band funded their reunion tour through online donations from fans. Inspired by this innovative method of financing, ArtistShare became the first dedicated crowdfunding platform in 2000. Shortly thereafter, more crowdfunding platforms began to emerge, and the crowdfunding industry has grown consistently each year.

Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

I have an eclectic background .I like to find repeating patterns and principles to model and simplify complex subjects so readers learn valuable short cuts. I like to take business and investment subjects and turn them into fun reading experience by adding a lot of stories and case studies. The novelist and screen writing part of me wants to make my books page turners as if you were reading a thriller. I have written a Wall Street thriller that I want to publish soon.Having been in the film business, I wrote it to be made into a movie.I love athletics and I have a passion for teaching.Giving back will always be an avocation.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

CrowdfundingTheNextBigThing.com, Linkedin, Facebook, EuroCircle.com or DilogR.com

What can we expect from you in the future?

I have written an entire series of courses on money-raising that goes into more detail on the current Crowdfunding The Next Big Thing book. Then I have books and lessons on business building once you raise the initial money or follow on capital via Series A,B,C rounds. I have raised over $60 million in equity directly from investors – $125 million in current dollars

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Share it with others so they can read it and make their dreams come true as well.

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

Publishing a book is a collaborative process that manufactures a thing in physical or digital form or both. The real challenge is having the discipline to test your idea/solution with potential readers before you write the book.The initial goal is to get their feedback as to whether your idea/solution provides enough value that they would purchase your book. Next, successful books not only have to be remarkable in all aspects but they have to be marketed strategically. Marketing is an ongoing conversation that you must initiate by creating awareness. I cover this within the Crowdfunding The Next Big Thing showing that marketing is really story-telling.To succeed, you must engage,entertain and educate. There are four levels of conversations or marketing strategies that you must incorporate into every thing you present. You must be an artist/designer and a scientist/data expert at the same time you find the right marketing messages , create your unique selling proposition and insert it to deliver successful presentations, pitches, campaigns and build a platform and a following

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Too many people think money-raising is creating a business plan. That’s the last step not the first step to get money. Crowdfunding starts way before you go live on a crowdfunding site.

What do you do nowadays and where do you live?

I moved with my Finnish girlfriend to Austin in 2009 from New York City – I am a New Yorker who decided to change his lifestyle. I was born on Long Island, lived years in Manhattan (last few years right across from the Lincoln Center), Westchester and a few years in Boca Raton. I really felt like I needed to have a little more relaxed lifestyle. Now we live in downtown Austin, about 10 min walk from Congress Avenue along the lake. Living downtown right on the water is the best thing about living here. If you ask my girlfriend she would say we work more than ever – writing a book, having a start-up software company etc. But we both like Austin very much and have met such wonderful people via EuroCircle. However, my girlfriend HATES the summers in Austin, she dreams about Finland during those super hot months in Austin (90s-100s in FA, 30s-40s Celsius) this past summer we went to her home in Finland. Her sisters, brother and mother are some of the nicest people I have ever met and makes me a very lucky guy with my family to boot.

Connect with Gary Spirer:

Amazon Kindle(and print): www.amazon.com/Crowdfunding-Next-Thing-Gary-Spirer-ebook/dp/B00HQ7JZOM/
EuroCircle members special offer: 40 % discounted paperback plus three bonuses (free S & H):
Get the Discounted Book Here

Update July 2014 – Gary’s new ebook Crowdfunding: The Winning Formula on Amazon (introduction to raising capital/crowdfunding)
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/garyspirer
Facebook: www.facebook.com/garyspirer
Company website: www.Dilogr.com

Article: Wall Street Journal: Real-Estate Crowdfunding Finds Its Footing April 14 2014