Billy Warden: Boss Moves and Relaxing Tunes with Triangle Entrepreneur Christopher Gergen
Editor’s note: bowl Director is a writer, marketing director and multimedia producer based in the Research Triangle, where he co-founded the public relations agency GBW Strategies. He is now a regular WRAL TechWire contributor. His columns appear on Mondays.
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Entrepreneur and author Christopher Gergen is a man on a mission. His Forward impact the board and investment fund work to address systemic economic inequalities. His Raleigh Foundation The coworking company is home to entrepreneurs in Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Yanceyville, and Greenville, SC. And his pop culture playlist here will have you making a difference through everything from songs to dressing.
I met Christopher over a decade ago when we were working on different projects both aimed at boosting the region’s startup scene. There is a firelighter left. Anyone who can go from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” to Chance the Rapper without missing a beat deserves a listen:
Music to get angry? : I have an eclectic musical taste. So when I go on stage to give a talk: “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons. Get in a good mood: “Beautiful Day” by Bill Withers. Cooking a good meal for family and friends: Grateful Dead. Ready to dance: mix of Bob Moses or a little reggae.
Music to relax and unwind? : I like deep house and chill electronic music. I also do a lot of yoga and I have a great electronic chill track that I listen to on Spotify.
Favorite movies and TV shows with a business lesson to teach? : just seen “Money Ball” which I loved and explains how an iconoclastic, data-driven approach can help you see things differently – and achieve outsized results with limited resources. My wife and I also appreciate “Money Theft” on Netflix – a super smart Spanish language show to stay several steps ahead of your competition.
Any books you draw inspiration from? : Victor Frankel’s book “Man’s Quest for Meaning” is a strong reminder of the value of life and its majesty. I first read “Strength of One” by Bryce Courtenay when I was living in South Africa. It continues to inspire and is at the top of the list of books I want our children to read. I also got a ton of inspiration from interviewing 55 business leaders for our book. “Life Entrepreneurs” and learn how they created extraordinary lives through alignment of values, intentional action, recognition of opportunity, regular reflection, and being surrounded by a “personal board of directors” diversified.
Characters with commercial wisdom? : “Whose Cooler Belongs” is a classic book on entrepreneurship, and the eight business lessons taught by protagonist Uncle Cleve are worth paying attention to. Jennifer Dowdna’s pioneering biogenetic work on CRISPR, as illustrated in Walter Isaacson’s recent biography, gives some idea of where this cutting-edge field is headed. And I loved Colson Whitehead’s new book, “Harlem Shuffle” featuring a scrappy entrepreneur trying to support and protect his family in the whirlwind of 1960s New York.
Favorite pop culture boss? : Beyonce immediately comes to mind as someone with enormous talent who knows where she wants to go and how to get there while permanently changing the status quo. Taylor Swift’s decision to regain control of her music by re-recording her masters is also a boss decision and will have long term implications for the music industry.
Favorite pop culture entrepreneur? : I am impressed with famous entrepreneurs who use their platform for good. Bono helping start RED in 2006 to fight AIDS and ultimately fund stronger health systems is one example (U2 remains one of my favorite bands after seeing them at my first rock gig). Paul Newman food products are always my first choice (and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” is a mythical film). A more contemporary example is Chance the Rapper and his support of Chicago public schools. In short, companies that are successful and do good are at the top of the list and so are pop stars.
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