5 Decades Later: Who Inspired Me (Harry Javer) the Most. From Successful Top Entrepreneurs, Artists, & Celebrities that I have met with along the way
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Harry Javer's personal experiences from working with Frank Zappa, Peter Gabriel, Max Weinberg, Nile Rodgers, Mark Cuban & Tony Robbins. I (Harry Javer) have launched over 3,000 Live Events in my 40 Years of professional experience! I am truly blessed to be entering my 5th Decade and continuing to do what I love.

NEW YORK - DelhiScan -- It's been 40 years since I (Harry Javer) have stumbled into the live events business. 3,000 plus events later and I am truly blessed to get up every day and do something that I love. From producing rock concerts to Learning Annex seminars, to B-to-B conferences it's been a great ride. As I start my 5th decade in the business, I've been reflecting on what I've learned along the way from some of the world's top entrepreneurs, artists, and celebrities.

  1. Frank Zappa: In October of 1980, I (Harry Javer) worked my first show at Stony Brook Concerts. I was assigned to the work crew - the very bottom - which entailed laying down super-heavy soiled floor mats, constructing a stage, and placing folding chairs on the gymnasium floor. We were setting the chairs as Zappa did his soundcheck and he made a comment over the PA that it takes just as long to set them straight as it did to set them crooked and that he appreciated everyone's hard work to make the show happen. The first lesson learned was to take your time and pay attention to details. The second lesson was always to be humble and thank those that work for you because large events always take a village.  The fact that Frank Zappa even noticed the lowest level workers at a show is something that has always stuck with me.
  2. Peter Gabriel: By October of 1982, Gabriel was known world-wide having been one of the founding members of the rock group Genesis, and then as a super successful solo act. When he played Stony Brook, he wanted to enter from the back of the gym and walk through the crowd, and a bunch of us "house roadies" would help get him through the audience. As we planned it out in his dressing room, it was clear that Gabriel was very nervous and his bandmates were having a good laugh making fun of his uneasiness. I was amazed that one of the top performers in rock still got nervous before a show. It taught me that it's OK to be nervous before a show, and why it's so important to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
  3. Max Weinberg: Over the years, Max spoke several times at The Learning Annex. He is one of the classiest and hardest working performers I've ever worked with. He always tells a story about bouncing back after Bruce Springsteen broke up the E Street Band in 1989. Max briefly played with 10,000 Maniacs, touring on a bus and sharing a room. Then he took a gig as a backup drummer for the Broadway show The Who's Tommy. Both a big step down from Springsteen but at least he was doing what he loved. One evening, after the Tommy show, he bumped into Conan O'Brien outside the Carnegie Deli and it led to his long-running gig with The Max Weinberg 7, Conan's house band. Had Max not taken the job as the backup drummer, he would not have had the chance encounter with Conan. The lesson learned is that life comes with setbacks. It's not going to be a linear rise to the top and it's best to get out of your house and take any gig because it's going to lead to good things.
  4. Nile Rodgers. A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, three-time Grammy Award-winner, and founder of the band Chic, Nile is a music-industry legend having produced everybody from Diana Ross to Madonna to Lady Gaga. Over the years, he spoke many times at The Learning Annex and he always went above and beyond. Nile always showed up early and stayed late answering questions from aspiring musicians and producers until the wee hours. The venue would often have to throw us out because Nile wouldn't leave until the last question was answered, and the last autograph was signed. It taught me how important it is that when you make it to the top, you need to help others. You need to toss down the ladder and teach others how to climb up.
  5. Mark Cuban. By 2006, when he spoke at The Learning Annex, Mark Cuban was already a billionaire having founded and sold several businesses including Broadcast.com to Yahoo for $5.7 billion in Yahoo stock. Why would a billionaire like Mark take a night to speak at The Learning Annex? Well, when Mark had first started his computer business in the mid-eighties, we had given him the opportunity to teach computer classes at our Dallas school. He felt he was paying it back so he flew to NYC (on his Gulfstream V) to speak to our audience. Mark is also a big believer in lifelong learning and to this day he spends hours learning new skills and always honing his knowledge. Besides being one of the greatest speakers I've ever worked with, Mark talked about all his business ups and downs and how you have to be scrappy, hustle, and ABC - Always Be Closing.
  6. Tony Robbins: Tony is without a doubt the most electric motivational speaker of our generation. I've seen them all and nobody can rock an audience as Tony can. Tony is a perfectionist who insists that the sound, lights, and the venue are perfect. His team will do a 2-hour soundcheck to make sure of it. His message is simple...You can change your life Instantly if you put your mind to it. Don't play the hand you were dealt, instead, deal yourself a new hand. During these tough times, his message rings clear. I look forward to working with Tony in the future and having him at The Lodging Conference as the hotel industry can benefit from Tony's inspirational advice.
When you combine the stories above, there is a common theme. Work hard, Do what you love, Leave your ego at the door, Never quit, and Pay it forward by giving back. I have been very fortunate to make a living doing something I truly love. I've produced thousands of events and worked with some amazing people. From the folks who set up the venue to the hotel employees, to the CEO's and celebs that bring in the audiences, to my own team. I always think about the lessons that these people have taught me and the thousands of helpful hints I gleaned from being around them.

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