Jonathan Aberman’s golden rules to become a successful entrepreneur!

Jonathan Aberman is the current Dean and Professor of Practice at the School of Business and Technology at Marymount University. Over the course of Jonathan’s life, he has experiences as a venture capitalist, lawyer, investment banker and entrepreneur. As an expert in the intersection of innovation, entrepreneurship and policies, Jonathan shared with us the most important advice to anyone entering the entrepreneurial world. 

From an early age, Aberman always knew that he wanted to make a difference. Against a template of wanting to make a difference, wanting to be in charge of his own destiny, Aberman has ended up where he is today as someone who has a myriad of professional expertise. While, Aberman’s life might seem like a linear progression, he is quick to assert that rather ‘life is a random walk.’ At best, there are north stars, long-term goals or things that drive you. 

Aberman’s perspective on career progression:

  1. He believes that the 20’s and 30’s are about creating core competencies; within Aberman’s career his focus was on financial transactions, law and how businesses work. 
  1. The next period of life, the 40’s and 50’s are about driving the core competencies to a position of prominence. 
  1. Finally, the 60’s and 70’s are about living on and passing on all of this to another generation.

If you want to move forward in life and accomplish your goals, you must learn to develop the necessary skills.

Is there ever an age where it is too early to become an entrepreneur?

When you ask the question of what age you can become an entrepreneur, you are missing the point. Aberman states that an entrepreneur is a person who has the skills and the passion to wake up every morning and challenge the status quo. If you feel the need to ask the question, then you most likely are not an entrepreneur. 

Aberman’s golden rules to becoming a successful entrepreneur

  • The winning strategy → the extent to which you go to get your own way.   
  • A self-starter skill set that consists of resilience, courage and optimism. Self-directed
  • Entrepreneurs grow through failure. People learn through adversity, this is because it forces them to confront why they are failing.
  • Although most successful entrepreneurs won’t admit it, the dirty secret to anyone’s success is luck.

Entrepreneurship is all about self determination, it’s about autonomy. If you are going to do it, you have to be self-aware. This strong inner drive will help him/her succeed in every realm of life.

What piece of advice would you give to students if you could?

Figure out what makes you happy as a person. Once you master this, you will become happier and more successful.  

‘You can’t control whether you will be rich in life, that is a function of luck. You can control whether or not you like the journey’

Jonathan Aberman

Shaun Gold: Serial Entrepreneurship and Admitting To Failure

Listen to the podcast

Shaun Gold, currently based in Miami, is a serial entrepreneur, bestselling author and a guest speaker. Shaun is involved in many other things in his life which makes him the ultimate guest to give advice on finding a pathway and dealing with rejection.

Shaun started off the interview with exploring the question “What comes first?”, comparing it to the scenario of the chicken and the egg. Shaun cannot pinpoint a time in his life when everything started taking off. In many cases, an entrepreneur and the drive comes with the person, so Shaun has always had this passion and drive.

Shaun was very popular for his work in the Miami party scene. He was coordinating and hosting events of all different scales, locations and times of days. He worked in this scene for 15 years starting at the age of 17. You can find out more about his adventures and stories from the Miami nightlife through his books:

Shaun’s experiences led him to create the YouTopian Journey, which is the first comic book for mental health, self-improvement, and self-help. It is read by founders, investors, and dreamers from around the world. You can sign up to the free substack here.

  1. Don’t be scared of failure – something great might come around if you let go of the familiar. 
  1. Jump into new opportunities – don’t try to find mentors or guidance, it will come to you through networking and exploration. “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear…” – Lao Tzu
  1. Choose growth over safety –  being an outsider and observing patterns is very helpful to leaping in and going out of your comfort zone.

Mentioning Shaun’s writing, it is focused on entrepreneurship, building ideas and networking. In one of his books he talks about ideas and the lack of them in modern day society. People tend to box themselves and try to fit into categories that tend to not diversify themselves because they are afraid. Social media is fake and that one idea you have, can give you the life you dream of.

What piece of advice would you give to young students if you could?

Be bold! Go after what you want to go after.

‘Don’t box yourself’

Steven D. Lavine on building resilience and being bold in the arts

Steven D. Lavine is the former President of the California Institute of the Arts and he is currently the chairman of the American advisory board of the Thomas Mann House. 

The interview covered a wide range of topics, including Lavine’s lifelong influences, the recent release of his new book Failure Is What It Is All About, and advice he would give to any aspiring artists.

Steven has published a book on his life, the influences on him, and the ideals that shaped his thoughts about what art should be. The book tells a number of essential anecdotes about on-the-job learning, about uncertainty and fear, and how we learn to deal with them. The book is essential reading for any young student interested in pursuing a career in the arts.

Throughout the interview, Steven offered a lot of advice to prospective artists interested in any aspect of the arts.

  1. Never let yourself be intimidated – remember many professionals in their respective sectors learn as they go. 
  1. Don’t get swamped by the noise – if you just do what other people do, if you follow the course, you are up against the crowd. Figure out what you have distinctly, that you can contribute. 
  1. Be open to the people around you –  be open to the influences around you. It will increase your capacity and capability if you are open to other people’s opinions and ideas.

Who were some of the most influential artists in your life?

Steven was quick to point out that all of the arts provide the same thing; a deeper understanding of human life. In addition to providing a deeper understanding, the arts also provide a spiritual uplift. Johann Bach, Bertolt Brecht, and even Steven’s mother were among the most influential artists in Steven’s life. Bach sustained him. Brecht, on the other hand, provided him with a socially engaged form of art, one that forced him to question his worldview.

What piece of advice would you give to young students if you could?

Never let anyone intimidate you. By all means, approach the world with respect. However, never waste your time by being intimidated. 

‘Art brings us back to ourselves’

 With art you can leap forward, and imagine what else is possible with the world.

All Things Journalism – Natasha Mascarenhas

Our podcast can also be listened to here.


Natasha is currently working at a tech magazine called TechCrunch. Graduated from Boston University, Natasha has always had a passion for writing so choosing her career path was pretty easy. She has done many internships and worked at different firms so far in her career.

Quick Summary

What are your tips on getting into a dream schools and opinion on university rankings?

Natasha recommends visiting the university before applying. Although she acknowledges that not everyone has the ability to do so, she believes that it truly helps in visualising yourself at the university and that visualisation can help a lot in writing your application. As for university rankings, Natasha mentioned that not getting into the “best” journalism school in the country was a blessing in disguise because she found joy and passion at school that inspired her. Rankings are subjective and mean nothing compared to your well-being.

How is the equality in the journalism space?

Sadly, Natasha mentioned that there is a large inequality gap particularly between men and women. She talked about her experiences with misogyny in the space and feels that there is a sense of threat that is felt by the men journalists in the tech space. Though her company does a great job with equality and practicing far treatment, individuals that work with her outside of her workspace tend to be rude and degrading.

What is the threat in “dumbing down” news?

This topic has been explored by many scholars in the journalism and media space. Natasha suggests that the sensationalisation and simplification of news can be very damaging to journalists as often there is a threat of having misinterpretation of information. Sensational headlines can be taken out of context so therefore, it is important to remember who your audience is and cater towards them depending on what kind of information they like to read. Wether it’s sensational headlines or long articles, a journalist needs to adapt to those needs and understand the audience.

If you could leave the youth with one piece of advice, what would it be?

You are your biggest competitive advantage.

“Be shameless.