Smolker Letter No. 10 “Entrepreneurship Is A State of Mind” (A Father’s Letter, dated September 21, 2012)

Smolker Letter No. 10

Entrepreneurship Is A State of Mind (A Father’s Letter, dated Sept. 21, 2012)

by Gary S. Smolker

September 23, 2012

September 21, 2012


Entrepreneurship is a STATE OF MIND.

An entrepreneur observes, comes across an opportunity (by accident or by design), recognizes the opportunity and seizes the opportunity.

That is what it is to be an entrepreneur.

It takes a lot of drive, ambition and self-confidence to do that.

You may substitute the words “courage” or “willingness to take risks” for the word “self-confidence.”

It takes a certain personality type to be an entrepreneur.

Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you will succeed in business, nor does it mean that someone who is able to lead a business to success at one point in the life of the business will be able to continue to lead the business to success in another point in the life of the business, nor does it mean that a person who is successful under certain conditions will be successful under other conditions.

In order to succeed the entrepreneur needs to have a host of talents, skills, abilities and good luck (be in the right place at the right time).  It helps to love what you are doing and it is necessary to be committed to what you are doing.  You probably need to be single minded.

Last night (September 20, 2012) I attended a fascinating lecture on “The Life of Business and the Business of Life” at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California.

The speaker spoke about the life of Andrew W. Mellon and fleetingly mentioned the life of his father Tom Mellon.

According to the story told by the speaker, Andrew Mellon spent the first 70 years of his life acquiring and accumulating a fortune.  He spent the rest of his life planning and giving away his fortune. The two high points of his life were purchasing 20 or so priceless masterpieces from the Hermitage Museum in Russia for $7,000,000.00 (sever million dollars) through the Russian government, setting up, endowing, creating, and making gifts of his collection of paintings to the National Art Gallery and putting in motion the creation of the National Art Gallery in Washington, D.C.

The speaker attempted to make the point that Andrew Mellon went from spending all his time in business to spending all his time in “life.”

However, at the end of his life, Andrew Mellon was prosecuted for tax fraud.

In the tax fraud trial the IRS/Justice Department claimed that the foundation/trust that Andrew Mellon set up was a hoax set up for the purpose of avoiding taxes in that Andrew Mellon’s donations of artworks to his foundation resulted in tax deductions which sheltered his income.One of the peculiarities of his purchase of 20 or so masterpieces from the Russian government was that he stipulated that he be allowed to have each “priceless” painting in his home (or wherever he wanted) for one year before deciding whether or not the painting was authentic and he wanted to purchase it.

Those paintings were not put on public display; they were kept from public view, only available to his controlled private view during the contingency period and after he purchased the masterpieces until the National Art Gallery was built. 
Although he worked on and created he National Art Gallery while he was alive, it was built after he passed away.

Andrew W. Mellon’s purchase of that collection of masterpieces from the Hermitage Museum’s Collection is considered the greatest art coup of all time.

To be continued.


—–Original Message—–
From: Leah Smolker <
To: Gary Smolker <
Sent: Fri, Sep 21, 2012 3:24 am
Subject: Entrepreneurship

being an entrepreneur is scary. It is scary buying and selling. It is scary thinking of losing a lot of money on an investment. I may not be smart enough to be Sheldon Adelson or anyone else.
I am currently listening to an interview with actor Will Smith. He says “Why be realistic? The path to mediocrity is being realistic”. It is true. Mediocre people are always trapped in reality.
Those are two scary gambits: on one hand living a banal average life and on the other hand, losing a lot of money.
I am studying on my own now why some businesses fail and others succeed. I read an article by one of favorite business-owners in the world. There was a store in Bangkok called “77th”. It is all hand-made one of a kind jewelry. In his article, the owner/designer says the trick to running a business is understanding your target and how to reach your target.
It is making me think. There are many poor Koreans who sell fruits and kitchen supplies on the street in my neighborhood. I think their businesses are unsuccessful because they are not reaching their target sitting on the street. I think the convenience stores in this neighborhood are a lot more successful. Asian people love convenience stores like no other.
BTW I think when you, Jason and I visit Asia, you should really consider adding Bangkok to the list. There are some incredible things there. Also, they are the one failed Asian Tiger. If you want me to explain what the Asian Tigers are, please feel free to ask.
I am also considering staying in Daegu for another year.
Mind is always tinkering,

About Gary S. Smolker

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY: No enterprise can exist for itself alone. Every successful enterprise ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others. Otherwise, it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist. Imagination, open mindedness and flexibility are the most important factors in unlocking potential. Those who embrace innovation, improvisation, continuous learning, time management, are action oriented, high energy, passionate, creative, purposeful and intense individuals are best equipped to succeed. We all have ideas and the ability to make progress by sharing information and our ideas and also by changing our ideas when appropriate. We should always be on the lookout for teaching and mentoring moments. We hold time like water in our hands; however tightly we clench our fingers, it drips away. But, if it falls on a seed, a seed may grow to become something that will have a positive social impact. PERSONAL INTERESTS: I have a passion to learn, to innovate, to lead, to mentor and to teach. I seek to write things worth reading and want to do things worth writing about. I enjoy (a) driving a fast car, (b) having intense conversations (c) teaching/mentoring, (d) reading and (e) being involved in productive activity. PERSONAL: I believe in cultivating and backing passionate people, innovation, and old fashioned good ideas. I love making human connections and spreading good ideas. I am strongly motivated to achieve in situations in which independence of thought and action are called for. PERSONAL GOALS: I want to live life vibrantly, to be as sharp as a tack until my last breath and to change the world by being me. My personal goal is to be fully engaged in life, to lead by example, to set high standards and to continue to amass firsthand experience and knowledge in all that interests me. PERSONALITY: I love fun and mischief. I relish absurdity. I have an irreverent, facetious and satiric disposition. I dread boredom. I have spent a lifetime reading. I have no bias against people who have lived successful and/or complicated lives. I write to release tension, to get things off my chest. SOCIAL MEDIA: I post articles on the "Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange" blog at, and "Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes" at I also post images and comments on Instagram @garyspassion. CONTACT INFORMATION: Gary Smolker, Smolker Law Firm, 16055 Ventura Blvd., Ste 525, Encino, California, 91436-2609, USA. Phone 1-818-788-7290, e-mail

Posted on September 23, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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