Category Archives: Events

Attending An Elton John Private Performance

A little over 2 years ago I attended a private charity fundraiser event which included a private performance by Elton John. This past weekend I got word that this event was being held again so I decided to go. Based off the PHENOMENAL performance and “fun-ness” of the event last year, I didn’t want to pass this chance up!

Last time I went, I actually had to duck out during the first part of dinner because there were absolutely NO seats left. However this time I was lucky enough to get a seat at one of the tables they kept for last minute invites. They brought in a 5-star (or diamond) chef to cook the nights meal, so naturally every course was delicious.

Another cool thing about this time around was I got to sit RIGHT next to the stage for the whole performance. As I was holding my camera up to record some clips of the performance, it dawned on me that I was watching a private show by Sir Elton John, sitting right against the stage whilst sitting right next to Lance Armstrong and a bunch of rich & famous in Austin. Just a fun feeling :-)

The Fundraising Power of Elton:
These events always have auctions, and this one was no exception. Each of the 8 items auctioned off raised several tens of thousands of dollars apiece, but that wasn’t enough. Elton John took the mic and auctioned off a private dinner with him for you and your friends in any of his homes in France, London, Atlanta, Paris….and the list goes on (He listed like EIGHT different places he lives).

They started this item at $10,000, and it quickly escalated $5,000 higher with each bid…quickly shooting up past $50,000, then $70,000, then over $100,000! It soon became apparent that three different parties were set on winning this private dinner with Elton John, so they all went to the stage to collaborate. A few seconds later, each of the three parties agreed to get their own Elton John private dinner for $150,000 a piece! That’s $450,000 for the Andy Roddick Foundation in less than 3 minutes!

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VIDEO UPDATE: 11-12-2007
Here’s a 1min 45sec video of Elton playing Tiny Dancer I took from the stage where I was sitting. I forgot to upload it when originally writing this post. I don’t know if the sound and picture quality captures it very well, but Elton John delivered a mind-blowing performance!

I’m fortunate enough right now to have people that know about these events and even help me get in. This event was pretty easy to crash since I was helped out and given the needed wristband for entrance. However, the end goal here is to one day be in a position where I can afford to donate $12,000 for a table at these kind of events. Obviously right now I can’t drop that kind of cash on a single event, but meeting people at these places might definitely help get me there one day.

And by one day I mean within the next two years.

Painting Address Numbers on Curbs

I’ve seen people do this all day, charge up to $40 per painting and do whole neighborhoods:
Re-painting the address numbers on curbs of houses.

I always thought this was a cool and easy way to make some extra money. So in some spare time this week I bought some plastic stencils (About $8) and some black/white outdoor spray paint (About $10) and decided to see how hard it could be.

I took the materials outside and gave it a rough shot on some newspaper:

It was a little messy, and I had to end up cutting the stencils apart, but my first painting came out alright. Not perfect, but alright.

I then started using tape to seal any loose areas of the stencils together, and I successfully made a semi-neat spray of the numbers. This isn’t hard stuff, but it takes a little trial and error testing.

I’ve seen lots of neighborhoods around Austin where I couldn’t find a house because of the lack of address numbers, think of what would happen if a police car or ambulance couldn’t find your house number.

Perhaps in the next few weeks I’ll give this a shot. I tried it out on some old curbage at my apartment complex, and it turned out decent….very rough….but nothing a little practice won’t clean up.

This would be an awesome way to make a good $100+ a day for a couple of high school kids or Boy Scouts. Actually, anyone could setup this little curb painting business for themselves and make a quick income!  It involves an easy service you can sell door-to-door that people will gladly pay for.

It seems everyone nowadays is talking about “Making money doing nothing” …..which is great….but making money from good old manual labor is sometimes very rewarding!

My first tries of the curb painting were a little rough, and I wanted to actually DO this door-to-door, so I bought new materials and made my own custom curb border out of cardboard I had laying around the house.  I was surprised how cheap everything was!  Altogether my total at Home Depot came out to less than……

GO TO PART 2 –> of the experiment (I did a much better job on my second tries)!

FacebookProfile Stats, Entpr Year, New Apt

The condo I was living in with two rommates was sold, and we have now moved to a college-based community of apartments like I used to live in. These apartments are great because everyone living there is a student of some sort, they have lots of great amenities, and best of all individual leases. This means if you have four people living in an apartment, and three of them move out, the last person is not stuck paying the full rent….just their share. This way I can be very flexible about my living arrangements.

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I recently followed an idea for starting a Facebook based site which offers Facebook Tricks etc, and it’s coming along nicely. I’ve been getting some decent traffic, up to 350 unique visitors a day and growing.

Right now the site is making less than $1 a day from the one Google Ads, but it’s not even been online for two weeks….so I’m not worried yet. A problem with Google Ads is they base the ads on page content….mostly Facebook talk. Needless to say the pay per click rates are low, even though I’m getting a lot of clicks.

It’s sometimes getting above 1,000 impressions a day, so I’ll start looking for other ad systems that pay higher rates for page impressions. Here are the stats from the last few days:

This is actually turning out to be a fun little project!

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Thanks to “Bob”, I was tipped off about the Austin Entrepreneur of the Year awards last week, and I attended the event with Kunal of Grade-A-Books. It was one of the better events I’ve been to, with a great pre-event, event, and after-party. Then later out to Downtown!

This picture is a good sum-up of the night!

Texas Film Society Hall of Fame Awards

This past Friday, “Bob” once again tipped me off about a great party. This particular event was going to have a lot of celebrities, film producers and a lot of high powered people in general.

I was informed the attire was “Texas Cocktail”, and I had NO clue what that meant. I played it safe and wore a tux, until I found out I was WAY over dressed. The bow tie came off, a few buttons were let loose and my wardrobe looked decent.

I had the chance to hang out with my friend N-a.te P a – ul at this party (He’s a college freshman and has already sold six companies….a whole post will go up about this guy later).

It was quite an eventful night, but some few major points:

I somehow heard Lucy Liu was in the crowd, and after dinner I actually went up to her and said, “Are you Lucy Liu? May I take a picture with you?” She gave me the COLDEST look and said, “I’m not Lucy Liu” and her friend sitting next to her confirmed her statement.

Turns out is was Lisa Ling from the show “The View”! Obviously, Lisa Ling is not a big Neville Medhora fan anymore. I’m usually not embarrassed easily, but I must laugh at MYSELF for that slip up :-)

In hindsight it’s clear to see they don’t look exactly alike…but it person in was deceiving!

Towards the end of the night me and NP happened to stumble upon access passes laying out on the tables. I got lucky and picked up an “All Access” pass which allowed me to go in the promo picture room with all the celebs and directors. It was surprisingly strict in there, the bouncers actually made someone delete two pictures from their digital camera inside the room.

Matthew McConaughey was there being inducted into the Hall of Fame, and NP and I went through a lot of crap to get this awful picture. We FINALLY got MM’s picture while he was ordering a drink. Long story short, Matthew McConaughey is an ASS. He’s also People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive.

I’m hardly in the picture. When he finally agreed to take the picture, he said, “Fine, but I’m not moving.” So far that night I had pissed of TWO celebrities, a new record.

Lyle Lovett performed that night, and we got a picture with him. His people were trying to get him out of the venue and told us we couldn’t have a picture, however he told them to hold on and took one with us anyway. He even talked to us for a little while. He looks a bit like a rooster, but otherwise he was a great guy.

The party was great, but the BEST part of the night was figuring out where the after party was! A little asking around got us the location, so we headed to Downtown. When we arrived, NP dropped a big name he knew personally which got us past the tight security. Surprisingly, it was at a 3-storey, private condo in the middle of Downtown Austin.

THIS is where all the fun and mingling was that night! Before we left, me and NP took some “Party-Crashing” pictures by the rooftop pool to remember the good times:

It was an awesome time. Of course I wouldn’t have known about it without “Bob”, so another great big thanks to him for another party hookup!

Meeting Michael Dell and Lance Armstrong

7:00pm my phone rings and “Bob” calls me from his regular hotspot, a swanky hotel, saying he happened to notice a large number of high powered individuals heading to the ballroom downstairs. Party crashing time. I took a quick shower, threw on a suit, got my roommate to tie my tie (because I still don’t know how) and drove to the hotel.

I met “Bob” in the lobby as dinner was being served. The place was packed and every seat was taken except at one table. We went up to the table, “Bob” did a little talking, and in an instant we were having a conversation with people we didn’t know, at an event we knew nothing about, and having a delicious meal.

After scoping out the room, it became very apparent that this was a big event with big people. In fact, while opening the bathroom door, I literally bumped into Lance Armstrong!

The event was in honor of Michael and Susan Dell for their philanthropic contributions. There were three billionaires in the room, the biggest being Michael. There was a movie about the Dell charity, several speakers and then they both gave a speech after being honored.

Michael Dell’s wife, Susan, is a tri-athlete and frequently goes bike riding with Lance Armstrong. Here is a picture of Lance, Susan and Michael together….well, their backs at least:

Later in the evening I got to meet Michael Dell, the famed founder of Dell Computers who started his company from a dorm room at the University of Texas. I talked with him briefly and found him to be a very approachable and extremely nice guy.

After the event was over, “Bob” and I headed back upstairs to the hotel lounge to finish up the night with an evening cocktail. That suit cost me $200 and the drinks cost me $25, but now I had the opportunity to meet Lance Armstrong and Michael Dell.

Thanks “Bob” for another great event!

Party Crashing Fashion Show

I was informed about another charity event where many wealthy Austinites would be Saturday night for drinks, a fashion show, dinner and dancing. I always jump at chances like this to meet powerful people, so naturally I decided to crash it.

Crashing this party was a little different because it was black-tie attire only and held at a secure venue. Three days before I had a tuxedo tailored at K&G Men’s store. The entire ensemble including the tux suit & pants, cufflinks, bowtie and cumberbund cost me around $200 after tailoring. Not too bad, especially since there will be lots of black-tie events during the holiday season.

Now that I have a suit AND tuxedo, I’m properly outfitted to attend upcoming events. Looking the part really helps when attending a fancy-shmancy party. When I was checked at the front of the base, they checked my ID, saw I was wearing a tux, asked me if I knew where my table was (I said yes) and they handed me a gift bag filled with Grey Goose, assorted bottled waters, pens and all sorts of other goodies. “Bob” had given me a table name to use, I was wearing a tux, sounded like I knew where I was supposed to be and acted as if I belonged there…and it worked.

I pulled up to the event, and my car was valeted because there was no self-parking. A photographer at the front entrance took my picture by one of three huge tanks, and I asked him to also snap a picture with my own camera:

I ordered a martini, Grey Goose of course because they were partly sponsoring the party and began to mingle. I found the crowd very easy to talk to, and striking up conversations was simple, especially since UT had just won a football game an hour earlier.

After cocktails, the crowd entered a large aircraft hangar (I think) which was converted beautifully into a large fashion show runway. There was loud music playing and the whole place had a very New-Yorky feel to it.

After the fashion show, which was actually pretty cool, everyone was ushered to several enormous and connected tents for dinner, dessert and dancing. There was a silent auction, a live auction, and raffle. The main prize for the raffle was one of three Mercedes cars. I found out the event was being coordinated by the Four Seasons, so it was very nice, and MUCH more elegant than the pictures show:

I knew a few people before I came to the event, but their table was already full. Also, my whole goal of attending this was to meet NEW people, so after some mingling with the crowed I was invited to another table for dinner.

After desert, coffee and some dancing people started to leave. The valet area was around several M1 Abrams tanks….I couldn’t resist climbing on top of one and getting a picture!

I left the party with several contact numbers, new friends, some interesting business ideas, a full stomach and having had a great time.

I must remember to thank “Bob” who told me about the party in the first place. He’s one of the people “In the know” about all these events, and is always gracious enough to inform me about them and help me get in. He also introduces me to his well-established network of friends and mentors, he’s a really great guy…always smiling!

Corporate Governance Conference

My attempt to crash the I C 2 Corporate Governance Conference was very successful.

I was tipped off about the conference by “Bob” on Wednesday night.

Thursday morning I whipped out my suit and headed over to the Barton Creek Resort and found the conference. Every single person in the room was either a CEO or member of a corporate board….and often times many boards at once. EVERYONE. In fact, “Regular” people weren’t even invited.

I purposely showed up 5 minutes late so I could rush in past the registration people. It worked. Everyone had huge nametags around their necks except me…..but it didn’t really cause any problems. I was spotted talking to some prominent figures, so no one questioned me after that.

I met tons of people there….and not ordinary people. When I asked “What do you do”…the typical response would begin with :
“I own…(insert big company here)
or
“I founded…(insert big company here)
or
“I am the director of…(insert big company here)

There were LOTS of very prominent figures present, but the most well known was Herb Kelleher, the famous founder of Southwest Airlines. I got to meet, talk and sit next to Herb Kelleher.

Not a very clear picture, but that’s Herb speaking.

Here is me (with the goofiest smile ever) with Herb Kelleher:

After he was done speaking, he sat down at a mostly empty table. I left my table and went to sit closer to Herb. I snapped this quick video to prove how close I was to him!

The rest of the speakers were great, but Herb was the BEST.

“Bob” and “Vinny” were both present at the conference. They are also both board members/CEO’s of very successful companies. I can’t give too much information about them, but both of them have companies undergoing extremely rapid growth. They are both very photogeneic:

The conference went from 10:00am till about 7:30pm. It was good food, good drinks, lots of mingling, learning and fun.

When I left, I couldn’t tell which car was mine. The Camry or the Mercedes SL500???

Well it’s Friday now. ‘Tis time to party!
-Nev

I’ve Got Friends In HIGH Places

I’m attending a Texas Entrepreneurs event this Tuesday when I get an offer I COULD NOT refuse…hob-nobbing with the WEALTHIEST people all over Austin…

…..oh yeah, including ELTON JOHN and ANDY RODDICK.

I rushed home, put on nice clothes and headed over to the Four Seasons Hotel where I was helped into the this exclusive event by “Bob” and a special access wristband:

This event was an extremely exclusive, private party hosted by the Andy Roddick Foundation. With less than 400 people, the group raised over $800,000 last night.

I had the pleasure of meeting Andy, he was a really nice guy with a really great organization:

The first hour and few minutes of the event was more like a bar scene. Everyone was walking around, talking, eating hors d’oeuvres and drinking champagne. Everything was FANCY. The food, drinks and even the bathroom:

Later on I got to meet Elton John for a little while and shake his hand. I didn’t get a picture, but after dinner and auction that raised over $300,000 alone, he began his performance for a very enthusiastic group of around 350 lucky people:

This performance was taking place while I was being served a six-course meal and “free” booze.

Elton’s performance was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. He got the entire room standing up and singing along. Someone then paid (donated) $19,000 to hear him sing Candle In the Wind!!

The room looked incredible as everyone held up candles during the song:

Click here to see a small video clip of Elton’s Candle In the Wind performance (1.3 MB)

SO. Besides me showing off the fun I had last night, there is a lesson to take away from this. MEET PEOPLE. Meet LOTS AND LOTS people. Network. If it weren’t for me networking, I would have just had a plain-old Tuesday night. Instead, Bob, who I met through networking, helped me connect with some of the nations wealthiest and most powerful people (I met TWO billionaires that night…that’s right…with a capital B).

Try THAT sitting at home watching TV!

Here are some pics of Elton mingling with the crowd (Courtesy of Bob):

Lots of people were wearing crazy “Elton John Style” glasses

If you’re Elton John, it’s hard to walk through a crowd without signing your name and taking a million pictures.

All in all, it was an AWSOME night. I got to meet tons of powerful and successful people, wine and dine, meet two major celebs and get more experience on how to “work a room.”

I almost forgot….Thanks for everything ‘Bob’! Its not everyday that I go to a party that requires a 4-figure payment and an exclusive invite just to get in ;)

Alamo Apprentice Results

The Alamo Apprentice event held by my Texas Entrepreneurs team, the Profiteers, went even better than expected.

We sold out the entire theater in no time and maxed it out till the fire code allowed, and set a RECORD IN FOOD/DRINK sales! We also sold movie prop bags for $8 each which sold out in no time also. The SouthPark Singalong was a HUGE success thanks to our great team.

The entire point of the Alamo Apprentice competition was to maximize our revenue, and we did that with flying colors over the opposing team. The lowest grossing waiter at our event sold 1/3rd MORE food and drink than the ENTIRE staff at the opposing teams event held yesterday!

Needless to say, I think our team won. We also had a very vibrant team which provided tons of great footage for the Alamo Apprentice movie being shown on April 30th. I turned myself into a walking billboard to advertise the event, and wore an afro wig just to gain more attention, but in the end it didn’t matter since we already had a sold out show.

This event provided real life experience (and tons of fun) that cannot be taught in a classroom. Texas Entrepreneurs will get 50% of the revenue generated from our event. The other team has to wash dishes.

Checkout a small video of our event. (Download Here. 2.4 MB). Warning: There is some foul language in the video. You had to be there to understand how much fun the audience was having!

Alamo Apprentice

I’m involved with a group called Texas Entrepreneurs which is hosting an event: The Alamo Apprentice.

The owner of the Alamo Drafthouse (A highly successful chain of movie theaters that serve food/drinks during movies), Tim League, is acting as “The Donald” and each team is overlooked by either “Caryn” or “George

Texas Entrepreneurs has split up into two groups, each with the goal of making more money in one night than the other. All meetings, events, boardroom meetings and shows are filmed at all times. There will be a movie made out of this and will show at the Alamo Drafthouse on April 30th.

I am on the team: The Profiteers

Our event is tomorrow. We will be hosting a SouthPark Movie Singalong (the craziest things make the most money at the Alamo Drafthouse). We are expecting a full house. Profits will come from ticket sales, props sales(for use during the movie), drink sales and food sales.

Yesterday, the opposing team (Dishwasher Productions) held their event which featured live music, comedians and a movie. We decided to sabotage them.
We scored 20 free pizzas from Gumby’s Pizza, 250 wings from Plucker’s, and gave out all the free food any ticket-holder could eat! This effectively reduced their food sales. Ruthless.

Today is our big event!