“Through hard work and never giving up. There’s always going to be rough days; the key is to keep on fighting and know that there are plenty of good days ahead.”
David Adelman is the Founder and CEO of Reel Tributes, the premier producer of high-end personal history documentaries. He founded Reel Tributes after his grandmother passed away, and his mom made an amazing film about their family. Prior to founding Reel Tributes, David received his Masters in Business Administration from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, where he majored in Entrepreneurial Management. David graduated as a Palmer Scholar (top 5% of his graduating class) and was selected as Wharton’s McGowan Fellow. He serves on the advisory board of Boston International, a nonprofit he co-founded.
Before Wharton, David was an associate with Charlesbank Capital Partners, a middle-market private equity firm in Boston. He also worked for the management consulting firm Bain & Company, advising clients in Los Angeles, Australia, and India. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Government, cum laude, from Harvard University, and grew up in Israel where he was the Israeli junior national golf champion. He now lives in Washington, DC with his wife Melissa, and enjoys playing golf and traveling in his (minimal) spare time. David is a member of the prestigious Young Entrepreneur Council and has been featured in Forbes, Modern Luxury, and several other publications.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on my startup, Reel Tributes. The company produces high-end films for families, organizations, and companies looking to preserve and share their history. It has been a great experience.
Where did the idea for Reel Tributes come from?
I was in business school last year when my grandmother passed away. My mom made a film to honor her, and when the family came together to watch it, the reaction was amazing. People were stunned and had never seen a documentary about a “regular” family like this. I immediately knew there would be a market for this, and went back to school for my second year to launch the company.
What does your typical day look like?
My days involved a combination of working on client projects and sales and marketing to bring in new clients and raise awareness for the company. No two days are alike, or boring, which is why I love being an entrepreneur.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Through hard work and never giving up. There’s always going to be rough days; the key is to keep on fighting and know that there are plenty of good days ahead.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Video. We’re only at the tip of the iceburg when it comes to video creation. As the technology continues to improve, more and more families will be able to create and share their videos.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I’ve actually enjoyed all of my jobs, even being a barista at Starbucks when I was 17. Working there showed me the importance of customer service; it’s all about being efficient and friendly.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
That’s a tough question. I don’t have many regrets (yet).
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I’m religious about responding to emails and phone calls in a timely manner. I find it rude when people ignore their communications. It sends a bad signal that they either don’t care or are too disorganized to stay in touch.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Anything in the senior care space. It’s a booming market.
Tell us a secret.
My mom may be in the Mossad.
What are your three favorite online tools and what do you love about them?
I love Google+ video hangouts. We use them for interviews and client meetings; it’s great way to see folks without having to travel.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Rework, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier. It’s a good motivator to get started with your business idea, even if it’s not 100% ready (Hint: it never is).
What’s on your playlist?
I listen to Podcasts all the time. My favorites are NPR’s Planet Money and ESPN’s the BS Report (Bill Simmons).
If you weren’t working on Reel Tributes, what would you be doing?
I’d be at another startup. I love building companies and products. There’s nothing like watching something evolve from an idea to reality.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
@ReelTributes – that’s us!
@TheYEC – a great community of young entrepreneurs doing amazing things
@JLin7 – Jeremy Lin is the real deal. And his tweets are entertaining.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Today, when I read a poll showing 50%+ of voters in Mississippi and Alabama still think President Obama is Muslim. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, but I prefer laughing.
Who is your hero?
Former Israeli president Yitzhak Rabin. He was a true hero who was willing to speak out for what he believed was right. I admire that in him and in many other strong leaders.
How easy is it for a family to create a Reel Tribute?
It’s actually surprisingly easy. We help our clients with every step of the process. It takes a few weeks from start to finish, but it’s a fun and educational experience for everyone involved. We also make sure it gets done; many of our clients tried doing it themselves and couldn’t get the motivation to even get started.
What do you do for fun?
I’m always looking for a new adventure. Send me a Tweet (info below) with ideas.
To see the article on the IdeaMensch website, visit http://ideamensch.com/david-adelman/