Having Too Much Fun To Retire
I have known Jerry Grossman for, gulp, close to 40 years! In fact, Jerry’s wife, Nancy, was the matron of honor at my wedding, so Jerry and I were close friends back then. And, we’ve managed to stay close despite an almost unforgivable sin committed by Jerry at his own wedding. As you will see from reading Jerry’s Three For Thursday below, he is a (very good!) keyboardist. So, Jerry thought it would be cool to write a love song for Nancy and play it at their wedding. Cool? Yes, for Nancy and the other women there. Not so much for the guys who could only hope to stumble through their vows at their own weddings!
In addition to being a musician, Jerry has been in the marketing/advertising arena for over 35 years, and he has been involved in the imaging industry since 1988. After working on a variety of accounts early in his career, Jerry joined his client, Nikon, as director of advertising in 1993 and held successive marketing positions there, including Vice President of Internet Development, where he launched Nikon’s original website, Nikonusa.com as well as NikonNet, which was the first photo-sharing site on the web. He completed his career at Nikon as Vice President of Marketing for Nikon consumer and professional products.
Jerry acquired Photo Industry Reporter magazine in April 2005, with the goal of creating an indispensable publication for the photo industry. Re-launched as Digital Imaging Reporter in 2013, the publication and its companion website remain leaders in the imaging field.
Here are Jerry’s Three For Thursday:
Make Every Day Different
Professionally, I try to do different things every day. In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief for my trade magazine, I also teach graduate-level marketing classes and run The Imaging Alliance, a trade association in the imaging industry. So, I’m fortunate that every day in my professional life can be different. On the personal side, I also try to vary my days. Playing tennis and golf and playing keyboards in a rock band certainly rounds out my life.
When I wake up in the morning, I think, “what am I going to attack today?” I’m never sure what I will do until I figure it out that morning, but when I do, I make a list, check all the boxes, and try my best to make certain that the list includes something different from what I did the day before. Being my own boss gives me the luxury of making my own choices every day. My dad always said to me that owning your own business is the scariest but most rewarding thing you can do. He’d be proud to see that I heeded his advice.
I am eternally grateful to my mother for ”making me” take piano lessons at the tender age of six. She recognized my love of music and paid the $6 per week for piano lessons, which is probably $50 in 2018 terms. I played in bands in high school, but life and kids took precedence after that. When I turned 50, I decided that it was time to start playing in a band again, while my fingers still worked.
Music motivates me. After playing in a classic rock band, I helped to start Thunder Road, a Bruce Springsteen tribute band. Springsteen is one of my music idols.
As a keyboardist, I love piano-driven music. Billy Joel has been my keyboard idol since I first saw him in 1973, and Roy Bittan, who plays keyboards for the E Street Band, always impressed me with his ability to blend music without being a star. I know this sounds crazy, but I literally had a dream one night that I started my dream band–a combined Billy Joel/Bruce Springsteen tribute band. I’m a little afraid to admit this in writing, but, combined, I’ve seen close to 60 Springsteen and Billy Joel concerts over the last 40 years or so. So, I started calling and texting all the friends I always wanted to play music with, including a high school friend I last played in a band with in 1974, and asked them all to join the band! It’s kind of a “Jerry, this is your life” band, but I haven’t had this much fun in years! The band is called “Billy and the Boss.” It was something I needed to do and I’m literally following my dream. What are the things you dream about but never really follow through on? My advice: go for it and make it your own!
Some people say it’s a cliché, but to me it’s not. My family is top of the list. I am so fortunate to have met my wife, Nancy, when I was 19 and I’m still inspired by her every day. We’ve been married for 36 years and I think the key to our successful marriage is that we’ve always respected and admired each other. As we’re now empty nesters, I think it’s important to travel more while we can. We just took a fabulous family trip to Iceland with our kids, Ally, who is 31, and Zach, who is 25. I know it’s very likely that the time will come when they will have families of their own and in-laws that we’ll compete with for their attention. I also recognize that there may be a small window right now where it can still be just the four of us, and I cherish those moments.
One for the Road…Have Fun
People ask me, “Now that you’re 61, are you going to retire?” I always answer – “I don’t work hard enough to retire.” I feel that way because I’m having fun and I intend on keeping it fun for as long as possible. Make every day different, keep following your dreams, and when you wake up, write it down and make it happen!
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