How I Learned a Great Business Lesson From Wesley Snipes

parachuteWhen I was freshly-landed in Hollywood and enamored by a number of my screen legend heroes, one of them was Wesley Snipes. At that time, he had been on a hot streak with hits like Major League, Mo’ Better Blues, Demolition Man, and Passenger 57. When his next film, Drop Zone, came out, I was living two blocks away from the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. On opening night, back in 1994, I made sure I was there. The plot of Drop Zone was simple and fun. Wesley Snipes and company needed to parachute into a fortress that could not be infiltrated by land or any other means. Read the rest of this entry »


The Real Truth About Suicide

Suicide can happen to anyone. Especially on the worst day of a person’s life. Experts, pundits, and all others who want to pretend that it is something that only happens to ‘other people’ say that there is a sickness or syndrome that causes a person to clock out. The truth… the real truth… is that the same person who made this claim is probably one step from the act themselves (now or in the past), but decided to mask it out of shame or superiority. I’m here to tell you that you need not feel shame about contemplating suicide, nor sympathizing for friends or family members who have decided to commit this ultimate act. Of course it is not a choice to aspire to make, or to be happy of the outcome. However, understanding the choice and sympathizing for those who consider or commit this act is most important to our humanity. Read the rest of this entry »


Bad Funny vs. Funny: What’s the Difference?

In the early nineties I drove from New Jersey to Los Angeles by myself in order to pursue a career in stand-up comedy and screenwriting. I performed my stand-up routine about a hundred times, wrote two screenplays, and produced a well-received short film called “Spytown”. During that time, I also pursued a career in the family business: private investigations. Turns out, I found myself making a lot more money catching bad guys than making people laugh. So now, fast forward more than two decades, I’m the CEO of a successful private investigation firm and still have the bug for being an entertainer. In addition to developing a few writing projects while running my company, I’m also in the Los Angeles comedy scene performing the occasional stand-up spot. Read the rest of this entry »


Why Reggie Jackson Matters Now More Than Ever

Growing up as a kid in Southern New Jersey in the late-1970’s and early 1980’s, I was exposed to some of the coolest athletes of all time through the local television stations in Philadelphia and New York.  I remember being in the grocery line while food shopping with my mother and, as any child, I was looking at the candy section by the cash register when I spotted the greatest candy bar of all time. Chocolate covered caramel and peanuts in an orange wrapper bearing the name and likeness of five-time World Series Champ and two-time World Series MVP Reggie Jackson. Still to this day, the Reggie Bar is the best candy bar I’ve ever had. Not just because those ingredients are the perfect combination of snackdom, but because Reggie Jackson was the first, and (in my opinion) only, personality in that era that transcended sports. One Sunday afternoon a pre-adolescent me was watching the kid’s television show The Baseball Bunch featuring the San Diego chicken. Read the rest of this entry »


Farewell, My Friend

In 2004, I was thirty-three years old and just lost my father to suicide. That next year, I went through a period where I was trying to find myself and, in doing so, made a pilgrimage to visit my grandparents and other family who moved to Florida in recent years. I reconnected with my mom’s mom and stepfather (whom I know as “Grandmom and Grandpop Peterson”), my uncle Dave Smith and his family there in Panama City, in the Florida panhandle. As my Uncle Dave put it, “This is L.A. Lower Alabama.” This trip was exactly what I needed and I was able to recharge my batteries and become centered again. I learned a lot about myself during that time. Not only did I refresh my interest in being a better man, but I also came home wanting to become a Freemason like Grandpop and Uncle Dave. During the trip, I learned that Dave was Master of his Lodge and Grandpop said becoming a Mason was the best thing he ever did. That pretty much sealed it for me. I’m going to be a Mason.  Read the rest of this entry »


Running Out of Gas

running out of gasI run out of gas often. Not figuratively, as you might expect from a post like this. Literally.  No kidding.  There is almost no thrill greater to me than seeing the fuel gauge blink for days. I believe, in life, that risk is the reward. Yes, risk is the reward, and I will stand by that. For many years I drove an SUV and had only a few days mileage on a twenty gallon tank. What a thrill! I’d run out of gas at least once a year and I’d love it.  Thanks to AAA, rescue was only thirty minutes away.  In 2007, I decided that my impact on the environment was bugging me.  I had just seen the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car” and decided to stick it to big oil. Read the rest of this entry »


The Problem With Hyde

One of the greatest reads in my entire life was Robert Louis Stevenson’s 19th century novella “Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde“.  In this, Stevenson tells the story of an attorney who is investigating the evil acts of a man who calls himself Edward Hyde.  The investigation leads him to find that Hyde is actually an alternate personality of his old friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll.  Since the publishing of this story, the Jekyll/Hyde concept is one of the most celebrated and imitated in all of literature.  This is because it is, in my opinion, the most relevant piece of fiction in all of sociology, psychology and criminology.  Ever. Without exception. Read the rest of this entry »


Living by Accident: The Philosophy

Have you ever wondered where your next meal was coming from? Or where you’ll be sleeping next month? If you haven’t, you may not be a member of the contingent who can understand this blog. If you can’t relate, please do us both a favor and tune out now.  If you are still here, and can think as deeply as required, let me fill you in on why I believe what I do.

I was born in South Jersey in 1970 and my mother committed suicide right after my eleventh birthday. I spent more than two decades trying to make sense of it until my father does the same. I guess to follow her down. I don’t know. But all I know is that, back in 2004, I was a man in his early thirties with major issues.  Again, no pity.  Just journey. Read the rest of this entry »


Rob’s Jobs Series: “The Seaver Method”

The Seaver MethodTom Seaver was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992 with a 98.8% vote on the first ballot. Even 21 years afterward, this is the highest consensus of all time. I know you’re asking, “Why does Rob Holmes, a private eye, care about a pitcher from the 70s in regard to being a private eye?” He was voted by his critics to be more qualified than anyone that came before, or after him, to be in the Hall of Fame.  Back in the 1970s, when he was at his peak performance, a reporter asked him when he decided to change pitches. His response was, “I throw the same pitch until it doesn’t work no more.”  This is the best business advice I have ever received.  Still, after many years in business:

1. I develop an arsenal of weapons.
2. I decide which one is the best, then prioritize.
3. I strike the first bastard out.
4. I keep throwing the same pitch until it doesn’t work no more.
5. I throw another great pitch until it doesn’t work no more either.
6. Repeat until the opponent is defeated.

In investigations, or even business, this is always the case. I’ve read books written by great businessmen like Trump, Welch, Collins and the like.  But the only thing that resonates with me is the “Seaver Method” that says sticking with what works is always the best thing to do.  No matter what the theory is… what works is all you know.  Keep at it until it don’t work no more.  Then move on to the next idea.  And so forth.

Here endeth the lesson.


Rob’s Jobs Series: “The Hero”

Living by Accident - The HeroAs children, and even adults, we follow our fathers’ footsteps and look to them for answers.  “What would Dad do?” or “Let me ask Dad.” are common things that may go through one’s mind.  Everyone who knew my father tells me how great he was.  He excelled at everything he did.  His personality was bigger than life and he was kind.  He faced adversity with a rare combination of ferocity and excitement.  Until he didn’t.  At fifty-five years old my father, my hero, left this planet on his own accord.  No.  He didn’t spring for tickets aboard SpaceX.  He drank a bottle of tequila and swapped an aspirin for a bullet.

I know I promised this to be a business lesson and I assure you I am getting there.  Many success coaches tell you to mimic the habits of successful people.  While I do not disagree, it is important to be selective with which habits you follow.  The author of Ecclesiastes was one of the wisest men in all of the land yet he had made every mistake a man could make.  How could this be?  If he is so wise, and his wisdom so valuable, how can he be this flawed?  Because that’s reality.

At thirty-four years old I found myself looking at a roadmap of only two decades with a not-so-happy ending.  I was in the same career path as my father.  My business was doing quite well and it was similar to his.  His industry peers were also mine.  Heck. I look like him and my waistline was headed in his direction.  I was all set until things started going downhill.  I was a husband and a business owner with a lot of pressures.  What now?  I started by telling myself that I needed to figure out what Dad would do.  It took me a few months to realize that wasn’t going to work.

When I was seven, my dad taught me to ride a bicycle.  I was scared to pedal without his hand on the seat.  One day, I looked back to see he was far behind and I was pedaling just fine.  It has been eight years since Dad let go of that bicycle and I’m still doing just fine.  We search our lives for heroes and father figures.  Many heroic figures chose to end their own lives with alcohol and a bullet including Ernest Hemingway, Hunter S. Thompson, Junior Seau, Kurt Cobain, Don Cornelius, Vincent van Gogh, Freddie Prinze, Richard Jeni and Jeret Peterson.

Heroes are like drugs.  They make you feel like you can do anything.  Until they don’t.  Listen carefully.  There is no one better fit to manage your life than you.  There is no one stronger than you.  So put on those shoes and stand the hell up straight.  It’s time to be your own hero.

Now I’m going to drink my coffee.