installation of high-volume transaction-based financial and e-commerce systems, as well as managing business operations and personnel for financial institutions and high-growth companies, such as Central Federal Savings, Great American Bank, Advanta Mortgage Corp., Alltel Communications, and the National Dispatch Center. Stationed in San Diego, Folsom holds a bachelor of science degree in information systems from San Diego State University and is a candidate for an M.B.A. at Pepperdine University.
Magic Johnson, Founder, Urbanmagic.Com On E-Business
I thought the Lakers ran a fast break, but I can’t believe the pace at which the Internet changes. The key in sports and in business is who you play with. You must have a strong team. In business, you have to have a strong team. If you don’t, you will fail. The great challenge [for e-biz] is that what you do has to be great, different. If the content is not fabulous, you’re going to lose right out of the box. There are a lot of companies that saw so many others becoming millionaires overnight that they rushed out there to try to copy. You have to see the landscape, know your competition — “Who’s out there? Why did they fail?” — and do it differently.
On challenges facing black entrepreneurs
In one word: money. If you don’t have the capital, you aren’t going to have good people and good content. Businesses are starting to realize that many of their consumers are minorities, so they are starting to target us. [To start UrbanMagic.com], I had to go to school, in a sense. A lot of people said I couldn’t do this. They didn’t take me seriously. But you’ve got to keep trying, get people to buy into your vision. I hire people who are like me, and then I let them do their thing.
On the Digital Divide
The Digital Divide is huge. Right now, 15% of minorities are online. We are falling behind. We have to teach and educate [minorities] about how important it is to be online. I’ve been supportive of groups that create tech centers all across the country. We need to get the young kids in there and give them free access to the Internet. They need to know how to use it.
On the Web
It has to empower minorities, show them how to do things, like how to go in and get a loan or services. A lot of minorities don’t know that a lot of loans are earmarked for them. The Web should help them understand how to go about acquiring [services]. It should teach them about business and health — the list goes on and on. But first you have to draw them to your site. Entertainers and athletes will be key, but you have to go further and teach them something that they didn’t know. be
Before he suited up for business, Earvin “Magic”Johnson captivated sports fans for 13 years as a forward for the Los Angeles Lakers. As if five businesses weren’t enough, the congenial chief executive is about to launch UrbanMagic.com, an entertainment-and-music-oriented Website