David Bartholomeusz | Lessons From Exiting an Entertainment Business, Dealing With Childhood Trauma, and Guiding Leaders
Smart Business Revolution

David Bartholomeusz is a serial entrepreneur and a Facilitator at the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO). He specializes in empowering entrepreneurial leaders and building communication habitats in which communities thrive. He is also a strategy and alignment guide, vision leader, and marketing strategist. David holds a degree in law and spent many years working in the professional entertainment industry.

In this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, John Corcoran interviews David Bartholomeusz, a serial entrepreneur and a Facilitator at the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, about what he learned from working in the professional entertainment industry and past experiences that have influenced his exploratory characteristics. David also talks about his desire to empower leaders and his work as a facilitator. Stay tuned.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • How David Bartholomeusz knew his entertainment business would be affected by social dating apps
  • The impact of new legislation on David’s business and the lessons he learned from the changes
  • How childhood trauma affected David’s life and career choices
  • What inspired David to go into the entertainment business?
  • The connection between facilitation work and professional entertainment
  • What David does not like about coaching 
  • David talks about his desire to guide leaders and the people he respects
  • Where to learn more and get in touch with David Bartholomeusz

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Sponsor: Rise25

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Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:10 

Welcome to the revolution, the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, where we ask today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution, John Corcoran.

John Corcoran 0:40

All right, welcome everyone. John Corcoran here, the host this show and got a great series of great interviews. Recently, we’ve had some great CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs of all kinds of companies. Take a look at the archives because there’s some great episodes with Netflix and Kinkos’ and YPO, EO, Activision Blizzard, all kinds of CEOs and founders, some interesting episodes there. I’m also the Co-founder of Rise25, where we help connect b2b business owners to their ideal prospects. And first a quick shout out to Trevor Keen of TK House Services who introduced me to today’s guest. His name is David Bartholomeusz. And he is a serial entrepreneur, he spent a lifetime working, it really is in professional entertainment, he had a business that was in professional entertainment in the nightclub space in DJing. And emceeing he also has done a lot of facilitation. And we’re gonna talk a lot about personal growth and some of the challenges that he’s experienced. 

But first, before we get to that, of course, this episode is brought to you by Rise25 Media. If you want to learn more about how to start a podcast and to use it for content marketing, go to rise25.com. And we will tell you all about it. Alright, David, pleasure to have you here today. And I want to start with your business was humming along, you had about 150 people that were working for you in different capacities, it was going really well. And then we were talking about it beforehand is almost like your own personal pandemic, you had this kind of freight train or or train that was coming off the tracks that you could see happening. But it all started one day when you saw an employee using Grindr, which is an app while you explain it, because I’m probably gonna butcher an explanation of it. But it was Grindr and Tinder, which are two apps that you saw. And when you saw that you had a feeling that the days of your business are numbered, which is absolutely crazy. And that’s ended up what ended up happening. So tell us about that experience and how you could foresee that that was gonna hurt your business.

David Bartholomeusz 2:43

Yeah, it’s really shocking. And it was it was many years ago, I was probably about 28, when that happened, which is, you know, that’s the good was that nearly 20 years ago now. And this was just at the point where MySpace was becoming a thing of the past. And things like Facebook was starting to proliferate. And I remember one of my team, he kept vanishing off, he kept going out of the office, and they kept coming back. And we were in entertainment. And it was fine for us to talk about these things. And we said, you keep vanishing and then coming back, and what are you what are you doing? And he said, I’m going on many dates. And we’re like, okay, how is that happening? And he showed us he went on to this website, called Grindr was not an app then because people didn’t have smartphones. But he showed us this website, he was going on where he could meet other people in his area, who were interested in, you know, relationships, or hookups or different things, whatever, you know, you could do Craig’s List of, of six for gay men. And you know, we were just fascinated by this. And he was showing us through it all, because we were in the space of providing experiences for people to meet other people and build relationships and all these sorts of things. And the more he told me about it, the more this feeling that I was about to throw up started welling up inside my gut, because I just, I went, Well, this is all good. And well, because this is the, you know, a specialist demographic. But if this becomes a mainstream thing, then the core foundation of what people use our events and entertainment business for which is to, you know, socialize and meet other people and get crazy is going to be gone. And was really the beginning of the end of that working model for the business, which was really crushing for me. I had, you know, by then, nearly a couple of 100 staff and contractors working across Australia and clubbing network of maybe 150,000 users, which doesn’t seem like a lot now. But back in the days of MySpace was massive. And it just, it was the it was deaf, knocking on my door and saying, you can’t be swipe forever.

John Corcoran 5:01

Wow. And there also was some legislation I understand that came down at the same time, which kind of changed the way that you could operate. So how did you react to this as it started to trickle down was it a kind of a slow effect where fewer and fewer people started showing up to the nightclubs?

David Bartholomeusz 5:18

One of the things I, I can say that I’m very proud of, really, in all of this was that I saw it coming from a long way off. Really, you know, that’s where I excel is in strategy and alignment of actually seeing the long term and thinking long term. And so, you know, we saw that Grindr situation sort of 10 years before there was a problem. And then about sort of five years before there was a problem, Tinder came out. And then Tinder became an app. And when Tinder became an app, I went, Okay, the business needs to move in this direction, we need to be very much a business that’s related to the entertainment side of things, we really need to start becoming an entertainment business, not a social business, social is all going on the internet. But then what happened was, governments around Australia, because we’re operating all around Australia started changing their view of nightclubs and saying they’re too dangerous, we don’t want them they’re going to close, you know, early, and they’re just not going to be the same space. And so, really, the other side of my business was then marginalized. And so the government gave us about three years to adjust. I didn’t adjust, I just started getting out at that point. And so I really had three years to wind it down. So it wasn’t a dramatic exit, but it was a fall from grace.

John Corcoran 6:44

In retrospect, would you do anything any, any differently.

David Bartholomeusz 6:50

I don’t think I would have done the business any differently. But the mistake that I really think that I made in hindsight was by attached my persona to the business. And that was my I made that mistake very early, you know, and it was very easy to do, because I was kind of like this nightclub boss. And it’s very, very easy for my ego to attach to these sort of addictive ways of being I really want to belong, and I really want to feel connected to other people. And as a professional entertainer, you get a lot of feedback back from people. And then as a, I guess, a God of other entertainers, you end up in this, you know, you really can create this persona of I am the puppet master. And I really, I really like

John Corcoran 7:36

the power to you have a lot of power, right? I mean, like, Kingmaker, let people in the club or not?

David Bartholomeusz 7:42

Yeah. Not even that it was beyond that. It was like, you know, let people into the whole scene. Like I, I kind of owned the network, the whole network? And I could, you know, yeah, at that age, you know, I sort of had the power to really, it wasn’t so much the negative power, it was a positive power, this power to allow people who were outside or didn’t have a social circle to find their people. And, and I really, yeah, I collapsed my identity with that identity. And so when that had to end, at a rational level, I was fine with winding down the business, but at an emotional level, I was absolutely, completely unprepared for the sense of dysphoria that I was that I would experience when I was no longer able to show up in as that persona in the community was awful,

John Corcoran 8:34

is gone. You know, before you did that, I’m looking over your background here. And you actually, I think it’s different in Australia, but you got a graduate degree in Law studying law, I have a legal degree as well, here in the United States, but you’re doing this while you’re running the entertainment business.

David Bartholomeusz 8:53

Yeah, I’m just gonna love learning. And, and I think I think I was really just interested in understanding how businesses operate at a legal level, how government sees that and how to be congruent participant in the process of business. But the good thing that really came out of it was I met my wife at law school. And you know, just for that my life has been made so

John Corcoran 9:23

wonderful. And you still have the entertainment business after that, after you graduate and you have your degree did was that part of the plan?

David Bartholomeusz 9:32

Yeah. And that business is still there. But it’s a very, very different business now and I’m not alone.

John Corcoran 9:38

Yeah. Well, tell me a little bit about, you know, your, your background. I know you had a lot of family trauma growing up as a kid. Talk a little bit about what that was like and how that influenced your career trajectory.

David Bartholomeusz 9:54

Hmm. Well, a lot of trauma there. I didn’t really realize until I started on packing it with people who are in a position of experience to gauge for what’s a normal level of upset as you grow up. And I remember I read a book by Elaine Aron called The Highly Sensitive Person, and it’s like a checklist of, of traumas. And I think I, there might be 15 on the list, and I clicked 13 of them. And that’s when I thought maybe I’d actually need to go and talk to someone who actually knows what a normal growing up trajectory looks like. And I was actually shocked to find that, you know, not everyone loses a sibling, and, you know, not everyone experiences, you know, different types of, I guess, I guess, like they call it abuse, you know, different experiences that can be really confusing and confronting and, and can make us I guess, jump to assumptions or create rules for our life that just don’t serve.

John Corcoran 10:56

And tell, you know, to the extent you’re comfortable talking about it, tell us about some of those experiences in high school.