A 40-Year Veteran of the Entertainment and Events Industries Shares 3 Pillars of Success President and CEO of Empire Entertainment and Emmy Award-winning executive producer J. B. Miller on the key concepts that have sustained both his personal and professional growth.
After four decades of triumph in the entertainment, media and events industries, as well as a few slings and arrows, J. B. Miller finds himself more ambitious and optimistic than ever about the success potential for events and other experiential storytelling to drive growth, progress and change. President and CEO of Empire Entertainment, he is an Emmy Award-winning executive producer who has created, produced and overseen the production of thousands of major corporate, nonprofit and private events for clients like Google, Time, Microsoft, The Walt Disney Company, Samsung, SONY, American Express and Viacom.
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We grabbed a rare moment of free time in Miller's schedule to ask about some defining aspects of success and endurance. Here, in his words, are the most pivotal.
1. Stay curious about everything
I have found that there's a huge value and a certain joy to remaining curious about the world. I enjoy reading and consuming news and information from a wide variety of sources. This not only helps me stay current and up to date on new ideas and influences but also cultivates an evolutionary mindset, as well as discipline. Being constantly immersed in what is new and next and taking pleasure in attaining new knowledge helps me and my team be more confident in going outside of accustomed zones. With familiarity comes comfort — and when you get out of your comfort zone, you're able to break new ground, try new things, challenge yourself and do old things in new ways with new collaborators. Curiosity is a cornerstone of growth.
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2. Acknowledge that karma is real
People think that when you're busy, you have to cut out extraneous activity and focus on profit and progress. I have found that being generous with time and attention, doing favors when there's no immediately apparent quid pro quo, greenlighting things you might otherwise pass on, giving people a shot and just being nice to them — whether they are in a position to help you or not — yields enormous returns. Small acts of goodwill often give rise to unexpected benefits. So, do favors, and enjoy doing them without any expectation of return; you may find that the world returns them regardless.
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3. Cultivate a database reservoir: become a learning organization
I am a compulsive collector of information and love to create systems that help me recall and leverage it in my work. Throughout my professional career, I have built databases of contacts, resources, useful documents, discoveries and processes — and have put them to work in active, relational databases that allow me and my team the benefit of an ever-increasing knowledge base. Today, we apply these troves of resources and contacts in ways I never could have imagined, and that's the point: You never know what or who you are going to need until a need arises. When it does, it's magic to be able to deploy a critical mass of resources.
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