A couple of months ago, I had never heard of Frank D'Angelo or D'Angelo Brands Inc. I live in the U.S., but while reading this book I get the impression that D'Angelo is a big deal in Canada. After reading his book Being Frank, I have a lot respect for his business acumen. Not many people have the entrepreneurial spirit while still in grade school.
When rejected for a job as a paperboy, D'Angelo took matters into his own hands. He bought the papers himself, sold them door-to-door, and even took on employees. But at age 11, food not money was used as payment. He eventually "branched" out to selling TV Guides, too.
As a teenager, he chased dreams of music stardom. While that was a memorable time, he made the tough decision to give it all up and concentrate on growing the family business. He worked for his father until the company was sold. D'Angelo had ideas bigger than his father was willing to embrace. At 26, D'Angelo mortgaged his home for $150,000 and bought lots and lots of apple juice with. Yes, apple juice. To have the foresight at 26 to see there was untapped market is inspiring. He worked hard, making mistakes along the way, including using a refurbished school bus to ship his product.
D'Angelo always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. Making connections that would help build his business down the road. Producing his own product and co-packing Arizona beverages proved to be a cash cow. I'm thinking this is too good to be true, there have to be some down times too. Sponsoring an IndyCar had its ups and downs, as D'Angelo's products weren't properly used at the start. Brewing beer was a step in the right direction, but that eventually failed. D'Angelo Brands filed for bankruptcy in 2007, but the company has since bounced back.
From a business aspect this is a good book because D'Angelo took whatever obstacles that came across in stride. When he needed a break from the serious stuff he turned to his love of music and hockey.
"...netminding is almost a metaphor for being a CEO. If the CEO busts his ass and works hard, I think that inspires the whole staff to go that extra mile. If the CEO is a lamebrain who's out golfing all day, his subordinates will see right through such a poor work ethic, and they'll simply stop caring."
I don't think D'Angelo ever stopped caring about his business. He seems like the type of person who will work long, long hours without regard for his personal life. And that is what I feel is missing from this book -- the personal element. I got the impression that this was a memoir. But it reads more like how-to guide on growing your business. There is some personal stuff at the beginning and the end of the book, but I feel it's glossed over. You learn his parents were immigrants from Sicily, who eventually moved to Halifax before settling in Toronto. They definitely inspired a strong work ethic in their son. I was left wondering if D'Angelo had time for a personal life while doing all that hustling and bustling. He did, including two marriages and three children, but that too is glossed over. He had some legal issues as well, but unless you live in Toronto you have no idea what D'Angelo is talking about because that too is glossed over. For me some more personal elements would have made this book better. But perhaps that's his personality, "All business all the time."
Rating: Give it a try
Notes: I received a copy of the book from the author's publicist (NKPR INC) in exchange for an honest review.