When companies are competing for better equipment for less money, it only leads to innovation and exploration.
Andrew Tropeano, Host and Co-Founder of NewsWatch TV Reviews, a national television show that airs nationwide to over 95 million households, is an entrepreneur and television personality from Washington D.C.. Andrew has worked over his career to create videos and reviews of major companies such as Salesforce, Audi, Nielsen, Siemens, Intel, and hundreds of other companies. He is the host of NewsWatch and appears weekly on national television, alongside co-host Michelle Ison. They review the most innovative companies from around the world. Prior to NewsWatch TV, Andrew attended undergraduate at American University in Washington DC for broadcast journalism, and afterwards received his Masters Degree at New York University (NYU).
Andrew has been in the television industry for over 15 years and is a technology expert, mostly focusing on consumer and b2b technologies. His NewsWatch TV reviews help companies shape their brand image and give them a national audience to be seen by consumers and other business professionals. Andrew prides himself on sharing the most innovative companies with his viewers.
Andrew lives in Washington, DC, with his wife Alexandra, and their dog Lucca. He can regularly be seen outdoors in the DC area, hiking, rock climbing and running. He recently completed the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington D.C. and has begun training for the New York Marathon.
Where did the idea for NewsWatch come from?
NewsWatch was started back in 1989 as part of Bridge Communications. At the time, if you weren’t a Microsoft or IBM, it was extremely hard to be featured or reviewed on TV. This is where NewsWatch was born. It allowed smaller, and less known businesses to be seen on the big stage. We are proud to have featured some unbelievable companies that went on to be household names. Every company needs the ability to be seen by a national audience, and NewsWatch provides that outlet.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I am very big on utilizing lists to stay productive. There are always so many things going on and a list allows me to prioritize and not forget smaller items. I use online tools like Evernote and other lists so that wherever I am I can jot something down and not forget it later that day or the next day.
I find what makes me productive is loving what I do. The job in itself helps me stay productive because each day is completely different than the one before, and I love the challenge. No day is the same, other than coffee!
How do you bring ideas to life?
We are fortunate that our company centers around bringing ideas to life through video, television and digital graphics. But before that happens, it all starts with writing it down and discussing the idea. That discussion can be an internal discussion and letting the idea simmer, or an external discussion with other team members. After that, it is about practical implementation. Basically, is this realistic or feasible, or do I need to keep making changes to get there. The team here is fantastic so it is easy to bring ideas to life quickly.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The privatization of the space industry is a “trend” that is exciting me. When companies are competing for better equipment for less money, it only leads to innovation and exploration. I think we are on the cusp of an amazing boom in the space industry and space tourism, and I am excited to be alive for it.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Turning off email for at least an hour of the day and using pen and paper for ideas and brainstorming. I feel this really allows me to think outside the box and not utilize technology to get my brain flowing. In this sense I can come up with ideas I might not have if I was staring at a computer screen.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Keep working hard. Everything takes hard work and dedication. I’m not saying I didn’t work hard, but if the younger me knew that the older me still valued that, it would be good to understand it is something that doesn’t fade when you get older.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That you can still give an opinion and good advice on something that doesn’t personally affect you. For example, someone that is not a parent can still have great parenting advice, even though it doesn’t personally affect them. Now don’t get me wrong, some people who have never experienced something might give terrible advice, but that is the same with people who have experienced something – they may give terrible advice too. Everyone has ideas, they don’t necessarily have to be affected by the situation to have a good idea about it.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I mentioned it before, but utilize lists and write everything down. You might think you have the best memory, but you still will forget things. And when you write things down you are going to remember them better as well.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Hiring the right people and then trusting them. Hiring is the most important part of a business, as they are then are an extension of the business itself. Making sure you always have the right people in place and are always helping them and training them is a very important strategy to having a successful business. Currently we have an amazing team and are always looking for new members that can add a lot of value.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
We create a lot of videos and one video that we put a lot of effort into perfecting was the whiteboard style video. That type of video ended up falling out of style rather quickly (although it was extremely well received when we first started creating them). We ended up wasting a lot of time and money on a style of video that no one wants anymore. But what that did do is got us thinking of more graphic styles and diversifying, and now we can create almost any type of animation or graphicly focused video. That failure helped diversify our skill set so even if another style of video falls out of popularity, we still have many other styles we are now experts on.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Virtual kitchens. With so many delivery apps out there, you don’t necessarily need to have a brick and mortar restaurant to have a successful restaurant business. If you are a chef and create good food, you can utilize a few delivery apps as your “restaurant” and make a solid restaurant without actually having a physical sit down location. You obviously still have to have a kitchen and be a good chef, but it could be done out of a house or a common kitchen.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Global Entry. This has been worth well more than the $100 as I travel so extensively for both work and for pleasure. Not only does it get me back into the country quicker, it also gives me TSA Precheck which allows me to get through security much quicker on domestic flights. For anyone who travels a lot, this is a must.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Understanding and utilizing Excel is one of the best skills I have acquired. Most people just view it as a simple spreadsheet tool, but there are thousands of other applications. A short online course can make you aware of so many options like pivot tables, filtering and many other aspects that can make daily business life much easier.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Shogun by James Clavell. Now you might wonder why, considering this isn’t a business book, but it is the book that truly got me into reading. From there I have read so many amazing books about businesses, different cultures, and different ideas. This was the book that began my curiosity for reading and my true thirst for knowledge. So even though it isn’t a business book, if you want a book that will get you into reading, I highly recommend this one.
What is your favorite quote?
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
– Winston Churchill
• Learn Excel and learn how to use it effectively. It is one of the most under-utilized tools you probably already have on your computer
• Travel and get global entry. When you travel, you learn new ideas, cultures and ways of life.
• Lists, lists list. Utilize daily lists to help you be productive and find good apps or programs to help you manage them.
• Don’t always rely on a computer, sometimes pen and paper brings out the best thoughts and ideas.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.