Evan Rubinson

Founder of ERA Music Brands

Evan Rubinson is a highly experienced Chief Executive Officer in the musical instruments and accessories industry. Driven by a lifetime of immersion in music, at twenty-five years old, Evan found success serving as the President and Chief Executive Officer of multiple, internationally famous music brands including Dean Guitars, Luna Guitars and ddrum Percussion, eventually becoming a co-owner of these three brands. Upon stepping down from day-to-day operations of the Dean Guitars, Luna Guitars and ddrum Percussion brands, Evan found further success incepting his own musical instruments and musical accessories conglomerate, ERA Music Brands. As a founder, brand-builder and Chief Executive Officer, Evan’s daily responsibilities span the spectrum from the most innocuous, hands-on aspects of a company, all the way to the most complex, high-level, strategic problems. Throughout his music industry career, Evan has enjoyed the privilege of being featured in numerous, global magazines and digital publications including Guitar World Magazine, Guitar Player Magazine, Guitar.com, Vintage Guitar Magazine, Drum Magazine, Digital Drum Magazine, Music Inc. Magazine, MMR Magazine, Performer Magazine, Guitar Girl Magazine, Young Guitar Magazine, Music Trades Magazine, Music and Sound Retailer Magazine, Tampa Magazine and Marquis Who’s Who.
In addition to Evan’s music industry tenure, he holds a B.A. from Duke University, maintaining an initial career focus on the world of finance and investment, ultimately culminating in the inception of his healthcare-centric hedge fund, Koroit Capital. Evan continues to pursue his passions as an active real estate and biotechnology investor, serving as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of the Koroit Capital Fund, as well as owning and managing multiple commercial real estate interests in the Southeast region of the United States.
Evan serves a member of The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), as well as a member of the board for the Duke University Alumni Admissions Advisory Committee (AAAC). His other philanthropic endeavors include the Tampa Bay Humane Society, Southeastern Guide Dogs, Wounded Warriors, SGT Shredder: Rocking to Heal Vets and the Mike Calta Family Foundation. Evan is also a proud alumnus donor to Duke University and Tampa Jesuit High School.

Where did the idea for your career come from?

My father founded the third-largest music retail store in the US from his
college dorm room in 1975. I always grew up around music, playing
music, and appreciating the business aspect of the music industry. After
being the CEO & President of a multinational musical instrument
company, it was a natural fit to incept my own musical instrument and
musical accessories conglomerate.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I’m an early riser – usually, 530am – and immediately begin my day by
writing down two or three things that I’m thankful for on that particular
day, as well as two or three things I want to accomplish before 830am. I
try to clear all pertinent emails & spend an hour or so with my dogs before
officially starting my day around 8:30 am. After my morning routine, every
day is different but my days are usually filled with back-to-back calls and meetings until 6 pm. In the evenings, I always carve out two hours for “alone” time where I’m able to conceive new ideas, work on efficiencies and analyze company data.

How do you bring ideas to life?

My saying is, “Necessity is the mother of all innovation.” Hiring the right
people is key. I am a big believer in surrounding myself with people
smarter than I, who possess talents and abilities where I may be weak.
Matching up my strengths with others’ weaknesses (and vice versa) is
where I find effective synergy. That said, I enjoy a degree of collaboration
on my newly proposed ideas. If you get a lot of smart and diverse people
into one room, it turns into a mini focus group.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Blockchain technology is, by far, the most intriguing aspect of any global
trend. This is not to say that all products and services offered via
blockchain excite me, but the underlying technology is revolutionary. It’s
akin to when the SWIFT banking system was established in 1973. These
types of technological advancements only come around every forty or fifty
years. It’s very interesting to see certain central banks and governments
adopting Bitcoin as a means of currency and price stability.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I am big on prioritization and multi-tasking. Although those concepts may
sound contradictory, they are deeply intertwined. As a CEO, it’s very
important to prioritize the matters that need to be dealt with immediately,
and those that can be put in the queue, so to speak. That said, an ability to
robustly multi-task, in real-time, better serves the ability to prioritize.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

The metaverse is going to be largely worthless for at least the next
hundred years, maybe indefinitely the way it’s currently structured. Buying
virtual assets that replicate physical – whether art, property, or real estate
– is a total scam. We aren’t living in the matrix yet.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Take a lot of calculated risks. Without risk, it’s difficult for an entrepreneur
to make their mark and effect real change in whatever they are trying to
accomplish. Without risk management, however, entrepreneurs end up
on the street. Threading this needle of calculated risk is what separates
the men from the boys.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Understand people and be good to them. Take the time to understand
what drives someone, what their struggles are, and what their hopes and
dreams are. My cardinal rule in business is, “don’t be hard to deal with
and be relatable.”

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

When I was initially raising capital for my biotechnology fund, the lead
investor pulled out at the eleventh hour. I was initially distraught, but I
pulled myself together and found two other key individuals to make up for the difference in seed capital. A clear vision, perseverance, and sheer will
power can make a lot happen that “shouldn’t.”

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I can’t divulge the good stuff.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

One of our four dogs, Eloise who’s ten years old, had to recently undergo
a few, life-saving medical procedures. By far the best money I have ever
spent.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

We have used FileMaker in conjunction with Epicor Prophet 21 for many
years, but I am currently transitioning to Netsuite by Oracle. Netsuite has
phenomenal cloud capabilities, remote access options, and the ability to
create customized modules and dashboards from third parties.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Art of War by Sun Tzu. Although it’s an archaic book, many of the
principles still ring true to this day. I recommend this book to every leader,
especially those facing adversity.

What is your favorite quote?

“Don’t be hard to deal with and be relatable.”

Key Learnings:

  • Hire the right people
  • Be good to your people
  • Prioritization is key
  • When the going gets tough, vision, perseverance, and sheer will can accomplish a lot