“Treasure your relationships, not your possessions.” Anthony J. D’Angelo, The College Blue Book

Relationships are critical to maintain with family, friends, significant others, and your staff and colleagues. This is true for everyone including busy entrepreneurs. I dedicate this blog to David Anthony Ferrara “Dino”, who died on Saturday July 18, 2009 at the age of 44. Only 500 people (of the thousands who’s lives he touched) attended his funeral; these were family friends and business contacts with whom he’d been affiliated over the years. He was a truly successful person and entrepreneur. He helped build and sell a $30 Million company all the while:


  1. Making plenty of time to spend with his kids: coaching their lacrosse teams, teaching them about charity and to care for others by volunteering at their church. He fed the poor and led bingo for the elderly at retirement homes. There were countless stories of how he’d hop on an airplane at the drop of a hat to help his brothers, cousins, aunts; anyone in his family who was in need.
  2. Participating regularly at events that united his friends: he played golf annually with over 30 buddies he met in grammar, elementary and high school in Baltimore, in college at Bucknell, and during the years through other friends and family. He’d do things like drive out to the desert to play golf with a friend he hadn’t seen in a while and make it back in time that evening for his daughter’s lacrosse game.
  3. Managing key relationships throughout his life with staff and colleagues: he went to college with Pete Henig who at the time was editor of Red Herring. Pete introduced Dino to Michael Schwab. Dino nurtured that relationship and was able to raise money for his company. His partner in the business was his grammar school friend David Boden and most of the employees were also either long time friends or became close friends.
  4. Supporting his wife April. Their relationship was fun to watch. When you saw the two of them you could tell they were meant to be together. April, an entrepreneur herself, was looking to sell a catering business she’d built and had been running for years. She approached me to check it out and see if I would be interested in buying it. She had an event scheduled with a very influential client (Maria Shriver) to see how to run the business. My husband was out of town that day, and at the time my son was not even a year old. I didn’t have anyone to leave him with so Dino brought their two young kids up to my house to baby sit our kids, so April and I could work at the event. He’d do anything for her. 

When you think of all the key elements of the whole life matrix, none is more important than your relationships. To be successful and to have it all, you need to make maintaining relationships your primary goal. Dino did. People were willing to introduce him to their cherished contacts because they knew he’d take care of them too. Though Dino died at very young age, he lived an incredibly full very successful life, and through his treasured relationships built a legacy.


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