From printers to racecars, Esayian talks shop with Harvard Business School

From printers to racecars, Esayian talks shop with Harvard Business School
Encinitas resident Nick Esayian and his sons Jake and Troy at a past race. Esayian, a successful entrepreneur spoke at Harvard Business School students about his experiences as a professional racecar driver, businessman and family man. Photo courtesy of Nick Esayian

ENCINITAS — Championship racecar driver, successful entrepreneur, a Sheriff’s search and rescue volunteer — Nick Esayian is all of these things. New Chargers head coach, maybe; future politician, possibly, but only time will tell for the recent speaker at Harvard Business School.

Esayian, an Encinitas resident and founder of Revenue Solutions LLC, a direct response marketing business, took part in a case study with advanced students at Harvard Business School where he took questions ranging from incorporating his racing career into managing his business and his family life to his experiences in becoming a successful businessman.

Esayian, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater, said the two days he spent at the business school being a part of the case study process was “pretty neat.”

“It was brilliant, brilliant students that have a framework of knowledge and really they just lack some of the practical experience and the cases give them a chance to stick their head under the hood of a lot of different businesses,” Esayian said.

He talked with the students about working for a large corporation to making that jump into entrepreneurialism.

An entrepreneur in his own right, Esayian began his working career right out of college with the Xerox Corporation.

He grew frustrated with the endless, cumbersome meetings they would have, seemingly to decide on what kind of pencil to use, or how management was going to make some decision, he explained.

Nick Esayian races in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach earlier this year. Photo by Bill Reilly

“It was at that point,” he said, “where I thought, ‘Boy, I love Democracy and I love our system in terms of government, but when it comes to a business, I want to run my own. I want it to be an absolute monarchy and get people’s opinion and be able to make a decision and focus on what’s important.’

“That’s when I made the decision, but it took me a little bit longer to get some traction and the capital to get started on my own,” he said.

He attributes his drive to his parents. His parents pressured him just enough, he said, adding that they “didn’t ever state that they knew everything. And that mix really got me motivated…to start trying some of my own ideas and things and that worked out pretty well.”

With the racing season over this year (he races for American Honda/Acura), Esayian does do some preparations for the start of the new season in March. But much of his time in the offseason is focused on setting a plan for his business and spending time with his wife and two sons.

The road ahead of Esayian is filled with new business ventures, including looking into a number of direct response projects, possibly creating a men’s sportswear line, the creation of a dating web site company that would compete with Match.com, he said, and a tattoo removal-finder service that would work in a similar manner as the 1-(800)-Dentist service.

Beyond new business opportunities, Esayian is actively involved in philanthropy, assisting the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides grants to send the children of fallen Special Operations members to college.

Despite his many roles, Esayian may still be best remembered as they guy who took out a North County Times ad lambasting Chargers Chairman of the Board and President Dean Spanos for keeping both head coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith after several poor seasons.

He’s fine with being known for that, he said, and that his feelings on the team haven’t changed given the Chargers’ recent poor showings on the field. “If we see much more of that I would challenge Dean Spanos to allow a businessman from San Diego, by the name of Nick Esayian, to actually be a coach of the Chargers for the second half of the season,” he said. “I only played a small amount of college football, but hey, let’s give it a shot; we can’t do much worse after that.”

He said that any salary he earned from that would be donated to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

And if coaching doesn’t work out, Esayian does have his eye on politics, assuming he has the means to do it.

“It’s really difficult to run for office and make the right decisions for the community if you’re still trying to earn your own lot in life,” he said.

His plan: To earn enough money to be able to live on a passive income and turn his attentions to politics — either a Federal seat or a House of Representative seat — he’s not interested in local politics.

“I would be a one-termer and I’d probably get in trouble speaking my mind, but I think we need more entrepreneurs, military leaders, community leaders, as opposed to these career politicians that have basically paralyzed Washington and led us down a bad path,” he said.

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