We had the good fortune of connecting with Ani Akpan and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ani, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Years ago I saw a quote in the hallway of a company in lower Manhattan that read:

“Risk is nothing more than solving for x, where x= uncertainty. The good news is, x is a constant and not a variable.”

This quote really slapped things into perspective for me. Everything we do in life involves some level of risk; risk is inherent, it is always present. You get into a car everyday for work, you run the risk of getting into an accident. You leave the house with low battery on your phone, you run the risk of getting lost without cell connection. You decide to not respond to an email right away, you run the risk of forgetting to respond later. You call a friend you haven’t spoken to in ages, you run the risk of them thinking you are only reaching out because you need something.

What I’ve learned is, you cannot become hell-bent on risk itself. You have to be nuanced about risk. You have to ask yourself, this may hurt me, but HOW MUCH will it hurt me? I can get into an accident, but will I break a bone or will I die? Dark, I know, but how dark is dark when risk is black & white?

If I send this risky text, will it destroy a relationship, cause a couple hours of drama OR will it achieve the goal I intended? Was it my intention to succeed with that goal? Are there multiple versions of success in that scenario?

For me, it all comes down to your appetite for risk. I think the most successful people in life tend to be those that are aware of the risk (no matter how big or small) but yet still go head-first into an endeavor. Why? Because they have unwavering FAITH in their ability to make SOMETHING happen no matter what. The key word is something versus nothing.

My mother is very risk-averse. If there is any sense of uncertainty, she’s out. She goes under the speed limit on the highway…

In my opinion, you have to approach risk with some sort of insurance policy for yourself. The way I solve for x isn’t to look for a specific number per se, but to look for a result that doesn’t put me in a worse position than I was before I solved for x. If I am presented with a risky situation where I have NO options, I take the least harmful option. However, I try to be proactive in all my dealings so that I never have my back against a wall if I can help it.

For instance, when I decided to move to LA from NYC in 2019, it was a calculated decision. The bottom line was that if it didn’t work out, I could always UNDO what I did and move back to NYC. It would be a disgraceful return, but I could always undo what I had done knowing I have the rest of my adult life ahead of me. That was my PRIVILEGE in that situation. That gave me the doomsday comfort to pack my bags, move across the country to a city where I didn’t know a soul, and try to make something of myself with my bare hands.

To be clear, it wasn’t the comfort in my insurance policy that allowed me to make the decision to move to LA. It was my belief that because I am who I am, I WILL succeed in LA otherwise I’d honestly rather save myself the drama and not move at all. BUT, in the event the world does its thing, I could rest assured I wouldn’t find myself completely and utterly ruined. That may not be the same for someone else making that same decision.

So, understand the degree of risk, identify your privilege or “cheat code” if there is one, assess your options, gut check, if you are able to stomach the equation, pull the trigger.

The biggest risk in risk assessment itself is NEEDLESS hesitation. If you second-guess, your equation is not sound and your final calculation will vary. Unfortunately, you cannot work backwards with risk. You can only plan, plan, plan ahead and stick to the plan. Any deviation from the plan mid-execution will put you at MORE risk because you never planned that deviation, unless of course you are a madman and did (see Yes/No flowchart).

Good luck!

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I founded Qase Entertainment while in college back in 2016 as a local video production service. It was simply a way to kill 2 birds with 1 stone: make money while in school and build up an amazing video reel for future employers upon graduation.

6 years later, it is now more of a consulting/management practice that can parlay into larger television and film opportunities if the stars align.

No it was not easy. Biggest take away is tunnel vision, harboring meaningful relationships, and understanding that not every conversation or project must be transactional. Hollywood is a relationships business, not a bottom line business.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First stop is Harriet’s Rooftop for welcoming brunch or evening drinks.

Next on the list are the below spots:

– Laguna Beach for a proper beach day
– Malibu/Topanga Pass hike
– The Grove & Fairfax for shopping
– Clifton’s Republic (DTLA) for clubbing
– Mullholland Drive from Hollywood Hills to the 405 for sights
– La Boheme for their Jalapeño Oysters…dog…..

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Eric Koester, for giving me the insight that I do not need someone or a company to verify my skills and credibility but that I have to verify myself with my own work and relationships. He taught me it’s not who you’ve worked for, it’s who you’ve worked with.

Website: www.qasemedia.com

Instagram: 2pmani

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aniakpan/

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.