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

Hi Ben, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking

I always associated risk with opportunity. Taking risks, for me, means leading a full life; a life without regrets. The pain of failure has always been easier to swallow than the regret of not taking action. Despite the scars, the lessons you take away from failures (in life and business) are so much more valuable than anything you can extract from observing on the sideline.

There was a moment when I was a freshman in high school that stands out to me as a time when I didn’t take a risk and should have. It was a 93 degree, hot, humid Massachusetts August afternoon and football training camp was just beginning. The coaches split up the players into different groups — running backs, linemen, receivers, and quarterbacks. Until that point, I was always a receiver. But I had just grown a few inches and found a new arm strength that would be far more useful as a quarterback than a receiver. 

But I balked. I didn’t go out for quarterback, I stayed with the receivers and I remained with the status quo because it was comfortable. I didn’t take the risk. I missed the opportunity. In the end, I still had a good career and punctuated my senior year with a league title (something that hadn’t happened since 1993). However, I look back on that experience fondly because it reminds me to never let things happen. It reminds me to take the leap of faith even if it’s down the less traveled, more risky road.

I’ve carried this experience forward with me into business – to go for it even when it seems unlikely. First, by moving from my home in Boston across the country to LA (where I knew no one) to pursue a career in the cutthroat entertainment business. Then by launching my own production company to make advertisements, where I learned (with many bruises) that a service business like filmmaking doesn’t scale well at all. The list goes on but the one constant is that I embrace the fear and uncertainty of taking risks because it’s always better than not going for it.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?

My appetite to do something spectacular and change world is fueled by my self-belief and determination.

Right now, I’m building a business that is a product of all my scars, lessons, and growth. Just last month, I decided to leave my job to pursue this venture full time; perhaps this is the greatest risk of my life.

The business is called Baseline and it’s the world’s first fintech platform to look at money as a behavior and not a number. Baseline reduces financial stress by rewarding users with redeemable loyalty points for staying on top of their finances. For example, when users set goals, track their progress and complete financial literacy modules they earn BasePoints that they can cash in for real rewards. This positive feedback loops creates a mindset of SAVING, SECURITY, and ABUNDANCE. I am launching this business because, as part of the cashless generation, I understand that credit cards, touch-less pay, and other tools like Venmo have made easier to mindlessly overspend than ever. Overspending leads to financial stress — which is the great, invisible epidemic of our lifetime. Baseline is currently pre launch and I can’t wait to start helping people put their mind over their money.

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?
This one should be a slam dunk because I just had some friends in town and received glowing reviews. Not for nothing, it’s taken me seven years to nail it.

If we make the assumption that your friends are flying into LAX, here’s the ironclad 24 hour program for good times, good eats, and good vibes. Let’s also say that they’re coming in on the morning flight from the east coast so you have to hit the ground running. Kick things off at Great White in Venice for some grub and serious caffeination (I go with the flat white). If Great White is packed with brunchers, no sweat., just head across the street to Gran Blanco. What’s great thing here is that your friends are 99.9% likely to be ravenous after their flight having probably skipped breakfast and now 2 hours late for lunch. The menu here is ideal — you can get a breakfast quesadilla or egg white frittata or go deep with the gluten-free white truffle pizza.

After breakfast/lunch, head north up PCH with the windows down (or better yet on a motorbike) to get some sunshine and ocean breeze. There’s a few hidden spots that I can’t reveal but Zuma Beach is old faithful and is perfect for some friends to just stick their feet in the water and relax for a few hours.

When you and your crew start to get a little antsy, take Malibu Canyon Road up to Mulholland and around Latigo Canyon Road for one of the most epic, winding drives in the country. Take a pitstop at the Old Place for coffee, salads, BBQ, and (for those who aren’t driving) wine and beer.

Taking PCH southbound, take Sunset blvd. east all the way through the Pallisades, Santa Monica, Bel Air, and Beverly Hills before dropping your bags off at a West Hollywood hotel. It’s the quintessential LA road and really fun to drive. For hotels, my pick is the Chamberlain but if money is no object, I’d recommend the Sunset Marquis.

It’s difficult to go wrong on Sunset strip for happy hour but I much prefer the patina at Boardner’s in Hollywood. Classic red leather booths, dim lights, and a great space. It’s walking distance to 25 Degrees if somehow your friends are still hungry and want the second best burger in LA (American Beauty #1). Once you’ve had a round or three at Boardner’s you have the pick of the litter for entertainment: comedy shows, east LA music, warehouse parties downtown. Choose your own adventure from there.

The best part, you can get up Sunday morning and do it all again. Enjoy!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
On January 8th, 2022 my younger brother Sam passed away tragically in a ski accident. He was and will always be my best friend. This shoutout is dedicated to him. Taken from us far too soon, Sam motivates me to do what I do. His kindness, intelligence, and sense of humor keep me focused and grounded on the things that matter most. He will always be a beacon of light and inspiration for me and all those who knew him. Rest In Peace Sam.

Website: www.benjaminforman.com

Instagram: @thebenforman

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/formanbenjamin

Twitter: @thebenforman

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/b4man

Image Credits
Casey Stanton

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