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

Hi Ned, what is the most important factor behind your success?

Balance, empathy and focus have always been priorities. Over the years, I’ve made the effort to work with people, who recognize the importance of having a healthy work-life balance, are positive people with similar values and have common business goals. I’ve found that formula to work well for me and it helps me avoid burnout or becoming overly stressed while managing multiple activities. I’m particularly conscience of when balance is off and try to maintain a positive outlook. Early in my career, I worked with some individuals who were erratic and pressured. Everything was a fire-drill, the working environment was chaotic and people were always stressed. There were some short-term successes but it was not a long-term strategy for success. What I learned from this is that maintaining a healthy work-life balance, working with people who I trust and like and focusing on the positive side of things are important to my well-being and success. Part of my work-life balance is to swim regularly. There is nothing better for me than diving into the pool, lake or ocean and swimming laps. It clears my head and helps to keep me fit and energized.

Please tell us more about your career. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?

I moved to LA in 1997 when I was in my 20s and getting started with my career. It was an exciting time as the first wave of digital businesses were getting started. Over the years, I have worked as a lawyer, talent manager, investor and founder/CEO. My professional focus has been on building and growing tech-media businesses. One of the things I am most proud of is having founded my own business – Digital Media Wire – that has had a profound impact on so many individuals in the tech-media industry.  Being a founder is not easy, but one of the things that I have learned is that very few things worth having in life come easy. 

Being an entrepreneur requires a level of fortitude and commitment that takes a lot of people out of their comfort zones. The success of our tech-media events business has been in large part due to our ability to stay nimble and evolve, even when facing macro events that are out of our control, like the Great Recession and the pandemic we are currently experiencing, or little things like last minute speaker and flight cancellations. It takes a lot of courage and willingness to suffer hardship and rejection to be an entrepreneur.  

What I have learned from my experience as an entrepreneur is that my strength lies in being able to advise and guide company founders and executives. Today I do that in several capacities:

As head of the digital transactions team at Manatt Phelps & Phillips, one of LA’s biggest law firms, I help companies, investors and individuals start, grow and sell their businesses. Each client has a different set of needs and challenges, but one thing that is always the same is the importance of listening and understanding who the stakeholders are and what their incentives are. We are working hand in hand with founders and executive teams to help them make smart decisions. In many ways, we are transforming what it means to be a professional services firm.

I am also a founding partner of GOAL Ventures, which I co-founded with investment veteran Josh Gutfreund. We are investing in games and digital media ventures, and helping to grow our portfolio companies by bringing our experience as entrepreneurs, investors and advisors to the founders we back.

The third leg of my professional stool is my role as chairman and founder of Digital Media Wire, which is run by my wife, Tinzar. Now in our 21st year, we are breaking new ground as a leader in virtual and hybrid conferences, where the industry thought leaders gather and companies announce new products and services and connect with partners and investors. 

I couldn’t be more excited about the future of LA as we take on the mantle of the world’s leading city for all things tech-media.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc. In your view what are some of the most fun, interesting, exciting people, places or things to check out?

My LA itinerary typically starts in Laurel Canyon, which was a mecca for musicians during the 60’s and 70’s – where Joni Mitchell wrote “Ladies of The Canyons” and Graham Nash wrote “Our House” – and home to Frank Zappa, Jim Morrison, John Mayall, Carole King, The Mamas and The Papas, and many others. It’s a fun neighborhood with a rustic style, mid-century modern homes and a vibrant community of creators and media executives.  My wife and I own a 1950s post and beam house that we remodeled and serves our sanctuary, office during the pandemic and happy place away from (but close to) the craziness of the city. It’s a great place for entertaining and a convenient home base for any LA adventure.  From the winding streets of Hollywood Hills, we have easy access to some of LA’s oldest neighborhoods, best restaurants and shopping, hiking trails, movie studios and nightlife. Here are some of my favorite places to visit and things to do when friends are visiting from out of town:

  • Hike at Runyon Canyon
  • Lunch on the Sunset Strip
  • Visit the Canyon Store
  • Dinner at Pace
  • Concert at the Hollywood Bowl
  • Visit the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens
  • Korean BBQ in Korea Town
  • Take the scenic drive along Malibu Canyon Road
  • Beach day at El Matador
  • Lunch on the Malibu Pier
  • Sushi in Studio City
  • Dim Sum in China Town
  • Visit the Griffith Observatory
  • Visit the Getty Museum
  • Ride bikes on the Venice Boardwalk
  • Visit the California Science Center
  • Catch a Dodgers or Lakers Game

Alright, so let’s jump right in! 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 a person, group, organization, book, etc that you want to dedicate your shoutout to? Who else deserves a little credit and recognition in your story?

There are a lot of people to thank. My parents – both teachers – taught me at an early age the value of hard work and respect for people and institutions. My wife of 20 years, who immigrated to the United States from Burma (Myanmar), is an inspiration. We are blessed to have two wonderful children and she is a constant reminder of the importance of family and empathy for others. While we grew up on different continents thousands of miles apart, we both have supportive families with shared values and beliefs, which has been foundational for our family. I’ve also been fortunate to have some incredible mentors and business partners over the years – busy individuals who took time out their days to teach me about law practice, launching businesses and investing. This is a reminder of the importance of taking time to meet with students, younger colleagues and people who might just need a break. This is central to the mission at Digital Media Wire, the company that my wife and I founded and built over the past 21 years. As the owners and producers of LA Games Conference and Digital Entertainment World, we focus on community building through business events that highlight important issues that are driving the future of LA’s tech-media industry. We have helped to connect many entrepreneurs with business leaders and investors and to launch and grow new businesses.

Website: https://www.goalventurepartners.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nedsherman

Other: https://www.manatt.com/ https://digitalmediawire.com/

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