Let’s help the Boys & Girls Club! Oh, and I met Shaq.

by jeffhilimire on December 17, 2014

This post is a long time coming. Ever since my good friend took a job at the Boys & Girls Club (donate!), my eyes have been opened to the wonderful things they do at that organization. I knew peripherally with B&GC did, but wasn’t fully aware of how awesome this organization was.

And then I met Shaq.

Here’s the story. My friend at B&GC and I have been talking about doing a tour of one of the clubs so I could really see the operation first hand. We were scheduled for early December but then we had to reschedule for yesterday at 4pm. My friend said that it would be a good time because the kids would be getting some gifts. So I show up thinking we’re going to go on a tour, meet some kids, maybe hand out some gifts, and that will be that.

I walk into the gym area and don’t see my friend, but there’s a lot of Christmas-themed activity going on. I see some TV cameras which I kind of expected, and a big Santa seat in the middle of a ton of presents. I’m hanging out waiting for my friend and I notice something peculiar on the tarp hanging behind the Santa seat. There are logos of some sponsors but there is also a logo that says Shaq-a-Claus with a picture of Shaq wearing a Santa hat.

Immediately I think to myself: No. Can’t be. There’s no way Shaq is coming to meet the kids. Not here. Not today….I’m not going to meet Shaq today…am I?

I started to shake off the very notion, sort of in an un-jinxing way. Nah, Shaq isn’t coming, he probably just donates gifts to a bunch of clubs and they have that cute logo at all the clubs.

Because I spoiled the surprise in both the title of this blog post and in all my social media feeds yesterday, I’ll skip to the point. Shaq did show up, I did get to meet him and he’s GIGANTIC. Not just in size (though to be fair, he is the largest human being I’ve ever seen), but his heart is equally big. Turns out, Shaq is a “club kid”, meaning he spent his youth at Boys & Girls Clubs and credits that experience with giving him the opportunity to realize his dreams.

He spent time talking to the kids and he gave them all a bunch of presents that he personally purchased. You’ve never seen so many presents and of course, the 400 or so kids that were there were going nuts. For some of them, that will be the entirety of their Christmas experience. You could tell Shaq was genuine and really cared for those children, and I couldn’t have been more impressed with him.

So I’m asking my friends to donate some money this holiday to the Boys & Girls Club. The money is going to help kids who have very few things going their way. Like Shaq, you can be a bright spot in their life.



Advice on how a startup CEO should prioritize their time

December 15, 2014

I was talking to a good friend of mine recently, a startup CEO like myself, and he was struggling with the difficulty of deciding what exactly he should be spending his time on. He has a functioning version 1.0 product and two other people in his company. Should he be spending more time recruiting, finding […]

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The apps and sites I use to receive news and content on a daily basis

December 11, 2014

I’m a junkie for the news, but not in the sense of the actual news because its fairly depressing for someone like me that wants to stay positive. No, the kind of news I enjoy is industry (mobile, games, marketing) or technology-related. I had a conversation with a CNN executive recently about the ways that people […]

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Announcing Dragon Army 2.0

December 8, 2014

What a journey this has been so far. A little over a year ago Ryan Tuttle, David Cummings, and I started Dragon Army. The goal: make great mobile games. We started it the Atlanta Tech Village – in my opinion the best place in Atlanta to create a startup. We launched two games, Robots Love […]

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One week with an Android smartwatch – the LG G

December 3, 2014

New technology is an interesting thing. There are times when new tech is created and it solves an existing problem, and then there are clearly times when new technology is created in search of a problem. I think smartwatches are somewhere in the middle. I’ve written a lot about my experiences with the Pebble watch […]

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On being nice

December 1, 2014

Paul Graham wrote an interesting blog post last month titled, Mean People Fail. Paul’s posts are always great. In the post, Paul explores the concept that unlike the past, today its going to be a much more difficult to be successful while also being mean. It was easier to be mean in the past for several reasons, […]

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A reflection on the gigantic difference between failing and failure

November 22, 2014

Failing… Failing fast… Failing often… You’ve heard a lot of this talk in the startup world over the years. In fact, I have a slew of blog posts about failure. The general idea is that if you never fail – if everything you try works the first time – then you’re not trying enough new […]

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Learning to let go of the small things and focus on the important stuff

November 18, 2014

I don’t know about you, but at times I seem to find myself barely able to keep up with everything that I have going on. I use tools – like Evernote, Trello, and super-optimized email and calendar processes – to help me manage through my day (both personal and business). But even with those tools and […]

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Here is my bad advice when someone asks me, “when should I start a company?”

November 13, 2014

In the circles I hang in, I get this question quite a bit, “When should I start my company?” And my answer is always the same. “Now.” I should point out that many entrepreneurs would disagree with me on this, and in fact, many have. So there’s that. There are loads of studies that show […]

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Question from a startup CEO: What are the top 3 books you would recommend I read right now?

November 12, 2014

The CEO of a young company asked me this week what the three books I’d recommend he read right now. Without hesitation, I said: Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis - And no, it doesn’t count if you’ve seen the movie. This book will make you think differently about everything, but certainly business. If […]

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