LWV League of Women Voters of California
Orange County, CA November 7, 2000 Election
Smart Voter Full Biography for Ali Abdolsalehi

Candidate for
Governing Board Member; Laguna Beach Unified School District

This information is provided by the candidate

Pencils, Candy Bars, and Loan Sharking: A Child Grows Up In America

Dr. Ali A. Salehi was born in Hollywood, CA.. His parents moved to the United States from Iran a few year prior to the revolution. His father is fond of telling the story of how he and his wife came to America with nothing and earned everything. It started with a lawnmower made for Kentucky blue grass. The problem was that the lawns he mowed were covered in Bermuda. This destroys the blades but he made it work anyway. The entrepreneurial spirit had come with him from Iran and motivated him to create a landscaping company from a single mower. He soon moved on to construction. The hauling he had to do was tiring and so he started a trucking company. Dr. Salehi now runs the same construction company, an entire fleet of taxis, two hotels, half-a-dozen rental properties, shopping centers, and more. This story is the essential lesson passed on to his children. It is the American dream come to life and created a tall order for his children to fulfill. Dr. Salehi has managed to out do his father's legacy. He has created glancing.com, a developing portal for niche cultural information. He runs a consulting firm offering web design, streaming media production and hosting, and system integration, training and service. He also has created On-Line Trading, Inc., an import/export company that has sent Kosher butter to Egypt and will follow soon with computer parts and aerosol cans. In a separate but related venture, he is farming and exporting pomegranates to Japan. He is in the process of starting an online distance education company. He is also is part owner of the KRSI radio station, heard by millions of Persians worldwide, and has partnered to provide streaming media of events and, in return, receive course material for the distance education company. In 1996 Dr. Salehi was a candidate for the Laguna Beach School Board and received endorsements from Bob Dole and Jack Kemp. He is currently a candidate for the South Orange County Community College District Board of Education, a candidacy now being endorsed personally by Al Gore. His passion for a better education will be expressed in his new book about contemporary American educational psychology, which will be published in a few months. He has also been published by the U.N. Press Corps through the efforts of the Harvard Political Review. Dr. Salehi is President of the House of Youth non-profit organization, which brings cultural events with young stars to a young audience. He sits on the board of the recently formed Aliso Viejo Symphony. He keeps in practice on his violin and piano with Persia's grand master Ata Khorram. He is a kickboxing team captain, writes columns for the online L.A. Times and Payameh Ashena, a Persian community newspaper, and coaches chess. His poetry and photography have received several awards and his music has been presented to President Clinton. His current creative outlet is an improvisational comedy routine. Dr. Salehi trained with the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team. He is a certified lifeguard and licensed masseuse. He invented the automatic music stand (patent pending), the microtonal piano, and a martial arts technique. In his spare time he leads post-doctoral research at U.C.I. in Theoretical Psychology. His first doctorate is in the field of Neuro-Psychology and was awarded by the University of London, an English research university. He will continue his education further at U.C.L.A. studying Psychiatry with an emphasis in genetics until earning his M.D.; Also having recently recieved an honorary PhD in the field of Computer Science with an emphasis n interrelated technologies dubbed "CYBER PSYCHOLOGY" Dr. Ali A. Salehi will soon be twenty-two. I was introduced to Ali by telephone through a mutual friend. The stories I had heard made him sound like more than an entrepreneur; he is a Renaissance man. For the unique opportunity to discuss some issues beyond the scope of this class, I wanted to meet him. Due to his absurd schedule, however, I met with him between meetings at 8 o'clock at night. The varied businesses Ali explores serve a combined purpose greater than the sum of their parts. Streaming media, web design, system integration, and the other services he offers have been around for a while and their functionality is well understood. What differentiates Ali's companies is their integration in a way that creates a lock on Internet access to a niche market. At this point that niche market is Persian culture in the U.S. As Persians in foreign countries, of which Iran is the most important, begin to adopt the tools of the information age, Ali and his battalion of companies and partnerships will be ready to provide Persian content from the U.S. to the rest of the world and vice versa. Everything in Ali's portfolio serves a purpose though he may or may not have known what that purpose would be. Advertising is provided through the Internet, including the portal and KRSI, a web and real-world radio station. It is also provided through an army of cabs and in combination with products to be sold through the portal. The ability to work with Internet and Internet infrastructure as well as streaming media is used by the radio station and by glancing.com, which will tie all the services together. Import/export has long been used to foster relationships. The movement of goods to Egypt and Japan creates an active trading relationship, which may turn into partnership. The involvement in non-profit organizations establishes financial involvement with other influential community groups and can inform more people of the Internet community. Ali sees his relationships as the key to his current and continued success. Though some of his businesses are small or languish, the relationships necessary for them to grow at a later date are carefully maintained. Later, focus can shift to those opportunities better suited to the climate. The relationships are the seed of business. Before entering a new venture Ali evaluates which relationships support him and which need extra attention. To Ali, business partners are a family and they require trust, honesty, and care. A problem that can develop from such a close and complicated working relationships is conflict of interest or general familial hostility. His natural family and the chosen-family of his parents serve as his advisors. All of them have started businesses of some kind and they are all filled with advice. Ali feels he gets his best advice from his own partners and often from his competitors. Ali is a keen observer. The combination of extensive psychology education and natural business prowess is his method of distinguishing himself. Ali feels marketing is the essence of business. Everything is a want, he says. The only needs are food, water, sleep and sex, all of which can be found without the aid of a market or leadership. Thus an entrepreneur must create demand for his product though the general product is desired. His advice to entrepreneurs is to go after the long-term rewards rather than immediate gratification. This is especially true for younger entrepreneurs since they can fail and start again. Youth allows for second chances. Ali also advises to choose initial partners carefully as this will make or break any project, even those without large amounts of money at stake. And always keep your promises. Expectations make business difficult. As success comes, so does the idea that success is in your future. Money makes things easy. The economics are obvious but we cannot forget the social value of money. It is status and not just property. Greed is a great motivation and provides excellent leverage. Clearly Dr. Ali A. Salehi is unique even in the small group of entrepreneurs. At first I was concerned that the extremely wide variety of business and personal activities would lead to no possible analysis. From the integration of the business components emerges a new business; he provides infrastructure as a product and has related services but it goes toward a greater goal. Through partnerships and personal relationships he is creating a niche content kingdom that is both growing domestically and ready to explode internationally. He has accomplished this through marketing and networking, as have all other successful Internet ventures.

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