About Dal, Through a Publicist's Eye
Dal LaMagna is a successful entrepreneur, a political activist, a documentary film producer, and a small business adviser and advocate. A self-described “compulsive capitalist,” he founded Tweezerman, the beauty tool manufacturer that grew into a multinational, socially responsible brand. The rollicking account of his calamitous business attempts and the lessons learned each time is the subject of his new book, Raising Eyebrows: A Failed Entrepreneur Finally Gets It Right (John Wiley & Sons).
LaMagna’s life story is a crazy quilt of serial entrepreneurial adventures that began at age eight, when he sold the most Catholic School raffle tickets by targeting Happy Hour barflies.
Throughout his undergraduate years, at Providence College in Rhode Island, graduate years at Harvard Business School, and post-grad years in California, LaMagna earned his real-world business chops in a string of failed enterprises. These ranged from Cupid Computer, the first computerized dating service, to Aquarack, the first waterbed store in Cambridge. He invented the Selectavision Light Box, a contraption that blinked in time to music, and he tried to convert drive-in movies to drive-in discotheques.
By the time LaMagna got the idea for Tweezerman (after an amorous interlude on a splintery redwood deck), he had made every business mistake in the book -- and learned invaluable lessons as a result.
Tweezerman’s rise to prominence is a great American success story that will inspire other small business people and entrepreneurial dreamers. When LaMagna eventually sold his company to a German firm in 2004, he walked away with millions. Today, he still sits on the company’s board of directors.
LaMagna has also tried his hand at politics. He twice ran for Congress from New York (and lost), and even staged a brief run for president in 2008 on the platform of ending the Iraqi war. A passionate antiwar activist, he lobbied Congress and traveled to Iraq where, at great personal risk, he got eight insurgent groups and 18 tribal leaders to sign a cease fire on the condition that the US would agree to an eventual total withdrawal. After delivering this document to the highest-level American officials, he never heard anything back.
LaMagna helped produce four Iraqi documentaries. His most recent film, Warchild, about Emmanuel Jal, a Sudanese child soldier who became a rap star in England, won the Audience Choice Award at the Tribeca Film Festival and aired at Cannes.
An advocate for responsible capitalism, LaMagna is a major funder and active trustee of the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, which awards MBAs in sustainable business. He blogs for The Huffington Post and lives in Washington, D.C.
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