RFID, LTD (OTC: RFDL) is a rapidly growing company working with this (multi-application/wave of the future) technology. The company went public in 2004; and as Analysts, Frost & Sullivan predict: “RFID technology revenues itself should exceed $7 billion by 2008.”
Nicholas appears to have been born gifted and talented. For early starters, Mr. Chavez was known as “The Orator” at age 5 for his ability to “willingly and openly speak publicly in front of large crowds.” After having a delightful conversation with Nicholas, there’s no question he has the gift of speech and a way with words.
Wise beyond his years, Nicholas started his own computer consulting company at age 15. By age 17, Nicholas had already caught the attention of Packard Bell, IBM and Lucent Technologies who hired him to help upgrade their Help Desk and IT Departments.
Nick is more than just the Mastermind/Boy Genius that Entrepreneur Magazine, Colorado Company and others publications have written about. In fact, Nicholas the “older brother” in his family, has a younger brother, Kristopher L. Chavez who has been successful in his own right as President of Recruits.com, a college athletic site for high school athletes that want recognition from major universities.
Along with his technical innovations, Nicholas is actively pursuing his interest in filmmaking. The single entrepreneur and young mastermind produced and directed the short film “Alternative Ending”, a fictional account portraying the conspiracy of JFK. The film was actually an official submission to the Cannes Film Festival in 2004. Chavez also is in the midst of opening his own film studio.
The always forward thinking, Mr. Chavez, reflects a healthy, at ease, attitude about himself and his success; and Nicholas wisely advises people: “Don’t be trapped by just learning one profession in your lifetime, be trapped in a constant state of learning.”
I found Nicholas respectful, polite, and charming. Nicholas Chavez is a powerful force that’s here to stay. You can pretty much assume that this Whiz Kid has “got the chops” to continue making the magic happen.
What involvement do you or your company have with non-profits? Our company RFID is fostering the Families First organization, and we have been supporting their Gala. They are a fantastic organization with great people. Personally I’ve been involved with Huntington’s Disease, the Molly Bloom Foundation, as well as being involved with some of the benefit fashion shows at Riverfront Park. I also give Anonymously to several organizations. I’m right now trying to understand the topography of philanthropy in Colorado and trying to learn more about it.
Are you looking at certain organizations for future involvement? One that I’m looking at becoming more involved with is the Young American’s Bank, which teaches children financial & economic skills. Kids should understand things like how credit affects their daily life, and why one would need a 401-K, and the importance of putting money in savings. The Young American’s Bank gives kids a great education about all of this - and to the kids who need it the most.
Describe yourself as a child? What did you like to do? I was never afraid to get up in front of a crowd. I never had any kind of stage fright. I went to a private school, and I remember we had to write our own speeches which I enjoyed, and I loved to write creative stories.
How old were you when you knew that your talents lay in the technology field? Computers came along in my life at around age 11 or 12. My uncle who was a stock broker had all of these different computers set up for different purposes that were tied into bulletin board systems which sort of precursored the internet. He taught me how to hit them and how to dial in from one computer that was in Boulder, CO to New York, NY & how to pull down all the information from these bulletin boards. That early addiction to information and my ability to orate that at a later time brought forth my communication knowledge and my lust for the newest streams of information.
What did your teachers do to encourage or discourage you? A little of both. My report cards would read: “He has tremendous potential, but no focus.” I routinely would not do my homework, or I would do my homework, and forget it at home so I couldn’t turn it in. My academic career was very frustrating for both me and the people who were trying to teach me.
You were so young when you started in the business world; do you feel like you’ve missed anything by not doing what the rest of the kids were doing? I frankly just re-ordered my life at a different time. At 17, just before I graduated from high school, I was working for Packard Bell in a way similar to what people do when they are right out of college at maybe age 22-23. Like most, I was just trying to work hard, and make a name & career for myself; not going on Springs Break or much outside of working, but I can do all of that now. When you have worked very hard and you have been given some financial rewards for your time and efforts, there is nothing that is inaccessible to you anymore.
How do you feel about what has taken place in the last 10 years of your fast-paced life? What stands out as a highlight for you? I feel wonderful about it. I took a very different path; I had children very early starting when I was 20. The great part of that, I only had to go 20 years of my life without knowing my oldest child; now what does that mean? When he’s 65 years old at his retirement party, he’s going to be an old man, and hopefully his “old man” will be 85 and sitting right next to him. We get to be old men together. I love the idea of that!
You have accomplished so much, you are financially secure, so in some ways, do you feel like you have already met many of your goals in life? I wouldn’t say that I’ve completed a career yet; I have a very nice foundation in the world of technology & business, and I’m looking forward to more film work and doing something really meaningful in the world of philanthropy, and that’s why I’m checking out different causes to see how it works, and see how the money is being used for the eventual benefit of those depending upon it. I like to educate myself in the way that I’ve always educated myself for anything that is important to me which is through immersion.
Nicholas, do your parents live in Colorado at this time? Yes, they actually do now; my brother & I have been able to retire them. They do some work for me and for my brother’s company. My mother was a Scientist for Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, and my father worked there also in Human Resources.
How should education be shifting its focus to accommodate the jobs of the future? I am in fact so happy you asked this question. I think that the number of jobs in 10 to 15 years is going to drastically decrease. What do I mean by that? You will begin to see people moving away from the perceived comfort of a “W-2” job. That’s not the way of the future for the United States to remain competitive in a global economy.
What you will see is - and in my opinion this is what education should focus on - you will see people taking more responsibility for their day to day work. Irregardless of what that specific work is, they are going to need to feel responsible for the quality of their work, just like a “1099” contractor or a consultant. So when you hire someone from “Big Company A” to come to your home and fix your air conditioner, they aren’t going to get paid with a salary like they automatically do now, if the work wasn’t done right.
So I think what the American school system needs to start doing is rewarding children based upon results, and get the bell curve out of there - or at least reduce tremendously the need for children to be a “nice average” out there. Eventually children should take responsibility for their learning and for their actions because that’s the only way they are going to get paid in the future.
What do you think is the greatest problem we are facing in this country today? This maybe is an answer to this question that you have never heard mentioned before, and I’m going to have the courage to say it. What I call it is: “Improper Education Economic Opportunity Distribution”, and by that I don’t mean in the democratic sense of “Let’s get more programs for people who are down on their luck”, what I mean by that is something like what RFID qualifies for when you are eligible for certain set-a-sides by the government. I think that there are enough special interest groups in the United States that frankly are doing an excellent job of placing money into the pockets of those industries that have money for the employment of special interest groups so you have this self-perpetuating money machine for large companies – not just the ones that do a million here a million there - I’m talking about the companies that have billions and billions of dollars that crush the capability of smaller companies, all the way from the mom and pops to the ones who have 200-300 employees. How are they going to possibly compete in a world where there are special interest groups that I don’t really want to use the word “bribe” but incent others who are in the same business with them in an unfair way.
That is part of being a capitalist society I know – and good for them if they can do that – but what is good for them is bad for others. The problem is just a matter of perspective. What I think is a problem, they think is bread and butter. An example I can give you: Is smoking a health problem for people? Yes, but not for a big tobacco company or their shareholders - it becomes an excellent opportunity.
What’s the best book you have ever read that you could recommend to others? “As a Man Thinketh” by James Allen. It was the book that turned me from someone with a tremendous amount of potential to someone who has actually been able to do what I have done. You can read this book in an hour.
What is your favorite techie magazine? - One that you can’t wait for the next issue to arrive? “2600: The Hacker Quarterly”.
Being so successful at a young age, how do you feel you have paid your dues? I believe I’ve paid my dues - and a couple of other’s dues too. I’ve gone from being a millionaire to being completely broke – and then back to the millionaire side of the equation. There have been some hard lessons learned there that I can qualify as dues paid. Although it was the most valuable learning time in my life.
What’s up in the future for Nicholas Chavez; filmmaking comes through loud and clear, yes? It definitely does. My brother and I have spent some time in L.A. learning more about the industry and the people involved in it. We will continue to go there and find out more, and see what we can do with that. So what right now is a passionate hobby (and something you can’t shut me up about), is something I’d love to wake up to every day and go do.
I’ve also tutored autistic children and worked with the National Autism Society, and I’d like to do some research on the engineering of the autistic mind. Autism is just a different way that the mind works, and I’ve always seen it as an incredible gift given to people, and it needs to be understood.
How do you want to be remembered by future generations; what will history say about you? As being a person of integrity. As someone who is generous, capable & kind; and everyone knew they could rely upon if the time ever came.
Mr. Chavez’s Current Community Involvement: Mr. Chavez proudly supports Families First, a non-profit organization whose mission is to strengthen and preserve families by partnering with them and their communities to provide support for abused children, employee assistance programs, foster care, and more.