Ronnie Madra, 1OAK Co-Founder & Inventor of the EAROS In-Ear Protection System

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Ronnie Madra is the co-founder legendary nightclubs 1OAK and Up and Down.

They’ve hosted after-parties for events like The Oscars, Met Gala & Cannes Film Festival attracting A-List celebrities along the way. Alongside his business partner, Richie Akiva, they’ve developed properties in NYC, LA, Las Vegas, Tokyo, Dubai & Maldives – building one of the leading food & beverage (F&B) brands around in The Butter Group.

However, after 25+ years in nightlife – Ronnie developed a severe hearing issue which caused constant ringing in his ears. To address this problem for the 1.1bil people who will develop hearing issues in their lifetime – he created, EAROS, an in-ear protection system & an acoustical filter.

In this revealing interview that goes behind the mind of the entrepreneur – Ronnie shared stories he has never shared before. Opening up about growing up on a coconut plantation in Guyana, landing in NYC as a minority amongst minorities, dealing with bullies as a kid, running into trouble with a gang & landing on his feet in NYC.

Show Notes

 Here are five things to listen out for:
(1) Childhood – growing up with no electricity in Guyana, landing in NYC and how his early experiences shaped his outlook
(2) Fitting in & dealing with a bully – a raw and honest chat about dealing with bullies, trying to fit in and finding the confidence to be yourself.
(3) Building a name – alongside Richie Akiva, Ronnie has built a name for himself in the nightclub space, attracting A-List celebrities like Jay Z, Pharrell, Rihanna, Kate Hudson, Kanye, Gigi Hadid, Virgil and others to their venues. We go into all the details of how they started and built a name for themselves.
(4) Coming up with business ideas & developing a product – scratching his own itch, why he started EAROS, ways you can think about finding inspiration for ideas and knowing how to take action.
(5) Building Brand & Service – learning from his experience in creating a brand, product development, making people feel safe.

Time Stamps

2:34 – What Ronnie is known for: 1OAK, Butter Group & Earos
5:25 – Scale of their nightclubs & restaurants
7:42 – Growing up on a coconut plantation in Guyana
11:16 – Landing in Queens, NYC
13:15 – Teenage Ronnie
13:55 – Dealing with bullies
19:38 – Early signs of entrepreneurship
23:02 – Listening to all types of music and wanting to fit in
26:32 – Becoming comfortable not fitting in
31:26 – What lead to 1OAK being formed? Finding an A-Team.
36:15 – Starting 1OAK with Richie Akiva & early investments
38:06 – “Pioneers of the pop-up”
41:40 – How to choose partnerships
44:24 – What is next for 1OAK?
47:40 – Attracting A-list celebrities
51:20 – New venture – Earos
55:10 – Developing hearing issues – tinnitus
58:52 – Idea and need for a new type of ear protection
60:50 – Going beyond looking like a hearing aid
66:48 – The process of developing a new product
69:45 – Sound vs. noise
71:35 – The process of reaching out to great people through Linkedin
75:58 – Working day vs. night
79:44 – Pitching the idea to investors
85:16 – When do you know you’re finished?
87:06 – 20 years into the future
91:10 – Closing remarks

Thank you to our sponsor, Instasleep Mint Melts, the drug-free sleep aid that melts in your mouth. You can check them out on Amazon here.