Lincoln Jacobe is well on his way to a media empire. His companies include television, radio, print, web and events. He represents Jasmine Trias, Camille Valesco and was the bridge between American Idol and Hawaii during the auditions. Lincoln just founded a non profit organization to offer technology scholarships to Hawaii’s youth.

Toth, Catherine. “LEADERSHIP CORNER.” Honolulu Advertiser 19 07. 2004. Leadership Corner. 29 09 2005 .
TV production CEO combines mother’s advice with risk taking

Interviewed by Catherine E. Toth
Advertiser Staff Writer

Name: Lincoln Jacobe.

Age: 34.

Title: Chief executive officer.

Organization: Hawai’i Pacific Entertainment, which specializes in TV and film production, sports and entertainment, special-event management, marketing consulting and technology media.

High school: Farrington High School (1988).

College: Associate degree in business and accounting from Kapi’olani Community College; some course work in travel industry management at Hawai’i Pacific University

Breakthrough job: Working as a front-desk manager for Marc Resorts at age 20. “They recognized my early development of management skills, leadership style and work ethics, which they fostered, that gave me a jump-start to my career in business management.”

Little-known fact: Though he works with computers all day long, Jacobe doesn’t own one at home. He doesn’t have a DVD player, a stereo system or a CD player. He doesn’t even have cable TV. “Zero technology. Long ago I decided that since I work with technology all day, every day, the only way I can truly relax is to have a house with just a bed, not one single device or gadget. As a young entrepreneur, the bed and a good magazine are all I need at home to relax.”

Major challenge: After the Sept. 11 attacks, which affected his business significantly, Jacobe’s challenge has been finding new business opportunities by creating marketing campaigns and finding new avenues of revenue.

• • •

Q. You’re now representing “American Idol” finalist Jasmine Trias, who recently had a cameo in “North Shore.” What kind of potential does she have?

A. She has really good potential. There have been a lot of exciting opportunities that will actually transpire in the fall once she returns home. … There’s a lot of interest in her nationally and internationally as well. Talent and personality — she’s got both. That what it takes to be successful.

Q. How did you go from working in a hotel to running a production, management and marketing company with seven full-time employees, producing two TV shows (“Tech Buzz Hawai’i” on KHON and “Flavors of Technology” on OC16) and managing such local celebrities as Nohelani Cypriano?

A. Our business literally started on a kitchen table in my business partner’s (Joseph Collins) house he had just bought in ‘Ewa Beach. We had one Apple computer and dial-up Internet access. We used his home phone line for our phone and fax.

Q. You were a hotel manager with Marc Resorts, a company you helped during its startup years. And your educational background is in accounting. What made you switch from the tourism industry, in which you have years of experience, to starting your own entertainment-based company?

A. I was working nights and days and long hours running other people’s businesses. I had to sit myself down at age 25 and ask, ‘What do I really want to do? Do I really want to give all this blood, sweat and tears to somebody else’s bottom line?’ And the answer was no.

Q. What made you choose entertainment as the industry in which you would start a business?

A. The travel-industry management market was a guarantee, something I did from high school (working at various hotels). But my real passion started in high school. I was the president of the journalism club and speech club, and I was in the advance acting ensemble. My real passion is communications, whether it’s written or oral. But because of career counseling at the high school level, I went into a different field. … Entrepreneur wasn’t one of the Top 10 (job) titles, like doctor or lawyer or hotel manager. I just chose TIM and accounting and majored in those two fields. Quite honestly, I didn’t like them. I was just going on what my counselors told me. So my advice for young people would be to follow your heart and do or create something for yourself, something that you want to do, not what other people tell you to do.

Q. Where did you get your motivation to excel?

A. It goes back to my mother. It’s always been something she tried to instill in me. She always used to say, ‘Study hard in school, do your homework, go to college and get a good job.’ I listened to her and did all those things. But working for other people really wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to really get out there and actually make a huge difference. We talk about leadership skills being something you’re born with, and that was definitely true for me.

Q. Was there anything you’ve done that went against your mother’s advice?

A. I bought a home without my parent’s knowledge. I just wanted to do something for myself. So by the time I turned 20, I had a two-bedroom, fee-simple condo in Wahiawa and rented it out for about 11 years. … My mother always said, ‘Save your money and later on buy something.’ But if I had listened to everything my mom told me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. She’s not a risk-taker. Her idea of a career is staying at one job forever. If that were true, I would still be at McDonald’s.

Q. But you still consider her your role model, right?

A. My mother is and always will be the key motivator for me in life because she always had these good one-liners: ‘I want you to have what I didn’t have,” “There’s office politics, so choose your friends wisely,” “Work hard and save your money,” “Treat everyone how you want to be treated.” These are just a few — and I mean, few — phrases my mom told me a billion times growing up, which actually paid off for me. … I commend her and put her on a pedestal for raising me like all children should be raised. … Through my mother’s guidance, I am who I am today.

Q. How will the newly revised Act 221, which provides tax credits to aid technology-related companies, impact your business?

A. It could, but we haven’t applied for it yet. … We have in the past lobbied for it because technology hasn’t been supported a whole lot. And now that the state is looking for another viable industry to tourism, to me that’s really important to support.

Q. There hasn’t been the kind of success in TV production in Hawai’i comparable to “Magnum, P.I.” and “Hawaii Five-0.” Now, three major network dramas are filming on O’ahu. Do you think they will be successful, despite Hawai’i’s track record?

A. They have potential to be successful. … Hawai’i has the backdrop, for sure, and the aloha spirit. We have an ‘ohana style of doing business. Those are huge advantages to Hawai’i. We have something that’s not found anywhere else in the world.

Hawaii Pacific Entertainment
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