As the owner of over 12 businesses, Duane was financially independent in his mid thirties with a story resembling Horatio Alger. His empire ranges from shopping centers and office high rises to professional baseball, media and bakery. Duane is the inspiration behind this project.
He owns the radio station that we broadcast from, Sports Radio 1420 AM, Honolulu Magazine, Hawaii Business Magazine, Downtown Planet, Watermark Publishing, Punaluu Bake Shop and others not listed. He is part owner of the Star Bulletin, MidWeek and the San Francisco Giants professional baseball team.
So what makes someone with so much success continue to work? Duane’s strength is connecting with the community in a special way. He’s not the fast talking business man type. He is very quiet, shy and spends substantial time thinking out his answers. He is a true example of, “actions speak louder than words.” Duane is a doer and business is his art.
This interview is especially important because Duane does not normally give interviews. He doesn’t even interview for his own publications. Try a google search for him and you’ll come up short. So why did he come on our show? You’ll need to listen to find out.
Some questions asked:
You’re originally from a plantation community on the Big Island of Hawaii, how did you learn your business skills?
Can you tell us about your first venture into entrepreneurship?
What was the hardest thing about getting started and how did you overcome it?
Can you tell us your view on using leverage in business?
Can you share your view on how important it is to be community minded in business?
Can you give some examples of how being community minded or having a social mission also makes bottom line profit sense?
Can you talk about why you’re involved w/ Punaluu Bakery and how that business makes a difference?
What are the biggest and most common mistakes you see entrepreneurs or business owners make when starting a new venture?
What are the most important laws to becoming successful?
What is the most important thing to teach your children?
What was your biggest business challenge and how did you overcome it?
Did you have your community minded vision before or after you obtained financial success?
When did you decide to buy media companies?
How old were you when you tried retiring?
Can you tell us how the Hawaii Winter Baseball League started?
How did that lead to ownership in the San Francisco Giants?
What is AIO?
How did you come up w/ the philosophy of AIO which is ‘Make your life; Make a difference’?
What programs does AIO have that support this social mission?
Any last advice for business people?
Growing up in a plantation community in the rural area of the Big Island of Hawaii, Duane Kurisu learned the true meaning of community. It was there that his father, a machinist for the plantation and mother, a government employee taught him about taking care of people.
“My mother used to bring people home for dinner because she felt sorry that they had no one to eat with. My father would have the children catch O’pae in the stream for our friends and neighbors.” says Duane. It was through experiences like those that Duane developed his sense of responsibility for others.
Duane attended the University of Hawaii for both his undergraduate work and MBA. In his late 20’s, Duane formed his first company, Kurisu and Fergus and started developing real estate. Seven years and numerous deals later, Duane decided to retire and go fishing. That lasted for about 3 months and Duane, with a new mission set out to build community related businesses.
This led to the Hawaii Winter Baseball League (HWBL) which was the first international professional baseball organization with players from around the world. Ichiro Suzuki has been quoted saying that his Hawaii baseball experience was instrumental to his MLB success. HWBL led to Duane’s invitation to become an owner for the San Francisco Giants professional baseball team.
Duane then obtained ownership in numerous local publications. These include Hawaii Business Magazine, Honolulu Magazine, Star Bulletin, MidWeek, Downtown Planet and Pacific Magazine. Other businesses include Punalu’u Bake Shop, Sports Radio 1420, Watermark Publishing and numerous other ventures.
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