actorartathleteauthorbizcrimecrosspostcustomerservicedirectoredufoodgaminghealthjournalistmedicalmilmodpostmunimusicnewsworthynonprofitotherphilpolretailscispecialisedspecializedtechtourismtravelunique

BusinessI’m Richard Bronson, founder/CEO of 70MillionJobs, former “Wolf of Wall Street” partner. Spent 22 months in a federal prison, now run Y-Combinator startup that finds jobs for 70 million ex-offenders. AMA.

Jan 17th 2018 by RichardBBronson • 22 Questions • 78 Points

I began my career on Wall Street, and became a partner at the infamous Stratton Oakmont, of “Wolf of Wall Street” fame. After launching my own firm that grew to 500 employees, generating $100 million in annual revenue, I was arrested for securities fraud, and spent 22 months in a federal prison. Upon release, I had nothing - no job, no money, and no prospects. I finally found a home at Defy Ventures, the prominent reentry non-profit, where I served as director, leading to my founding 70MillionJobs, the first for-profit recruitment platform for individuals with criminal records. In a short time, the 70MillionJobs has amassed a huge community of ex-offenders--a population emerging as a vital economic and political force--and have begun working with large, national employers.

I have experienced the dizzying heights of success, the inevitable plummet to abject failure, and ultimate redemption in discovering the intersection of good works and good business. AMA.

For job-seekers with a record, for large employers, and anyone else who wants to connect, please visit: www.70MillionJobs.com

PROOF: https://imgur.com/m7QHN8N Further proof: https://www.forbes.com/sites/zackfriedman/2017/04/12/this-ceo-wants-to-hire-70-million-people/#69e341bc7be7

EDIT: Alright Reddit, I'm signing off now. Thanks for a great evening. Come visit us at 70MillionJobs.com and contact us with your thoughts. -Richard

Q:

Alright, this is going to be a rather harsh sounding question here. But please understand that I'm not bashing you.

So, how do you view your return to working in light of the massive disparity between Caucasian and African Americans both in incarceration rates and success after release?

In other words, if you weren't Caucasian and with the background you had before being convicted, do you think that you would have been able to achieve the relative return to normalcy in an executive position?

As a secondary question to that, how do you think we as a society could improve that disparity?

A:

Not harsh at all. You're stating some depressing facts. There's huge racism in this country. 85% of those incarcerated are African American or Latin. This is vastly unjust and what I work towards righting. The fact that I'm a white male with a college education definitely makes things easier than what my brothers and sisters of color face, so in a way I'm fortunate. But anyone that's done time carries a stigma that resembles a life sentence.


Q:

Any advice for job interviews? Also finding a good job as a non college graduate?

A:

Research the company before you show up. Have lots of questions to ask interviewer


Q:

Knowing what happened, would you do it again?

A:

Great question. Honestly, I never had as much fun as back in those days. We were all such great friends and I never laughed so hard. But the pain I caused my friends and family was so great, and the shame that I felt and continue to feel isn't compensated by all the sex, drugs and rock and roll. I wasn't put on this earth to do bad. I'm trying to save my soul every day. Thanks for asking


Q:

That’s an honest answer that I can relate to. People will always hold the past over your head but once you’ve truly changed and found meaning in what’s really important in our short time on Earth, your soul is already saved. I wish you all the success in your new endeavor and pray you help 70 million and more.

A:

Thank you. Kind of you to say.


Q:

An ex CEO trying to disguise their exploitation of labor for profit. Nah.

A:

I understand how you feel.Under the circumstances, I know I have a lot to prove, including to my investors. All I can say is wait and see.


Q:

Do you specialize in finding these folks certain types of jobs, or do you just help whoever find whatever work they can do? How do you make money off that?

A:
  1. Companies pay us a fee for every applicant they hire, like any other recruiting firm. We focus on large, national employers in the retail, food service, health care, call center, trucking, logistics, warehousing, etc.

Q:

Gotta ask: Do you invest in cryptocurrencies? What are you thoughts on the whole scene?

A:

I don't have the dough to invest, but probably would. See answer above.


Q:

Any advice for someone also seeking the intersection of good works and good business? Sometimes it seems they're mutually exclusive.

A:

Yeah, I know what you mean, but I do believe that there's been an evolution in peoples' expectations that of what a business should stand for. Companies like Virgin and others believe that there's a righteous connection between taking care of your employees, pleasing your customers, and doing the right thing. The old "greed is good" mentality seems like ancient thinking. Employees won't accept that. Times have changed, and mostly for the better. Doing good, I've come to learn and believe, can in fact be reflected in your bottom line. Maybe that's because I'm a 63 year old man that's very concerned with his karma. But I get incredibly positive response to our business model. And I sleep better at night.


Q:

How do you feel about our current political climate?

A:

I am waiting to awake from the nightmare of our current administration. I'm a NYer, and none of us take our spray-painted Pres seriously. He is blithely ignorant, unengaged and clearly racist. As a patriotic American, I'm ashamed of him.


Q:

My thoughts exactly. He is just a nightmare. He has set the nation back DECADES in the eyes of the world. This is not progress, it is the last breath of the baby boomers political preferences.

A:

amen brother


Q:

Hi, thanks for doing this ama. I came across your website a while back while looking around on Google for interview tips and the such for those with felonies so I guess I have a good question for you that I was wondering when I first came across it.

Is there a certain market that your website is trying to appeal to? Like, is it mostly for entry-level jobs? I just graduated from college and I got a job in my field (software development) through a recommendation and I was fortunate enough that they didn't do a background check. While I like the job the pay is more or less abysmal even for my location and amount of experience. In a few years it's likely that I'm going to be on the job search again.

Does/will your website have any employers looking for these types of positions? Do you have any general tips not related to the website?

A:

Thanks for your question. The sad truth is that most of the men and women in prison don't have a lot of job experience nor education. Combined with their absolute need to find a job (which might be a condition to their freedom on parole or probation), they consider themselves fortunate to find anyone willing to hire them. There's a huge degree of negative bias and racism at work. Folks with degrees and advanced skills generally figure out how to negotiate the system. They may never rise to run Google, but they can find a reasonably good job. Those with a record are deeply f'ed. Turns out that when they are hired, they generally emerge as an employer's best hire, and stick around longer. Combined with generous federal tax credits, there's compelling reason why hiring this population is very good for business.


Q:

Cool, thanks for the reply. I beelined it for college after getting out because I didn't even want to deal with the job market with the conviction being so recent. I was fortunate enough to have a support system that allowed for that possibility.

A:

I'm happy for you that you had people in your corner


Q:

What do you think of the wealth inequality in the US and would you be willing to help smash the oligarchy when the revolution comes knocking?

A:

I'm an old hippie, who marched at many a protest back in the day. I'm not sure the revolution will come knocking; maybe more through a notification on my smart phone.


Q:

What was your drug of choice and how often/much did you imbibe in?

A:

I took a lot of quaaludes. Pretty much every day. If they hadn't stopped making them, I'd probably be dead by now.


Q:

Best party story from the wolf of Wall Street days?

A:

Oh god! Do I really have to answer this? Let's see. I don't want to name any names that you may recognize (hell, you'd definitely recognize). There were so many days of shaving heads for $5k, eating wasabi for cash, abusing casino hosts, all stuff I'm very embarrassed by. There were times of 48-hour stints at the blackjack tables, people passing out left and right at the dinner table, celebrities that wanted to befriend us. It was all a drug-fueled blur, with endless laughing. Great, but also very sad


Q:

Thanks for the answer! Best of luck with anything.

By the way, Did you ever try ludes? If so, thoughts?

A:

Loved, loved, loved them. However, I broke my hip falling down stairs while high, and destroyed a ferrari. Drug casualties


Q:

How do you sleep at night knowing you took retirement money from so many people who worked their entire lives to save and invest only to be conned by you and your associates?

Honestly, Do you ever think about the people behind the $100's of millions you stole from and how you probably destroyed their lives?

A:

I'm ashamed by much of my behavior, but I sleep at night in the knowledge that I paid everyone back. And we did not open accounts with retirees, widows and children. I have devoted my life to doing the right thing.


Q:

Hi Richard. Can you share where you were incarcerated?

A:

Yes, Eglin AFB and Montgomery (both federal) Was also at Rikers for a couple of weeks


Q:

Tootski?

A:

Yes, some of that. Mostly quaaludes


Q:

Who played you in the movie?

Coke or quaaludes?

A:

I wasn't a specific character in the movie. Mostly quaaludes


Q:

What was your most memorable crazy nights out?

A:

I spent a memorable evening with an eight-ball, a case of Cristal and four women way out of my league


Q:

[deleted]

A:

good one