Feb 142011
Authors: Courtney Riley

CSU alumnus David Goodman attributes his success to his philosophy of failure.

“The second best thing I’ve ever learned is that failure can become failure if you let it consume you, or you can learn from it, move on and make something better,” Goodman said.

Goodman had planned on becoming a band director after graduating with a music education degree in 1979, but he ended up becoming the vice president and executive producer of entertainment for the Walt Disney Company.

Today he owns Goodman Experiences LLC, a company that helps businesses conduct themselves more creatively.

But it took him a while to get there.

Goodman grew up in Fort Collins and attended CSU on a full-ride music scholarship.

By age 11, he had tried playing “literally almost every instrument” until he found his true calling: the drums.
During his sophomore year he was invited to audition for the All-American College Band and was one of three U.S. drummers chosen to participate in the band’s summer program in Disneyland.

“It was the best learning experience ever,” he said. “It introduced me to the music industry.”

Upon graduation, CSU asked him to stay and teach. But after doing so for a semester, he started a jazz-fusion band with his brotherEd, who also graduated from CSU.

The two brothers treated the band like an enterprise.

They taught themselves how to form a business write-up by researching it in the library and then got people to invest in their company. It was a process of trial and error.

“You just can’t ever be afraid to fail,” he said.

Then his company went bankrupt.

So Goodman moved on. He became a studio musician, but then decided to form his own jingle company, until receiving a call from Disney asking him to return and conduct the All-American College Band for the summer.

After working as a conductor, he took a job in Disney’s entertainment division and created the Disney Magic Music Days program –– a program where students from high schools and colleges have the chance to perform at Disneyland.

The program was so successful Goodman was asked to manage half of the Disneyland Entertainment Department and then became the director of Entertainment in Costuming in Tokyo where he was in charge of the parades, fireworks, celebrity appearances and other events.

Goodman then created the Walt Disney Special Events Group, a company that managed film premiers, the opening of stores and any other publicity event that took place outside of the park in places such as London, Singapore, Australia and Orlando.
The company managed about 1,500 to 1,800 events per year all over the world.

He decided to then start his own company, Goodman Experiences LLC, to consult with entities on how to make their businesses more creative.

“I believe that everybody is wildly creative,” he said. “There are incredibly creative people in all walks of life.”
In collaboration with his brother Ed, he wrote the e-book “Creating the New American Dream … the Spiral Renaissance Theory,” which he described as a “creative-thinking tool” that helps companies unlock their creativity.

“Dave has an incredible imagination, wonderful abilities to bring out the best in companies and organizations and is really great at connecting people to their dreams,” Ed Goodman said. “He’s so good at helping people find their individual best self.”

David Goodman said in the country’s present economy, people are scared and aren’t thinking very well, despite the fact that they have the capacity to do so.

“It’s the tendency of everyone to fear failure,” he said. “But you can’t fear success either.”

He said his success is simply about being the happiest person he can be.

“Don’t spend time being scared, spend your time focused on your passion,” he said. “I went through a lot of steps, all with the same level of passion, and I just left when it stopped being fun.”

Staff writer Courtney Riley can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Get to know David Goodman
Distinguished Alumnus Award Recipient in 2010
Grew up in Fort Collins
Attended CSU on a full-ride music scholarship
Brother Ed has played the trumpet with Barbara Streisand and Frank Sinatra
Started a Jazz fusion band
Played percussion in concert band, jazz band and marching band at CSU
Has put on entertainment events in over 40 countries with the Walt Disney Company

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