Note: If you are new here and not familiar with podcasting, you can listen to this episode right now by clicking the triangle above. You can also find this episode in iTunes if that is your thing. This week we do something completely different. We take a look at a recent tragedy that impacted my extended family – the murder of my second cousin, Donald Leonetti. Donald was an amazing business man, and there are things we can learn from his life. That seems like something Donald might have wanted. Donald was one of those extended family cousins that you don't see very often, but when you would finally see him, it's like no time had passed. As they say, “Donald could work a room.” Here is a picture of me (in the center) and Donald (on the right, with the cool tie) from around 1977. As you can see, I had awesome hair (a sign of the times). donald-and-mark-1977 As discussed in the episode, Donald was recently murdered during the robbery of a legal poker game near Houston.  

You can read all about the tragedy in this Houston Chronicle article.  Here is an excerpt from that article:

“Shortly after 8 p.m., two masked men with rifles burst into the room from a back door, according to Stafford police. Witnesses told investigators the men demanded that the players empty their pockets and scooped up cash from the tables, a haul that police estimate was about $20,000. It remains unclear why the robbers fired at least two shots before fleeing in a tan or gold Buick LeSabre.

One shot grazed the neck of Charles Olson, 56, who lived. The other shot killed Leonetti…”

A Senseless Tragedy

I've been trying to make some sense out of this tragedy for some time.  By all accounts, Donald was an amazing man that was truly loved in the community.  As mentioned in the episode, he was a family man, a successful business leader at Leonetti Graphics and generous with charities.  People loved him.

It makes you wonder why we live in a world where things like this can happen.  This topic was addressed at Donald's memorial service better than I've ever seen it handled before.   If you wonder why God lets this stuff happen, maybe this video will help.  (View on YouTube)

There were about 2000 people at the memorial service.  Everyone agrees that Donald was awesome, but this eulogy from his friend Paul says it all.  This video contains all the speaker, but Paul starts about 1:30 seconds into the video. (View on YouTube)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OK1L7nPVkF8 The bottom line was that people loved Donald.  That's for sure.

What Can We Learn From All Of This

So the question that I ask in this episode is what can we learn from all of this?  It seems to me that this best thing that we can do for Donald at this point is make his death mean something.  In the context of this show, my very small tribute to Donald is to pull a few lessons out of his life and offer them to you.

  1. Have a fantastic mentor to guide you like Donald's Uncle Damon
  2. Surround yourself with a partner and wonderful people that you can trust and have your back like Donald's wife Jennifer, sister Jo Ann and best friend Paul
  3. Be prepared for the unexpected (instructions, insurance, business structure, etc.)
  4. Be of service.  Add real value in your business.  Be more than your job description.
  5. The more money that you make the more people that you can help.  Regarding this, I mention the book Thou Shall Prosper by Rabi Lapin.  Pay back the community with your prosperity.
  6. If Donald Leonetti could do amazing things, so can you.  Do the work.  There is no such thing as overnight success.  Just do the work.  Be patient.  And remember, you need to do the work.

Make A Donation In Donald Leonetti's Honor

If you would like to make a donation to YoungLife (one of his favorite organizations) in Donald's honor……click here: Young Life Donation Please make sure to select the box “This gift is in honor or memory of someone special” below the “gift amount” box and put in Donald's name in order for us to know which donations are in his memory.

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As always, I'd love to hear what you think about the podcast. Better yet, I’d love to answer your question about Internet marketing on the show. Just drop me a line here on the blog or on the digital recorder at 214-444-8655. Don’t worry, there are no stupid questions. Unless you tell me not to, when you ask a question or leave a comment might even use it on the show.

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Episode 080 Transcript

This week on the Late Night Internet Marketing Podcast we try to get something good out of something incredibly tragic. This is going to be a very unusual episode. If you’re joining me for the very first time, normally we talk about things that are directly related to internet marketing. The truth of the matter is a lot of times we talk about the crazy stuff that’s going on in my life and in internet marketing. For today’s episode we are going to talk about an incredibly tragic event that happened not too far outside the realm of my direct life. We’re going to see if we can try to find some good to come out of that.

I have a crazy story to tell you, it’s incredibly tragic, it’s not very directly related to internet marketing. This is very unusual for this show, but I promise you that at the end of the story we’re going to break it down and I’m going to tie it back into internet marketing. If you can hang on long enough to hear this crazy story, then I’m sure you will find a little something that you can get out of this.

Remembering Donald Leonetti: What Tragedy Can Teach Us

I am from a really large Italian family. My mother’s maiden name is Leonetti, which is big time Italian. She has two Italian parents and their parents, my great-grandparents, came over from Italy as immigrants, as a lot of people have done in this country. In fact, this great country, the United States of America, was built by immigrants, which really brings into context a lot of this immigration discussion in the news. My great-grandparents were such immigrants and they came over from Italy.

In fact, my grandmother’s parents where share-croppers for awhile. We’re talking about the great American story, selling vegetables out of the back of a truck and at the farmer’s market, the whole deal just like you learn about in school, just like you read in history books. My grandfather’s father, you can go to Ellis Island – and we have done this, my brother has gone to Ellis Island and found the documentation for the people coming over.

I used to go to these family events when I was a little kid, all the kids would play together, and cousins, and second cousins, and extended family members and people that you saw two or three times a year would gather together and we would play. Like kids, it was almost as if between one event and the other event it was no time elapsed, we would just pick up right where we left off the last time.

Really great stuff and an awesome way to grow up. If you haven’t had this extended family experience, it’s hard to explain. You see people and then you don’t see them again for months and months, and then you see them again and it’s like no time elapsed and you just know them. It’s really kind of cool.

Transcript continued from the Episode 080 Show notes

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