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Have you met Brandon Finch?

#ExploreCLT. One connected Charlotte. Check out his Charlotte neighborhood t-shirts.

Hi! Have you met Brandon Finch?

I’m drawn to people that work full time jobs and do cool shit on the side. These people have this insatiable need to execute on ideas big and small no matter how much time they need to devote outside of their 9-5. Brandon is one of those people. He’s the face behind the extremely popular ExploreCLT Instagram account and that’s just the beginning. What get’s me so pumped about everything he’s working on is first, each idea is unique and never been done before. Second, each idea is focused on bringing Charlotteans together, exploring the city, it’s people and it’s businesses. We need more of this.

There’s big things coming from Brandon. He is awesome. Interested in learning more or getting involved? Connect with him on Twitter, Instagram or email

I asked him 6 questions. His answers are below.

What are you most passionate about?

I have many passions, sometimes to a fault. I think the definition for that is multi-passionate entrepreneur, as I’ve started many pet projects, businesses, and hobbies along the way. None have achieved my definition of success yet, but I think it’s important everyone has something they are passionate about that isn’t their main source of income, whether it’s a hobby, public service to others, or a side-hustle.

What frustrates you more than anything?

The number of people in Charlotte who run red lights. Be smart out there, people.

What are you reading right now?

I recently started “Different – Escaping the Competitive Herd” by Youngme Moon. It was recommended by my realtor who knows I enjoy business-related books (think Malcolm Gladwell-esque books). The book provides an interesting take on the need for companies (big and small) to rethink their business strategy through innovation in order to stand out. I appreciate books that ooze nuggets of wisdom, and so far, this one is meeting that expectation. One of the greater challenges I see Charlotte facing as it continues to grow will be to ensure we maintain a unique identity. Whether it’s a new apartment building, restaurant, or brewery, businesses that plan to succeed will need to figure out how to be different as we Charlotte continues to evolve.

If you could instantly improve any area of your life what would it be?

I’m on my phone wayyy too much. Some of it is mindless, but for the most part it’s either doing the things I’m passionate about or have responsibilities to. Regardless of the perceived obligations, I need to get better at separating myself from my phone. “Does this mean we’re breaking up?!”- Cellphone. No, but it means I need a little more “me” time, and by that, I mean I need to be more present when I’m with my girlfriend, friends, and family.

If you could spend a day learning from anyone in history who would it be and why?

I like this question. I’m a big fan of learning from successful people who once failed (think Michael Jordan – cut from his high school basketball team, The Beatles – rejected by many record labels, etc.). If I could spend one day learning from someone like this, it would be Walt Disney. He was fired by a news editor because he lacked imagination, and he went bankrupt more than once. WOW, did that change, as he went on to become one of America’s most successful business leaders, innovators, and visionaries. Here are eight principles that made Walt Disney one of the greatest icons of the 20th century (taken from “Quotable Walt Disney”):

  1. Provide a promise, not a product
  2. Always exceed customers’ expectations
  3. Pursue your passion, and the money will follow
  4. Stay true to your company’s mission and values
  5. Differentiate your offer (see current book I’m reading)
  6. Lead by example and delegate
  7. Defy convention
  8. Leave behind something to grow

Last comment here is one of my favorite quotes about learning: “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room” – anonymous

What is the one thing you wish you had did and didn’t? And if you could do it right now what would it be?

Wish I did: Study abroad in college – I was fairly involved in campus activities while at UNC Chapel Hill, but looking back, it would have been nice to study abroad, even if it was only for the summer. Location you ask? London. Boring answer, but it probably would have made the most sense for me (no language barriers plus easy access to dozens of other incredible European cities).

Wish I didn’t: In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t opted for the bowl cut hairstyle during much of my youth.

Get in touch with Brandon at @exploreCLT (Twitter and Instagram)

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