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About March Fourth

Hello, this is Arman Rousta.  Thank you for visiting my blog!  So what is March Fourth all about?  Well, I was born on March Fourth, 1974 in Staten Island, New York.  A few years back, one of my best friends – Chad Dictenberg – wished me Happy Birthday, and said “March forth, is symbolic of how you live your life.  No matter what, you keep on marching.”  I took that as a great compliment, and reflecting upon my life, resiliency and resourcefulness are two of my good qualities, no doubt.  The purpose of this blog is to share, with whomever out there is interested, what I know.  I have been writing and doing various forms of spiritual work since 1994, when I was 19.  I’ve accumulated hundreds of ideas, some more well-constructed than others, in countless notepads and documents.  Finally, after 15 years of self-reflection and apprenticeship, I feel ready to share the little that I have gained with the world.  I do not claim to be a master or guru – not yet – but on a good road I am, what Scott Peck so aptly called The Road Less Traveled.  A student I am and will be for life, seeking Truth, living well, and doing my service by passing along that which I have been fortunate enough to attain.

Here’s a little bit about my life.

Background

I am the third child of Dr. Mehdi Rousta (father) and Manijeh Rousta (mother), immigrants from Iran in 1971, three years before I was born.  My elder sister (Sepideh, the eldest of us) and brother (Saman), were both born in Iran.  We grew up in Staten Island, where some of my family, and many friends, still live.  Growing up in the United States as an Iranian American over the past 30 years has been an interesting and sometimes tumultuous experience.  For example, when the Iranians took Americans hostage in 1980, some kids at school locked a young Iranian boy that we knew in a closet as a prank.  We human beings can be pretty cruel at times, as equally as we can be heroic.  It all depends on how we are motivated.

Generally, we had a happy childhood, aside from random and normal things that come up in life.  Our parents were amazing, hard-working and loving.  I made a lot of lifelong friends very early through school and extra-curricular activities.  I did well in school and played sports – especially Soccer and Tennis – very seriously, even wanted to go pro after college.  I played center midfield for Columbia Men’s Soccer, where I could be in the middle of the action and be as creative as possible.  We were ranked as high as 10th in the country, won Columbia’s last Ivy League title in 1993 and went to the National Tournament.  However, after graduating from Columbia in 1996 – having invested $100,000 into my education – I decided to hang up the boots and pursue a career in business.  I dreaded the thought of working at a bank or big company of any kind.  Entrepreneurship was my interest – I wanted to start or contribute to meaningful companies from scratch!

Career

Currently (2009), I am the Founder and CEO of Blueliner Marketing (www.bluelinerny.com), a boutique interactive marketing and web development agency based in New York City.  At Blueliner, I am responsible for strategic planning and management of a currently 20-person staff across three countries.  I pioneered the popular 7 Pillars of Internet Marketing methodology and envisaged Blueliner’s offshore operations in India and Bangladesh.

With our global presence, Blueliner follows “The World is Flat” business model of efficient, 24/7 implementation and ROI-centric marketing and development philosophies.  I really love my team at Blueliner, which is a group of diverse, media and web savvy professionals that know how to put strategies in place for building brands and companies.  By combining high level digital strategy services locally with offshore implementation and support, Blueliner leverages a cost effective servicing model to lower acquisition costs for client campaigns.

With my broad business and marketing background, primarily with start-ups, I have been featured in a number of popular publications, including Crain’s New York, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Time Magazine, CNN Money, Popular Science, Barron’s, Inc Magazine, and American Banker.  So far, this part of my journey (post-college, 1996-2009) has been a trip!

I also founded 401kid in 2000, a web-based financial advisory firm that helps families plan for their children’s educational expenses through an asset allocation engine.  It was actually 401kid that initiated my career in web development and got together the initial team that then became the base for the Blueliner consulting business.

Prior to founding these two companies, I spent five years as Co-Founder and COO of Exeter Technologies, a New York based automotive electronics firm.  My dear friend and Columbia classmate and teammate, Charles Balsamo (now CEO of Unity Construction & Develpment), was one of the other Co-Founders.  There, I was a contributing inventor to several Exeter products and guided the launch of the popular Park Zone in 1998 by devising the marketing strategy, a training program, and an international sales force responsible for $7.5 million in sales over a two-year period. Park-Zone was sold in 1999 to publicly-held manufacturing company Measurement Specialties, Inc.

Today, I lead the Blueliner Marketing team, managing global operations, coordinating project teams, generating venture capital, and planning the vision for Blueliner’s future.  The company has experienced rapid growth since our founding in 2003, and keeps me quite busy!  I also manage two other blogs – 401kid, where I give advice to parents related to personal finance and saving for college (www.401kid.com/blog) and Blueliner, where I demonstrate best practices in web design and interactive marketing for marketing executives, entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Education

I hold degrees in Economics-Political Science and Psychology from Columbia University (1996), where I was an Academic All-Ivy Student-Athlete.  I (barely) finished one semester at Columbia Business School before dropping out to start 401kid.  I remain actively involved with the Columbia community, participating on the Board of Columbia Athletics Varsity C Club, as Chairman of the Sports Marketing Committee and the Men’s Soccer Alumni.

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