A different stage for Shark Tank author Michael Parrish DuDell

All the world’s a stage for Michael Parrish DuDell. The entrepreneur and first-time author attributes his success in the business world to his acting background.

“Acting and performing have helped me in every part of business,” DuDell told us in an interview. “It’s my sole competitive advantage. It is the most important part of who I am today.”

Today, DuDell is the founder of New York-based marketing consulting firm, race + vine, a regular speaker at colleges and corporate events and author of the book, “Shark Tank: Jump Start Your Business,” that was released earlier this month. DuDell left the theater industry in 2007 because of a “big career meltdown,”  however, the 30-year-old still acts — just in a different way.

“I am more of a performer in my daily life today than I ever was as an actor,” DuDell said. “My job is all about speaking, pitching, talking and communicating. At the core, a good entrepreneur must be able to communicate just like a good actor must be able to communicate.”


Growing up in Tampa, Florida, DuDell started singing and acting when he was four-years-old. He furthered his training at Blake High School for the Arts and then went on to study theater at the University of Cincinnati. After graduation, DuDell worked “consistently” as an actor, although he realized that he was pursuing theater for the wrong reasons.

“When you do something your entire life, you reach a point where you have to decide if you’re doing it because you’ve always done it or if you’re doing it because you love it,” he said. “For me, it was the former.”

DuDell also admitted that he hated dancing, which he had to do as a musical theater performer. It was “huge” when he left the business, he said, recalling the moment he broke the news to his agent. He was walking from Central Park to 57th Street and felt so happy that, for once, he actually felt like dancing.

“As I was walking, I thought to myself, ‘oh my God, I never have to dance again!” he said. “I was so excited.”

So how did a then 24-year-old actor make his way into the entrepreneurial world? After he quit acting, DuDell became a contributor and soon thereafter the senior editor of Ecorazzi.com. In 2010, he worked with marketing guru Seth Godin as the managing editor of the publishing company, The Domino Project, before serving as the editor-in-chief of GE’s ecomagination.com. According to DuDell, being an editor exposed him to the world of small businesses. He got to work with “some of the best entrepreneurs around and some of the most interesting companies.”

“After a certain period in the editorial world I decided to venture out and start my own company,” DuDell said.

By the end of this year, however, the founder plans to close race + vine in order to start a new company that focuses on his individual ventures and personal brand. A key element of his personal brand is public speaking, which has become a “huge part” of his business, he said.

Currently, DuDell’s mission is to “help entrepreneurs build great companies and to help great companies become more entrepreneurial.” His book, Shark Tank: Jump Start Your Business, inspired by the hit ABC TV show, “Shark Tank,” is on shelves now.

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