"Not only am I the hair club president, but I'm also a client." Never have so few words meant so much. Sy Sperling, the famed closet chrome-dome and television personality, told a crowd of 50 at a Wharton Managerial Club speech last night, that he attributes his fantastic tale of entrepreneurial success to this one classic sentence. Abandoning the dry, monotonal, nasal-accented demeanor which skyrocketed the hair-replacement king into pop cultural stardom and serious wealth, the president of the Hair Club for Men delighted his fixated audience with tales of entrepreneurial spirit and baldness jokes. "Is there anyone with thinning hair so I can make a few bucks?" he joked, lamenting that the delighted crowd was composed of full-headed college students. Sperling, a vertiable Kojak for the '90s, spoke for an hour last night, enthralling his audience with candid stories from his life and open advice on success in the business world. The fake-haired entrepreneur started his hour-long speech and discussion by satiating the audience's desire to know about the clip that made him famous. Sperling said that after he reluctantly acted in the first famous commercial, uttering his soon-to-be-famous catchphrase, his hair replacement business boomed. He attributed his success to the way his sincere attitude and average appearance was received over the television airwaves. "If not for TV, I'd still be a small businessman," he grinned. "If the shoe fits, wear it." "I'm not an actor, I'm a real guy who's not overly articulate with a nasal tone from the Bronx," Sperling said. "People believe me. I seem sincere." At times seeming more like he was speaking in one of his now-classic commercials, Sperling emphasized to the audience that personal appearance -- especially a full head of hair -- was extremely important to success in the business world. "Hair makes the man," Sperling said. "If you are conscientious about your appearance, you will project confidence." While he warned audience members of the risky world of running an independent business, Sperling lauded the American capitalist system and its opportunities for entrepreneurial success. "Greed is good, to a certain extent," Sperling said. "That's what this country is all about." Sperling also compared his Horatio Alger-esque story of rags to riches to his own personal experiences with hair loss -- as his hair and confidence grew, so did the Hair Club. Sperling said he lost most of his hair at age 25, causing his self-esteem to plummet. Finally, his sister convinced him to to "do something about your hair," and Sperling had the hair weave process applied to his own shining head. He was so impressed with the replacement system, in which fake hair is woven onto existing hair, that he developed a business to "fill the [hair replacement] vacuum." Audience members and organizers afterwards said they thought the speech was "fantastic." Wharton Sophomore Glen Greeley, the chairperson of speakers for the Wharton Managerial Club, said Sperling was "a great leader in entrepreneurialism." "People enjoy listening to him. He's very approachable," Greeley said. Wharton junior Erik Gershwind said he enjoyed Sperling's "easy-going charm." But he may have had ulterior motives for his attendance. "I do think about hair loss," Gershwind said. "It's hereditary."Comments powered by Disqus
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