Coolness of an entrepreneur

Gary Vee just came out with a shoe.  Used to be shoes were only for athlete’s.  It was that way through the 80’s and 90’s.  Then the 2000’s struck and Jay-Z came out with a shoe.  50 cent did the same.  They were hits, but the trend didn’t continue.  Recently Drake has helped collaborate on Air Jordan shoes.

But Gary Vee has changed the game.  He recently released a new shoe with K Swiss.  He sees it as a move that has a huge upside and limited downside.  If the shoe is successful he is the first entrepreneur to have a signature shoe.  If he fails, he will have a good story to tell his grand children and it will be something that his friends will tease him for – which he is cool with.

That’s something I like about Gary Vee – something I think that we all envy in successful people – the ability to laugh at yourself.  If you fail, don’t dwell on it, but laugh at yourself.

How can Gary Vee get a signature shoe?

Nowadays being an entrepreneur is a cool thing.

This is only a recent phenomenon.  Shows like Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank and the rise of apps that have disrupted huge corporations such as Uber and Airbnb have changed the game.  Entrepreneurship is now a seen as something desirable and an option for high school and college kids.

I’m fortunate that they had an entrepreneurship class in highschool.  I took it in grade 12.  Its where I discovered people like Stephen Covey and his 7 habits of highly successful people.  I devoured success literature.  I started looking at music as a business.  It’s a big reason why I was able to carve out a path to success.

Entrepreneurship may look cool, but entrepreneurs know its about hard work.  Long hours.  Demanding work.  I think one of the hardest things is self discipline.  Being your own boss also means you don’t have someone telling you what to do.  You need to motivate yourself.

It’s easy when the product is selling and you are on regular hours like others.

It’s a lot more challenging when boring business work comes up when your partner wants you to go on a date, or be with the kids, or your friends invite you out to a party.

Cool or not, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

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Defense to Offense

In one of my old raps I say that D.O. stands for “Defense to Offense.”

This was before I came up with Defy the Odds standing for D.O.

It started from video games.  It’s what I would say when I’d steal the ball and go in for a dunk while playing NBA Live back in the day on Playstation.  A good defense can lead to scoring opportunities – not only in a basketball video game but life as well.

The problem is a lot of people only play defense.

They are cautious, on the fence, and even worse, they guard what they have because they are scared that someone will take it.

Gary Vee talks about this a lot on his daily podcasts.  They are all defense, I’m all offense he often says.

The point is – you need to be on the attack, you need to be trying, doing, and implementing.

When you are on offense you aren’t always going to score.  You will get blocked.  You will miss the shot.  You will fail.

But you have to keep shooting.

It reminds me of how Mike D’Antoni has changed the NBA.  In the late 90’s basketball scores were 80-68 – lowest they’d ever been.  Then he was hired as a coach and instructed his players to shoot every chance they had.  Don’t let the shot clock get to the last few seconds, put the shot up.  Players like Steve Nash thrived as he became a two time MVP.  Their team, the Phoenix Suns started putting up high scores every night.

But it won’t work in the playoffs naysayers said.

While the Suns never won a championship, the Warriors have won two of the last three and have continued to revolutionize basketball with their approach.

Basketball scoring has gone up across the league as teams look to duplicate the success the Warriors have had.

Fan interest has gone up as well.  People want to see offense.

Music wise its the same thing.  Some artists play defense and want to protect their music.

Don’t let it leak, I want it to roll it out when everything is in place.

Don’t let it leak, its not polished.

I want to release my album and that’s it I don’t want to do more releases.

That was the old way.  Work on an album for years, spend big bucks to get it mixed and mastered and push it for a few years.

Look at the new way.

I recently read about how an unexpected event led to Lil Uzi Vert’s popularity.

He was stage diving at a show.  He lost his phone.  It contained his new album.

If you played defense you’d think – how do I erase the phone or how do I pay the person off so that the music doesn’t leak.  You’d be in a panic.  The label would be especially worried.

But if you are on offense? You are proactive.  Lets get ahead of it.  Lets just put it out.  Lil Uzi Vert released the music on his Soundcloud.  It was rough.  It was unfinished.  But it connected.

XO Tour Life became one of the biggest songs of the year.

Offense.

Don’t worry about the L’s.  Keep attacking.

 

I Will Not Lose

I think one of the reasons that Jay-Z is one of my favorite rappers is because alot of his music is motivational.  It is based in business and competition.

It’s perfect workout music.  And the gym or jogging is where I listen to music the most.

Some people workout to heavy metal or hard rock because of the aggressive sound.

I love hip-hop because of the aggressive rhymes… the aggressive words.

Jay-Z’s mantra is “I Will Not Lose”.

It’s not “I will win”.

The thought of losing is more urgent and important than the satisfaction of winning.

To me it speaks of perseverance.  Of hanging in there.  Even when the going gets tough not giving up.

Jay-Z didn’t give up when labels didn’t sign him.  He created an independent label with his partners.

When the conventional rules of the music business didn’t fit, he wrote his own rules.

Case in point – when CD sales continued to dwindle because of new media forms, he forged a partnership with Samsung for his album which resulted in him going “platinum” overnight.

He hit the top of the charts, made money and his fans were able to access his music.

In the end he won.

By choosing not to lose.

 

Realistic

Realistic.  It’s a word used by parents, by teachers, by some friends.

It’s a word despised by kids, by dreamers, by entrepreneurs.

We see it as limiting.

They will say “Why dream big?  You are not being realistic.”

Dreams aren’t supposed to be realistic.

I like to think of the saying – aim for the moon because even if you land on the clouds you will be okay.

If you only set your sights on the trees, you may not get hurt from falling from a branch to the ground, but you also won’t get the benefit of the chance that your dream can come true.

Of course there is also balance.

You can’t always have your head in the clouds.

I see rappers aspire to be the next Jay-Z, or the next Drake.

It’s great to have these aspirations.  But it can also set yourself up for failure when you don’t achieve their level of success.  Both of these artists are one in a million success stories.

What should you do?

I think the best thing to do is aspire to be the best you.

In the words of Oscar Wilde – “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”

 

 

You’re Gonna Die

Heard this gem from Gary Vee when he was on the Jim Rome show.

He was was talking about a question he received from a woman during one of his talks.

The question was something like: “Can you offer me motivation? I’m stuck.”

His answer: “You’re Gonna Die.”

Jarring, but it worked.

It’s something that makes me think of motivational speaking guru Tony Robbins.

He talks about how change comes when you change someones state.  One of the most effective ways to do this is to shock them.  A statement like this is shocking.  But its also true.

When you realize that life is going to end, you drop the trivial, insignificant things and start focusing on the important.

You realize that time is short and that you need to hustle.

You realize that it doesn’t matter what others think or say about you, all that stands in the way of you and your goal is YOU.

We won’t be able to do this forever.

 

If Beyonce Can Do It…

Picked up this from listening to Charlamagne the God’s audiobook.  He recalls the story of when Beyonce walked into the room.  According to Charlamagne there was several people in the room and when Beyonce came in she made it a point to walk up to each person and introduce herself.

Introducing yourself isn’t out of the ordinary, but it is when you are Beyonce – one of the most famous people on the planet.

She didn’t need to introduce herself.  Everyone would have known who she is.  But instead of assuming that they knew her, she was humble.  She was polite when she didn’t have to be.  As a result, I can only imagine how it made each person’s day – and more than that.  It made a lifetime memory that they would share with countless people.  The day that Beyonce took time to talk to them.

For Charlamagne, a famous radio personality, it also impacted him.  If Beyonce can do it, why shouldn’t I?

That’s the thing about role models, they show you that doing the small things makes a big impact.

 

Successful People

successful people meme

The only thing I like more than coming up with ideas is sharing them with others.

I find that when I share them with the right person, they get inspired as well, and it fires both of us up.

But on the other side, sometimes I share an idea and someone will respond “Okay, so what’s in it for me?”

Immediately my energy level comes down.  I don’t have as much excitement.

Part of me thinks – they just don’t get it.

But a bigger part of me is disappointed.

To me its scarcity versus abundance.

When you say “What’s in it for me” you are thinking scarcity – there is not enough to go around so you have to focus on yourself.

When you think abundance, you are thinking – lets go harvest the fruit so that we can continue to build a bigger farm.  You realize that the possibilities are endless.

I try to surround myself with people that help others and that are in a positive mood.  It tends to rub off, and I want some more of that hypeness!