Hey, everybody, how's it going? I'm Chase Jarvis. Welcome to another episode of Chase Jarvis Live, here on Creative Live. You're tuned in to the 30 Days of Genius series of videos here. In this series, I sit down with the world's top creatives, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders. I unpack their mind and give you actionable insights that you can apply to your life, help you live your dreams. My guest today, you will know him, but before I go there, I wanna remind you that CreativeLive.com/30, the number three zero, Days of Genius is the place you wanna go. If you're just tuning in to this for the first time, press the little blue button right there and you'll get one of these bad-ass interviews in your inbox everyday for 30 days. A great dose of inspiration, motivation, and a lot of, as I said earlier, really actionable stuff. My guest today, you are gonna know him as soon as I start listing a couple of his accolades. He is a three time author, most recently of the book called The Power...
of Broke. He is the founder and CEO of FUBU. You know that line for sure, and you know him well as a shark on Shark Tank, Mr. Daymond John.
Ah, thanks for having me.
Welcome, my man.
I appreciate it.
Thank you so much. (upbeat music) (applause and cheering) We love you. Alright, Daymond, thanks a lot again, man. (claps)
Thanks for having me.
Happy to be here in New York, in your hometown, born and raised?
I am. I'm born and raised.
Born and raised.
Hollis. My mission in sitting down with you today, as I said in the intro, is to unpack a lot of what you have in your brain and help give the folks at home, sort of, actionable advice. I think the best way to do that, clearly everyone is familiar with you, you were on TV, apart of a hit show, but I'm actually most intrigued with your upbringing, specifically, starting FUBU, going from, what I call, zero to one, where you weren't an entrepreneur, you were thinking about it. Because I think most of the people, at home or watching, identify with that. So, can you take us back to the early days before you were on Shark Tank, like when you were starting out, because I think that'd be a good-- Just give me a little overview.
Well, when I was starting out in my business world or starting out FUBU, in general?
Yeah, I think starting out in the business world. Again, go from zero to one, from a non-entrepreneur or maybe a student.
Yeah, so I was a student, I was in high school. I didn't know that I was dyslexic at the time. I found out only recently, 10 years ago, that I was dyslexic, but I needed to find a way to cheat and not go to school because I would accelerate in math and science, but I wouldn't accelerate in reading and things of that nature. So, they came up with a program called Co-Op, meaning that I can go to school one week and then I can get a job and work the other week or alternative weeks. So, I started working at Lehman Brothers, who really were owning American Expressive, and also I was a foot messenger at First Boston. And when I mean working, I mean I was the guy in the elevator with the loud headphones on, hitting on the girls with a little package in my hand, (laughter) and I'd go up there to all the offices, and drop off my package, and just leave. So, I started to realize something at that stage, that there were a lot of people that I was working with within the messenger system that were either complaining about their lives or some people who were making the best out of their lives because they didn't wanna take their job home with them. And when I worked in this, this is in Manhattan, 53rd Street, and when I worked at First Boston as a messenger, we would be able to go upstairs and eat, and I would go upstairs and eat sometimes on the 50-something floor of this beautiful building, and I would hear guys talking about how they're having a hard time buying their eighth car or they were just stressed. They were venture capitalists. They were just people who were miserable. So I started to understand the value of money at that time. Fast forward, I would go out and I would try to do small businesses. I would have a delivery service, I would buy crash cars and I had it all planned out. From 17 to 22, if I purchase a crash car for 5,000 and put 2,000 into it and sold it for 10, If I did X amount of cars in X amount of time, I would be a millionaire by the time I was 22.
That was the goal.
That was the goal, very simple plan. And it was a flawless plan, but I think Mike Tyson has an old saying that's really amazing, everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. And, needless to say, at 22, I didn't have any money, I was working as a waiter at Red Lobster because my plan didn't work out quite well. But I had a lot of friends who were doing some things that I didn't necessarily agree upon, and I decided that I was inspired by this new product, this category that was coming around called Hip Hop. And everything that I would make, I would spend on anything Hip Hop. Tape, a record, boots, anything I saw in a video or whatever the case is.
The early Grandmaster Flash video, Run-DMC, what was the early-
Well, the first one that I purchased something- Well, Run-DMC, of course, My Adidas, I had to have Adidas all the time. And we started to hear these rumors that all these designers that we were buying the clothes from didn't like us. Plus, the clothes were expensive, I didn't need a $900.00 GORE-TEX ski jacket to wear around New York City, I just needed a colorful jacket. So we started to make clothes, and I remember, it was like yesterday, it was 1989, I always tell this story, Good Friday, it was 37 degrees outside, it was three o'clock in the afternoon. I stood outside this place called The Colosseum Mall with a bunch of hand-made hats that I made with my bare hands. And I sold $800 worth of hats in that one day.
$800 worth of knit hats?
$800 worth, these little crappy hats. These hats were like a--
Were they $800 a piece and you sold one (laughs)?
No, no, no, they were $20 a piece, but I would give you love for $15. And I sold $800 worth in one day. And I remember, even like how I would try to operate my business now, how I've gone full circle, I was one step away from the money. I made it myself and I sold it directly to the customer, and I heard why they like it or not. It wasn't giving a bunch of stuff away and hoping people like it. If you live in New York City on the streets, you're selling something, people are telling you about what they think about the product, and yourself, and your mother, whether you like it or not. And that's really the start of a very long, long and amazing journey.
But there's a lot of seeds that were planted in that story, I can tell. So let me go back and grab on to two thing, in particular. One, being dyslexic, two, Red Lobster, because one of the things I think is a very, very powerful thing for the folks at home to understand is when they are looking at you sitting on Shark Tank or any of the people that motivate or inspire people in our culture today, there's a belief that, you've heard overnight success, you've heard born with a silver spoon, and you've heard all these things. And I think if I have any personal mission in parallel with the stuff I'm doing around creativity, it's around sort of debunking this myth that everything comes to you on silver platter, the people on the TV were born to be on TV, et cetera.
That is exactly what my third book, thank God it's on the New York Times bestseller list, you would never think that a dyslexic person would be on the New York Time's bestseller list, but by the way, four out of the six sharks are dyslexic. Now, to tell you the truth, it's the same thing. My book, The Power of Broke, that was a concept, that the whole theory you need money to make money, you need to know somebody, have a famous last name, all that crap, it doesn't work. I do have a famous last name, but when I called Elton John and told him that I was his son, (laughing) there was a couple of reasons why he didn't believe it.
How many times have you used that one?
This is the second time I've used it, but it's amazing, I tickle myself when I say it. But If you look at all the things that I didn't have, people would say any of these were an issue. African-American, short, dyslexic, got left back, parents broke up, I was only raised by my mother by the age of 10, I can't sing, rap, dance. None of that had worked for me, but I do point out often that if you look at the Forbes top or the Inc Top 1, Wealthiest People in the World, over 60% of them were self-made men and women. That means they were broke. That means they did not have anything. So yes, the theory that we grew up watching Dynasty and Wall Street and all this crap about you need money to make money is absolute crap.
I love it. So you mention, also, not being aware that you're dyslexic until very late in life, or later, you're still quite young, obviously. But the idea that, certainly, there are people born into privilege. I think that is a-- I believe that there are people who were born into money, but your point is that that is not actually a requirement. So overcoming dyslexia, even when you didn't have a name for it, I'm sure it was very frustrating. The Red Lobster bit, humility, willing to do anything to get paycheck, tell me about that part of your life for a second.
Yeah, the Red Lobster bit came around at a very tough time. I had already, I can't say failed because I learned a long lesson, a good lesson, too, it took a long time. It was five years that I was operating my van company. In Queens, in the boroughs, we would pick up people for a dollar on the bus stop, on the bus route, so we would make $300 a day. But if you look at maintenance, gas, and you look at sometimes the Department of Transportation gives you a ticket, when you look at, over the year, I basically made, after all that, $20,000, I cleared $20,000. But after five years of doing that, I realized that if I went back to Red Lobster, because I started there as a waiter or something, I would make more money and I would not take my job home with me. And I decided to do that at another time when my friends who I grew up with, they decided they turn to the wrong sides of the street, they were selling drugs, and I didn't want to be associated with them. If you ever look at the Hype William movie Belly, that was about all my friends. And I decided to go to Red Lobster and work. They would laugh at me because they were offering me jobs and then on top of that, and a lot of people want to quite their day job because they have this dream or this concept, on top of that, I started making hats at night. I would get up in the morning at 10 o'clock and go to work at Red Lobster, I'd finish at 10, I'd sow hats 'til one, I'd package them 'til 3, and then, in the morning, I'd wake up from and deliver them up until 10. And I did that for two, three years, but I knew I had to keep the lights on. And on top of working there, my friends, who were the tough guys, at that time, the perception of people who were in fashion were only gay guys. I have no issue with that, that's fine, but I wasn't gay, so I was actually treated like, Daymond, what's wrong with you? You're working at Red Lobster, you're gay, you're this, you're that, but that passion and that love for what I was doing, I got a high to see somebody wear a product of mine and come back the next day and say, everybody loves it, can I buy another one? It was just something that was so special about it, and I just absolutely fell in love with what I was doing.
A, I love this story because, there it is, it's the recipe, I feel like there's this hustle. I talk about those people whose got nine to five, and then there's the five to nine. It's sort of the dirtiest secret in entrepreneurship that I feel like you're giving away for free and I'm having to talk about my transition. Having a job is actually responsible. People say, oh you're an entrepreneur, you're an artist or a freelancer, you go all in right? I'm like, only once and then you realize that that's a dumb ass thing to do. And what the people that I know who have been successful, and it sounds like this is true for you, you created some sort of steady income that would allow you to survive, not thrive, survive so that you could put every other ounce of energy, waking energy, into the thing that you care about.
Well, to even elaborate at that time, my mother moved out, I had a house, so what we did was I worked, and then five of my friends moved in and we all pitched in and rented a room, basically. At 50 dollars, or 75 dollars, we were the Airbnb of the gang at that time. And one of the top reason why small companies and start-ups fail is actually over-funding, it's actually they go out and they take $100,000 loan and they've never sold one thing in their life. But, more importantly, the $100,000 loan, they also quit that 30,$40,000 job, they don't add that number into the money for the year. So they're really in the red $150, and they just opened the door.
Yeah, before they even started.
Before they even realize what they have. So that is, by far, the truth, don't quit your day job. And I used to put goals and targets. After six months, if I put in six hours a week, how will this look? After a year, how will this look? And if you find that you can't even get to that point, then quit, you're not doing something that you love. It's going to feel like forever after one year if you aren't doing something you really, really are excited about.
So you goaled yourself, it sounds like. You said after--
And would you say that painting a picture of what success looks like or what the next step looks like is an important part of moving down that path?
Absolutely and I learned this lesson by reading Thinking and Growing Rich when I was 16, didn't really grasp it at the time, and my Thinking and Growing Rich concept when I was 16 was that kid who thought he would be rich by 22. But again, being dyslexic, I had to read it again and again and again, and over-concentrate on it. Then, I started reading Brian Tracy's books on goal setting, Jay Abraham's books on goal setting, and I started to see the same thing come through, that you have to visualize this goal because we also visualize the negative goals that we're going to be stuck in this rud. Or I think Oprah said it best, you become what you think about most of the time. And it's funny, I know we'll get to this, but when I was in the transition of moving from being a manufacturer and a producer to somewhere entertainment, I never wanted to have a reality show, they offered me shows, come to my company, see my family, I said absolutely not. But I always wanted to be a broadcaster, like a Walter Cronkite or actually what you're doing now. There you go, right? I always wanted to be that kind of guy because I didn't figure that if you're walking down the street, people would go, oh my God, Walter Cronkite, you know what I mean? (laughs) So I kept visualizing myself as a newscaster. And I remember, if you ever look at the first Shark Tank, we're sitting on this big, high news desk. It's really tall and it looks like a news desk. And I had visualized that and I know it sounds crazy, I'm not about lava lamps and all that type of stuff. But I visualized it and things like that, (laughs) but it does come true, it really does.
(laughing) You said lava lamps. I get it, clearly what you think about becomes your reality. I have, personally, many experiences that are the same. I visualized how many goals I was gonna score, I went to college on a soccer scholarship, my senior year, I knew I had to have a great year. I literally scored the exact amount of goals I'd been thinking about for a year. Not one more, not one less, very random number. I wished I would've picked a higher number, but I think the same is true. So do you have, this a little bit personal maybe, but do you have a particular style of visualization? Do you meditate, do you think around...?
Yeah, so I have 10 goals that I read every single morning, every single evening, five days a week. Seven of them, they're goals that expire within six months, and two of them expire in five years and one of them expire in 20 years. The seven that expire within six months range from health, family, to business, things of that nature. As I read through them, I read what I want to accomplish, how will I get there, and what will I do to pay for getting them done. They expire in six months, all at the same date. I have this anxiety in me right around when they are about to come, and usually, I can accomplish maybe two of them. The other ones, I'm 30%, 40% there or whatever, I reset them for another six months.
But you don't feel like, what would that be, 30% success is actually failing on 70% of them?
It's great, it's great to get there.
Give me a little psychology there.
The theory is this, so the theory is if I'm 30% there, that means I only have 70% more to go, instead of not getting out the gate and going, one day I'm going to be like this. Because if I'm reading a goal, argument's sake, it's saying that by July 10th, I'm going to lose 25 pounds by eating fruit in the morning, substituting one meal with a green drink, working out twice, one is cardio, one is weight lifting, not eating after seven o'clock and whatever the case is, and in regards for that, I'm going to be healthier and I'm going stay in my family's and my daughters' lives more to be there to protect them or whatever the case is, you're gonna wake up in the morning, you're going to eat a banana first. When I don't read my goals, I'm eating steak, egg and cheese with a crusty piece of bread. My girlfriend's gluten-free, I pay extra for gluten.
And there's a tax on that gluten, too, not just the money.
I know I'm happy to pay that.
The guilt tax.
No, pay it, pay it.
So, visualizing success is clearly a part of how you've got to be where you are. The nine to five hustle, I think you basically described around the clock. As I said earlier, I think this is one of the dirtiest secrets, that shit just doesn't happen, actually people, and it's not events make things happen, people make things happen. You talked early about being around people who were a bad influence. If we are the average of the five people that we spend the most time with, how important is picking your friends?
It's one of the top reasons. So your friends, when FUBU, when were at our toughest time, I tell the story about '89, but I closed FUBU three times from '89 to '92, running out of capital. Now, remember though, it was affordable mistakes, so I'd run out of $1,000, $4,000, $3,000, I could survive from it. People still coming back, I want some more, I want some more, and then I surrounded myself with four other partners. One of those partners would never stick around. This is the fifth Beatle. We went through like six of those.
The drummer from Saints Bound (laughs).
Exactly (laughs). But the other three would never let me quit when I wanted to quit and vice versa. They would find the reason, and you wouldn't be just on this island alone. And I find that like-minded people are the reason and, again, as I share in my Power of Broke book, people, if I had taken out a $100,000 loan, they would have stayed as long as I was paying them. Not because they were blood-sucking, but they were like, I have a job to do. But you get to see people's true colors, the ones who are problem-solvers, the ones who jump ship, the ones who are willing to pull the weight, the ones who are excited. When you see that you're around people and they want to be part of a movement for no other reason but excited about the movement, it keeps you excited. And I think that being around like-minded people and mentors are the number one reason for success, other than the other ones.
It's powerful, it's powerful. You've mentioned your book a couple times, I have a lot of questions about it. I wanted to get some of that early life out of the way before we go to the book though, just give me that little chapter between hustling with $20 hats that maybe someone could get you for $15, and having the FUBU that we know today because you've talked about closing the doors four times. Was it a scary road, was it a hairy road? It's a huge brand now, it's a global brand, worth billions.
The closing it three or four times, up until 1992, was hey, nobody did this before, maybe we don't know any better. This is my fifth failure or something. Then, '97, we become popular by that time. '97 to 2001, wildly successful, more money than many people can dream of. I burned $30 million on televisions, and at that time, it's kind of, all right Daymond, you know the reality of this world, a hot clothing brand lasts five to seven years, we're not talking about Nike or Ralph Lauren or Louis Vuitton, we're talking about the 10,000 other ones that went out of business. In all reality, everybody's gonna say that you got struck by lightning, one bite of the apple, how are you going to do this again? As well as how are you gonna maintain this madness? Do you keep building this brand that you know you may spin into the curve and it's gonna go dead anyway? Or do you go out and acquire a new brand? So then we start acquiring other brands. Failure, bringing Ted Baker to the United States to do retail, they want to do retail, we didn't, fail. Brought Kappa to the United States, because you were a soccer player, right?
Brought Kappa to the United States, found out that people just like to go in little shops and buy their one Germany shirt, for whatever reason, you guys are stingy. (laughing) Didn't work because they didn't get to launch soccer in the United States the way it was supposed to be. Three other brands, Willie Esco was good, Drunken Monkey was okay, but the partner in Drunken Monkey, he had another brand and we didn't want to partner in that one because we liked the Drunken Monkey brand, the other brand was Hudson, he goes off and does three, $400 million. Fail, fail, fail, fail, all of a sudden, we find a brand called COOGI, a brand that Biggie Smalls used to wear, an Australian brand, really loud sweaters, do really well with that. So now, we're back on top. I go and acquire another brand called Heatherette, two really amazing, flamboyant designers who remind me of FUBU but for the pop culture, ladies, blow $6 million on that and realize that, remember, I said, over-funding, because I said oh, let's buy the most expensive design, the most expensive ads, the most expensive this and realized I didn't roll up my sleeves and put it back in. But during that time, it became very dark from FUBU to where we found COOGI. And then, it started and I started settling. My age started settling, also. I wasn't no longer 28 years old. At that point, then I decided I'm successful enough in regards to I don't have to work again. How can I start paying this forward and how can I start talking to people about entrepreneurship? Because I felt that this wasn't really talked about around 2001, 2002. 2004, all my, again, glamorous friends were like, FUBU's over, we don't need to talk to this guy. He's out there talking about books, he's like a professor or something like that about business. Let's not talk to him anymore. I start going on little shows, which are amazing, like CNBC, MSNBC, Donny Deutsch, Mark Burnett finds me doing those shows. So it always goes back to when I started to do something that I was extremely passionate about, the biggest opportunities in my life presented themselves.
There's obviously a huge thing, that's a huge takeaway. So you talked about the Boom bus, Boom bus, Boom bus, over what period of time was that? You said four or five years?
That was from, Boom the Bus, 2000 to, say, 2004 and 5.
Got it. So at that point, when-- Well, first of all, let's go back to the initial hockey stick of FUBU. How'd you do that? What was the difference between lack of success and success?
I think that that was not sleeping, finding out we knew, we're kind of like social media today, when you see individuals who really-- DJ Khaled, you see somebody who finds a new platform, but he has just a message that everybody wants to hear one way or another, good, bad or ugly, right? And it's all those people who get on to the platform first, the Ashton Kutchers and the Diddys of the world with twitter. And when music videos are really starting to evolve and we were able, because, actually, I have been on tour since I was a kid. Because I lived in Hollis, Queens where Russel Simmons is from, Run-DMC, Salt 'N Pepper, LL Cool J. So I've been on tour since I was fourteen years old, on music tours, having a good time. But we realize if we can dress these artists that we know, and that they can go on these videos, and these videos were, it's Instagram. And it didn't cost us anything. And when we realized that, then we needed to find somebody who did back-of-the-house distribution and everything like that. My mother told me to take an ad in the newspaper. Took an ad in the newspaper, it said, "Million dollars in orders need financing." I did have about $300,000 in orders, so it was a real deal. And 33 people called, 30 of them were drug dealers, and, or, pimps and loan sharks, but one was Samsung, Samsung's textile division. And Samsung's textile division--
Samsung's textile division is showering for business in the New York times (laughs)?
They're showering for business. Listen, they're doing $200 billion, they do everything with nuclear access to cars, and they don't care what it is, if they feel that it works in one of their divisions.
I have the pleasure of having shot Samsung campaigns, I know what it's like to work with those men.
So we did a deal with them, and they saw that we have validity in the market, the deal was that I had to sell $5 million worth of clothes in three years. That was the deal.
Straight up, just, that was simple.
Samsung, they're like, we're big manufacturers, we can't make small amount of goods. We have to make all these raw goods, da, da, da. But because I had already had this swell, this proof of concept, this Khaled today, I already knew, like the way he has, whatever, two million views on his Snap, I knew that I had 10, 20 videos lined up and I only had like 10 or 20 T-shirts to put in the videos. But as it's all coming, we did the deal and we did $30 million worth of clothes in three months. And then, FUBU just kept going.
But think about it, it was a six year swell of us placing, placing, placing goods, and thank God the internet wasn't out. Because if we were just placing goods all those times and the internet was out, the kids would say, I can't get it, this is crap, let's go somewhere. But they were going, maybe I don't live in the city where it's at. Maybe I can't get to that store.
And they're gonna go all over the city trying to get it.
I'm gonna try to find it, oh I don't know where it's at. But when it finally got there (claps hands) bang! And that's what happened. I couldn't do that today.
Wow, $30 million in three months?
$30 million in three months. And then, the second year, we would do about $400 million. And it was amazing.
All right, okay, that's crazy. There's plenty of lessons baked in there, let's have at a couple of them. One, clearly, you have to put in the time, as you just said yourself, it wasn't really that moment where I was told that I could go sell $5 million worth of clothes, it was the six years that people don't see. Ben Haggerty is a friend of mine, Macklemore, people thought he was an overnight success. The dude had been making music for 10 years, he was living in his parents basement. And I first really got into his music. And I think it's fair to say that there are overnight successes that are really their flash in the pan, that's a one-hit song that doesn't stick around. But anything that has any sort of lasting power, I don't know of any examples, and maybe you do but don't talk me out of it because it sounds good, what I'm saying, but--
(laughs) I can't think of any.
It's literally about putting in the time. You have to have greatness, for sure, but you have to put in the time.
You have to put in the time, number one, which is always gonna be the biggest challenge in life, is time. Even today, I face time because as much as I wanna share that how much you have to put in, I got divorced because of putting in too much time. and, or, your health can decline after putting in too much time. So how do you find that balance? That's the biggest challenge, but when are you also realistic with yourself about you're not hitting the goals, or you're not doing something right? I get mad at people on Shark Tank very rarely, but the times I get mad at people on Shark Tank is when a person's walking up, they have $100,000 raised from family and friends, so Grandma bust open her 401k, their kid's college fund is up at risk, They're not looking at the data, realizing that it's not working this way. All their family's behind them because they want to be part of a movement, and they just will not take no for a vanity reason or some other reason, and those are the people that I hate because they're not being realistic with what they're doing with everybody else's money. And those are the people, I yell at those people and I yell at the other ones who are on that platform just to get advertising free, when they're taking time away from a single mom who just busted her butt for 10 years to have that shot. Those are the only two people I get mad at, but bottom line is when are you realistic with it's not working?
Fair enough, before we go on to Shark Tank, I think there's a lot for us to learn there because we all know TV is like making the sausage, if you can see what's on the other side of the camera, that's not pretty, there's chords everywhere, it's not a pretty process, but what you're do is certainly having an impact. I think it underscores the entrepreneurial spirit, which is something that I'm proud of, I love watching you do that. I know Cuban as well, I think it's something that he enjoys, that fire and helping people live their dreams. But let's talk about the book. So you've got three books, the third one now is The Power of Broke. And a New York Time's bestseller, congratualations.
And concept, what's different about the other books and why did this one go to the list?
Sure, so Display of Power is my first one and it was basically my story and then what I think about branding and things of that nature, and people need to hear my story and my views to then think if they agree. The next one was The Brand Within where people don't realize that we invest in people before anything else, and you're a brand from the day you're born. And this one, The Power of Broke, it's because of all the years on Shark Tank hearing people with the I need money to make money and all that type of stuff, and then seeing the other side of people who are doing business a totally new way today. They haven't had anything, and like the Shopify people we know, bang, $2 million dollars in business the first because they mixed everything. They have mentors, like-minded people, they've done their analytics, they have tried really small and made affordable mistakes and they know their customer and they respect and value their customer. And what I did was not just put my story in there because I didn't want people to think oh, well you know, again, you got lucky, I put in there 15 other well-known people from around the world like Kevin Plank, the CEO of Under Armour, doing four or $5 billion a year, didn't have enough money to pay a toll, had to get a ticket when he went over the bridge when he had Under Armour up and going. Or Mark Burnett, producer of my show, who was in the British special forces, came over here and got a job as a nanny for a while and then, he was selling T-shirts on Venice Beach. Or many of these people.
Rob Dyrdek, exactly, talking about how he couldn't get into his first skateboarding gig, so he said hey, if I go and get four people to sign up, would you let me skateboard? They're like, yeah, sure, whatever. And he was like all right, here's your five people. So I put everybody in there and I tried to basically show people what they really need, the secret sauce they need, and that don't just take it from me. I can't guarantee that somebody is gonna have the best, winning idea ever, but I want you to either fail fast or learn your mistakes small and that's what the book's all about.
Are there any sort of pivotal moments or milestones in each of those 15 stories that we haven't talked about here? Is there anything that-- You said special sauce but what's--
You know, I have my power facts in there, and I have small takeaways that you can kind of mark and you can see in everybody's story where they're aligned together. And of course, I don't want to just give away everything, but I also don't wanna take up too much time talking about that I think that the product is good. And more importantly, what I think may or may not mean anything because honestly, when I came up with the name Power of Broke, I thought people were gonna say, I don't wanna hear when you were broke or I don't even wanna hear when I'm broke, or not gonna relate to it, but people have been really relating to it. And when I go out to my book signings and there's hundreds of people out there, half of them are paying attention to me, but you know what, more importantly, they're doing? They're talking to each other because it's like a big networking thing. So just like Shark Tank where we're a very small part of it, I'm hopefully a small part of this theory to dispel this crap that everybody has been thinking.
Yeah, I think there's a promise in both The Power of Broke and it's the same promise that lies within Shark Tank, which is the power of possibility, the power of community. Well, why don't you tell me what you think about community now, with the internet. Is it make it harder for business, easier for business, harder for community, easier for community? Is it easier for ideas to be stolen? How protective about ideas, talk to me about modern times relative to, you've also talked about, well, if I wouldn't have done it back then, but let's talk about right now. What's the upside for now?
The upside for now is the information's out there. The upside for now was the analytics are there. If I sold somebody a product 15 years ago, how am I going to find you again to sell another shirt? I gotta come knock on your door. Or maybe you'll go to a festival I'm at. Now, I know who you are, I know why you bought the shirt, why you didn't buy the shirt, I might know. I could look through your history on social media and see all the things you purchased, and see how many of my customers purchase other things like that. Even once I got to the level of selling to big department stores, I never knew if they took off the stuff off the back, did they put it with a competitor or they throw it in a bucket? Did the mom buy it, did the buy it? Did the kid buy it for himself, the mom buy it for the kid? Why didn't they buy it? So today, the analytics are there, number one. That's very, very important so you can get to your customer easier, but the bigger problem is everybody can do the same thing. So now, the fundamentals of business still have to be there. You still have to wake up at 5:59 a.m. because everybody else is waking up at six, and you still gotta go to bed at 12:01. And you still have to figure it out. And you still have to make affordable mistakes and you still have to be the proprietor. You know the proprietor, you walk in the store and you say hey, how you doing, man? How's the family? That's what you're doing on social media, too. So I think the fundamentals are there, it's a bigger platform, I've seen massive wealth created off that platform, but you just gotta figure it out. But it's easier today.
It is easier today. I love the fact that there's no gatekeepers. You talked about how do you actually find money. There is still a relative sort of gatekeeper, but we've got crowdfunding. From the artist's, the creative's perspective, you used to have to get permission from the photo editor to get your stuff in the magazine, from the galleries to get it on the wall, and now, at the press of a button, we can reach as many people are interested and paying attention. Do you believe it's a meritocracy?
Yeah, I do.
Yeah, I would agree with that. So let's get a little more personal for a second here. We talked about the book, I still want to talk a little bit about Shark Tank, but is there some things about you that people would be surprised to know that they don't know right now?
You know, I think that I love to laugh. I have, what I feel, is a funny sense of humor. I laugh with my friends. On the show, I said to them, how come I never smile on the show after the edits? They go, you're not supposed to smile. I said, why? They said, no, this is business theater. Robert smiles, Barbara smiles, Cuban is the cowboy, you're the snake-in-the-grass quiet guy, O'Leary's the devil, this is just what it is, you don't smile. So I think that to know that I have some level of a sense of humor, if people follow me on social media they know. And I'm not this glossy guy, I'm a very down to earth guy. I love nature, I love snowboarding, fishing, those are things I love, but people think because I'm an inner-city guy that I just like to hang out in clubs and fancy restaurants and fancy cars, and that's really not my-- Clubs, yes, restaurants, yes. Fancy cars, when I spent that $30 million, spent it on all that other type of stuff, I don't need any of that anymore,
Cars and TVs. Talked about Russel Simmons, has he been influential to you? Incredible guy.
I'm trying to think of anybody else who has been more influential than Russel Simmons and even Muhammad Ali, I didn't know him at the time, so Russel Simmons really was the star in my neighborhood who showed us that you didn't need to do the bad things. You didn't need to work at a factory, and you also didn't need to sell drugs. And as Russel created Def Jam, then Run-DMC, Salt 'N Pepper, all those guys, they all needed a roadie, a bodyguard, or a friend, a this, a that, so it started to ripple throughout the neighborhood and he really created the art of our neighborhood.
Can you talk about that part? You said you were connected to that scene, in what ways? Again, I love people knowing that you worked at Red Lobster and what ways were you connected to that music scene in your neighborhood?
So it's funny. So when Run-DMC came out, we knew the guy Larry and there's a song on Run-DMC that goes, "Larry Love put me inside the cadillac/ Chauffer drove off and never came back." So we knew them and they would start going on tours up and down the Eastern sea border. All our friends and I, we would just wanna go on tour, so we'd find a way to get down to Philadelphia to the Spectrum Theater, and then we'd go knock at the back door and we would see the body guards of all the friends we knew in the neighborhood. They would give us these passes and we would run around throughout the thing. And we would just have a good time. And I also was a break dancer at that time and I was trying to go-
I still got windmill.
I still got a windmill, to this day.
I couldn't do that, I couldn't hurt myself.
I still got it, but...
I was trying to go on tour with Whodini. And I actually got picked to go on tour with Whodini, but my mother said, are you crazy? You're 14 or whatever years old, you're not going on any tour. And you know who replaced me--
Yeah, you know who replaced me on that tour?
That Jermaine Dupri, he replaced me as the dancer on that tour. So that's my--
That's your almost?
That's my almost moment. So we grew up and I remember though, I remember Run-DMC, they had a bus that came to Hollis and it was in a big Adidas bus, we all got to on there and go to the garden. And have you seen the N.W.A. movie?
So when were on that tour, we met, in Detroit, now remember, rap over on this side was Eric B., Rakim, Whodini, it was kind of nice. But N.W.A., and we didn't know anything about California, I remember going on a tour to Detroit and I remember seeing cops throwing the bottles at them and them throwing the bottles at the cops. I didn't know what had happened about this whole if you get on stage, you do all this, and we said, at that time, we were like, oh, these people are from L.A., they just have jheri-curls, they wear some funny-looking pants, they're nobodys. We left that tour and said, I'm never going back to anywhere with N.W.A. because they were scary. So I remember, I was like 16 or 17. So anyway, yeah, that's my life. It was a very fun time. And then all of a sudden, the tour made its way down to Florida and we ran into Uncle Luke. And that's when I realized that we need to be in Florida instead of California. Anyway, but yes, that's my music history and we've been with them. And I grew up with, there was three friends of mine, and all of us when we were about 12, 13, and this music was coming around, one of us said, hey, I'm gonna be the best in fashion, another one said I'm gonna be the best in playing music, the other said I'm gonna the best in, hopefully, videos, and another said I'm gonna be the best drug dealer. And I created FUBU, Hype Williams created, you know, doing the videos, Irv Gotti created Murder, Inc., and Hype did a movie about my friend who is in jail still, he was the best drug dealer in the neighborhood. So we came up, all together at 12 years old, we all set those goals.
Speaking of film, you went to film school.
Nobody knows that, I love that. Nobody knows that!
I went to film school--
Have you ever told anybody that?
I don't think I have.
You got it first, right here.
I went to film school, but I only went a short time, I went there for about 6 months. I wanted to take up directing because I was on so many sets and I wanted to understand the camera angles and the settings, you know--
I'll just confess something, I'm gonna interrupt you for a second, he comes in, he's looking at all the cameras and he's like, yo, is it Dan, is that right?
Ted, I knew it was three letters. Ted, why they got all these cameras, why can't we have-- No, I was intrigued.
I'm fascinated by it. And then I filmed three videos. I did Gucci Mane's Freaky Girl, I directed that video. I directed Fat Joe's Clap & Revolve, and don't worry about it, I'm a horrible director. You have nothing to worry about. All I cared about was how good the DP was and I sat in the back eating a cheeseburger or something, and just...
Sit in that chair.
Yeah, cut! (laughs) I love that, position one, back to position one.
All right, so one of my personal missions, straight up, is trying to get the world to be a more creative place. I believe that creativity is the new literacy, and if we put, as a culture, one-tenth the amount of energy that we put into trying to make our culture illiterate, like in a classic sense of literate, into creativity, that the world would be a more magic place. And this is creativity, not just photography, design, but creative with the a capital C, like innovation, even theoretical sciences, creativity at its core. It's the fundamental solution, every problem has creativity in it. Talk to me about the role of creativity in getting you where you are right now.
Well, we didn't have anything else to rely on. We didn't have any other resources, so it was purely thinking out of the box and how could we be different. I love the story of when we didn't have any money to advertise, but if you look in all other urban communities, they have these big gray, nasty gates, they roll down at the end of the night. So we went over to all these people with these stores and we said, can we spray paint something with FUBU on there? So we would spray paint these gates bright, bright white, and then put either FUBU authorized dealer, if it was a store or just FUBU, making moves or whatever it is. And each gate would cost us $ in spray paint, $100 in spray paint. But by the time we were done, we had 300 gates around, from here to Philadelphia. And it was just my friends, we would white it out and then, take a stensil and spray pain FUBU. Somebody did a report in the New York Times and I think they said, if you look at how many-- The gates are down in the morning during rush hour, six to nine. And the gates, especially in the Winter, are down about six o'clock to nine o'clock at night. If you look at how many buses and trains and people ride by, in urban cities, by these gates, they said we probably had about $3 million worth of advertising with those gates. Now, we didn't think of it like that. We did think of it as an advertising play, but we had to be creative. So we had to be creative with the art, had to be creative in how we were going to talk to the person to put it up there, and creative on how we were gonna strategically place it. So I do believe in creativity, and I have 20 stories like that. But yeah, that's the difference. We're not just pushing widgets here. It's about being creative.
You said something that I really gravitate towards, which is we wanted to be different. And I say aim for different, not just better. And when you're aiming for different and you feel traction, the better part comes because you'll be able to differentiate yourself through repetition. You start down here and if you do something enough, you're gonna get your 10,000 hours or whatever, but being different is how you get noticed. And no one else was painting gates from here to Philly. Anything else around different that you'd throw in there? Like is that something you look for when you're investing in Shark Tank? Is that something you look for in your personal investments? How important is different? Or are you just trying to out-maneuver people?
I think that something always has to be different, but it can't be too different. If it's too different, a lot of people won't get it. So it has to be a couple of steps--
Different not weird.
Yeah, right. Also, you can just be a little too early and by the time people catch up, you may not even have the credit for what's happening. We went through that, of course, with fashion, you always have to be one step ahead. I always say that a lot of people in business, they go out there and they become another me-too product. They say well, so forth is doing it, we should do this. I grew up in the game of fashion. When a buyer who buys for retail, most of the buyers are designers that never could get a job, to be very honest. So when they walk into your room--
All you buyers out there (laughs).
Most of them. So when they walk into the room, they're gonna give you the lowest common denominator. They have went to 10 other shows, they've went to Nike, Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, and they are gonna come in there and say polos are hot next year, they're coming out next year. But if you are already looking at a polo, that would design the year prior. So if I try to design this polo, I'm gonna come out the year after. And you have to feel good with your gut. People don't trust their gut as much as they should.
A man after my own heart, I'm huge on that one.
Absolutely, you have to feel good with your gut, and you have to feel and have a confidence that you're taking that right step forward. If you're taking a wrong step forward and everything's betting on that, you don't have any skill anyway because you're gonna need to do that every other day.
So technology, what role is technology playing for you? I know there's a lot of, again, creatives out there that they are people who abhor that, or they're trying to be, somehow, pure with their art and the internet is this or that. And for me, it's been about embracing anything that could give you leverage, but how do you think about technology?
Technology is amazing. I've been able to talk directly to my fans, directly to the people. I've been able to, honestly, look in there and see what the people don't like. When I hashtag FUBU, not the people who are following FUBU, I realize what they're saying. And about four years ago, when we were trying to decide where we were gonna go with the brand, when I hashtagged it, what I saw on there was most people thought we sold it, people thought we were only baggy jeans, and I forgot the other thing, and the styles they saw, they didn't like. But, instead of having to say buy FUBU, buy FUBU, I had to say, number one, it's still us, we own it. Number two is we've been making form-fitting clothes in Europe for the last 20 years, it was just our American Hip Hop kids that wanted that. And number three, the ugly styles you see, that's stuff from 10 years ago or counterfeit. You could show me what you were wearing in Gucci 10 years ago, if it's local, it's gonna look nasty. So that let me address the issue. You gotta take the taint off of things before you even try to tell them how good the new thing is. I think, also, the analytics have been very, very good, and I've also been able to, in a small way, let my fans and the supporters be part of the new process. So, like when talking about the book, I have five covers, they pick the cover they like the most. They contributed to a lot of the things they like the most. So it's really, really amazing. It's super time-consuming. I mean it just sucks your blood, but it's a necessity.
For sure, let's talk about, for one second, you talked in there buried was about attention, we talked about DJ Khaled, so I'm gonna go to Snapchat. I have millions of followers across a handful of different platforms. I'm smitten with Snapchat in the same way I was smitten with Twitter when it first came out. Khaled, he's a freak of nature, man. That's crazy what he's doing, but it's very powerful. Every five second video, bless up and all of that is being seen millions of times. Do you care about it? Are you paying attention to it? I'm just curious about this particular thing.
Paying attention, again, some things you gotta put a lot of time into. You gotta remember you're like, so did I put it on my Facebook, LinkedIn, my Twitter, my Instagram, my Cyber Dust, whatever the case is.
Nice Cyber Dust throw in right there.
I gotta do that because that's my mans and them. But yeah, Snap, I love it. And I try to offer people on my snap some things, that humor part that they never see. And sometimes they go, man, were you drunk? No, that's just me. But it's a very powerful tool. I don't know it well enough, but that doesn't matter. I'm not getting into the back end of it yet, I'm trying to just be myself on it, see how far it goes. And I love it.
It's so easy to create a simple-- The lack of editing, the ability to be yourself on a one-on-one basis, it's a great way to connect.
And people are gonna know that you just put it up fresh. It's just so raw.
For you, or for the small group of people that you're interested in sharing. Yeah, I'm smitten, I'm not gonna lie. I gotta think my man Gary V. for pushing, really. He's not afraid to bash you over the head with something.
You know why I think why I was first turned off from it?
Because you thought it was for 14 year olds.
Well, it was, but it was my nephew who every time I would say come on, will you hurry up, he would always snap him on the toilet going, after this one last one or something like that, and after that I was like man, I can't. He just kept saying that to me.
Thanks a lot, man. This is a great visual.
So that's why I didn't hop on it for quite a little while.
I get it, I get it, I'm not gonna judge. What's next, where you going, what are you doing?
So I've been--
Hey, let me interrupt. Your job at Shark Tank is to around the corner. You're investing in product, but you're also investing in people. You're also investing in the right thing at the right time because the right thing at the wrong time is still wrong. So baked into my question about what's next is you spend a lot of your day, or a certain number of days a year, filming, has that given you special insight into seeing around the corner?
Great question. So my life, about 8 months of it, is consumed with Shark Tank. A month filming, maybe a month marketing, advertising, promoting, and then really running the company stakes and other whatever it is, So six, seven months. And not running the company, excuse me, investing in companies or working with entrepreneurs. So number one, my next couple of years, I have the honor of investing in these people's dreams and they are letting me ride along with them, so I have an obligation to them.
How many investments you're in?
I'm not sure, probably 40 something. Could be higher than that, but again, I don't have to pay attention to every one of them, some of them have really great CEOs, some of them are not doing that well and you don't need to pay any attention to them at the moment. So that's that. Number two is it has brought me a vast amount of knowledge. I have so many colleagues that are still in the old, let's make these shirts, hopefully a store will sell them, or hopefully somebody will buy them when they walk by the store, and we'll take how many they don't sell back. And I think that if I wasn't on the show and I didn't have access to the Shopifys of the world, and I didn't see all of these amazing entrepreneurs doing business in a whole new way , that I would've been one of the dinosaurs because I'm seeing that as the biggest divide. The ones who are influencing people are 14 to 30. The ones who make the goods, generally, are 40 to 70, and there's few that cross in between. And the few that cross in between, they have no problems. They're learning to really take themselves into the next place where they are going. So those are the things. As the Obama Administration finishes, I just came back, I was in Cuba with Obama yesterday, and I'm an ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship with President Obama, appointed by President Obama and the White House and myself, Steve Case, Julie Hahn, Brian Chesky, Airbnb and Tory Burch and a couple of us. So my job there for the next eight months or six months, whatever it is, is to make sure that I spread entrepreneurship with this administration, with Secretary Penny Pritzker and President Obama to the world, so hopefully we don't have as many as people who don't have hope in the world and end up doing things that are not in the best interest of mankind. Because, as we're saying, it's so easy to do business now, if you're somebody living in a certain country and you can't feed your family, and then somebody else over here offers you ways to feed your family, you're going to go there, but if you can open up a cell phone and you can open up a Shopify account and make $20 a week and feed your family, you may not go and do the things that are not in the best interest of all of us. So that's another job that I have that I take very serious, and long after this administration is over, I'm sure I'll be doing the same thing with them. And my newest and biggest project is I love the concept of this WeWork and the co-work sharing space, I think they're doing a great job and I think that it's a great product. And whether I collaborate with them or other people, I'm going to probably start opening up a couple of things, whether it's my Shark Tank companies, whether it's my private companies, whether I allow it to be other people's companies to come in because I will get to learn even more in that space.
It's a powerful space and go back to your earlier statement about you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. It's one of the things I love about spending a lot of time in San Francisco, Creative Live started in Seattle, we blew up, moved down to San Francisco, took on Greylock and social capitals, investors. Wow, that's some eye-opening shit when you get to run around with again, the folks you've talked about, Travis and Ryan from Uber. You're just always a student of the game. You ever give up that student? Are you the master now or are you still learning?
When I told people earlier, I'd say you'd have to be able to put yourself two to five words because if you don't know what your two to five words are then you leave it up to everybody else to interpret who you are. And my two to five words, and they may change, and they will change, have been I'm on a quest. It is I am in various different rooms, I'm in various different industries, and I am there to learn just as much. Because if we're learning together, then we could share it. If I come in with this holier than thou, whatever the case is, you're not gonna open up, you're gonna sit there and go, this guy's either an idiot or he's intimidating. So, I tend to go and seek mentors still. I go after Seth Godin and say, hey Seth, whether you know it or not, you're my adopted daddy.
He was sitting in there one hour ago.
Yeah, I heard, I can feel it. Or Jay Abraham, or any of these people. I go after mentors still because I'm still on a quest. I have the problem, I have to sit on the Shark Tank and Mark Cuban thinks he knows it all. I can't learn anything from him. He was on this thing, right? You can't learn anything from this guy, he just keeps talking. I look for people who can teach me. I'm just joking, I learn from Mark as well.
I love that guy. Well that is, actually, the under penning for CreativeLive is life long learning. I don't know who thought that we stop learning when we magically turn 18. For me, that's really when shit that mattered to me started to coming into my field of view and I started learning. I'll give you my bias so you don't diss me. I don't disrespect the institution of education because it has a job to do, I think K through 12, it's got plenty of issues, but life long learning, to me, I feel like is broken because we believe, as a country, that people stop learning and so we stop taking care of those people. That's one of the reason that online education has grown. I think I get pissed when people look for other people to educate them. You're clearly very active in your education. Is it something that you actively pursue or do you feel like it's something that happens to you?
I actively pursue it. I do speak to a lot of kids and when they ask about why are so many people successful that didn't go to school and things like that, I think that some people need structure. I'm the kind of person that when I do go to the gym, I don't want a trainer because I want to listen to my music and read my goals and think about my day and I don't want nobody telling me to do this, but there are other people that are really efficient when they have a trainer because even though they know how many sit ups and whatever, they want somebody to discipline them. I think that we're all cut differently. One thing I do say that's pretty good is I think that if you learn and understand Finance, Business, Accounting, and some of the things that no matter where you go in life, you need to know it, I think it's okay, getting a higher level of education, but it doesn't stop there. That's just the basics, you have to then, go out and apply it. So I believe that no matter what, you should still go and get higher learning education in Business and the fundamentals of things that you can apply to everything in your life. And then after that, you have to go out and seek mentors, like-minded people and go get literature and things of this nature, and every day, not just looking at the stupid things on the internet, but just researching what's going on in the world.
You said the word mentor many times, you've dropped names like Seth and--
Jay Abraham, yeah, Russel. Anybody else that you want to give a shout out to that you haven't mentioned?
My mother was my first mentor.
The teachers. The teachers that are out there that they are the first external mentors that our kids will come in touch with, and many of them can hurt our kids and many of them can help our kids. I think teachers are the most undervalued asset in this country, for sure, because listen, I've spent two weeks with my daughters, I wanted to kill myself. Teachers spend 10 months with our kids and if I could, they would spend 12 months with mines, but they're really amazing. So they're mentors and people always think that they need to find a mentor like you or myself or Jay Abraham, but my first mentor that wasn't a teacher or wasn't my mother was a guy named Tim who ran a very small store in my neighborhood. But he had this store for 20 years and I would go over there before the word interning was intern, I'd go sweep up and he would talk to me, I would see how he would deal with his vendors, how he would deal with the customers, and a mentor can be somebody whose been in your community. And to run a successful business for 20 years, I don't care what business you're in.
Yeah, it really doesn't matter.
It doesn't matter, right? So I think people should understand that they should go after mentors, but yes, life is a series of mentors, if you would really ask me to sum it all up.
That's a great quote, someone is gonna retweet the shit out of that one. That's some powerful stuff. Let's talk about art, things that you can consume, that you personally, Daymond, consume. Books, movies, documentaries, we talked a little bit, we touched on some films.
I'm a big documentary guy, I'm a big nature guy, I don't have much time now to consume too many things, so I don't go and watch any of the shows that could be addictive, like House of Cards or any of those things because then I end up bingeing on them. I'm not big into Fine Art just because I don't know it that well in regards to collecting it. But I love photography. I definitely love photography. So I have every, whatever those books are on photography, everything from the best butts in the world to the windows at Macy's. So I really love photography. I can't think of anything else at the moment when it comes to art, but...
How about other people outside of mentors. Like you mentioned peers, how important is a peer group?
Well, yeah, you need to constantly learn. You mean your like-minded people.
Yeah, like-minded people, going into business with one another, I guess you can think of Seth and now you can call Obama.
Yeah, I learn from, of course, I love Tim Ferriss. He's really, really an amazing guy. Gary V, all the people that we all find a reason to follow.
It's a really small circle, man.
It's a small circle, Marie from WeTV.
Of course, she's gonna be on this series, for sure. But those guys are actually, Tim and Gary, all of them are in a small circle. Is that weird that we're all doing this stuff together?
We see everybody moving in a certain direction, not the exact same direction, but doing the same execution in a different way. But no, it's really impressive. So yeah, I constantly am around like-minded people like that.
We should give a shout out to Toby and Harley at Shopify.
Toby and Harley at Shopify, who closed together initially. Really amazing guys and Harley is shorter than me, so I love him. (laughing) Same as Ryan Deiss, I love him. All the shorter guys
Harley, I'm sorry, man.
If you're shorter than me, Ryan Deiss, Toby, yeah. Not Toby, Harley.
Is that another list, you got your goal list and then a list of people who are shorter than you?
Yes, yes, people that I will take a picture with any time they ask. Even if they're the same height as me, I keep calling them shorter than me, because I think we are the same height.
Aw man, that's amazing. It's gotta be something that I didn't ask that you want to share with the people at home. And you say no, man--
No, I feel like I just gave birth, man. I'm good.
There you go, you just witnessed Daymond John give birth on this show, I hope it was pleasant. No, I want to give you a huge shout out man.
Thank you so much.
Thank you, man.
Great questions and thank you.
Much respect and gratitude. Folks at home, you just gotta grapple with this knowledge now and get to work and stay tuned for another episode coming very, very soon. Thank you very much. (dramatic electronic music)