45 minutes | Sep 17, 2014
How To Steal Marketing From Rappers w/ Noah Kagan
What was supposed to be a interview turned into a dope conversation between two entrepreneurs. Honestly, I feel like Noah turned the table, and started interviewing me. You probably can't tell but I was nervous as shit. Noah did a great job of setting me straight on all the ambitious ideas I had for The Phat Startup.This is a big look at the behind the scenes of The Phat Startup. This interview was done a few months ago, so we have grown a lot since then. Some of the things you hear may have been scrapped, or improved upon. Thanks to Noahs advice of course.We talk a big deal about the marketing done in Hip Hop. We feel there is a ton of tactics you can use from Hip Hop culture and apply to your startup. Noah turned out to be a huge Hip Hop fan, which caught me by surprise, but it was interesting hearing his perspective on the business side of the culture.I feel like one of those movie trailers giving away the plot before you see the movie. So here are a few highlights you will pick up if you invest into this interview:– How your first dollar will surprise you– The Zuckerberg hack – Focus on one goal/number for your business, and growing that number.– Lesson learned building SumoMe– How just helping 1 person could kick start your entrepreneur journey– How the best way to get success is patience– How hip hop inspires himand much more.
31 minutes | May 12, 2014
How To Destroy Any Obstacle - Ryan Holiday Interview (The Phat Startup)
In my grandmothers home as a kid, I used to always hear the popular quote “Turn shit into sugar.” It's not easy to make something disgusting and smelly as a piece of shit, turn into the sweetest joy to the human mouth. It turns out people have been turning shit into sugar way beyond even my grandmothers years. It's a timeless art. It's an art that's been used by people knowingly, and unknowingly. It's an art that has birthed some of the greatest minds in world history from Amelia Earhart to Barack Obama.In his new book “The Obstacle Is The Way” Ryan Holiday explores this timeless art. The book takes us on a journey through the lives of many historical figures, showing the parallels they share in overcoming the many obstacles they faced. The book did a great job of weaving the philosophy of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius into stories of Martin Luther King Jr., Thomas Edison, and more.We learn how to change our perception and see things for what they are. We learn how to decide the right actions to take. We also learn how to persevere. Everything I learned in this book takes time, I doubt Ryan himself has fully developed into the ideal human being this book attempts to shape. Ryan has succeeded in doing great research and was able to spot these patterns and put them together for us and himself as a guide to live by.Hip Hop and startups have a special relationship with obstacles. As someone who grew up in a rough neighborhood, I experienced many obstacles due to my environment that's shared by some of the most popular Hip Hop stars today. No doubt, they have the same qualities as many of the greats profiled in this book. Immediately after finishing a chapter that explained how Thomas Edison reacted to his lab burning down, I listened to Tupacs verse on Smile (below). Startups are pretty much obstacle plagued from the beginning. Hiring, scaling, culture, competition, money, and the list goes on. I recommend this book as a mental framework for anyone exploring both the worlds of Hip Hop and business.
13 minutes | Apr 28, 2014
Movies & Mentorship w/ RZA of Wu Tang Clan
What can I say? We had the pleasure of a last minute interview with the one and only RZA. I grew up listening to his music, so it was a honor to sit with him briefly and ask a few questions. RZA is promoting his new movie Brick Mansions that features Paul Walker that is out in theaters today. The movie features the late Paul Walkers character, on a path to save the city and get revenge for his dead father. We asked RZA what was it like to work with Paul Walker, and how his friendship has impacted his life.The biggest questions we asked RZA were:How to find mentorship and learn from someone you admire?How to build a movement and brand as monumental as Wu Tang clan in music, film, or business?He gave us some pure gems, and i'm grateful for the knowledge he shared with us. There was one magical moment that day for us. As we walked out the door RZA stopped our team, he talked to us about positive energy, perseverance, and how we posses what it takes to be successful. That was so great, we wish we had the camera rolling, but its something we will never forget.
63 minutes | Apr 13, 2014
Bridging The Gap Between Tech & Hip Hop w/ Devo Springsteen
Last winter we covered just that with Devo Springsteen aka DeVon Harris as we bridged the gap between Hip Hop and Tech!You may have heard of Devo as he is not only related to Kanye West, but help Mr. West win a few Grammys with Diamonds Are Forever and later helped Kanye build G.O.O.D music. Or you may have heard of him due to his other Grammy award with one of his best friends John Legend.You would think a super producer who has worked with legends would be content with life, but he wasn't. He wanted to chase another dream; he wanted to build something people could never live without. Sounds familiar? This could be YOU!Devo walks us through his come up in regards to Hip Hop and the tech side of things. Devo is a graduate of Wharton Business School, so intelligence wasn't the issue. After releasing an interactive music video in college, companies would start to approach Devo. They wanted in on the technology he was using but he didn't quite have that yet. This would spark a fire under him and he knew that there was a market for it, while adding value in the Hip Hop world. He did what all entrepreneurs did; he went out and started to learn about the things that would make this technology a reality from anyone that would speak to him.He spoke candidly about getting paid only $200 a week while working with Kanye as his assistant and why that was a small price to pay in regards to his career. He educated the crowd on working for cheap or free and why it is valuable to prove your worth even after winning a few times in life.
76 minutes | Apr 13, 2014
How To Be The Mayweather of Social Media w- Gary Vaynerchuk
It's great being able to learn from some of the best out there by reading their books, blogs or hearing some of their keynotes.However; nothing beats being live and direct with the best. That is what our events are all about, you having access to people you might never have the chance to get 15 minutes from.Feb 28th was no different as we hosted our homie Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary Vee is the OG of social media and can command as high as 70k for an hour keynote. Yeah you read that right, dude makes more in an hour than some of your favorite artists. He doesn't have to put on a show or rap, all he has to do is be himself and drop gems.For those that don't know Gary, check out our previous interview with him here.We asked Gary to come through and represent, not only did he represent he left the crowd in total awe. We asked him for an hour of his time, he gave us way more than that which is a testament to his value driven life.We briefly covered his come up but the real value came with his knowledge of social media and building businesses. He covered proper engagement, why your legacy is worth more to you than the paper you are chasing and how to be a boss! Shit someone might have even got funded that night, got to peep the video for that.The passion Gary has for winning and competition is addictive. Gary will forever go down as one of the business world's elite and we are so proud to learn and call Gary a friend to the family.Our motto is real answers to real questions, the crowd and Gary did just that!
39 minutes | Feb 5, 2014
Why Focusing On Your Product Trumps Everything w/ Jason Calacanis
A big mission of The Phat Startup is to inspire and help create more entrepreneurs in our culture. We really try to focus on building tech businesses because the barrier is so low. However; we are at a disadvantage.Most of us will not go to a super elite ivy league school, can't code or have parents that smell like money all the time. Should this really stop us though? Is this really the disadvantage we all face? My answer, no its not! The only disadvantage some of us have is, not believing that we can do whatever we set our minds to do.I was lucky enough to sit down with Jason Calacanis of This Week in Startups and launch.co for The Phat Startup Show. Jason is someone that I admire because he wasn't supposed to be doing what he is doing now and never holds back.Jason came from a lower-middle class family and was born in Brooklyn New York. He dealt with many of the shortcomings that we all face like lack of money, lack of an ivy league school education, having everyone tell him that he could be a police officer or fireman, nothing else and even having trouble making ends meet. The only difference between him and I is that he is Irish and now has some money.I bring up that he is Irish because late in 2013 many started to attack him by saying that he was privileged do to a comment he made on twitter. This started a huge back and forth and people questioned diversity in tech. Jason is extremely brash (I call him the Kanye of tech, he agrees with me) and he let off on the world by telling them that if people work hard for what they want they will get theirs. His message sparked a debate that many will never forget.Here is an Irish guy that wasn't invited or welcomed into tech telling others from different races that in order to succeed they needed to #bossup. He wanted to give people the blueprint but the color of his skin along with his delivery tainted the message a bit. The lucky few listened, the rest continued to hate.There is no denying that tech is not diversified but should that stop us from leaving our mark on it like we in Hip Hop know how to do extremely well? Forget about race and all our so called short comings, we are all bosses and will get what we want no matter who or what is there to stop us.We listened and asked him to come through to drop some gems for us.Besides covering his come up, Jason also:-Tells us why you should always focus on your product-Why you should love thy hater-Why people in San Franciso are lying when they
25 minutes | Jan 15, 2014
Music & Entrepreneur Law 101 w/ Richard Jefferson
In this interview I discovered entertainment lawyer Richard Jefferson was the guy who first signed Rick Ross. Richard not only worked with Rozay before he blew up, but countless others in their start such as Pharrel, Trick daddy, Timbaland and many more. We talk about his music industry manager past and what inspired him to ultimately switch lanes and become a lawyer in entertainment.Richard breaks down the infamous 360 deal that music artists keep hearing about. He talks about what artist need to do to not get stuck in a situation where they have to sign one. His best advice was to ultimately build traction, like every entrepreneur should do.Many entrepreneurs email us questions regarding incorporating their company. We gathered all your questions and fed them to Richard. He breaks down the LLC, Sole proprietorship, S corp, C corp, and which one new entrepreneurs should get. He even talks about why incorporating in Delaware isn't recommended for young companies who aren't making much money.We also briefly touched on deal making law and how deals such as the mega partnership between Jay Z and Samsung are structured.Richard has a free music law eBook for viewers who contact him directly. He can be reached at LawyersRock.com
30 minutes | Dec 19, 2013
How To Take Your First Step Into Entrepreneurship With Kanyi Maqubela
Have you been itching to start that company but hesitant to get your feet wet? Are you unsure what the first steps to take are?Entrepreneurship is fundamentally a process of calculated risk-taking. It can be very scary for some because risk-taking is not taught in our schools. We learn all the other fundamentals but not the key one that will allow you to start a business.However; you can teach yourself to become an effective risk-taker and in turn learn to be an entrepreneur.This week we sat down with Kanyi Maqubela of Collab Fund to discuss how he approaches entrepreneurship and manages risk.Kanyi actually stumbled into entrepreneurship. While at Stanford undergrad his friend reeled him into a project doing grassroots marketing and product development. He found himself in an entrepreneurial environment and utilized his risk-taking skills to grow the business.Just like anything else in life Kanyi believes entrepreneurship is about being at the right place at the right time. In this way you can create your own luck by embracing opportunities where you set yourself up to succeed. Most people fail at this but Kanyi tells us that the way to become lucky is to put yourself in a place where are there lots and lots of opportunity.Kanyi embraces this and tells us how we can “fail forward” and learn how to succeed without having the best product or management team. He also tells us the strength of real market demand and placing your business in the center of the park. Many entrepreneurs do not focus on analyzing and understanding market demand which is crucial for success.Builders and sellers are the building blocks of great companies. Even if you don't think you're a risk-taker, learn how to become one today.Besides covering his come up Kanyi also:- tells us how to build a strong support network- talks about becoming a risk-taker and successful entrepreneur- tells us how to make a product that sticks the market- talks about the best way to become an investor- tells us how Hip-Hop has inspired his hustleThe hookup:@kmkanyi.me
44 minutes | Dec 19, 2013
How To Make It Big In The Entertainment Industry With Niena Drake
We all want to get a foot in the entertainment industry. Whether it's TV, Film or Music, entertainment is still one of the most exciting and lucrative industries around today. Media moguls have been created overnight and stars come and go just as quickly. The toughest part about the industry is creating a brand that builds value over time.Longevity is the key to the entertainment industry and today DJ Niena Drake shows The Phat Startup Show how it's done.Niena got her start DJing house parties at 13 years old. Always a very serious student, the self-described nerd jumped over to TV production at Fox just after high school. Highlighting her experiences with TV production Niena tells us why it pays to be behind the camera.Niena was the producer to first bring Kanye West to local television in Chicago so she definitely knows her stuff! So don't pick up the rhyme book just yet, find out why the real power is in management and producing.Your true passion always calls you back and Niena is now back to her first love of music and DJing. It wasn't an easy road but in the video she reveals to us the exact steps she took after failures and multiple setbacks. We learn how to structure your business around your personal lifestyle.This is a crucial point for our community because we know a lot of you are very talented in specific niches. DJing is great for club gigs but how do you move past that and actually build diversified revenue streams around it. It doesn't happen overnight but through patience, planning and strategy Niena has succeeded and so can you.Niena also tells us that it's very important to give yourself room to fail. When she first started out she was using vinyl and had no idea what Serrato was when the technology changed.She took a chance opportunity opening up for a big club and ended up playing five hours straight in her first real gig using the new tables. Sometimes it's hard as entrepreneurs to accept failure but this strategy was instrumental in Niena's success.Throughout her journey Niena also details the importance of setting limits for yourself whilst not paying attention to other people. It's very easy to get distracted by the successes or failures of others around us but we must remember we can only focus and improve on ourselves. Focus your energy on yourself first, never chase someone else's dreams.At the end of the interview Niena gives us a super simple but very effective productivity hac
30 minutes | Nov 27, 2013
The Rise Of AllHipHop and The Future of Journalism with Chuck Creekmur
It was all a dream as the legendary Biggie Smalls once ryhmed. Chuck Creekmur dreamed of running The Source, but instead ended up creating and running a Hip Hop news website called AllHipHop.comDuring a weekend of Lean Startup Machine, which is a great resource for entrepreneurs off all levels, we decided to represent the Hip Hop and Tech culture. We wrote about Lean before here.Chuck Creekmur is a journalist at heart; he talks to us about the future of journalism and why he believes there still is one. After 15 years of running one of the hottest Hip Hop sites, Chuck is focused on the future of mobile. Besides making sure his content is king, Chuck wants to expand into technology outside of the Hip Hop site. He also tells us what's next for the AllHipHop.com empire.Besides covering his come up and lessons learned Chuck also talks to us about:- His biggest hurdles when scaling the business- How he built his community- How to leverage your community- How to network by adding value- How AllHipHop continues to innovateI can honestly say this is the first time I have seen someone from the Hip Hop world drop gems at an event like this and I am proud that we were given the opportunity to do this. Shout out Steve Royster of Lean Newark for helping us make it happen!The Hook Up:@chuckcreekmurAllHipHop.com
34 minutes | Nov 27, 2013
Creating the $100 Startup with Chris Guillebeau
This week we wanted to do something different for #bossup Wednesday.It's Thanksgiving week and we are so grateful to have the ability to bring you some of the smartest people in the game to educate and inspire us.This event was actually the first event we ever conducted with someone as big as Chris Guillebeau. We have been sitting on the footage for over a year and decided it was unfair to do so.Chris is a big time believer in people living their life the way they want and wrote an incredible book titled, “The $100 Startup.”His book takes us through the journey of many entrepreneurs that have started their businesses for $100 or close to that. These people do things their way, some became rich monetarily, while others became rich by having a life they are in full control of.Chris came through and killed it! He left us inspired big time and gave us the confidence to do better. Get your copy of his book here or hit us up, we got a few copies left.We thank you for rocking with us and supporting the movement, below you can read what we are grateful for this past year:James: Looking back at this 1st event, I am so grateful that we are able to connect with some of the best out there and share there come up. Having the ability to talk to and learn from people I used to read about is a blessing. What makes it even better is that I can share that knowledge with my community. I am also grateful for my family support this past year. They sometimes don't understand the movement, but are there when things go crazy.Jahde: I'm grateful that I'm part of a community that helps, supports and pushes each other outside of my comfort zone. I'm grateful that I get a chance to interact with like-minded individuals who put action on top of their ideas. I'm grateful for the knowledge I've received and connections I've made. I'm grateful that everyday I get to see what hard-work and success looks likeAnthony: I'm thankful for being able to add value to someone else's life. I spent a large part of entrepreneurship by myself. No mentor, no help, no anything. So I want to be able to create the tools, resources, and guidance for the younger version of myself. I thank god for everything that I have, and everything he will continue to bless me with. Family, friends, and great life changing opportunities. Thank You.Jesal: I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to work with tactful, resourceful, and motivated people who all
46 minutes | Nov 23, 2013
How To Setup And Close Deals For Your Business With Benji Markoff
Looking to become the ultimate selling machine or are you scared out of your mind to tackle this side of business?Selling is one of those tasks that can become very intimidating and a task that many shy away from.However; you cant just build a product and let it sell its self.This week we sat down with Benji Markoff of Founder Shield to discuss how he conducts deals and sells his product.Benji is a selling animal. The guy gets a kick out of cold calling and setting up business meeting so he can sell his services. He loves the fact that 90% of the time he will get denied and the fact that you have such a small chance of getting a client to commit.Everything he loves about selling is exactly why so many people suck at it. They don't want to put in the work then get denied. I fall victim to this at times myself.Benji embraces this and tells us how we can #bossup and become selling animals like him. He also tells us why his business' main goal is to make money. Many in the startup world look down upon this goal, but without money there is no business.Success isn't classified as who raised the most money, its about who is still around making money years later.Besides covering his come up Benji also:- tells us how to build a business without being an expert- talks about his sales process and what we can expect when selling- tells us how to setup and close deals- why making money should be your business' main goal not obtaining investor money- tells us how Hip-Hop has inspired his hustleThe hookup:@benjimarkoffFounderShield.com
32 minutes | Nov 10, 2013
The Importance of Mentorship with Mark Peter Davis (@MPD)
Mentorship, community, and culture are the main components of Marks Story. MPD breaks down how not having mentorship was sort of the driving force behind him chasing entrepreneurship. We learn how having someone else to help guide you could be the make or break of being successful. Ultimately the act of being a mentor and helping entrepreneurs succeed, pushed him into being an investor with DFJ & High Peaks Ventures. Filling that role he felt was missing in his early entrepreneur days.
47 minutes | Nov 10, 2013
How To Leverage Strategic Partnerships To Build Your Business with Lauryn Ballesteros
This week we wanted to cover all things partnership wise. We sat down with Lauryn Ballesteros on The Phat Startup Show to get our learn on. Lauryn drops gems on the types of partnerships out there and identifying which one works best for your business. She also teaches us how to sell our accomplishments without feeling corny about it.Lauryn Ballesteros is a sales/marketing expert, blogger, and cultural entrepreneur focused on bringing authenticity into everything she touches. She loves Italy, her dog, and a good book on the beach. She just released a free, three-part series on on how to land your ideal client here.
47 minutes | Nov 10, 2013
Time Management Hacks, Gaining Customers, and Generating Product Buzz with Geordie Wardman
This week on The Phat Startup we sat down with serial entrepreneur Geordie Wardman to talk about time management, gaining customers, and creating buzz before product launch. This interview is great for anyone looking for tips on time management – Geordie is a master at it and provides tangible tips and tools that he uses everyday to manage his time across 4 successful businesses.
69 minutes | Nov 10, 2013
Dominating The Web Without Permission With Alexis Ohanian
Bosses don't wait for permission! On Oct 3rd we sat down with Alexis Ohanian to talk to us about Dominating The Web without Permission over at Projective Space. Shout outs to them for hosting us and super shout out to Black Enterprise for covering our event. Our friend Herman Yiu CPA hooked us up with pizza while Drink Neuro kept everyone hydrated.Alexis personifies the entrepreneur we all want or strive to be. He built reddit.com and was later able to sell it for millions of dollars while being a college student. He did this with very little technical skills or business skills. All he did was give himself the permission to change the game.
78 minutes | Nov 10, 2013
The Future of Marketing for Startups with Nihal Mehta
Nihal kicked off the session to talk about the most important characteristic that continues to help him to this day: perseverance. Nihal began his entrepreneurship journey in college, founding philly2night.com, a site dedicated to Philadelphia nightlife and events. That has led to a slew of startups that Nihal is involved with at some level today, whether as advisor, investor, or board member
38 minutes | Oct 14, 2013
Building a Brand and a Powerful Network with BrothaTech aka Terrance Gaines
We chopped it up with Terrance Gaines, better known as BrothaTech, this week on The Phat Startup Show to talk about his successful blog BrothaTech to share his love with all things tech. Terrance drops gems on building his own brand and a network from scratch, with lessons that we can all use in our daily lives.Terrance always knew he wanted BrothaTech to be more than just a blog; at the time, he knew nothing about social media, SEO, or building a brand. After taking a WordPress class, Terrance knew connecting with like-minded people would be the foundation for his path to success. In his conversations, he found easy blog topics through questions that his friends, family, and colleagues were asking.
47 minutes | Oct 14, 2013
How To Leverage Strategic Partnerships To Build Your Business with Lauryn Ballesteros
This week we wanted to cover all things partnership wise. We sat down with Lauryn Ballesteros on The Phat Startup Show to get our learn on. Lauryn drops gems on the types of partnerships out there and identifying which one works best for your business. She also teaches us how to sell our accomplishments without feeling corny about it.Lauryn Ballesteros is a sales/marketing expert, blogger, and cultural entrepreneur focused on bringing authenticity into everything she touches. She loves Italy, her dog, and a good book on the beach. She just released a free, three-part series on on how to land your ideal client
39 minutes | Oct 1, 2013
How to Build and Monetize Your Podcast with John Lee Dumas
John Lee Dumas, author of the consistently top-ranked business podcast on iTunes, “Entrepreneur on Fire“, sits down with The Phat Startup this week to talk about how he built and has been able to monetize a podcast successfully over the past 2 years.