Friday, December 15

Jay-Z Talks Shop on Forbes, But What Are The Rest of us Doing to be That Entrepreneur?

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Watching a video where Jay-Z tells his story on Forbes.  A similar story that Jay-Z continues to tell every time he is interviewed by the mainstream media, the same media that rejected hip-hop over twenty years ago.  But now that rappers are making money, and you have artists like Jay-Z being interviewed in the mainstream media all is good.  Except for the fact that the media is not interviewing anyone else.

It is one thing to interview an artist because of his business expertise.  But there are other artists who are making a lot of money that are not as clean and polished as Jay-Z, that will never get any interviews.  Take 50 Cent for example, who made moves that are very similar to those that Michael Jackson made back in the eighties.  Michael Jackson was never known for being an entrepreneur, but for being a business man.  Jay-Z is an entrepreneur, and while others have money, he creates opportunities for himself.  It is important to note that the mainstream media is only interested in two things; the ability of an individual to make their own money and create opportunities for someone else, and how they are able to pass that individual off to people who wouldn’t accept them through any other medium.

No one can discredit the importance of Jay-Z’s struggle and how it inspires young men from the neighborhood to be their own mogul.  If anything Jay-Z took a page from Berry Gordy’s book, just trying to survive.  But it is interesting that no one else ever gets to sit at the table.  The analogy that I am making, is that Jay-Z is to hip-hop, what Barack Obama is to politics.  There were plenty of great politicians, but none like Barack Obama.  Pundits say that Barack Obama is playing the game better than anyone else has ever played it, and I would not disagree with them.  Others would even go as far as to say that without the support of the mainstream media, without the support of the powers to be, you would not have an artist like Jay-Z or a politician like Barack Obama, and I would say that you are exactly right.

But the mainstream media did not pick up on either of the subjects of this article before they laid that foundation themselves and did their homework.  So the question that you have to ask yourself is this.  What are you going to do to put yourself in a similar position.  If you do not like what Jay-Z did to get to where he is at, or what pundits say that he is doing to stay in that space then no one is putting a gun up to your head to do it.  Watch the video for yourself.  Jay-Z isn’t wearing a loud pink suit you would wear to church back in 2008.  50 Cent didn’t either when he was interviewed by CNBC.  He is put together and looks better than the other two men in the video, Warren Buffet, and the host, doing what they do better than what do with respect to how they are dressed.

Nothing has changed.  In 2011 you aren’t going to walk into a situation dressing the same way that you do in the neighborhood and expect to talk with the richest men in America.  At the same time, Jay-Z had to put in a lot of time proving himself in the neighborhood; talking about similar topics that only the neighborhood can relate to, dressing in a similar manner.  The first time we saw Jay-Z in Versace, it was something a kid from the ghetto would aspire to, in fact I’m sure you knew someone in your neighborhood that was dressed the same way.  But once doors started to open up to Jay-Z he put that image behind and reinvented himself.

If you want to be taken seriously, you have to put on that mindset that those who have already arrived have.  It is about more than dressing conservatively, it is about being one step ahead of the game.  If the company says that you can wear jeans you want to wear denim, but you don’t want to wear jeans.  Take it one step ahead of everyone else and find a unique way to put your own style into what you do.  If the company says that it is business casual, let someone else wear the khakis and t-shirts.  Forget about the khakis, you can wear cotton trousers, but don’t wear khakis.

Too often we want to be good enough to get that promotion and then we get consumed with what we are doing and we slack off.  Everyone is caught up in the image of Jay-Z and Barack Obama, but no one wants to do what it takes to have the same lifestyle that they have.  Barack Obama is an intelligent man, but he is not a nerd.  There is nothing cool about being a nerd, you can be intelligent, but you don’t want to be a nerd, you don’t want to be a geek.  Black women still are not going to look for you if you are a nerd or a geek, that just is not what the average Black women is attracted to.  Instead of chasing women on the outside in order that someone accepts you for the nerd that you are, use some of that intelligence and find a swagger of your own.  You will go a lot further on the job if you do.  But it does show that you can stay out of trouble, work hard, go to school, and make your own money.

Life is a game.  Life isn’t personal, and it should not be taken as such.  Find yourself a strong woman that believes in you, stick with her and leave the rest alone.  Chasing women is a diversion that will always keep you away from realizing your true potential.  Too often we get hung up on who wants us, who doesn’t, who does that we don’t want back, who we want that doesn’t want us back, whatever, its all a childish game.  Figure out what you want in life, and find a way to make those dreams a reality.  Find yourself someone that is there when you do not have anything that you can build something with.  Too often we just take whoever comes along when we arrive, whoever that is, and they do not have anything invested in us because they do not truly know us.  They only know who we have become when we have money, what we are, but they do not know what we could be like if it were to go away.

Now I am not saying that women that were there with you when you were without anything are not going to leave.  I have seen it happen first hand, particularly when the man came up off of the woman’s resources, which is odd because you would think that the woman would know the situation like the back of her hand, but it takes two to play the game.  But those are conversations that I just do not want to have, a bridge that I do not want to cross.  Look at this way, people hate because they see someone else making it look easy.  At the end of the day that guy isn’t even the smartest person in the room.  But there is something said for being the quickest person in the room, while the other guy that is smarter than you is still thinking about what move he is going to make.  The quickest guy in the room, might not make the perfect decision, but he will make a decision, and he will take that chance and learn from his failures.  The smartest guy in the room never takes any chances, and is only going to get so far.  Too often the smartest guy works for the quickest guy, but then again, he wasn’t quick enough to get himself into that same position …

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