Daymond John the entrepreneur and brains behind the worldwide brand FuBu has been speaking to folks about the trials and tribulations of startups and entrepreneurship for years. Since he took his business from the trunk of the car and made it a recognized brand on every street corner in America and around the world John has been passionate about business. It also helps that he has been one of the panelists on ABC’s Shark Tank for all three seasons.
That’s why Utah High School Business teacher Jeff McCauley was resilient in trying to contact John for some kind of entrepreneurship event with his students. Originally McCauley had wanted to Skype with John and his class however that idea took a pivot in the year it took to nail a date down. What ended up happening was nothing short of phenomenal for the over 100 high school kids around the country that attended the hangout on Google’s Google+ Hangout platform.
McCauley is no stranger to Shark Tank either. He admits to showing the program to his students to show real life examples of the lessons that he teaches everyday.
More after the break
The Google+ team was instrumental in providing the platform by allowing this particular hangout with John to go way beyond the 10 people that could be in a hangout. John spent 45 minutes with the students and provided many real life stories about his experiences as he grew his brand Fubu.
John revealed things about his business startup process that not many people knew, like the fact that he closed FUBU down three times in it’s beginning years in the 1990’s. He also revealed that while he built up his business by having rappers wear his shirts in their videos, he would have to go to the video sets, get their shirts back, wash them and let the next rapper wear them in their video, why? Because when John started Fubu he only had 10 shirts. This is hard to believe nowadays when Fubu is as recognized a brand as Calvin Klein or Polo.
John told the students that when he’s in his Shark Tank chair he’s not only looking for great ideas but great people as well. He said he specifically looks for a “hungry person with a great idea and a lot of desire”. If you watch the Shark Tank regularly like I do you would definitely see that.
Take last weeks episode for instance (S03 E10) two women motorcycle enthusiasts had created a line of stylish clothing with protective armor built in. The women had decent startup numbers however all of the other sharks were turned off by their aloofness and their dreams of opening up their business to Europe before really launching their US business. The had also burned through $400,000 of their own money. John went with the investment in the company, primarily because they had a great product but they also had very outgoing personalities and backgrounds in business. I’m sure John will work with them to hone them back in to what they need to focus on.
In addition to fielding questions about his history with FUBU there were lot’s of questions about the Shark Tank. John kept reiterating the fact that the Shark’s are using their own money to invest in these companies. He also revealed the fact that the actual pitch sessions are cut down from 45 minutes to an hour and a half.
McCauley asked one of the best questions when he asked John if there was a deal that he wished he had bought into. He talked about the “I Want to draw a cat for you” guy that Mark Cuban actually invested in. John recalled how the founder of the company, Steve Gadlin, had told shark Kevin O’Leary that he would haunt him in his dreams if he didn’t invest. John said he did just that. He couldn’t stop thinking about that silly guy and the pitch for three weeks. John also said he would have made “I want to draw a cat for you” everywhere, stick figure apps, plush animals and more.
The Hangout was attended by several high schools that were given unprecedented access to one of the nations thought leaders in the entrepreneurshp space. While the event itself took place on Google+ McCauley had started contacting John originally by Twitter also demonstrating the effectiveness of social media.
Here’s the entire hangout:
source: SF Chronicle