Meeting Shark Tank's Daymond John
My short but excellent adventure to meet an entrepreneurial hero, Daymond John, of FUBU and Shark Tank
by: Dave Mayer, CEO and Founder of Massive Impact
When I saw that Daymond John, of Shark Tank fame, was coming to Denver Startup Week, I was intent on meeting him, even briefly. I wasn’t clear on what might be involved in reaching him, as I certainly wouldn’t be the only one with this idea.
Daymond’s penchant for radical candor, and his approach that ‘anyone can get anything they want with a ton of hard work’ approach has always resonated with me. The fact that he started his empire by hustling to sell hats on the streets of New York gave this potential meeting an extra special meaning, especially since Massive Impact’s first highly sustainable product, from our nascent brand, is a flat brim trucker hat made from hemp and recycled plastic.
I knew Daymond was speaking with my friend, Andy Seth, as moderator at a venue near Startup Week basecamp. I also knew there would be more than 500 people in the audience, eager to hear what Daymond had to say. I arrived and was inspired, as always, by the interview. Here is a short video snippet from the more than hour long event.
As things wrapped up, I was in the right place at the right time (coincidence or kismet?) and was offered an opportunity to say a quick hello to the man himself. I was nervous and wanted to be respectful of others in line to do the same. Thankfully I was prepared with one of our hats that I intended to present to him.
I reached the front of the line and addressed him as “Mr. John”. I told him I made these hats and I was excited to give him one, but by then the photo had already been snapped. He called me out, kindly but firmly, and said ‘you are TERRIBLE at marketing your own product’ – I laughed and nodded my head.
Okay - well there’s that radical candor I love so much. I didn’t want to be presumptuous and ask him to wear the hat for the photo.
He VERY kindly instructed the photographer to take another photo - then BAM - that was the moment.
He held up the hat, smiled and sent me on my way.
Of course I wished I had more time with him to soak up some more entrepreneurial greatness, but sometimes when you set out to do something small, like get a photo with someone you admire, you get exactly what you need. Some firm advice to ask for what you really want in the future, and a great picture.
Together, We Rise!