1871 kicked off its 2017 series of Fireside Chats with CEO Howard Tullman in mid-January with an all-star entrepreneur — FUBU founder and panelist on ABC’s Shark Tank Daymond John. During their conversation, Daymond shared keys to startup success, what makes a good Shark Tank pitch, how he balanced working a day job while spending his off hours fulfilling merchandise orders in the early days of FUBU and talked about his new New York incubator, Blueprint+Co.
The audience for the event included 1871 members, young entrepreneurs and mentors from the Greater Englewood Community Development Corp., students from CoderSpace and students from schools and academies around the city.
Daymond barely flinched at a question from the crowd about the three rules of selling. He quickly rattled off a trio of tips for startups based on his personal experience.
Daymond also spoke of his experience of working with the White House and former President Barack Obama and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker in his capacity as a Presidential Ambassador of Global Entrepreneurship.
Every entrepreneur still has work to do. Daymond touched on what skill set he is still working to improve, including how he wants to be more hands on with new technologies.
What’s a red flag when it comes to investing in a business? Even with Shark Tank contestants, Daymond said businesses often overlook even the most basic details — like the need for proper protection of trademarks — when trying to attract investors.
“Don’t fall in love with the business and think you’re better than anybody else.” Daymond also touched on the expansion of FUBU and what’s next for the brand.
Starting a business can get lonely and tough. Daymond talked about what kept him going, even after closing down FUBU three times in the early days since he began in 1989.
Another question from the audience was getting Daymond to weigh in on the phenomenon of e-sports and gaming. He talked about how young gamers may be inspired to learn to code.
Daymond talked about his biggest influences and mentors after Howard noted January is National Mentoring Month.
All growing startups eventually need partners. Daymond talked about what he looks for in a partner and what makes the relationships effective.
“I hate working with all the other sharks.” In one of the most candid parts of the conversation, Daymond got colorful when he described working with the other Sharks on Shark Tank, which gained a loud reaction from the audience.
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