Why I Want You To Know My Name

My life’s mission has been to be successful. I want to build my own businesses and beyond killing it I want to massacre, decimate, put the opposition on the endangered species list, etc. That is my goal. I want to work my backside off and make great things happen. Truly, I would prefer to live a good life outside of any radar, I do not want you to know my name. Thing is: I need you to know it.

There is something to be said about building a reputation for one’s self. A reputation, like a view into someone’s social media profiles before you actually meet them, gives you a certain frame of what to expect. A social résumé of sorts. This is extremely important.

In business, there will come a time where I must raise a venture capital round. Chances are that this will have to happen multiple times. This is something that is quite difficult in the best kind of circumstances, and will likely be even harder for me.

Derek Andersen of Startup Grind, a really great guy, gave a quick chat with a select few companies at the 2016 Startup Grind Global Conference. I was lucky enough to be there. While mentioning one of the organizers, T.D. Lowe, he explained how she has been such a strong figure in helping their operations and was even stronger for her fundraising efforts with colossal obstacles.

Not only is she a woman which makes raising funds less likely, she also happens to be a woman of color. For this specific demographic, she noted that funds raised for the previous year were just less than one percent. Derek continued on mentioning that it was his goal to begin having these kinds of conversations so that people begin to realize that there has largely been an atmosphere of funding that seems to be a bit easier for a white male to achieve and seemingly missing many opportunities to fund businesses for those in different demographics.

For myself, being a Black man and identifying as a member of the LGBT community, I am fully aware that my work is cut out for me. Do I feel like everyone is racist and homophobic? Absolutely not. The path of least resistance lies in making and doing business with those that you are familiar with and so this kind of thing inherently happens and now there seem to have been more funding opportunities for one group over others.

This is why I need you to know my name. This is not a popularity contest for me. I would like to think that I am a fun-loving great guy to be around but you liking me is not my concern and you having a problem with me is your problem, not mine. You knowing my name is how I level the playing field and then go one step further to give myself a leg up.

Being around the atmosphere of startups, meeting more of the people in this community, and making connections has always been a concern of mine. To begin with, I live for this. I love being out there hearing about what other people are doing and seeing how I might be able to help, even if it is just a small conversation regarding my perspective as a consumer. I live for it. The added benefit that I have always been cognizant of, however, is that the more that I do this the more people know my name. Not only do they know my name, they know through volunteer work and event organizing that there is a strong work ethic and integrity behind my name. They know that I make things happen.

This is imperative to my upward trajectory, and is why I do my best to stay in the community and continue to build a personal brand for myself while helping out. Thankfully, once again, I live for this because there is a lot of work involved. Unfortunately, this also means that I must begin to make hard decisions regarding when an opportunity is no longer right for me and that its useful life has expired. Like the bestselling Ben Horowitz book, this is The Hard Thing About Hard Things.

People ‘knowing my name’ and therefore reputation is how I have made a strategy of leveling the playing field. It is a slow-burning and long term approach, but I am going to do what it takes to have the same opportunities as everyone else…and go a step further in what I do so that hopefully I am even giving myself a leg up.

Every single day and event is another opportunity for me to show that people like me can and do move mountains. It is an opportunity to say in a polite way: “Pay attention to what I will be doing, and you just may want to be involved.” I sometimes feel both like a broken record and like I am bragging talking about myself but I, once again, want you to know what I can do so that you do give people like me a second look.

I say it all the time, but I want the world to know this: I am Brandon. I went to a private Catholic school where I was a triple major in Finance, Marketing, and Communication Studies, earning two Bachelors degrees (BBA & BA). I want you to know that my first job was as a Management Consultant. I want you to know that at 24 I was asked to be a VP in a company. I want you to know that I plan to work tirelessly to start successful businesses, and I have a goal of being on the Forbes 30 Under 30. I want to do things that are large enough that I can have a social impact and help facilitate a better world going forward. That is what I want you to think of me.

When I want to make moves in the future, I am shooting for warm leads to capital. I am looking to make a phone call or send an email to begin talks around raising a round. I am looking for those that are willing to be my mentor because they know that I will take and synthesize their advice to how it best suits me. I want people to know without doubt, that I am a sound investment. I want you to know my name.