Rebellion Group

Episode 53: Daymond John and Brian Lamb Get Real On Racial Equity and Courageous Leadership

January 19, 2023
Episode 53: Daymond John and Brian Lamb Get Real On Racial Equity and Courageous Leadership
Rebellion Group
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Rebellion Group
Episode 53: Daymond John and Brian Lamb Get Real On Racial Equity and Courageous Leadership
Jan 19, 2023

On this episode, host Allison Minutillo had the privilege of talking with Daymond John and Brian Lamb about some of the most important topics of our time. You'll hear their raw reflection on success, failure, and the impact diversity and inclusion has on leadership today. Daymond John is an entrepreneur in every sense of the word. He is the founder and CEO of FUBU, a pioneer in the fashion industry, a Shark on the 4-time Emmy Award-winning Shark Tank, a New York Times bestselling author, branding guru and highly sought-after motivational speaker. Brian Lamb is a Managing Director and Segment Head for Middle Market Banking & Specialized Industries (MMBSI) covering the Northeast for JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking. Previously serving for two years as the firm’s global head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Brian has been instrumental in driving forward the firm’s $30 billion commitment to racial equity.

Show Notes Transcript

On this episode, host Allison Minutillo had the privilege of talking with Daymond John and Brian Lamb about some of the most important topics of our time. You'll hear their raw reflection on success, failure, and the impact diversity and inclusion has on leadership today. Daymond John is an entrepreneur in every sense of the word. He is the founder and CEO of FUBU, a pioneer in the fashion industry, a Shark on the 4-time Emmy Award-winning Shark Tank, a New York Times bestselling author, branding guru and highly sought-after motivational speaker. Brian Lamb is a Managing Director and Segment Head for Middle Market Banking & Specialized Industries (MMBSI) covering the Northeast for JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking. Previously serving for two years as the firm’s global head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Brian has been instrumental in driving forward the firm’s $30 billion commitment to racial equity.

Allison Minutillo  0:00  
Alright guys. Daymond, you killed me with this move, like life goals made. 

Daymond John  0:05  
Like this?

Allison Minutillo  0:06  
 Yeah, I pictured you right in the Shark Tank chair. I was like I made it!

Daymond John  0:12  
You know, every time I did that Barbara goes oh, your hands.

Allison Minutillo  0:16  
I know - I stuttered in my question because I was like, oh my god, I just got the Daymond. 

Daymond John  0:20  
Oh, I'm sorry. 

Allison Minutillo  0:21  
I love it. It was awesome. 

Allison Minutillo  0:24  
The Rebel Leadership Podcast, a refreshing take on authentic leadership told through real stories. Let's smash the status quo and change how leaders lead once and for all.

Allison Minutillo  0:41  
The power of influence and the impact it has on people is real. And when leaders work together to leverage their platforms and positions of influence it can serve as an absolute force multiplier to truly change lives. Today we have the privilege of talking with Daymond John and Brian Lamb. Daymond John is an entrepreneur in every sense of the word. He is a pioneer in the fashion industry, a shark on the four time Emmy award winning Shark Tank, a New York Times bestselling author, branding guru and highly sought after motivational speaker. Brian Lamb is a managing director and segment head for middle market banking and specialized industries covering the Northeast for JP Morgan Chase commercial banking, previously serving for two years as the firm's Global Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. He has been instrumental in propelling the firm's $30 billion commitment to racial equity. I am truly grateful to you both and all of the people who made today happen. Welcome to the Rebel Leadership Podcast.

Brian Lamb  1:41  
Great to be here. Thank you, Allison. 

Daymond John  1:43  
Yeah, thank you for having us.

Allison Minutillo  1:46  
So people crave hearing someone else's story, someone who has done it before they aspire to, but they may not necessarily have the opportunities afforded to them, they may not have the tools, they may not have the belief or the clear path forward. So we're dying to hear how you did it. Daymond, what was your first entrepreneurial memory?

Daymond John  2:09  
Selling pencils in schools. I think I was six years old, seven years old. I realized basically when the boys like girls, the basic way that they showed them that they liked them was trying to hit them or knock your teeth out and I realized that there was a better way to do that. So I find these pencils in school and I would scrape the paint off the pencils and paint the names of the girls on the pencils and say to the guys you know you don't really want to hit her you want to get to know her so you know, give this pencil give me 25 cents and I get this pencil you sit with her lunch and then you can talk to them and then the guys would try to knock my teeth out. But then I realized something very important that the girls would pay two times the amount of money for the same exact pencils. So I started selling pencils to the girls and you know I was on the way to becoming a very successful entrepreneur at that time. And then my principal who had absolutely no vision made me stop selling the pencils because, you know, she found out that I was actually stealing the pencils from the boys that I hated in school. I mean my cost of goods was zero. You know? So that was that it's a true story, but then I would you know when I was 10 or 12 or 14 or 16 I would you know like most kids and you know try to make some extra money. I would shovel snow in the winter, rake leaves. So um, but I also at that time realized that and I don't want to say I don't know where it really came from now when you look at it, you know, it's real entrepreneurship, but when I was shoveling snow because I lived in Queens, everybody works in Manhattan. So I would basically know that the next time snow came that the people would not be home they would be in Manhattan and when they come home, if you know if you live in New York or the Northeast, that snow is now a sheet of rock, you know it's a sheet of ice. So what I would do is tell them that I would always be there to shovel their snow even when they're away if they have my $4 or $5 and then I would go and tell other kids that I would pay them $2. And then I have 30 or 40 houses and I had a customer they couldn't poach and I would make money that way. So anyway, those are my little versions of my first entrepreneurial journeys.

Allison Minutillo  4:23  
Was that just intuitive to you? The concept of business and entrepreneurialism or were you observing someone around you or people around you as influencers that helped guide those actions.

Daymond John  4:37  
We're always influenced by the people around us and I was influenced by my mother and my dad and a lot of people that always said, even if it's your day job, your day job will never make you rich. It will be the things you do after you're paid for what you're supposed to do. So whether you're in a large corporation or whether you are an entrepreneur, over providing for your customer and putting in the extra time and effort and thinking about ways you can make yourself unique would be always the ways that I would benefit. And that's what I was basically doing. You could be an entrepreneur, absolutely, entrepreneur when thinking whether you have a large corporation or a single mom and pop operation is just a form of thinking and that's what I was raised with that form of thinking.

Allison Minutillo  5:21  
Describe what that form of thinking entails.

Daymond John  5:24  
You don't need money to make money and every time you see something, somebody did it. Somebody started - it started all with somebody who had one idea that took one step forward, whether it is the biggest buildings in the world or the smallest thing. It also means that you should step to something and come to something as a solution-based person and always be absolutely obsessed with your customer, and your customer a lot of people think very literally your customer is a person you haven't a transaction with that you may or may not know. Your customer, my staff is my customer, my wife is my customer. My customer is my customer. And when you think of coming to things as a - as a way of service, my friends are my customer then what happens is when you think of it like that and you keep giving and giving and giving and trying to solve problems, people want to also solve problems with you, you know, be part of what you're thinking or help you solve other people's problems. And I think that's entrepreneurial thinking - problem-solving, not starting too big, not trying to build wrong step by step, learning after you take an action and then repeating it trying a million times, and being very, very obsessed with the end goal of over providing to your customer.

Allison Minutillo  6:40  
When you were referring back to your different types of customers and you mentioned your employees. I've never thought of it that way before but how would you describe you're now the mature experienced, highly credentialed entrepreneur that is you and your brand? Who are you? How do you show up every day for them? What does it look like?

Daymond John  7:00  
Well, I try to show by example. I try to show I'm willing to do every single thing that I've asked somebody else to do. I try to show up to say that you know if there's a problem, we have an open door. I may not agree with you, but we collectively need to learn how to fix this problem and both benefit from it. I like to have a lot of transparency. I don't like to lead with this hammer but I do like to say that you know we are accountable for our actions. And if this doesn't happen, well these are the results that we may or may not get and what are we going to do after that? And I like to also listen to them my, you know, my concept of an employee is somebody who's smarter than me in any area. If I'm hiring you or working with you, then I expect you to be smarter than me. If you're only going to do everything that I say well then we're never going to grow. So I'm supposed to work for you just as much as you're supposed to work for me.

Allison Minutillo  8:10 
What was your lowest point in your journey?

Daymond John  8:12  
The journey as an entrepreneur, my lowest point I think was when, and everybody leads different - when I had a massive amount of people in my company which is not fast when in comparison to the people you know, like Brian, how many people work underneath him but I had about 350 internally and 2000 externally to work for me. And I started to hear that people were being held back or discriminated against or not getting the credit they deserve by maybe some people that could have been poor leaders and I wanted to empower people with my company because I never wanted them to be held back by any kind of class ceiling due to their race, gender, color, creed or anything else like that. And I felt like I didn't get to know people at that point when it was 350 people so I wanted to try to find a way to do what I do best but have a small group of people that I could hear what is challenging them or more importantly what you know what they want to do in life. And I think that that was the lowest point when I started to hear that people were being let go or felt discriminated against due to whatever it is. I take my hat off to people that can move 10,000, 20,000, 100,000 people in unison.

Allison Minutillo  9:24  
And that is very connected to the reason why Brian Lamb you are here is that you're coming at this from a corporate leadership perspective. And JPMorgan Chase is doing some pretty powerful work in the space when it comes to racial inequality, specifically the $30 billion commitment by the end of 2025 to advance that economic growth for Black, Hispanic and Latino communities. But you especially are a pioneer, you specifically were the first ever Head of Diversity and Inclusion at this massive organization. How did that whole thing come to be? And what was your journey as a piece of that?

Brian Lamb  10:01  
Yeah, so Allison, great, first of all, good to be here and really exciting to hear Daymond's story. He's an inspiration to all of us and so I'm glad we're able to talk a little bit together. When you think about, you know, that time in 2020 when we were all dealing with in our own way in our neighborhoods and our homes and our businesses and our families was a very difficult time, you know, in terms of the social and racial awakening that was happening in our own reaction to that was tough. And so I had a chance to come into the global diversity, equity and inclusion role. And I would say like most entrepreneurs can be a part of the change. But like a great entrepreneur, like Daymond, when you see an opportunity not everyone really is willing to have the courage to kind of step out when it isn't ultra clear, right ,when the path is less traveled. You know, when there's not this big safety net there and kind of go out and maybe say and do some things that you principally know, can have a generational impact that you generally know are the right things to do and that you could be a person to help do it. I was really fortunate to be able to move into a role to come up with my colleagues here at JPMorgan Chase, a strategy that is, I think, building upon some of the work that JP Morgan Chase had done for years to try to create equitable opportunities in a more inclusive culture for our employees. The fact of the matter is, Allison, like any great entrepreneur, the work's never done and so the $30 billion dollar racial equity commitment was yet another significant step forward. For us to challenge ourselves, frankly, like to Daymond's point, we listened to our customers who had given us feedback that we could do better. Our employees said we could do better. Homeowners said we could do better. Small businesses said we could do better. So when you listen to those stakeholders, right? And you want to ultimately be the best version of yourself as an entrepreneur, as a leader, right, as a public servant, as a corporate citizen, like if you kind of whatever lens you look through, if you principally have the idea of being the best version of yourself, then you're going to take bold, courageous steps like any great entrepreneur, and I think I was just fortunate enough to play that role for JP Morgan and I hope that we have been able to create pathways for entrepreneurs, frankly, like yourself that are doing amazing things in the marketplace, in diverse communities, folks that historically have not had the same opportunity. I think Rebel's paving the way, I think what Daymond's done is a perfect example of it. And, frankly, I'm going to be pretty restless at JPMorgan Chase to make sure we keep doing our part.

Allison Minutillo  12:54  
Why do you think this topic is so important right now from either of your perspectives?

Daymond John  12:59  
We come from a world where a lot of people think that you know people are ingenuine so I was working with JP Morgan and Chase prior to Brian coming aboard. So I've been working with them I think since 2017. And they've always been committed to this space. And then Brian comes aboard and by the way, Brian came aboard prior to George Floyd and he came aboard is somebody they knew that was of value who, they didn't necessarily care about the color of his skin but about the quality over the person it is and was and they happen, you know, the world happened to melt I think about six months after he came on board. And they said Brian, this is your thing. You already were talking about this to even do what we were doing just in a bigger way. So I want to make sure that people understand this was not because I have to after George Floyd, I got fooled by 15 people to be on boards that never cared about a person of color to be on boards prior to that. And then last year, as we had done many things I've noticed that literally about 70% of the organizations that had said they committed to certain areas have all of a sudden have selective amnesia now and that doesn't necessarily mean that they wanted to have selective amnesia, but as they felt they may have been heading into a recession and various other things they were cutting and slashing and burning in so many different areas where JPMorgan Chase kind of almost doubled down so that is the groundwork for making sure we understand this is not just a PR thing that they are doing. Because I would not get on here if that but I thought that was the case.

Brian Lamb  14:41  
And the reason I think this work is important to your point is if you've got to look back to understand, like why this work is so important for the future. You know, it was 60-70 years ago before we saw this type of visibility and tenacity around trying to create equitable opportunities for entrepreneurs or communities, corporations making commitments, influencers leaning in around trying to drive change. It's been a really long time since you've seen this type of galvanization around a particular call. The reason it's so important for us to lean in now, sustainability, it should not take for someone to die. 

Allison Minutillo  15:29  

Brian Lamb  15:29  
For all of us to realize how important it is to give each other an opportunity to be successful, to have equitable opportunities. It should not take for someone to die for corporations or influencers or entrepreneurs to feel like they've got a chance to go be their very best and it sure shouldn't take for someone to die for us to have a level of respect for each other and willingness to listen to opposing views.

Allison Minutillo  15:58  
Right and the conversation is there. The conversation is happening much more than it ever was, or at least it feels like it's top of mind more than it's ever been discussed and yet still people in a position of leadership don't necessarily always have the courage to say where do I begin? I genuinely want to change and be a part of the positive influence and part of the change but as a white 36 year old female in leadership, how do I do it? What do I need to do better to be better?

Daymond John  16:35  
You know, we have half of the team or a quarter of the team or you know half they're forced to sit on the bench and they can't play then it's just going to be harder to win the game. But the reality is, you know, infrastructure is not where it should be in many of the communities out there and nobody's doing that and nobody's educating and giving people a fair shot. We're gonna pay for it one way or another. So either we're going to create a society whether it's cribs to corrections, or cribs to colleges, and the young men and women of the world who do not necessarily see a Brian or Daymond every day will have nobody to really look up to to want to emulate you become what you look at and once you think about the most and unfortunately, if they're not giving them this education then they're gonna get go out there we're going to be paying for it one way or another. So whether we are the taxpayer is going to pay $80,000 per cell per jail cell every year for an individual or we are going to pay for people who are going to now help become instead of liabilities in our communities they're going to be mentors in our communities instead of you know, people in jail, they're gonna be taxpayers and they're going to be other things and it's going to lift us all up. And where does a person like you start or anybody start? It's a big world and I don't want to say that one, you know, it's only going to be about African Americans, you know, is also about veterans. It's about LGBTQ, it's about being a great global citizen. And at the end of the day, you still have to run Rebel Leadership, right? So how much time can you spend on all these things? But as a true entrepreneur, you start to find and the way to start is to have a conversation like we're having today and educate you a little yourself a little bit more on why the problems exist. And once you do that, you can take small steps forward and have more conversations.

Daymond John  18:43  
You know, I was going to post something where there was room where this African American woman was at a room with a bunch of Caucasian women at a table and she said raise your hand if you would have a child with a person of color, knowing what that person of color would face, your child will face, growing up. And many of the women would not raise their hand and a lot of people responded "Oh, these are Karen's" everything else like that. And I responded as well, we can't help how we were born and what class we were born, whatever the case - we can help with tables. We want to say that these women were willing enough to sit at this table to have the conversation.

Allison Minutillo  19:20  
Brian, what's your perspective on what leaders are doing wrong?

Brian Lamb  19:26  
There's a level of just cultural competence that's needed to somehow really play a meaningful role in advancing you know, diversity, equity and inclusion that takes a willingness to listen and learn and I think that's what Daymond just touched on. Right? And that vulnerability, right, that kind of that vulnerability that Brian must have or other leaders must have is, is pretty important, right, to be able to admit that you might not understand or that you need more insight or data to get a good appreciation for what might be getting in the way of an inclusive experience for your employees, for your colleagues, for your business and your clients. The other thing leaders I just kind of encourage is this idea that you also can help create an environment where those around you feel like they can be their authentic selves, their real selves. That having civil discourse and debate, open discussions, willing to talk about topics that sometimes might be a bit uncomfortable, right, like that's the space that you got to be willing to enter. And if you need help, be willing to ask for help so there's those that can maybe help you have those conversations in a productive way. But I've just found that real talk really starts to kind of tear away at the myths and legends and misunderstandings and gives a chance for folks to really kind of be themselves. And there's just a clear path forward when you can do that and then the last thing I say for leaders is like any great entrepreneur where you can get information, facts, that help you make informed decisions, draw informed conclusions, provide guidance, like try to try to use data and not always rely on just your opinion or what you heard 20 years ago, or maybe even how you were just what you saw when you were growing up. Be willing to look at new information and new data that might inform how you will make decisions or lead or make investments. There's nothing like just having the facts. Sometimes it can make you a better leader.

Allison Minutillo  21:41  
Yeah, and I mean that authentic space that you're creating is the safe space to invite facts in and talk about them and what they need and how they influence. I've personally seen that through the work of my podcast, just having the ability and the platform to lean into real, real shit, right? It's about - it's hard to lead. It's complicated. It's emotional. There's a roller coaster, but it has changed our business being able to be honest with one another.

Brian Lamb  22:09  
Well it's going to take leadership, Allison, to get to that sustainability I talked about right like the moment's now. But we all get busy and things happen around the world and people have short memories from time to time. And so if we don't have great leadership in this space I don't know how you get sustainability around creating opportunities for great entrepreneurs all over the world. 

Allison Minutillo  22:35  
Right and to Daymond to that, to your point, that selective remembering, it's like if we don't lead through this constantly when an event isn't happening, then it will never change.

Daymond John  22:46  
I have about 20 interns every semester that, you know, work for us. And at that time, I was at a physical location. We saw some of the best schools in New York City, right NYU, Columbia and we wanted the best talent. But if you really think about it, how many are going to be minorities out of those schools? Right? Um, so I turned around and looked at all of the 20 interns I had two of them were people that looked like me. I had to do a better job of giving people that look like me a better chance. And you know, obviously I don't have an issue or anytime I want to do more. So it's fine. I had to correct that. But if that was somebody with another, you know, from another culture or color of skin, they may have fell and somebody else would have said to them. Well, you don't want to do that. No, I just didn't think about it at the moment. Thank you for bringing it to my attention as data is moved forward.

Allison Minutillo  23:39  
Speaking of education, higher education is a space we play in significantly. It's one of our core practice areas from a digital marketing perspective. And it's undergoing massive, massive change that could have a huge potential to impact diversity and inclusion efforts, things like stackable skills, the accessible online content taught by the big players, really affordable rate courses available on your Courseras and all of the online communities. How do you both see this change in education and specifically higher education and its potential to impact this topic?

Brian Lamb  24:19  
Higher Education, at least from my perspective, probably has been one of the most important currencies in America. It's not the only currency, many of our great entrepreneurs did not need to and many of our leaders did not need to take on the path of higher education but in many ways, it's a very powerful currency. And so I'm not surprised if we're starting to see higher education play a role in helping to advance opportunities for those that may have been left behind in the past. From upskilling and creating jobs and opportunities, to helping those think about entrepreneurship, there are tons of universities around the country now that have literally stood up colleges or schools of entrepreneurship, which are centered principally on some of the things that Daymond talked about around that curiosity and that innovation and that courage, and that creative thinking, to go out and solve a problem. And so higher education, I think, is a great opportunity for us to lean in, create lots of entrepreneurs into the future and give opportunities to those that historically may have not had a chance, then left behind. There's a role for higher ed, it's not the only place and there's things that you want to be smart and thoughtful about how you do it. But I do think it's a great currency for our entrepreneurs, and for business leaders to learn about how they can lean in in the future.

Allison Minutillo  26:03  
Little Daymond Learns to Earn as coming out in March, Daymond your new children's book, introducing kids to basic ideas about money and starting a business and all the foundations you talked about in the beginning. How might this have helped you as a kid?

Daymond John  26:18  
Immensely, because you know, like so I have an average of 1000 teachers but I drill down to 20 that I speak to often as I create this, this and so the book is not necessarily only for children, it's for family members with children to go through this process. As I had talked to a lot of my teachers who teach fifth to 10th grade they said they themselves do not have financial intelligence and because they may have been great from reading, math, all those other things. So how can our educators teach our children if they don't have it themselves? But you know, where it taught me is, it really is an example of what I did as a child, right, when I talked about shoveling the snow and getting people on board, but this more is about working in a collective group, using the skills and the things that another child may have so you can dance and I can sing we're gonna do this together and how both can benefit off of this and then how they create for business because what has happened today is you know, we no longer have the leaders that we had, or the heroes, our children don't want no longer have the heroes that they had in the past. You know, after five or six years old, they kind of have this vague area of where they're gonna go. So part of that you have Peppa Pig, Daniel Tiger, whatever the case is, but we all grew up along with, you know, Mr. Rogers, and Steve from Blue's Clues and Ross, who used the paint and Electric Company. This is something I'm extremely passionate about. And I want our children to have heroes and because, honestly, I've been one of the only African-American men in kids' living rooms for the last 14 years that have nothing to do with music, sports or politics. I'm the one to talk to these young men and women and show them that if I can make it, oh, you can make it.

Allison Minutillo  28:03 
Can you both think of an example in your career where you gave someone an opportunity to succeed when others doubted them? And they proved everybody wrong,

Brian Lamb  28:14  
Whether it's inside the company where I believed in talent that probably didn't get a fair, fair shake in the past or might not have had the right leadership and coaching and so they just, they were being underdeveloped and if they would have stayed the course there, they would have continued to underperform. And so I can think about when someone doesn't have a great leader or a great manager, what it does to really get in the way of their own personal and professional development. I've seen that before and as often as any of us can, has tried to root that out, so that folks can realize their full potential. So I've seen that work really well. On the entrepreneurship side. I can tell you, lots of companies and entrepreneurs that I've worked with, that just needed a little help with their strategy. That may be the way they were presenting it wasn't fully developed, or they hadn't thought about, to Daymond's point, maybe the financial elements, the competitive landscape. They hadn't thought about how they were going to get the product from point A to point B and what that might cost or what the options are from time to time I've just worked with entrepreneurs that just needed a little fine tuning on their strategy, and it was able to go from a good idea to the to an exceptional and wildly successful opportunity.

Daymond John  29:41  
So I'm gonna tell a quick story of, you know, when I first started to make it, you know, basically what happens in our industry is Monday morning, nine o'clock, the phone rings, that's when you get your report card Friday. Everybody who is sold through your goods are going to call Monday anybody's goods and say I need more goods when the weekend is over, right? Well, if you don't answer that phone at 9am, well, they're not going to fill in if they can't get more FUBU when they're calling like  they'll call everybody else and at 11 o'clock you aren't having any sales. I hired this one young lady. She kept coming in at 11 or 12 o'clock. She wasn't coming into that and I immediately wanted to fire her. My partners who are a little more advanced in business had said to me, do you ever ask her why she's coming in? I took it as an insult. She's stealing from me. She hates me. She's lazy. And they said did you ever find it and I had a conversation with her and I found out that she had an issue at home, that somebody was very sick in her family, and she just thought she was on borrowed time. There was nothing else she can do. But she needed to be there at that time to get medicine, whatever the case is. I asked how can I help and she said, Listen, I'll just stay later on at night, so forth can replace me at this moment just for three months. She became one of my best and most productive employees for the last 20 years and then went off to open up her own business and it was just because of that conversation to understand there's always a person behind the number.

Allison Minutillo  31:14  
When we are taught as entrepreneurs, don't listen to the naysayers, power through it. Believe in yourself. They're constantly telling you that it's a bad idea don't take the risk. Did you think about this, that's not realistic. And we're told you must hustle. And we've felt that - we've all felt that personally in different ways. Obviously, yours is on a much bigger scale. But then there's also a point with which there's a breaking point where it is a bad decision and you need to cut your losses and Daymond you notoriously are many times this person on Shark Tank where they need to hear the hard truth and you're only receiving small amounts of information in order to decide that. What is that determining factor?

Daymond John  31:59  
You know, I always ask myself when I open a new business, why is this needed? Why now and why me? And if I can't answer those, I have a bigger problem. But the deciding factor of cutting losses in a business is a very, very personal one: it's your inventory. You know if I decide to, you know, close down a no kill shelter after 10 years. Well, maybe the money I'm in debt, but it's not a bad decision or what I was doing I was saving animals' lives so the reward doesn't have to be a monetary reward. If the business you're in you take in you know a couple of million dollars and you're doing 2 million this year and you know, that couple of million dollars takes you up to 4 million but you're still netting the same thing but now you have to report to other people and you don't have the ability to take vacations with your family. Well then what did you do it for? You have to take inventory of what exactly you're doing because you're the only one who knows exactly what you want to get out of it. But if you're, like Brian's saying, you got to go with the facts we have, you know, you can make up your own opinion but you cannot make up your own facts and you have to take inventory of these things and see what is really important to you. 

Allison Minutillo  33:13  
When it comes to trends, you've also been ahead of the curve multiple times since the start of your career, clothing lines, hip hop movement, but trends now are evolving just so much faster. The pressure is so intense. Think Metaverse, AI, robotics, even cultural trends like women's movement influencers, the tech bubble, your window as an entrepreneur seems drastically shorter. It feels much more pressure and an even greater risk when there's competitors everywhere you look. It's harder to take that leap. So how do you both advise entrepreneurs to decide what to jump on? And is there a point with which you can help understand or help evaluate the risk that it is before you take it?

Brian Lamb  34:03  
A serial entrepreneur never rests, right? The mind is always spinning. There's a constant influx of ideas and jobs to be done or problems to solve. What my general advice would be is always hold on to that natural energy and motor that gets you going. That's a beautiful thing and it will serve you well. I also suggest that you find what I call that intersection of where you've got a superpower. Meaning what you do exceptionally well, what you perform at an elite level, and lay that next to what you're passionate about. Find that intersection because quite frankly, there might be things that you do exceptionally well that don't get your motor running. You aren't as excited about it. You aren't up at 6am and going home at 10 o'clock at night. Like you've got to be able to find that intersection and it will help you start to parse down the vast array of ideas and things that are floating around in your mind or suggestions that are coming in the door. So first find that intersection. And the second thing is and this is hard for entrepreneurs and Daymond will tell you this is a very lonely place to be an entrepreneur in most cases. It's just hard to be a great leader, great entrepreneur. It can be a very lonely place, if you can and when you can. I have a philosophy just around finding a personal board of directors. I use that corporate speak to illustrate a point: it's a group of individuals, it could be family members. It could be ex-colleagues, it could be community leaders. There isn't a title that lines up to that personal board but the role of the board is important. They are vested in your success. They are your accountability partners and they are willing to tell you the truth even when it hurts. You can bounce off ideas. You can be vulnerable. You can celebrate together and you can cry together. Like find that very small group of individuals that can be that personal board for you as hard as it may seem to do because they also may help you filter through that vast array of, you know, opportunities that just principally might not make good sense or might not be a good path for you, knowing that they genuinely want the very best for you.

Allison Minutillo  36:29  
That's incredible advice. Daymond, what about you?

Daymond John  36:31  
The more successful, I find, that people become more known. We have to say no more than anything else because we can drown in opportunity. There's a lot of things that can lead you astray from it. So it really is do not chase trends, anything and everything that exists still is powerful. If you feel that all the billboards are dead because now I have to only go to social media, well you can swipe a billboard when you're sitting on Long Island Expressway for two hours, right? That might be more powerful. If you think that retail is dead. That's fine. But if you have a great product that is really hands-on, well, if you happen to open retail in airports, well you have a captivated audience that can't get Amazon they're not hitchhikers or taking the train so they have somewhat of a disposable income. It's usually about 20% more in the airport, you have a fewer competition so there is no trend. There is what you feel works best for you and you should go slow and steady with that.

Allison Minutillo  37:35  
Dig in and lean in - you're talking my language about the art and science of digital marketing. It's like we've swung way too far in one direction. It's about finding the sweet spot in the middle that makes people really successful. When it comes to leadership, in your experience having been exposed to good ones and likely horrifying ones. What makes a great one?

Daymond John  37:58  
Everybody has different forms of leadership but I believe that the true leaders are the ones that first of all understand the core of what's driving their team and driving each individual. They are vulnerable too, you know, they are not weak. They are showing where they may not know as much and may need your help. You know people love to know that somebody else depends on you for your help or values, just service surely to not take credit for anything except for the bigger problems. You know, at the end of the day. You know when we succeed everybody succeeds and at the end of the day when there's a big problem it couldn't be solved somehow I failed somebody. And I just believe that that is a form of leadership.

Brian Lamb  38:40 
What I typically see for entrepreneurs or corporate leaders, even community leaders is they're very purpose driven. So you're not confused when you're around those great leaders on what they stand for and what they believe and why they are trying to do what it is that they're doing. And that clarity, whether you agree with it or not, really helps people have followership. The other thing about leadership that's interesting, we think about it at JPMorgan Chase a lot as well as our great leader wants to create an environment where others can thrive and they are surrounding themselves with outstanding talent, diverse talent, diverse thinking, diverse backgrounds, that principally lift the entire organization or the lift the strategy or lift the startup company and so great leaders just aren't afraid to be surrounded by incredibly bright people. There's nothing more powerful than having the courage to be wrong. It's just something to be said about being wrong. Because it's inevitable. It's going to happen. And your willingness as a leader to accept it and create an environment where people can take chances. They can take appropriate risk, and if they're wrong, we learn we all get better and we all move forward. That kind of innovative environment just tends to attract and inspire people.

Allison Minutillo  40:11
In closing, what's the most important thing you hope to be remembered for?

Daymond John  40:17  
You know, I want all my little girls to be able to say that my daddy did accomplish this. Where I gave, I painted, I stand on the shoulders of the giants and I'm fortunate enough to be able to hopefully pay it forward to others. I want them to be proud. I want my dad and my grandpa, you know, I'm not going to leave them anything, by the way, so they can get the money you know you know they say right first generation makes it, second enjoyed, third destroys it. So you give them everything you make them the poorest people in the world. And by the way, they don't want anything. My - oh my six year old still does - but my 29 and 24 year old and moved on to be really amazing people and nobody kind of knows who they are. But that's what I want to, really I just wanted to say that, you know, for the blessings that I've received, I've been able to pay it forward and hopefully create bigger and better Daymond John's of the world.

Brian Lamb  41:11  
My dad used to always say you want to have a good name. When it's all said and done. You're one working, you've done serving, you've done spending and buying and investing in all the things that happen in your life. You want to have a good name. And so I think what I want to be remembered for is hopefully my reputation is tied to me helping others, being a public servant. You know, doing the things that at least make this place just a little bit better. And that my kids one day say the same thing I'm going to say about my parents, which is if I'm half the man of my as my dad, if I'm half the man of him, I've been pretty successful.

Allison Minutillo  41:52 
I think you've both accomplished exactly what you set out to do. I am extremely grateful for your time, both personally and for our audience on this podcast just to learn directly from two of the greats. Thank you so much for your time. The world needs more rebellious leaders like the two of you.

Brian Lamb 42:08
Thank you, Allison. 

Daymond John 42:11 
Thank you for what you’re doing. Absolutely.