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Daymond John delivers Idea Week keynote

| Friday, April 27, 2018

Daymond John, known as “the people’s shark” on ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank,” lived up to his nickname during his equally entertaining and inspiring talk in Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center Thursday night. John employed a DJ, slide show with personal pictures and a 30-second phone-friendly window where audience members could take photos of his “best poses” to supplement the autobiographical story of his global fashion brand FUBU.

John weaved in and out between his life story and his five points for success, which were conveniently organized by the acronym “SHARK.” He recounted the amusing memory of starting his first business at 6-years-old, selling customized painted pencils to girls at his elementary school.

“My principal tried to make me close that business after a month,” John said. “She had no vision.”

After falling in love with hip-hop music and the culture of his hometown of Brooklyn, John decided his destiny would be somehow involved with music.

“I wanted to become part of hip-hop but didn’t know how,” John said.

When local rappers around him began touring, he asked to go along and ended up on the same tour as budding artists about to hit it big, such as Flavor Fav. On tour, John noticed the fans and artists were all dressed similarly — an observation that would lead to his hugely successful fashion brand FUBU. After selling $800 worth of hats he designed on the corner of Colosseum Mall in New York, John solidified his dream and began a fearless pursuit to achieve it.

“I’m going to dress this community,” John said he told his mother upon returning from the mall.

A sense of purpose, confidence and bold aspiration led John to become a premier hip-hop brand across the world, clothing artists such as LL Cool J, Will Smith and the Backstreet Boys. John described the five points of success that resulted him in becoming a presidential ambassador, three-time bestselling author, star of “Shark Tank” and a globally-renowned entrepreneur.

John’s said his first point was “S,” which stands for to set goals. He said he reads his goals right before he goes to bed and the minute he wakes up so that he keeps them at the forefront of his mind, consciously and unconsciously.

John said “H” stands for do your homework. He said that learning from those around you and not turning a blind eye to those who are younger than you can keep you aware of what is to come next. Doing the research on your audience and understand their needs is also key to accomplishing your goals.

“A” for John stands for amor, which is Spanish for “to love.” John said everyone should truly love what they are doing.

“I would dress people for free the rest of my life if I could,” he said.

John also said to remember you are the brand, which is what “R” stands for. He refreshed the audience on social media reminders such as keeping a clean image in person and on the internet.

John said “K” stands for keep on swimming. Sharks die when they stop swimming, John said.

John left the audience with a personal story about his discovery of stage two cancer and a call to action to get their early detection tests. He also revealed a few behind-the-scenes secrets of “Shark Tank.” He said the pitches actually average an hour in length even though viewers only see about eight minutes, the deals take three to nine months to close and the sharks don’t invest in companies — they invest in people.

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About Alex Daugherty

I am a senior student-athlete at the University of Notre Dame majoring in Marketing and minoring in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy. I originally hail from Seattle, my favorite smell is coffee, and there are few things I love more than putting together a sentence.

Contact Alex