Jabari Johnson is a graduate of Howard University and today works as a filmmaker and digital entrepreneur. He is the creator and host of the documentary series Jabari Presents and has interviewed over 100 of the most influential celebrities including Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, Russell Simmons, and Floyd Mayweather.
To date, his work has earned him more than 5 million views across the web. His short film on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis showcases the making of 2013’s biggest music video, Thrift Shop. Jabari recently released his first feature film, Tinie Tempah: Discovering Destiny, a tour documentary on the first British hip-hop artist to sell out a UK arena tour.
In addition to filmmaking, Jabari is the co-founder of Volume Visual, a digital agency that enhances the personal brands of artists online. Jabari also has a bicoastal monthly party series in NYC and LA called COLORS.
Download this episode to hear the story behind these great gems:
- On the ingredients for success: “The thing that . . . separates a lot of people is the belief that it’s possible and then just the flat-out work ethic to make it happen.”
- On being a socialite vs being sustainable: “A sustainable business is what’s cool.”
- On making it lucrative: “This is business and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for payment as long as you’re offering value.”
- On staying sharp: “There’s so many resources and tools nowadays that . . . there’s no excuse to not be a student.”
- On getting to work: “A million dollar idea is nothing without execution.”
Links and resources also mentioned in this episode:
- Jabari Presents: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
- Volume Visual
- Growth Hacker Marketing
- Build My Online Store
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Getting Started and Doing So With Intention
Anthem: Thank you everybody for tuning back into the Art of Hustle podcast series. It’s been a while since we had any guests on the show, so I am especially delighted to welcome you to the work of Jabari Johnson. He is a graduate of Howard University, and today works as a filmmaker and digital entrepreneur. He is the creator and host of the documentary series “Jabari Presents” and has interviewed over 100 of the most influential celebrities including Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, Russell Simmons, and Floyd “Money” Mayweather.
To date, his work has earned him more than five million views across the web. His short film on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis showcases the making of 2013’s biggest music video, “Thrift Shop”. Jabari recently released his first feature film a tour documentary on Tinie Tempah becoming the first British hip-hop artist to sell out a UK arena tour. That is titled “Tinie Tempah discovering destiny”. In addition to filmmaking, Jabari is the co-founder of Volume Visual, a digital agency that enhances the personal brands of artists online. Jabari also has a bicoastal monthly party series in New York City and LA called “Colors”. Welcome, Jabari.
Jabari: Hey, what’s up Anthem? I’m very happy to be on podcast. Thanks for having me.
Anthem: Yeah, I appreciate it. I think maybe just to kick us off, you could tell the audience a little bit about how you got started in this field and if where you are now is anywhere you imagined you would be when you started.
Jabari: Yeah, yeah. For sure. I think that everything I’m doing right now is kind of like a natural progression. And the bio that you just read is kind of lengthy. But I started off in college, everything was kind of intentional. I went to Howard University with the intention of being in the entertainment industry. I didn’t really know in what capacity, but I wanted to be in entertainment. And my mother had went there so I would always come to the Homecomings and I saw how many celebrities and artists would come to the school and perform. So when I super young, I was able to see that this was the place that a lot of people in the entertainment industry go. Like everybody from Diddy to I am so many people like to Taraji P. Henson, like a bunch of different people in all fashions. So it’s entertainment.
So when I went there, I was taking a journalism course, and I was interviewing people, and I just kind of got a knack for conversation and talking to people, and sharing people’s stories. And I loved doing those interviews of people on campus like professors to people that were working in the hospital at my school to other students, everybody. And I was such a fan of music; I was like well I want to do this stuff for artists. And so I started — I basically pitched to this website the idea that if I could interview artists when they came to my school, and put them on their website, I could get them a bunch of interviews for free. And then that’s kind of how everything started.
I would interview artists like Wale, and other people who were sort of like local DC acts at the time. And as my resume kept getting — as I kept getting more interviews under my belt, I eventually started to interview bigger artists, and then that sort of led to me doing stuff with Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj back when like nobody really knew who they were. And then yeah, that kind of progressed to me getting a job after school at Capitol Records. And when I was working at Capitol, not a lot of people were doing like sort of short form, long, sort of like short form videos on artists. And so that’s kind of what I pitched to the label. I said, “Hey I know all these artists and this is what I do for myself. I can do it at the label”. And that’s how I kind of got into more of a documentary style of filmmaking.
And after I left Capital Records, after school, then I went and did my own stuff, and that led to me doing some stuff with Macklemore and Tinie Tempah. And then yeah, and then a bunch of other opportunities came fast after that. But that’s kind of how the filmmaking trajectory went.
Anthem: Okay. Is there something about the short form that is really attractive to a certain kind of or beneficial for a certain kind of storytelling in your opinion?
Jabari: Well, I just think with YouTube, really, you know what I mean, people started watching digital content a little bit longer every year. I would pay attention to stats on Comscore and things like that on how long people were spending watching online video. And I would just notice every year it would be getting longer, and longer, and longer. And the numbers are still trending upwards. And I think that eventually it’s going to be even, if not surpass TV. And so I just paid attention to those trends. And as those trends grew the length of my videos grew. So I started — first I was just doing two or three minute interviews. Then it was like web series that were like five to seven minutes. Then I kind of jumped up there and started making short documentaries that were like 10, 15, 20 minutes in length. And now really it’s all about the story. Like somebody will sit at the computer and watch something for an hour if the story is good. So that — those sort of like trends that were going on, on the Internet is what sort of dictated what I was doing.
Anthem: And are there particular kinds of stories that you feel like are, having produced that body of work, certain stories that are appearing over and over again as you interview them?
Jabari: Yeah, well one thing that — we’re really living in a time right now of the — it’s the independent artist time right now. People love to hear the story of an independent person getting some sort of mainstream success. And so that’s kind of the sort of story that I was focused on. And a lot of my work is “inspirational”. I try to do things on people that may have some sort of a fan base or a following but they haven’t reached their peak yet. And I try to catch them when they’re sort of on their way to that peak or that — directly like in the middle of their rise. And I think that’s a time where people are interested in seeing what’s going to be the state of this person. Some people I’ve done work on and they’ve disappeared, but there are others like Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, they have the biggest song of last year, and I was lucky enough to be on that video set, and document that experience.
The Belief That’s It’s Possible And The Flat Out Work Ethic
Anthem: And do think that there’s some kind of “it” factor or a certain kind of mindset that you’re looking for in the artists that are on the verge of blowing up? Like what is that common trait that you feel like they all share that makes you want to reach out to them or interview them? Like how do you know that they’re on that cusp I guess?
Jabari: Oh yeah, I think that the commonalities man is that they believe it. I think a lot of people who are, who want to do something or trying to do something. The main thing that separates the people that are doing it, and the people that want to do it is kind of like two things. It’s one, first, believing that it’s even possible. I can’t tell you how many people, I think that’s their biggest problem is they doubt themselves too much or fear starts to creep in too much. And that alters or hinders the success rather because fear’s a very dangerous thing. And I think that another trait that these people have is the work ethic. Nothing is done overnight, nothing is easy. You’d never see the 10,000 hours that people put in before the success, and all of these things. Like you have to — you can’t skip — unless in you’re inheriting wealth, you can’t really skip the work. And so I think that’s the thing that I think separates a lot of people is the belief that it’s possible and then just the flat out work ethic to make it happen.
Anthem: Yeah, I have to agree with that 150%. There’s a scene in the Macklemore video where he’s basically loading up, and talking about how he drives the U-Haul truck that they brought to the video shoot. I guess the questions you’re asking him and some of the things he was saying about that had to do with the fact that it is about work ethic, and he could have paid somebody to do it. But there’s some kind of ownership in having to do it yourself. Can you speak a little bit about that?
Jabari: Yeah. Absolutely. It’s just like the grunt work. You know what I mean. Like for instance, I didn’t go to film school, I learned everything that I know from my peers that did go to film school and I always made sure that people around me went to film school and that they could teach me things. But when I didn’t have the money to edit anything or pay an editor to do things, I just had to learn how to edit my things myself. And of course I could have scrapped up change and paid somebody to do it. But it’s like I’d rather have my hands on this project or I’d rather do it all myself just so I can know how to do it. A lot of times it’s just not even about money, but it’s about just wanting to understand whatever it is. Like all aspects of your business so that when you do get to the point when you can hire somebody, you know you can hire the right person, because they can do it ten times better than you. And you know that if you need to tell them how to do it, you actually can come with a sort of like, a clear mission statement about how it needs to be done because you’ve done it before. And that holds true a lot with me with the event series that I call “Colors” in New York and LA. I mean, I do a lot in terms of like the planning, in terms of the booking the stations, in terms of like all of the travel, in terms of like even down to like how the ticket link looks, and how the, all of the emails are worded and everything. There’s nobody really helping me do all of that. It’s just all me. And there’s a lot of grunt work, accounting, all of that stuff. I don’t really necessarily like doing it. But when you’re an entrepreneur, it’s weird, it’s like all of that stuff that seems not fun, it kind of becomes fun because that’s the backbone of your business, and to make your business successful, you kind of have to know how all these things operate.
Anthem: Absolutely. And that just reminds me of something that I wrote down in my notes here that I wanted to ask you about. But you may have already answered it, which is that a lot of people when they’re on the outside of a business, sometimes when they’re looking in, all they see is cool factor. So then all they want to replicate is being cool instead of actually getting down to this grind work that is pretty much uncool. Like there’s nothing — that’s why most people don’t talk about it is because it’s unsexy, it’s hard work, there’s a lot of sweat required to actually get certain businesses launched. And I guess if there was one — any advice you could share for maybe young people or folks thinking about starting a business, how would you bridge that I guess, hallucination or misunderstanding about something just looking cool, right, and actually turning that social capital into a business rather than just being a socialite?
Jabari: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think that, I think that that’s the — you know the thing is, nobody — for it to be cool, you’re not supposed to broadcast the uncool stuff. So you’re not supposed to say whatever problems you’re having or like, “Hey I just left a meeting with my accountant, and we are in the red.” That stuff is not — that is really not cool. And it’s not — like you said, it’s not sexy. But I think that it’s — the thing that young entrepreneurs need to know is that to make — a sustainable business is what’s cool. That’s something that you can — something that you can — there that’s just a simple word for it is sustainable. That’s cool, rather than something that’s fleeting, rather than something that’s here today gone tomorrow. And I think that when you don’t have a lot of the behind the scenes work in place, it’s very hard to stay sustainable. Like if you just — if you’re not paying attention — I mean a big thing that I do is I just like to, I like to have a direct relationship with my users, customers, all of that stuff. So I’m big on email marketing just because it’s a simple thing as like if twitter goes away tomorrow, if Facebook goes away tomorrow or something, I want to be able to directly be in communication with the people that support me. So that’s something. As simple as that.
I was just talking to a buddy of mine on my podcast, and he was telling me, he’s a huge comedian, his name is Hannibal Buress, and he doesn’t have emails for any of the people that come to his shows or that travel — he travels and does stand up comedy all across the world, and he’s never gotten email addresses from any of these people. And he kind of just depends on his social networks, and his relevance in comedy to communicate with people. And even he knows that, “Man, I should have been getting emails.” That’s a huge mistake that I’ve made. That’s something that we just talked about. And it’s little things like that that if you start those practices from the beginning of a business rather than learning them later, you’ll just be in a way better position.
Diversifying Your Income
Anthem: Indeed, indeed. Now when people get into work that they’re passionate about, sometimes there’s work that you would consider a dream project, and then there’s work that basically helps you sustain In other words, pay the bills, and also pay for that dream project. Do you have a dual business model where you have your passion project, and then you have your sort of like more — you know commercial work that you just do because you have the skillset, and people are hiring for it?
Jabari: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, me, I’ve been lucky enough to find multiple passions. So like — and with that, I have multiple businesses. So I mean, number one it’s sort of like what sort of started me on this path was the film stuff. So interviewing artists and so. But the thing is, with the film, like right now; I’m working on my first off-YouTube feature documentary that will release commercially and all this stuff. But I’ve been working on that for the past six or seven months, it’s probably not going to come out for another year and a half. There’s a whole bunch of — there’s just a process in creating that stuff when you’re working with producers, financiers, all this stuff. So it’s like that’s not an immediate paycheck. Right. Like that’s something that’s not going to come for a long time. So you have to do other things to sustain. So luckily, me being a filmmaker, I can do a lot of different things, and I get hired by record labels to do certain work, artists to do other work. And sometimes brands will hire me to do various things. So that’s good. But again, that’s like freelance work, and that’s fleeting — and so luckily I said, I found another passion in the event space, and in throwing parties across the country that I love doing that so, which I’ve been able to turn that into a business. I also have audiovisual that that’s a company that we’re working with various artists constantly, and doing various things. And luckily that generates revenue. So I’ve just been fortunate enough to find things that I’m passionate about, in other realms, outside of filmmaking. But it’s still, I can still use my filmmaking chops for that stuff, and like a lot of things — it’s kind of like a 360 effect that one thing, one business helps the other.
Anthem: Yeah, I definitely believe that. And it’s definitely important for folks that have the capability to do so — to diversify their incomes. So that’s an inspiring to hear. Are there gigs that you’ve been offered where for whatever reason, you just couldn’t do it? Like it just wasn’t in your zone to be doing, it was too far away from what you consider to be core to your business or you just had to turn it down?
Jabari: Yeah, yeah, yeah, definitely. Man, I mean, that stuff — when that stuff happens, it really boils down to I like to sort of like have a sort of threshold of what I will do. But I always ask myself, What is my purpose? What am I here to be doing? And for me, I think it’s to be inspiring people to like live and live their best sort of lives. And understand their creative potential. That’s really kind of like a big mission statement that I have in a lot of work that I do. And just to be happy, have a good time. Like seek outside of the limits of the status quo. My party that I throw in New York, and LA, it’s very much not about the traditional nightlife rules and stipulations. Like there’s no VIP at my parties, there’s no separation of people. Like it’s all about inclusion rather than exclusion. And so when I see things that are like — when I get offered that sort of don’t fall in line with what I represent as an individual, not even as a professional, but like things that I just don’t believe in personally, I just cannot do them. And not to say that that happens often because a lot of times when people do offer me things, they kind of know that the track record that I have. But it does happen sometimes, and you just have to politely say no, and turn down money, and it’s, it’s happened before where I’ve had to turn down a significant amount of money to do something just because I really fundamentally didn’t in it. And of course it hurts, but like — you just at the end of the day everybody that have supported me thus far, and people that respect the work that I do, if I would have just thrown that away for like a check and doing something for money, it’s like what I — the stuff that I’ve built is been way more valuable than that immediate money than I can receive.
Anthem: And without naming any names obviously. Do you have some kind of example of a kind of work that was just off mission for you that you just said, “You know what, it’s either not ethical or it’s too commercial or it’s too weird?” I don’t know, what would be the criteria just an example so listeners have a sense for where that zone is for you?
Jabari: Yeah, well it was really, it was to do something, it was to like create a series of videos, and promote something that was like something very unhealthy, and just something I didn’t believe in. And it was just like — that was the real thing. It was like number one, I don’t use this product, number two, this product hurts people in the long run, and I was just like, I don’t want to do it. So that was it — yeah, without naming the brand of course, that was the sort of kicker.
Exchanging Value for Payment
Anthem: Yeah, and what about on the flipside of that? I would imagine a lot of people would applaud you for making that kind of decision. But what opinion do you have on folks who are such in a hurry to not sell out that they don’t bother selling anything? You know what I’m talking about? Like it’s like they can’t even get off the ground because they’re so worried that they might be perceived as sellouts to an industry, then they never get their business off the ground at all.
Jabari: Yeah, I mean but then don’t get me wrong, I’ve done stuff with like a soda company or something like that. But it wasn’t necessarily promoting the soda rather. It was kind of like an initiative that they had. It all kind of depends on what it is and I think that when you’re — and a lot of times what that stuff it is enhances your brand and what you’re doing. And so yeah — I mean a lot of people are very tight knit and close for the collaborations that they will do. But it kind of just — you don’t want to be too closed off because what that could lead to is just like a stunt in your growth. You could just be at one certain level. And even — I know a lot of people that are, that not even when it comes to working with brands and stuff like that. But I know that a lot of my friends, they had this sort of like, they don’t want to ask people for money. Like they don’t want to ask their following or their audience for money for whatever reason. But for me, like, I don’t know, I had done a Kickstarter for my documentary series like almost three years ago, it will be two and a half years ago. And that was sort of like the first time I actually had asked for money. But then I started, like I said, I have a party, I have merch that I sell as well. I mean, there’s just a bunch of things. And at the end of the day, nothing is really free in life, in the world. Obviously I mean, the best things in life are free. Like love and things like that. But you — this is business and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for payment as long as you’re offering value. If you are offering value, there’s nothing wrong with asking people to pay for that service. Like that is — we live in a capitalistic society, and this is the way things go. Obviously people abuse that, and there’s right and wrongs to it of course. But this is just — once I started to understand it and realize that, and understand that the things I was doing for free, I could create business models behind them, then I just had to start believing in myself, and believing in the products that I was selling. And I think that a lot of times people — that’s the reason why people sort of like are afraid to do that like you were kind of saying is because I don’t know if they believe in themselves as much as they should.
Anthem: Definitely. Definitely.
Jabari: What do you think, what do you think is the reason that people might be afraid of looking like they’re selling out?
Anthem: Yeah, I think it has to do with the fact that people have made like a mythology around the creative person in America, and that creative person, that stereotype is a person that often rejects money. So I think a lot of it is just like based on a myth that doesn’t even really exist because every artist that I’ve ever talked that has been able to build a career or a business for themselves does not think that way. So I don’t know how that myth can continue but it’s destroying a lot of careers unnecessarily. That also affects how people look at other parts of business that they have a negative relationship with. That includes a very, what I think to be unnecessary part of any creative career or business, and that would be the arena of marketing. So what are your thoughts about how you market, how do you do it effectively, how you do it in a way that you feel like is ethical, and representative of your cause?
Marketing, A Key Component
Jabari: Oh absolutely. Man, marketing is such a key component especially to the events that I throw, and the party “Colors”. It’s — I’ve taken a lot of marketing classes online or like I read a ton of marketing books, watch marketing videos, all this stuff just so I can get little nuggets of information, and apply it to the things that I do. With the event side especially. Because this is something that — I throw a monthly event or a monthly and it’s like you have so much things to do in the month, and I have to convince them to come to my party, and that they’re going to have a great time every single time. Right, so like that is in itself is difficult. But I think that — it all starts with the event, right. It all starts with making sure that what I’m selling is true. Again there is no VIP, there is, it is a judgment free zone. You’re going to hear great music, you’re going to dance, and a lot of people — interviews — and a lot of people go to parties and these are the things that they’re upset about, they’re not dancing and they’re not having a good time, the music is bad or it took along time to get in, and it wasn’t even fun when they got in there. So I try to make sure that all of those things that people are having problems with are solved at this place. And then on top of that, I try to add immense value in terms of like a ticket. So like if you’re on an email list, if you’re on the email list to get the ticket link to the party, you’re always going to be able to have a 50% discount on like a $10.00 ticket. So basically — you’re always going to be able to pay like $5.00 immediately once the ticket link is released to come to the party. So that just gives people an incentive to A, not only get on the email list, but to B, buy a ticket as soon as the ticket comes out because they know they can save the money at that time.
And for me, it’s not like a — it’s not really a — obviously I kind of lose money on that ticket, but really what it is does is kind of like gets to the buzz about the party going for each month. And you sell a lot of tickets early, and then people are like talking about it, and chattering about it. And what that really does is that builds word of mouth marketing. And word of mouth marketing is hands down, we all know the best marketing that can be done. And you can’t really, you can’t really buy that or you can’t really do that. You have, it just has to — it’s just something that’s natural, and it has to happen. So I just — I like to think of things that, how can we get people talking about this, how can we produce marketing efforts that result in word of mouth marketing?
Anthem: Absolutely, absolutely. And at the end of the day, I think just to build on top of what you’re saying, word of mouth marketing happens best when people are actually genuinely in love with the product, service or event offer. So that comes back down to the relationship building you were talking about earlier.
You also mentioned being a student of marketing. Are there any sort of certain kinds of professional development or books, certain speakers, maybe thought leaders that you follow you might recommend to folks to maybe check out?
No Excuse To Not Be A Student
Jabari: I mean, personally, I really been on the sort of like growth hacker tip for a while. And for those that don’t know what growth hacker, growth hacker marketing I guess is, it’s just like basically what startups and new companies use to sort of not really market their product, service or brand or event as — it’s not really about branding and getting, letting people know about what you’re doing. It’s more about increasing the user base of whatever it is you’re doing. And then growth hacker marketing really has a focus on the user growth.
And so an example of that is something how when Spotify launched, they made is so you, whenever you played a song, it showed up in Facebook. So when you play a song on Spotify, you’re just advertising what Spotify is because it’s going into like all of your friend’s news feeds. And that’s just a little tweak that it’s very simple from like an engineering perspective probably. But what it does is it makes for immense growth with that product. So I mean, a book that I think is a must read for anybody who just wants to get more information on this, and is just kind of learning about growth hacking is, it’s called “Growth Hacker Marketing” by Ryan Holiday. And Ryan Holiday is a really smart dude. He used to be, at like 21, 22, I think he think he was the head of marketing for American Apparel. And now he’s an author and just kind of like helps people release books. He helps like bestselling authors release their books, and stuff like that.
So that is definitely one of the things that I would recommend that people check out. Let’s see, other — there’s a website called Growth Hacker TV. I like to go there and watch some interviews with some people that are sort of like in the space. And let’s see, I listen to a lot of podcasts as well. There’s a podcast, and I’ve been listening to this one because I’m about to start my merch store for my sort of like new clothing line that’s coming out that’s like an extension of the party. But it’s called; I think it’s called, “How to build my online store”. And for those that don’t listen to podcasts or do listen to podcasts, you’ll quickly find out that there’s literally a podcast for everything. So like literally there’s a podcast on selling things in an online store. Like that’s crazy to me, but it’s amazing at the same time. So yeah, I mean, the Internet, man, I mean, there’s just, there’s so many resources and tools nowadays that — I mean, there’s no excuse to not be a student. I mean, there’s just so many resources online. And every time that I find something, I’m just like, I’m just so happy that I find something, I’m just like I’m so happy that I’m coming up in this age rather in like the 90’s or something.
Anthem: I have to agree with you. Because now there’s — yeah, you’re right, there’s no excuse not to learn. It blows my mind when people talk about wanting to do something, and then don’t access the library that’s totally available on the Internet right now. Because it’s like, we’re living an amazing time for sure as far as information. I mean, it would have taken tons of tuition and lifetimes just be able to access this stuff in the old days. So this is definitely — I feel blessed to be alive. So just wanted to share that.
Entrepreneurship Is Just An Extension of Life
Jabari: Yeah, man absolutely. And like you said man, you know it’s true I’m blessed to be alive. I mean, that’s the feeling that you have to have in life. I mean, a lot of this stuff, entrepreneurship, it’s just an extension of life. Like it’s just an extension of who you are as a human being. Whatever it is that you’re selling or whatever idea that you have, it is an extension of you. And if you in terms of your life, if you’re not happy or if you’re not pursuing happiness or if you’re not grateful to be here or if you’re not excited when you get up every morning, you’re not make a cool successful business. You know what I mean? You’re not going to be an unhappy person who just like comes out with a great idea that other people are going to gravitate towards. It just doesn’t work like that.
An Idea is Nothing
Anthem: Yeah, I have to agree. Now watching one of your other videos, I wrote this down as a quote and I’d love for you to take us home on this note, “Execution is the key to success.” What do you have to say about that?
Jabari: Oh man, that is — that I kind of live by that. It’s like — an idea is nothing. People always say, “I have a million dollar idea” and that’s fake. There’s no such thing as that. Like a million dollar idea is nothing without execution. It’s — execution is a lot of times more important than the ideas. People can have a garbage idea and make money off of it because it’s doing something. They’re doing something to put that idea into action. And so many people are just sitting on ideas or are just — they look at people, and they say, “Well if they can do that, then I can do that.” And it’s like, “No, if you can do that, do that!” That’s it. Serious. Like don’t look at somebody else’s success, and then try to measure yours based off that.
It’s great to use people as a blueprint or like a guide or even as a mentor. You don’t have to know all your mentors, you can look at — you can use somebody’s interviews, and what they do is like as an opportunity for mentorship to you. But you just can’t, you just can’t sit around and be a commentator on things. You have to execute whatever it is that you’re trying to do. I think what you were saying, what we were talking about earlier, I mean, that’s another grave mistake that young entrepreneurs make and people have to really learn the hard way because there’s no — I could say this so many times, and people can listen to it, but you have to get up and do it. That’s it, it’s as simple as that. And a lot of people who are successful will tell you the same thing — when you ask people, “What do you think that people should do?” And they always say, “Just do it. Whatever it is that you want to do, in whatever capacity you can do it, you have to do it because nowadays –”
I just tweeted this a little bit earlier, but it’s like it doesn’t matter where you went to school anymore. It used to be, “I got a degree from Harvard, I’m guaranteed this type of job.” That stuff doesn’t matter. That stuff is out the window now. It’s like, what have you made? What can you show me that can let me know why I should give you this job or what can you show me to let me know why I should invest money in you? Or how big is your audience online from the films that you’ve already made to let us know that your next idea is going to be good? It’s like people are not just investing in an idea on paper anymore. People want to make sure there going to get a return on their investment, and a return on their investment could be literally monetary, investing funds or whatever, or it could be like a job, and hiring you to work for them. People want to make sure that there’s going to be a return.
And the way that I like to think about things that I pursue is I want there to be like no-brainer scenarios. Like so when I’m trying to get somebody to work with me or I’m trying to get funds to work for a project, I want to present it to you in a way that you cannot say no or it doesn’t make sense to say no. And a lot of times what that means is me being like, oh well something’s not ready yet. It’s not time for me to come, and ask for that money just yet, because it’s not a no-brainer scenario. So that’s just how I operate and think about things.
Anthem: Yeah, that is the ultimate way to show value after all is that you have an active track record. Probably the emphasis is on the word “active”. Because some people have a track record, but they let it sit for too long, and then it’s not active anymore. So it’s about staying up on it. Definitely, continuing to build.
So, I really appreciate you coming on the air. And if you would please give a shout out to your URLs so the listeners know where to find all your different entrepreneurial avenues.
Jabari: Oh yeah, absolutely man. So if you follow me on twitter it’s just @jabari, Instagram same thing @jabari. And let’s see, my film stuff, all my documentaries and stuff on Macklemore, Hoodie Allen, Issa Rae are the people all inspiring stories can be found on youtube.com/jabari. And for some of the work that I do with the artist and awesome of the digital stuff is volumevisual.com. And then the monthly party series, if you’re in New York or LA, you can go to mycolorsparty.com to get on the email list, and find out about the next party. Yeah, great fun.
Anthem: And get that discount ticket.
Jabari: And get that discount ticket of course.
Anthem: All right, Jabari, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
Jabari: Anthem, thank you so much. I’m going to keep listening to your podcasts because you got some pretty good talks on there, and some stuff that reminds me, and keeps me up to speed with what I’m doing. So I appreciate what you’re doing.