Daymond John shares life story as part of UTRGV’s Distinguished Speaker Series
By Bryan Ramos
t takes everything you’ve got if you want to swim with the sharks and nobody knows that better than Daymond John, the founder of FUBU and star of the ABC hit show ‘Shark Tank’.
“The People’s Shark” made his way down to UTRGV’s Performing Arts Complex on the Edinburg campus Wednesday to speak to the campus and RGV community as part of UTRGV’s Distinguished Speaker Series, a signature program under the leadership of Student Activities that aims to provide the university and surrounding community with world-class speakers and lecturers.
John’s ability to capture the audience’s ear was clear as his speech was fused with music, photos from the 80s and 90s when starting out as a young entrepreneur, and hilarious stories of his dealings with music stars like LL Cool J, Will Smith, and television stars like the Kardashians.
He told the story of starting FUBU in his mother’s basement, to getting hip-hop’s biggest stars to rock it in music videos, to selling more than $6 billion in worldwide sales.
John’s mother gave him this piece of advice which he still carries with him to this day.
“Responsibility is something that must be taken, it can’t be given, and as long as you understand that, you’re going to be successful,” John said.
“The People’s Shark” also told the story of being blindsided by the diagnosis of stage 2 cancer.
A routine one-hour surgery turned into a three-hour and a half surgery after doctors discovered stage 2 cancer on John’s thyroid. Before the surgery, the operating surgeon told John that the people he’d lost, he’d lost before they went under.
“Whether it’s business, whether it’s studying, whether it’s life, before anything happens, I want you to think of the happiest thing in your life, the thing that brings you the most joy, the thing that everything you’ve done in your life culminates in this moment. And when you come out and if that cancer spreads through your body, that’s the best way to fight it,” the surgeon told John before opening up his neck to remove stage 2 cancer.
He also spent time talking ish about his ‘Shark Tank’ co-stars, especially Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary.
A New York Times best-selling author, John’s latest book ‘Rise and Grind: Outperform, Outwork, and Outhustle Your Way to a More Successful and Rewarding Life’, was released in January.
“As an entrepreneur, you never stop learning,” John said.
Daymond John’s Success Formula Team will be in the Valley March 22 through 24 offering free events to teach how you can become your own boss and entrepreneur. You can register online and the event is free, but space is limited.
They will be offering events in Laredo on March 21 at noon and 6 p.m.; in McAllen on March 22 at noon and 6 p.m.; and Brownsville on March 23 at noon and March 24 at 9 a.m.