You really need to know MICK.
Mick Batyske is a DJ and startup investor, a father to the cutest kid you’ve ever seen and the man behind the music at our 2020 Super Bowl event called “Masters of the Mic.” You wouldn’t know it from his humble attitude, but he’s spun for Will Smith, LeBron James and in the White House for Michelle Obama and will delight our VIPs in Miami who include Dwyane Wade and Gary Vaynerchuk, to name a few.
Here’s his take on the power of networking, his greatest failure to date and a step by step list of how to put together a playlist for high-profile celeb events.
ONE37pm: Tell me about your segue into investing from being a full-time DJ.
MICK: I manage my DJ career myself. I essentially manage a lifestyle career. I started to create all sorts of relationships outside of the music world because I wanted to DJ everybody’s stuff. So I went from being the guy that did just hip-hop events at All-Star Weekend to the guy doing venture capital events in Cannes.
When that happened, I was able to start using my daytime brain to develop relationships, skills and opportunities. I’m now able to use my business knowledge and business relationships to help build companies.
Did you have any kind of training? What did you study?
MICK: I went to school to get a marketing degree. I started off in finance and decided that it wasn’t for me. So I transitioned to marketing, realizing that I had a passion and an aptitude for it. Then I started DJing for fun. I actually used the funds I made DJing to pay for graduate school.
I got an MBA in marketing. When I finished, I wanted to put my cultural skills and high-level business skills into a basket to create a career.
Break down your daily routine for us: when do you wake up? When do you go to sleep?
MICK: I wake up every day around 7:30 am. I usually wake up with a child on my arm, even though he originally goes to sleep in his bed. Somehow, when I wake up, he’s on my left shoulder and I wake up with a cat on my right shoulder. Shout out to my cat Hov. He’s like 17.
We wake up, make waffles, watch ten minutes of a cartoon and take our vitamins. We live on the block where Biggie grew up, so every day that we walk to preschool, we pass Biggie’s house. It’s an amazing moment for me culturally because I get to raise a kid in a neighborhood where an icon of mine lived.
We invented a thing called the foot pound. It’s only for father and son sneakerheads and it’s a handshake-like moment where we tap our sneakers together. It’s really cute. So we do the foot-pound, he goes to school, I go get coffee, I come back home. I sit at my desk in the morning, do an email triage and figure out what needs to be handled for that day. I usually schedule a lunch meeting. I come back home in the afternoon, get him from preschool, and we’ll go have some lunch. Then, usually, we’ll go run some errands together and go home. If I have to go to a dinner party, sometimes I even bring him. And then the next day, we just repeat.
What do you consider your greatest failure to date? What did it teach you?
MICK: I don’t think there are failures because I’m a huge believer in stoic philosophy, which is “the obstacle is the way” mantra. I don’t think you ever fail at anything. It teaches you how to go around above, under or through something to come out on the other side. There have been multiple times where I’ve gotten a much better gig because something got screwed up on the thing I thought I wanted. The adage of “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is completely true.
If you could, what would you go back and tell your 18-year-old self?
MICK: I would tell my 18-year-old self to trust the course. It’s all going to work out. Trust the process. Know that you can take your hobby and your dream and your passion and turn it into a career. It used to be harder for our parents to actualize their dreams. For us, it’s very doable. And then for our kids, it’s not just going to be doable, it’s just going to be the accepted way of living life.
What’s your process for putting together a playlist for like a high-profile event like our “Masters of the Mic” event with Dwayne Wade?
MICK: When I put together what I’m going to play at an event, I look at a couple of different factors. First of all, I look at where the event is. Is it in L.A., Miami or New York? Then, who’s going to be there? What type of people, celebs or talent will attend so I can make sure I have taken into account their preferences?
Then I add in stuff that makes me sound like me. There are artists that I’ve played at any party I ever DJ, no matter the party. You’re always going to hear some 90s hip-hop stuff and some Jay-Z. The last thing—and the essential element within all those other confines—is making sure that the set is engaging with the audience. I have also to make sure that the music works for the people in front of me, because if nobody’s dancing and nobody’s having a good time, then none of the rest matters.