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Entrepreneurs Grind

How eBay and Sneaker Con Are Elevating The Sneaker Community

The 2021 Sneaker Con trail continues to blaze, this time with a weekend stop in the city of Atlanta where hundreds of sneakerheads gathered to buy, sell, and connect with fellow sneaker lovers who share the same passion. ONE37pm attended the event for the first time this year, and met with eBay’s General Manager of Sneakers, Garry Thaniel to discuss the over $21B retail sneaker market, the $2B resale sneaker market, and what makes eBay the number one marketplace for sneaker reselling – including eBay’s Authenticity Guarantee and zero seller fees. 

eBay

With eBay recently reaching over one million items authenticated, the sneaker category continues to explode on the platform with an average of 1.64M sneaker listings each day. Last year eBay sold a total of 7.69 million sneakers in North America with an average of 15 pairs of sneakers bought every minute on eBay, while also boasting their fastest-growing – yet frequently under-served community of female sneaker collectors and enthusiasts in an estimated $80 billion market.

The women’s sneaker category is another fast-growing area on eBay growing more than 80% through the course of 2020, and sales of men’s sneakers bought by female shoppers doubled over that same period.

We spoke with Thaniel more about the continued sneaker growth on eBay, and what we can expect in this final quarter of 2021 and the beginning of 2022.

eBay

ONE37pm: What’s it like being here in Atlanta for Sneaker Con?

Thaniel: It’s great being here! I love Atlanta, and there’s a lot in the sneaker culture that is blowing up from here. ATL is definitely an influential place, and eBay is here partnering with Sneaker Con. We’ve been at the forefront and the OGs to some extent when it comes to the resell market online specifically. This is a great opportunity for us to also show people what we are doing in terms of the authenticity booth we have, and we just hit a milestone of authenticating one million pairs of sneakers which is amazing.

We’re also not charging any fees right now for people to sell on eBay. On average we save people roughly $17 to $20 million dollars in authentication fees. We want to get exposure and show people what we are doing!

ONE37pm: You guys aren’t new to this as people have been buying and selling sneakers on eBay since the very beginning. Can you talk a bit about that evolution?

Thaniel: We’re always trying to make sure that we evolve to meet the market’s expectations. When we first started, authentication wasn’t table stakes and now it is. How the marketplace is going gets us excited in the eBay community. We’re aiming to make eBay the most inclusive sneaker community out there including the older people like myself who bought their first limited edition sneakers on eBay.

Whether you are like me and want to search and find the most rare thing or just a person that wants to look fresh. I’m the kind of person who will go down a rabbit hole of searching for what I want. Ultimately it’s our goal to make the sneaker community as welcoming as possible.

ONE37pm: Is there a specific sneaker you’ve seen in 2021 that’s popping off?

Thaniel: The Travis Scott shoes, Fragment, and Dunks have been huge for us this year. Dunks are up over 300 percent, and then of course the Jordans. Yeezys are up significantly on our platform as well, but then we also have some stuff that you wouldn’t expect. Donovan Mitchell’s adidas D.O.N. is up over 100 percent for us in sales. Kawhi Leonard’s sneaker releases are up over 400 percent.

ONE37pm: Could you give us a little more insight into the authentication process?

Thaniel: We have partnered with Sneaker Con to authenticate every pair of shoes that’s over $100. We have a process where they look at everything on the shoe in terms of the stitching, labeling, smell, etc., but they will also look at smaller things like the box, the picture on the box, and the paper in the box.

For many people sneakers are investment pieces that are an alternative stream of income, and with anything you are investing in, you want to make sure you have the real deal. Sneaker Con has an amazing team, and this process gives us the trust of sellers using the platform while obviously gaining the buyers confidence as well. 

ONE37pm: What makes eBay the best?

Thaniel: For me eBay is the best for two reasons. First because we have anything that you are looking for across our platform. There’s a lot of gems that you can find here that range from brand new to pre-owned rare gems. The other reason is our place in the community. As I said before, we want to make sure everybody feels welcome in our community. This was the first place I found my most expensive pair of sneakers.

When I was in college around 2001 and 2002, I wanted a pair of the Tim Duncan Foamposite Max shoes from 1998. I didn’t have the money to buy them when they came out, but in 2002 I did. I found them on eBay and to this day they are in my closet. When I wear them people pause. That’s why we are the best because we have a platform to allow people to tell their stories. Most sneakerheads will tell you that they got their start on eBay.

ONE37pm: We’re heading into the holidays and the first quarter of 2022. What can we expect?

Thaniel: I think we’ll continue to see sneakers being one of the top sneaker items. Our business has seen triple digit growth. I’ve been in touch with many of the sellers in our buying community when it comes to items people are most excited about, and I think you will still see people buying a lot of the items they’ve always wanted like Travis Scott, New Balance, Dunks, etc. As much as new releases will be super important, so will the things people have been watching for a while that they are finally going to pull the trigger on. We are already excited about 2022, and many of the things that we are working on right now on eBay to better serve our customers.

Be sure to follow eBay on Instagram and Twitter for more exciting updates.

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Entrepreneurs Grind

How Alexys Feaster Is Creating Alliances In Sports And Entertainment

Over the past several years we’ve heard the phrase “More Than An Athlete” quite a bit. That same sentiment can be applied towards public figures in all areas of entertainment, and few people understand this statement more than CEO Alexys Feaster. Founder of The Kinship Advisors, Feaster focuses on creating alliances within the sports and entertainment industries with people who are committed to social justice and sustained impact on underserved communities. 

Alexys Feaster

Prior to developing The Kinship Advisors, Feaster was the former Senior Director of Player Development at the NBA where she focused on helping over 450 NBA players create programs and initiatives to enhance their life skills and development. That initiative included financial literacy programs and community engagement on a national level. During the 2018 summer off-season, Alexys executed the league’s first-ever voter registration drives, registering over 40 eligible players and incoming rookies during NBA Summer League and the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program.

Before beginning her work with the NBA, Feaster worked as the National Regional Surrogate Director for Obama’s reelection campaign, where she led strategy behind some of the biggest names speaking and performing during the campaign trail including Jay-Z, Mariah Carey, and Jon Bon Jovi. She was also the mastermind behind the creation of various political and social good digital campaigns, which included: Alicia Keys’ “We Are A Powerful Force”, the NFL’s “Gotta Vote”, and Jay-Z’s “The Power of Our Voice,” among others.

We recently spoke with Feaster to discuss Kinship, understanding athletes and entertainers beyond their careers, and where she hopes to see her company in the next five years.

Alexys Feaster

ONE37pm:  Let’s start with your company The Kinship Advisors which is dedicated to creating alliances within the sports and entertainment industries, and making those important connections with individuals who are actively involved with social justice and community impact. What has this journey been like for you so far?

Feaster: It’s been a mix of fear and excitement. I started Kinship in January 2021 in the middle of a pandemic and obviously post-George Floyd. Starting this business was scary coming from the corporate world, and it was kind of daunting wondering if I would be able to get clients that would follow me from the NBA and my work with Obama. After the first month, it became apparent that athletes and entertainers still have a need for resources that focus on their impact on the community. It’s been a grind for sure, and we have an evolving business model to ensure we are responding to the needs of our clients.

ONE37pm: We’ve always known that athletes and entertainers are more than their respective careers, but we’ve become even more in tune with that these past few years specifically as they have other interests and things they are passionate about. Can you personally expand more upon that and what you’ve seen from the athletes and entertainers you’ve worked with?

Feaster: It all goes back to the mid to late 2000s when I first began working with athletes and entertainers. I had a recording studio where musicians would come and record, and sometimes community issues such as gun violence would come up. Naturally, they would ask how they could help because some of them grew up in these environments. People don’t realize how much your environment shapes you⁠—it makes you who you are.

These athletes and entertainers got their shot⁠—their talent got them to this place but they have other interests too. They want to learn more, they are going back and building up their neighborhoods. We need to remember that public figures are human beings as well, and we need to have more empathy.

ONE37pm: You were previously the senior director of development at the NBA where you helped over 450 players create programs, develop life skills and financial literacy, etc., while also creating the league’s first-ever voter registration drives. You also worked as the National Regional Surrogate Director for Obama’s reelection campaign. How did your experiences there prepare you for what you are doing today?

Feaster: It’s all intertwined! Even at the beginning of my career, I always thought about how I could help people do good within their communities. I was actually working on the Obama campaign before I went to the NBA. I brought in  DJ D-Nice and helped introduce and influence a lot of athletes and entertainers to get involved. Obviously, they wanted to because it was Obama, and he was our first Black president. They wanted to understand more. The Obama experience helped lead me to the NBA because I worked with some of the players during that campaign.

Everything has definitely come full circle. I started Kinship in January, and this has been a fifteen-year-long career. We still have a lot of work to do. I work closely with players and their families in terms of their passions and the specific impact they want to have in their communities. I want Kinship to be seen for doing it all!

ONE37pm: What does a day in the life look like for you?

Feaster: I have a morning routine where I journal, show gratitude and set my intentions for the day. That really helps me get grounded, and it’s a must-do. Once I do my routine, I check in with my team to see if I am the stop-gap, or needed for anything. I’ve also been doing a lot of traveling, meeting new people, thinking about new business, and letting more people know about Kinship. I am a life coach on Friday’s too! I’m fortunate to be able to speak to and learn from some of the best of the game.

ONE37pm: Where do you see Kinship five years from now?

Feaster:  I want Kinship to be the premier place for social impact advisory for people of influence. I work a lot with Jrue and Lauren Holiday, and they are changing the game for Black people. I also work with Ben Simmons on his philanthropic work and know that in five years, the Kinship will be the go-to company to advise athletes and entertainers on all their social impact goals. I am also focused on building up the Kinship and Kinfolk community which is all about building a network of influencers to use their collective power for good, to disrupt and make major impact.

I recently took a trip to Africa, and it was an affirmation of all that our ancestors did to pave the way for us and I feel a responsibility to continue to pay it forward through my work. I also want to tap into tech as a way to create connection and opportunities for underserved people and increase our impact across the world.  

Alexys has accomplished a ton through the course of fifteen years and there is plenty more to come. You can keep up with a lot of her latest updates via Instagram

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Entrepreneurs Grind

A Look At Tom Brady’s TB12 Brand With Co-Founder Alex Guerrero

The key to longevity as an athlete is health and consistency. At 44-years-old, Tom Brady has been able to have one of the longest and most successful careers in the history of professional sports, and as Brady begins this NFL season with yet another Super Bowl win under his belt, people are once again asking how he does it. If you want the answers on how he does it, look no further than TB12, the health and wellness brand he co-founded with longtime body coach Alex Guerrero in 2013. With the season back in full swing, we spoke with Guerrero about TB12, the importance of athletes caring for and maintaining their bodies, and how you can live a pain-free life. 

TB12

ONE37pm: You and Tom Brady launched TB12 in 2013. What was that process like then, and how has the company evolved since?

Guerrero: When I first started working with Tom, he couldn’t toss a ball without feeling pain. I worked with him using what would later be coined as muscle pliability, and he noticed a difference within two days of receiving his treatment. From there, our friendship and partnership began. I remember one day in 2012, we were sitting in Tom’s living room during a break in their offseason training and we reflected on the impact our work together had made on his ability to improve his performance.

I asked myself: If what we’re doing works for you, why wouldn’t it work for everyone? And so, the TB12 brand was born. TB12 is really a holistic approach to optimize pain management, performance, and recovery, with a focus on nutrition, hydration, and movement – and it can be applied to anyone. We are hoping to change the game for health and wellness globally and help people live their lives to the fullest and do what they love for as long as possible.

TB12 has a large and growing web presence, including virtual workout sessions.

The eCommerce store sells everything from pliability and performance equipment to the highest-quality nutritional supplements on the market.

ONE37pm:  These last few years one of the biggest questions in regards to Brady is how he has been able to achieve this type of longevity and stay in such great shape. Can you give us more insight into his overall process?

Guerrero: To perform your best is to perform pain-free. Tom and I work on several things to prevent overload to elbows and shoulders and maintaining mobility and strength through his hips and spine.  But the constant through it all was the hard work and determination that propelled Tom personally.  There are many ways to stay healthy, but one key part of longevity is muscle pliability.  For applying some of the practices of pliability that Tom works on,  you can roll out your muscles pre-and post-workout.

TB12

One of the best ways to experience deep-tissue manipulation is with a TB12 Body Coach whose process is modeled after my work with Tom. If you don’t have access to a Body Coach, you can perform pliability work at home using devices like the TB12 Vibrating Pliability Roller, our Vibrating Pliability Sphere, or our Vibrating Mini Sphere. The second way to get pliable is to pursue a lifestyle that minimizes inflammation, which comes from a balanced approach to nutrition and an emphasis on proper hydration. A lifestyle that supports your pliability also has to include a good amount of sleep, which helps your brain to recover and develop. The result of pliability is that you recover faster, play better, and spend less time on the sidelines.

ONE37pm: Some of the core elements of TB12 are pliability, hydration, and living a pain-free life. A lot of our readers are young athletes that want to have long careers and just be healthy in general. Can you expand upon those concepts?

Guerrero: TB12 is centered around a holistic methodology for your overall health and athletic performance with personalized services from Body Coaches mirroring my approach to training Tom. TB12 integrates revolutionary concepts in deep-force muscle pliability work, hydration, nutrition, movement, and mental fitness. With a focus on performance and recovery, we help people do what they love better and for longer. Through this work, it is our mission to empower people to live pain-free and perform their best. 

Some of the key differentiators of the TB12 Method are the emphasis on pliability and recovery as a whole:  

At TB12, we believe everything begins with pliability, which is the daily lengthening and softening of muscles to promote recovery and help protect from injury. 

Core pillars of the TB12 Method include pliability, hydration, mental fitness, movement, and nutrition. We also believe that the recovery process is multi-faceted – it includes rest, hydration, diet, and pre and post-workout pliability. 

Overall, the body and brain need re-centering, rest, and recovery in order to perform their best 

ONE37pm: Last but not least, is there anything else that TB12 has in store for the rest of 2021. Obviously, the season is back in action which is exciting.

Guerrero: In addition to our Tampa, Boston, and Foxborough locations, TB12 has major growth plans that include expansion into markets such as NY, LA, and Florida. Our vision is to become the world’s most trusted authority on health and wellness.

You can continue to keep up with TB12 on both Instagram and Twitter.

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Entrepreneurs Grind

Here’s How Lil Uzi’s Net Worth Has Skyrocketed in Recent Years

Lil Uzi Vert aka Uzi is one of the most popular rappers and songwriters in the world. In the process of rising to fame, he has also been able to achieve a growing net worth through his hit records and popularity. While it takes time to build an empire, Uzi is already off to a fast start with an estimated net worth of $25 million. Now you may be wondering how he has been able to hit the 25 million mark in just a few short years, so we’re going to break it down for you right now.

Early Beginnings
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Lil Uzi

The 27-year-olds journey began in Philadelphia where he grew up inspired by the rappers and artists of the late 1990s and early 2000s. During that time period, he began dabbling into his own musical skills when he started rapping in high school. According to Wikipedia, Uzi began rapping with different music groups such as his group Steakhouse and released his first EP Purple Thoughtz Vol. 1 in 2014. The project captured the attention of music industry executives, and the rapper released his follow-up mixtape The Real Uzi later that same year, eventually signing a record deal with Atlantic Records.

Career Success
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Lil Uzi

Uzi began building even more steam in 2015 setting himself up for his 2016 breakthrough where he was a part of XXL’s 2016 Class. Each new release was more successful than the previous and thus resulted in the artist earning more with each new project. Uzi also began working with some of the music industry’s most elite artists like Migos, Gucci Mane, and Playboi Carti while also elevating his presence in the touring scene. Similar to the way most major athletes make more from their endorsement deals than their actual playing contracts, musicians tend to earn more from live performances and tours as opposed to their albums/EPs.

In 2017, Uzi landed a gig performing on the European leg of The Weeknd’s Legend of the Fall Tour, and began piling on the hits with his feature on “Woke Up Like This,” and the August 2017 release of Luv Is Rage 2 which paved for his April 2019 signing with Roc Nation. 

2019-2020
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Lil Uzi

Uzi has spent the last couple of years continuing to build his catalog with a steady stream of releases. Unfortunately, the pandemic has halted/delayed a lot of performing opportunities for entertainers, which means they haven’t been able to get out on the road as much. Uzi spent the majority of 2021 releasing the anticipated deluxe addition to Eternal Awake, which added fourteen tracks to the original and included major features from Future, Lil Durk, Gunna, and more. The album was number one with 400 million streams during the first part of the pandemic, making it the largest streaming count since Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter 4

2020- Present
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Lil Uzi

So what’s in store for Lil Uzi in the future? The only thing we know right now is that he’s currently in the studio working on new projects. According to Wikipedia, Uzi is recording an album called Forever Young, and has plans to release a follow-up to 2017’s Luv Is Rage 2. At the moment there are no confirmed concert dates in the works, but we imagine that Uzi is probably waiting it out to see what the landscape will look like in terms of this ongoing pandemic and how safe live performances will be. That said, a lot of artists have returned to the performing scene, so it’s possible that we can see Uzi back on stage once he releases again. 

Lil Uzi’s career and net worth is continuously growing, and it will be interesting to see what other major moves he makes in the years to come.

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Entrepreneurs Grind

Why Diverse Creators Are Choosing NTWRK

If you are involved in the world of content, entertainment, and e-commerce, then at some point you have probably seen something from NTWRK pop up in your social media scrolling. The North American premier live stream platform has become the go-to incubator for diverse, world-class creators, catering to the growing digital-native consumer market while also partnering with multicultural creatives and brands to amplify both their stories and products. NTWRK focuses on a target audience of Gen Z and Millennial consumers actively zooming in on partnerships that allow them to grow as creators while bringing in revenue.

NTWRK
NTWRK

Simply put—NTWRK is a creators’ dream regardless of which level you’re currently at in your journey. The company has already achieved several monumental milestones, including being named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies and Ad Age’s Hottest Brands, and is only getting started. NTWRK continues to partner with a wide range of diverse collaborators, including Bad Bunny, Sophia Chang, and J Balvin.

Recently coming off their latest partnership with DJ turned jeweler Ben Baller for an exclusive MTV chain, the company has big plans for the remainder of 2021. We spoke with NTWRK’s CMO Jason Brown on why creators, specifically those of color, are choosing the company as their e-commerce platform of choice.

ONE37pm: How did the concept of NTWRK come to fruition?

Brown: Actually, the funny thing is I’ve personally only been here for 60 days, but I’ve been on the outside looking in for a while because I’ve had a close relationship with the CEO Aaron Levant dating back to the early days of their comic book store on the Hollywood Strip when I was the head of marketing at Foot Locker. So I’ve always been on the outside looking in.

NTWRK
NTWRK CMO Jason Brown

ONE37pm: How do you feel your previous career experiences have helped your new role at NTWRK?

Brown: All of my career experiences have helped in a number of ways, as well as the life that I’ve been living since I was five years old. I’ve always been enamored with culture, sports, music, and entertainment, even before I officially entered corporate America. So this is like everything coming together along with tapping into my life experiences.

ONE37pm: NTWRK has received numerous accolades already. What do you feel has contributed to that quick growth?

Brown: A couple of things. First, I would say it’s the vision of our CEO Aaron Levant, who understands the white space in the culture. Then it’s all of the people that work at NTWRK, which is over 100. One hundred employees might sound like a lot of people, but their execution and team effort is needed and have helped with our growth.

NTWRK
NTWRK’ Diverse Creators

ONE37pm: You guys have done a lot of partnerships with world-class multicultural creators to tell their stories and showcase their products. How has that been?

Brown: Many of us here at NTWRK have similar lifestyles to these creators in terms of our passion, and some of us had previous existing relationships with these same creators before coming here. NTWRK is one of the most curated platforms in the world. People see what we’re doing and want to join us, for example—our Ben Baller partnership. We knew Ben Baller before becoming a jeweler. He was previously a DJ and lived the cultural lifestyle in a very different way than what he does today. It was definitely a full-circle moment! 

Other creators who have been able to utilize NTWRK’s far-reaching platform include:

**A first-generation Guatemalan born and raised in California, Joshua Vides is a graphic artist known for transforming everyday objects and occupiable space through sleek, hand-drawn illustrations. Vides has previously partnered with Fendi, Harrod’s, and Converse. 

**Afro-Mexican artist, Cristina Martinez finds beauty in the unexpected. Martinez’s work is an amalgamation of her love for both creating on a canvas and at a sewing machine.

**Dexter the Creator is an American artist of Mexican & Jewish descent who communicates his messages through the medium of footwear. At 21, Dexter began creating his now-signature bespoke sneaker pieces, composed of high-quality exotic materials sourced from around the globe.

**Sophia Chang is a pioneering Taiwanese American entrepreneur who, in less than a decade, managed to champion a name for herself in the art, design, and streetwear community worldwide. Chang has collaborated with a-list names such as Samsung, Nike, Apple, and HBO.

**Korean-American Ben Baller comes from a family with 35 years of jewelry-making history. The self-proclaimed “best jeweler in the world” has a clientele that includes Mariah Carey, The Weeknd, Kanye West, and even Michael Jackson. 

**Bad Bunny, the chart-topping Puerto Rican singer, rapper, and producer based in San Juan is a dominant voice in Latin trap and a general trendsetter for música Urbana. The multi-faceted artist has graced the cover of Rolling Stone, won a Latin Grammy, and received Variety’s Achievement in International Music Award in 2020. 

**Award-winning Colombian Urbano singer J Balvin is a chart-topping recording artist whose polished urban singles and multi-platinum-selling albums have made him a top-tier Latin pop crossover act. 

**Jeff Staple (born Jeffrey Ng) is a creative visionary with work encompassing graphic design, fashion design, footwear design, and brand marketing. He is the founder of the streetwear brand STAPLE, the creative agency REED ART DEPARTMENT, and the creator of the infamous NIKE x STAPLE PIGEON DUNK. Jeff has worked on creative projects ranging from startup brands to Fortune 100 companies.

NTWRK
NTWRK Soled Out

ONE37pm: You sort of covered our next question! We were going to ask why you think creators are choosing NTWRK, but is there anything else you want to add?

Brown: Part of our ability to book talent is definitely NTWRK’s credibility, but it’s also the steam we’ve been able to build on our own too, like with the Cheetos x Bad Bunny capsule. People are much more inclined to work with us because they’ve seen our body of work. We also make a conscious effort to provide a platform for multicultural creators and amplify their voices while giving them a unique avenue to profit from their passions.

ONE37pm: What else is NTWRK bringing us for the rest of the year?

Brown: We have a handful of plans starting with our TRANSFER festival with Edison Chen, which is all about design culture. Then we have our second iteration of “Beyond The Streets” which is a digitized way for artists and creators to celebrate their work. That’s as close to “IRL” we’re getting this year, but we will also be launching our first official NTWRK campaign.

It sounds crazy, but we haven’t had a consumer-facing brand introduction in nearly two years, and there’s still a lot of people who don’t know who we are or what we do. We want to introduce ourselves and have conversations about creators who aren’t Ben Baller or Sophia Chang. Also, I can’t reveal too much yet, but we will have a NTWRK gift guide coming out in November for the holiday season so we are looking forward to that as well.

And so are we. You can keep with NTWRK’s latest updates on Instagram and Twitter.

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Entrepreneurs Grind

What Is Michael Jordan’s Net Worth?

We’re already familiar with Michael Jordan’s legacy as a basketball player, but sometimes his legacy as an entrepreneur and mogul gets lost in the mix of his GOAT status. One could very well argue that Michael Jordan continues to have the most impactful individual brand in the history of sports. According to a report from Forbes, Jordan has an overall net worth of $1.6 Billion, with the majority of those earnings having come off the court.

The six-time champion and Hall of Famer continues to be a powerful earning force in the entertainment industry as evidenced by last year’s ESPN docu-series The Last Dance, and his weekly sneaker releases that oftentimes have the sneaker communities fighting for a shot at snagging new pairs to add to their collections. We’ll be looking closer at Michael Jordan the businessman, and chronicling his evolution.

Early Beginnings
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Michael Jordan

Every story has a first chapter, and for Jordan, that chapter starts in 1984 when he was drafted by the Chicago Bulls. The NBA landscape was a lot different in that era, and players weren’t earning as much as they can command today. Nonetheless, Jordan’s signing with the Bulls marked his first professional basketball contract, and thus the start of his career earnings.

According to a June 2020 article written by Kriel Ibarrola, the iconic Jumpman logo brings in roughly $3 billion annually, and MJ nets roughly $100 million in Nike Royalties.

Other Endorsements
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Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen

When looking at Jordan’s entrepreneurial rise, it’s important to understand that it took years (maybe even decades) to fully build the Jordan brand. While super successful, MJ wasn’t raking in hundreds of millions at the very beginning, and Jordan didn’t have ambassadors signed to shoe deals until he was near his first retirement.

Prior to that Jordan was viewed as the “competitor” which meant his NBA peers likely wouldn’t be sporting his shoe because, well, you can’t exactly wear your enemy’s shoes. As number 23 continued to grow the business element of his career, he also signed endorsement deals with Gatorade, McDonald’s, and later on Hanes.

Jordan has also partnered with other big-name brands like Coca-Cola, Wheaties, and Upper Deck over the years, and like most other athletes, earned more from his sponsorships than basketball which only netted him $90 million for the entirety of his playing career.

Space Jam
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Michael Jordan Space Jam

In 1996 Jordan signed on to star in the now cult-classic basketball film Space Jam. While nobody knows exactly how much he was paid to do the movie, Space Jam was a monster box office success grossing over $250 million worldwide, eventually going on to become the highest-grossing basketball film of all time.

Post-NBA Earnings
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Michael Jordan

We already mentioned earlier the massive earning power of the Jordan brand due to its hype, popularity, regular releases, and signees, but since his second retirement in 2003, Jordan has also continued to earn money in other areas. In 2010, MJ took majority control of the Charlotte Hornets. Additionally, an April 2021 report from Clutchpoints states that Jordan bought the Hornets for a whopping $175 million, which wound up being an excellent investment for him as the franchise is now worth roughly $1.5 billion.

Surely nothing in this article is a surprise. Michael Jordan has been a force to reckon with both on and off the court for nearly four decades. He’s one of the most prolific athletes of all time who was able to crossover and have an impact on people who weren’t even major basketball fans. Jordans remain the most popular and in-demand sneaker, MJ’s presence still commands major attention, and he remains one of the most powerful people on the face of this planet. 

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Entrepreneurs Grind

Amex and NTWRK Partner with Rhiugi Villasenor, Telsha Anderson and Melody Ehsani

We’ve got some fun news today from American Express.

 In partnership with the mobile-first video shopping platform NTWRK, American Express is announcing a collaboration with some of today’s most notable creatives and designers, along with their favorite small businesses, to create unique, limited-edition products launching throughout the weekend of August 20.

American Express
Melody Ehsani x Bloom and Plume

These exclusive product duos will include:

  • The groundbreaking NYC boutique owner and designer, Telsha Anderson of t.a. and Philly based Yowie, create a one-of-a-kind resin sculpture. This marks the first home good item Telsha has designed. (Launching August 20)
  • Creative Director and Designer, Rhuigi Villaseñor, and the L.A. based restaurant Petit Trois le Valley create a limited edition hat. (Launching August 22) 
  • One of the few women streetwear designers in L.A., Melody Ehsani and Bloom & Plume, a LA based floral studio & coffee shop, partnered to create a vibrant and earthy collection. Titled “The Rec Set,” it features a tote bag, silk bandana, fleece set and socks. (Launching August 21)

American Express
RHUIGIxLUDO

Many of us are rediscovering our personal style as we return to work, school, and daily activities. If you are anything like myself, then home decor has also been included as a part of your 2021 makeover, which makes the timing of this collaboration perfect.

These collabs are part of American Express’s recent “Let’s Go Shop Small” campaign, which included a more than $100 million commitment to inspire consumers to support small businesses globally through its year-round Shop Small efforts.

American Express
Telsha

The product drops are exclusively available on NTWRK for 24 hours ahead of public sales at each small business, which will be available throughout the weekend of August 20.

Here is what Walter Frye, Vice President of Global Brand Engagement and Design had to say about this partnership.

“Small businesses are the fabric of our communities and the reasons they feel vibrant and unique. We want to support small businesses every day and this partnership brings together some of today’s hottest designers with their favorite small business owners to produce limited-edition drops that will amplify the importance of shopping small this summer.”

Make sure you keep an eye out for these exclusive drops in the coming weeks.

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Entrepreneurs Grind

The Sky’s the Limit for Air Force Veteran and Entrepreneur Glenn Gonzales

I was lucky to listen to entrepreneur Glenn Gonzales tell his United States Air Force Academy story last month, learning about his journey of becoming a fighter pilot and the mentality that he adopted to succeed as a CEO.

His company, Jet It, is disrupting the private aviation industry while finding unprecedented success. In the past year, Jet It has been the focus of Harvard and Yale business school case studies and earned numerous world records in aviation.

According to Gonzales, it all stems from his time playing point guard at The Air Force Academy and his childhood passion for flying.

Photo Credit: Dr. Akir Khan
Glenn Gonzales while in Kindergarten

“As far as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to fly,” he said. “It didn’t matter if I had a cape or a pillow sheet tied around my neck. I wanted to fly and believed that I could fly. “

Photo Credit: Getty Images
Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler starred for the Houston Cougars from 1982-1984

Basketball was a big part of Gonzales’ life growing up. In our conversation, he recalls his fascination with the 1982 Houston Cougars. That squad was nicknamed “Phi Slama Jama” and was led by Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler.

“I was a great athlete, solid student, and a decent basketball player,” he said. “I had two goals. I wanted to play Division I basketball, and I wanted to fly airplanes. In attending the Air Force Academy, I had the opportunity to do both.”

Dr. Akir Khan
Glenn Gonzales after graduating from Eisenhower High School in Houston, Texas

After graduating high school, he decided that he wanted to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy. But the process wasn’t all smooth sailing.

“I remember meeting with the optometrist during my Air Force Academy admission physical,” said Gonzales. “In evaluating my eyes, the doctor stated that I passed, but that I’ll never fly an airplane because I didn’t have natural 20/20 vision.”

During that time, the Air Force had a surplus of pilots, and in order to manage their staffing and reduce the pool of eligible pilots, the Air Force required candidates to be naturally 20/20.

Since Gonzales received attention from other schools for his basketball talents, he could’ve easily chosen a different path. But, instead, he stuck to the vision that he had.

“My mentality was that I’d study things around aviation, prove myself, and I would earn the opportunity to fly regardless of what my vision was,” he said. “That was why I chose the Air Force Academy. “

Photo Credit: Dr. Akir Khan
Glenn Gonzales in uniform at the Air Force Academy / Gonzales playing defense for the Air Force Academy

When Gonzales was ready to graduate and enter pilot school, the Air Force needs’ changed, as did the vision requirement rule, giving him entry into training. But once he was ready to start pilot training, Gonzales had to overcome another hurdle.

“Shortly after graduating, when I started flying, I was under the instruction of an individual, and I wasn’t doing very well,” he said. “Once I switched to taking classes with a new instructor, things immediately fell into place.”

He came to find that the change of pace in his performance wasn’t by coincidence.

“One day, my new instructor told me that my old instructor commented that he didn’t think I could learn,” said Gonzales. “Looking back on it, I question if the instruction that I received was influenced by this bias.”

Photo Credit: Dr. Akir Khan
Glenn Gonzales in uniform as a Senior Flight Commander

In spite of his original instructor, Gonzales would go on to become a distinguished graduate, win instructor pilot of the year, ahead of 140 other instructor pilots in his first year following pilot training, fly the single-seat F15C, win flight commander of the year, and wingman of the year. He also earned Top Gun honors, given to the pilot identified as the best of the best in deploying aircraft as a weapon.

As a Senior Flight Commander leaving the United States Air Force Academy, Gonzales felt that he was equipped with the tools to take on anything that would stand in his way.

“When you walk out of the academy, you feel like you could run through a brick wall,” he said. “I actually felt like I was mentally and physically tough enough to run through a brick wall. “

After pilot training, Gonzales spent several years in graduate school between his time at Embry-Riddle University and the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. He obtained a Masters of Aeronautical Sciences degree at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and an MBA in International Business at South Carolina all while raising a family.

“Having that constant pursuit of excellence and trying to be 10 times better, every time I stepped into a room, it prepared me to do those things and created the space that we are in with Jet It now,” revealed Gonzales.”

Photo Credit: Dr. Akir Khan
Glenn Gonzales leading a corporate meeting

Before forming Jet It, Gonzales provided transportation solutions as the Regional Sales Manager within the Eastern United States for Honda Aircraft Company. In this role, Gonzales developed and executed a sales, communication, and marketing business plan to sell Honda’s first venture into aviation, the $5M+ HondaJet. 

It was another hurdle that Gonzales faced which ultimately propelled his career further. In his sales position at Honda Aircraft, he had plenty of prospects who loved the innovative HondaJet Elite. However, many could not justify the purchase price and ongoing expense of solely owning a business jet. So, Gonzales knew he had to remove the barriers to entry for private aviation. As a result, he took a leap of faith and jumped into the world of entrepreneurship.

In 2018, he started Jet It with his former Honda Aircraft sales executive colleague and longtime friend, Vishal Hiremath.

Photo Credit: Aviation Week Network
https://aviationweek.com/business-aviation/aircraft-propulsion/jet-it-founders-launch-jetclub-europe
Glenn Gonzales and Vishal Hiremath

The company Jet It utilizes advanced technology and the collective flight expertise of its team to ensure comfort and convenience in the flying experience of its customers. In addition, the pair launched a sister brand in Europe called JetClub, run by Vishal. Like the U.S. operation, it allows share purchasers to use the aircraft for a certain number of days, instead of the industry norm of a certain number of hours, which is groundbreaking for the industry. 

“Traditionally, you would spend $6,000, $7,000, or more to have access to a private jet of this caliber,” said Gonzales. A Jet It shareowner receives a six-passenger aircraft for $1,600 an hour, which is unheard of in all aviation. That is one of the many things driving people in our direction. The price that meets the need, with a high level of service.”

Just last week, Gonzales and Hiremath won the Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award for the southeast region of the U.S. In its 35th year, E & Y continues to honor unstoppable entrepreneurial creators and disrupters.

Gonzales and Hiremath are now eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2021 National Awards. The Strategic Growth Forum, a gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies, will be host to the announcement of the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Overall Award winner on Nov. 13 in California.

Photo Credit: Dr. Akir Khan
Glenn Gonzales takes a selfie with 99-year old Tuskegee Airman Colonel Charles E. McGee

Moving forward, the sky’s the limit for Gonzales and Jet It in terms of disrupting the aviation industry.

“Our investments into electric aircraft will change how people fly locally; flights like L.A. to Vegas, or Paris to Lyon,” he said. “We are all looking for more autonomy and efficiency in how we travel. If we can avoid it, we would all rather take a private jet versus a bus or commercial aircraft.”

Plus, they’re aspiring to expand their business internationally, which would put them in a league of their own.

“There are several aviation companies that fly to other countries, but none that have a true defined international presence in multiple countries,” said Gonzales. “In the next 12-18 months, we will bring the Caribbean, India and Singapore online. In subsequent years we will look to bring on South America. “

As cool as they come, Gonzales doesn’t feel the pressure that most would in his position and equates his current role to one that he thrived in during his early days on the hardwood.

“This is kind of like being a point guard again in basketball,” he said. “I like to dish the rock and create opportunities. But, the most fascinating thing about being an entrepreneur is that I have the opportunity to do that day in and day out.”

To Gonzales, “Believing in your own dreams and asking yourself, ‘why not you?’ is the best investment you can always make.”

Categories
Entrepreneurs Grind

ONE37pm Has A Conversation With The Harlem Globetrotters

If you are anything like me, then you have been fascinated by the Harlem Globetrotters for pretty much your entire life. Since being founded in 1926, the Harlem Globetrotters have been capturing global attention for decades, passing down their immense basketball talent, entertainment skills, and mind boggling tricks literally through generations. Of course, as you all know, last year was tough in many different capacities, and for those of us that are sports lovers, our outlet is, well, sports. For the first time in our lives, sports were completely taken away from us, and the world stopped. Whether you were an athlete or an avid sports fan, that period of time felt like a part of your life was missing.

Harlem Globetrotters
Harlem Globetrotters

Now over a year later sports are fully back, and so are the Harlem Globetrotters. Kicking off their 2021 Spread Game Tour, the Globetrotters are putting on a show as usual, while welcoming the addition of some new on-court characters. The tour has been a massive success so far, with plenty more U.S and International dates lined up through October. We caught up with players Nate aka “Big Easy,” Corey aka “Thunder,” and Cherelle aka “Torch” to discuss how the season is going so far, what it means to them to represent black excellence on and off the court, and the meaning behind being a Harlem Globetrotter.

ONE37pm: First of all, we just wanted to congratulate you guys on the tour! How has that been for you guys so far?

Big Easy: It’s been good! We haven’t been out here in about sixteen months, and I think the fans need something to do right now because everybody has been locked up due to Covid. It’s been good to just get out there and make people smile, and give them something to do with their families. We are doing that times 10!

Thunder: I’ll piggyback off what Easy said. The last sixteen months has not been what we’re accustomed to, and one thing the world definitely needed was the Globetrotters. We’re representing joy and spreading it all over the world creating memories. It’s definitely been good to get back to what we love, and I’m enjoying it!

Torch: I feel the same as the guys! To get back into these arenas and see these fans has been nice.

ONE37pm: This piece is about getting to know you all off the court. For those that don’t know you on a personal level, what do you like off the court? What are your hobbies and interests?

Big Easy: I’m a girl and boy dad! I’ve got two girls and two boys. For me, I’m all about spending time with my family. I’ve been a licensed real estate agent for the past six years, and I’m big into that. Especially during Covid where I had time to be home consecutive months. I’m all about that and doing good for the next generation. I’m trying to teach kids what I’ve learned at 30 and 40, and give them that knowledge at 17. I talk to these kids not about basketball, but about the importance of having credit, saving money, and just things in general that you aren’t taught in the black community. My dad passed and he never had a debit card. My mother is 60 and she still doesn’t have a credit card. I want to help those that are coming behind me understand what’s important. I’m a golfer too, and I just ordered some new golf clubs. Hopefully my game will get better! I like to chill, sit back, and relax.

Thunder: I’m a girl dad! When I’m not working, whatever I do involves them. I enjoy being with my family and friends, and if it’s a weekend you are definitely going to catch me at somebody’s brunch. I’ve got to get my brunch and mimosas in! I also just picked up golfing and I’m into real estate as well. I’ve got a few properties and have some real estate in Florida, so that’s been going well. I just enjoy life, and I’m very happy and outgoing. The person I am on the court is who I am off of it. I like to dance, laugh, and have a good time.

Torch: I love to play flag football! I’m a daughter and a sister, and I love all sports. I’m into acting which I began doing after Covid, and I started spending time with family during the downtime that we had. I was just trying to make up for time that we normally spend on the road because you miss a lot of memories. During Covid I just tried to do other things because even though I love the game of basketball, I love other sports and family time too.

ONE37pm: The Harlem Globetrotters exemplify black excellence on and off the court, and you guys are working together to target racial and social injustice, anti-bullying, and just using your voices in general to make a change. Could you speak a little more about that?

Big Easy: I think it’s super important. I did the Amazing Race three times, and I wanted to do it because I knew 14 million people were going to be watching. That was also good for the Globetrotters from a PR standpoint. I wanted all the black and brown kids to look on the screen and see a black athlete that could compete for a million dollars, and wasn’t a bad person that was getting in trouble, being disrespectful to women, etc. I wanted them to see somebody who was doing all of these cool things in the community.

I’m straight from the projects in New Orleans, and I understand what some of these kids are going through, but I want them to know that I’m on the other side. They need to know that the stuff they are going through is part of their journey, not their destination. I’ve been through all of the same things, and I want them to feel that they can come out and do it better than me. I love that responsibility. We started on somebody’s shoulder, so now we have to reach out and pull up.

Thunder: I remember when I first joined the Globetrotters, Big Easy put me on to so much game. The knowledge he spread was so important, and when I go to camps, I’m not talking to kids about basketball. I’m talking to them about how to set themselves up for life because the ball is going to stop bouncing one day. You want to leave a legacy, and that is what I’m about right now. I’m also about breaking curses, and it’s time to break a lot of those cycles that Easy already spoke on. If I could use this Globetrotters name on my chest to get their attention, I am absolutely going to do that.

Torch: I feel that representation is so important. A lot of times at games when I run out with the guys—there’s a great chance that there is a female in the stands that didn’t even know that female globetrotters exist. Everyday I try to be the best that I can be, and just about every night there is a parent that tells me that their daughter was inspired. Being a positive role model for young black and brown girls is all that I can ask for every single night. It’s truly been a blessing to have this position.

ONE37pm: What does it mean to represent the Harlem Globetrotters?

Big Easy: Being a Globetrotter is like being a superhero! We were in an elevator recently, and this man asked if we were really Globetrotters. He was in town with his son who has brain cancer to start radiation treatment for him. He asked if we could take a picture with his son, and we went downstairs to take the picture. There’s no telling what this kid is going through and how his family is suffering, but for that moment he was able to smile, and his mom was able to smile and start crying.

We were able to make a kid who probably hasn’t smiled in weeks, laugh and smile. We could tell you hundreds of stories about our impact around the world and in our communities. When I come home they treat me like a hometown hero, and it’s something that feels good.

Thunder: The Globetrotters have an annual draft, and I was one of the players drafted in 2013. I had just graduated college, and I told my mom that I’d gotten an email from them (the Globetrotters), and she was just so excited. She instantly told me the story of Curly Neal coming to her school, and she remembered it vividly. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into until I played my first game and saw these kids going crazy. I had a chance to meet this kid named Michael George in Houston who was dealing with Leukemia. I visited his class, went to his house, and showed him the Globetrotter video. He started crying and shaking, and he told me how excited he was to see me. To be a part of something like that changed my life. It means a lot to be a Globetrotter.

Torch: I’m fortunate to be a part of an organization that has been changing lives for 95 years globally. It doesn’t matter if I’m in Australia or Tupelo, Mississippi, everybody has the same stories and it trickles down through generations. It’s amazing! I feel it’s our job to keep this legacy going because they talk about the Curly Neals, but one day they are going to talk about Big Easy. It’s like a dream come true. When I come home my family will ask me how Jerusalem was and the rest of my travels. My family looks at me and holds me to a higher standard, and we make them proud. I want to continue the legacy of us being great basketball players and great people.

ONE37pm: Last but not least, what can we expect for the rest of the season?

Big Easy: I look forward to the kids who will experience seeing us for the first time. I want to make sure those same kids are on YouTube showing their children Harlem Globetrotter videos 20 or 30 years from now and passing it on. This has been going on for 95 years and I am not about to mess it up. We’re going to keep this going. I’m getting closer to the end, but I know we’re in good hands. I want to make sure every night there is somebody new watching that leaves in the arena happy. If I do that, nothing else matters.

Thunder: Every night when I’m put on that jersey I feel like a superhero. That’s the swag I have every night. Each game is going to have somebody that has never seen us before, and we might even be in a place where there aren’t many Black people. We want to counter those stereotypes of us, and I want to change any negative mindsets. That’s how I rock and that’s how I feel every game.

Torch: I feel like the guys said everything I was going to say! Whether there’s three people in the stands or hundreds, we are going to do what we do every night. Like Big Easy said, there is a kid each game that hasn’t seen us, and that is who we go hard for.

Be sure to check out the Harlem Globetrotters on tour this season, and visit their official website to purchase tickets. You can also follow the Globetrotters on Instagram.

Categories
Entrepreneurs Grind

How Jason Saltzman’s Introduction to Entrepreneurship Has Come Full Circle

Between the skyline of skyscrapers in New York City, and majesty of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, Jason Saltzman and his family didn’t miss a scenic beat when they made their move from the Big Apple to Boulder, Colorado this past week.

As an ever-thinking entrepreneur and founder of the co-working space Alley, Saltzman has reasons for the move that runs deeper than what just appeared on the surface. 

“When I started my first entrepreneurial journey, I loved NYC because you could connect with so many great people. As I grew, that changed because I had already established such a great network of connections. My livelihood became more about the needs of myself and my partner. That big assessment brings a reality into your life; whether you’re going to go for it or not.” 

Tyler Schmitt, host of One37pm’s “Huh?!” had an unbelievable conversation with Saltzman; unveiling one of the why’s behind his big move, motives behind his entrepreneurial endeavors, and what he finds himself doing today. 

“Going for it”, could be considered Saltzman’s motto ever since his high school days; when his entrepreneurial seeds were planted. During that time, self-start ups were not popular, and were often frowned upon by those dedicated to the status quo of working a nine-to-five gig.

Jason recalls what his first experience bringing home money as a teenager was like. 

“I remember bringing home my first check and my parents thought that I was a drug dealer. Back then, the thought was that if you wanted to be successful, you had to be a doctor or lawyer. I liked the social aspect of school, but I did not like people telling me what I needed to learn.” 

Jason Saltzman

I did not like people telling me what I needed to learn.

More often than not, your family, teachers and friends might question what you do more than anyone else, and rightfully so. At the same time, there is a fine line between not letting loved ones down, and having the conviction to get done what needs to be done for the sake of the career that you want.

Saltzman doubled down on himself, and shifted his perspective from being upset that his mother doubted him, to using it as motivation to succeed on his own path.

“ So I would say that my moms lack of faith motivated me, the lack of trust in me. I was fueled by the passion of doubt, used those chips, and stacked them in my backpack. The biggest naysayers in my life added the most fuel to my fire.” 

disruptivetechnologists.com / Jason Saltzman

Saltzman took that fire with him through six years of studying fine arts and marketing at Briarcliffe College and the Fashion Institute of Technology. After school, he founded the New Horizon Debt Settlement group; his first true entrepreneurial endeavor that involved assisting Americans in debt settlement. 

Ally, his latest business start-up based in New York City, is a co-working space that opens its doors to entrepreneurs and other content creators in the community for collaboration and mentorship. Between 2010-2012, the company’s culture thrived on a vibrant and party-like atmosphere. With the landscapes starting to shift though, Saltzman realized that they needed to find ways to make more money.

m.imbd.com / Jason Saltzman

Once Alley started making money from big organizations that wanted to connect with its community, the company became more corporate focused in trying to bridge the gap between small companies that didn’t have many resources, and large companies that didn’t know how to utilize every one of their resources in the best way.

It turned out that the corporate realm was a little bit out of Saltzman’s lane, which led to a major decision that he made for himself and for his company. 

“ That world wasn’t really for me, so I fired myself. I hired a CEO, Noel Tassey, who spoke the start-up and corporate languages. “

While admitting it was a tough decision, Saltzman was able to shift his perspective and look at his firing from a growth standpoint.

“I see all too often that people get stuck in an algorithm of sticking to that 2-year plan or building clout just for their LinkedIn. You have to let the universe kick you in the ass for a little while, and you have to let yourself fail. If you’re not embracing failure, you’re not doing it right. If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not doing it right.”

Jason Saltzman

If you’re not embracing failure, you’re not doing it right. If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not doing it right.

Between the start of the global pandemic and now, Saltzman has had his eyes set on another opportunity to create more value for others.

“ The pandemic gave us all an opportunity to pause. In the midst of that, I was getting plagued with a lot of need with help. Friends and family who couldn’t pay their bills, and who knew that I started out in the debt business, would call me day-in and day-out. That’s when I realized, this is the help that I can provide for the people around me, and this could be my staple in life.” 

Now, after being against the notion of being told what to learn growing up, it’s a full circle moment that Saltzman is now an adjunct professor at Florida International University.

“I’m curious about the youth; Are you able to get kicked in the face? Are you soft? Or are you hard and ready to solve some real fucking problems? Through my experience at FIU, I’m learning from the generation about who they are, so that I can insert value into their lives.” 

When asked if Saltzman could summarize the mindset of what it takes to be an entrepreneur, he offered an extremely coherent analogy.

“The mindset you have to have is that you’re a fucking scientist. You’re going into the lab, you’re putting pieces together, and your formula will not work right away. You have to have that longevity mindset like a scientist. But in the process, you’ll learn so many different things.”

Jason Saltzman

You have to have that longevity mindset like a scientist