UNCONVENTIONAL STRATEGIC THINKING FROM JAMIE FOXX

I just listened to a great podcast interview with Jamie Foxx. I only listened to this podcast because it got props from the insanely good weekly e-mail digest…

SNIPPET:

• His $400 party was better than Puff Daddy’s $1million bash

• Personality has a bigger impact that aptitude

• Exploit your competitor’s weakness

• Mentors make you the hustler you are

 

I just listened to a great podcast interview with Jamie Foxx. I only listened to this podcast because it got props from the insanely good weekly e-mail digest from Verse-Co by Nguyen. Which you should definitely check out!

Jamie’s inspiring story got me thinking about the life lessons for all of us as everyday hustlers in our careers, jobs, and at our companies. No matter what stage you are at, or where you are going, Jamie’s advice is sound.

 

FIND AN UNCONVENTIONAL ROUTE TO MARKET

Early on in his career, Jamie was hitting the open mic circuit, and after one gig in particular absolutely kills it. The crowd goes wild; It’s one of those standing ovation moments. When he came back to perform again, he couldn’t even get called up on stage. He realised that other comedians pulled his name as they are running the roster and wouldn’t choose him as he’s funnier than them. However these open mic nights always feature women to break up the male-monotony of the show. He scribbled down a couple of unisex names on the board, Jamie Foxx gets called to the stage and he got to perform again. Thinking about how his competitors operated, Jamie highlighted their weakness.

 

MENTORS MATTER, AND YOU ARE ONE

His late grandmother, Esther Marie Talley, adopted him, and he acknowledges her influence on him as one of the greatest reasons for his success in life. Having the right mentors in your life shapes your outlook. Esther gave him the practical skills to become an entertainer; she made sure he learnt classical piano – which would pay off dividends later on in his acting career, but beyond this she also instilled a set of values in him that would help him tackle the challenges of his industry – the acidic nature of Hollywood. The pinnacle to their relationship comes in the form of Jamie’s heart-warming Oscar speech for Best Actor.

This not only got me thinking about the mentors in my own life but also what example I’m setting for those coming up around me.

 

LESS IS MORE WHEN IT’S BETTER QUALITY

There’s an anecdote of him being invited to Puff Daddy’s party. On an interesting aside Jamie only got invited to the party as he always carried a large SLR camera with him. He was offering his hosts something; good quality photos of their party. I’m sure they loved his personality but he was also providing his host with something in return. Taking photos of Puff Daddy’s guests is also a great way to get into their little black book too. Anyway back to the story, he made a bet with Puff (a hugely competitive guy), that he could beat Puff’s $1million party for $400. Not on scale or lavishness but in quality, guests and vibe. Jamie sets up a party and rips through his contacts and selects people who would appreciate Puff’s music. He chooses other creatives, people innovating in and outside of the music industry, and finds people he thinks would have something else to add to Puff’s repertoire. By being selective in his approach he throws a better party in his, by Hollywood’s standards, small pad whilst serving KFC on china plates. Quality always trumps quantity.

 

PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS AND BE CHEEKY WITH IT

At one point in his career he moves up the rungs of the comedy circuit and is auditioning for a place on a comedy tour against five other comedians. It’s near the end of the audition process which focused on improv comedy, not his strong suit; and he’s sitting quite far down the pack. But luckily the last round was stand up comedy. His bread and butter. He turns up to the show late (the first comic is already on stage when he gets there), so that they have to put him on last – all on purpose. Being the “headline” he can finish the show, work with an easier crowd and make biggest impact out of his competitors.

Sitting at just over 2.5 hours this podcast is a beast, it took me a couple of sessions to get through it all, but it’s worth the time. Filled with laugher, great life-lessons and even greater stories, check the it out on Tim Ferriss’s four hour work week.

 

P.S. If that wasn’t enough, Jamie even saved a man from a burning car!

 

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