Management December 10, 2013 Last updated September 18th, 2018 2,521 Reads share

2013 Startup Takeaways From The Wu, Breaking Bad, Jay Z & Macklemore

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I have spent a great deal this year writing and talking about best practices for entrepreneurs and startup creation. We explored branding from the Wu Tang Clan, lessons learned from Breaking Bad, Bootstrapping like Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and we discussed motivational factors for entrepreneurial and best practices for crowed sourcing. On radio and podcast, we explored marketing and brand on a tight budget and workplace balance for new entrepreneurs.

I ended the year by traveling to the United Nations headquarters in New York City to participate in the

Here are my top 6 startup takeaways from 2013:

#1. What motivates entrepreneurs to take risk?

Many startup executives have noted that having passion is one of the key drivers for entrepreneurial success.  Passion drives some entrepreneurs to assume high levels of risk taking that many may see as being unconventional and even crazy. I believe all entrepreneurs are drawn towards an in-depth understanding of problem-solving and decision-making activities that embrace ambiguity and uncertainty.

Read more: What Motivates Entrepreneurs?

#2. What can you learn from watching Breaking Bad?

You can learn so much about entrepreneurship from Walter White, Jesse Pinkman and my favorite character of them all, mister serial entrepreneur himself, Gustavo Fring. The top 4 lessons learned from Breaking Bad includes:

  • Creating a unique product
  • Developing an all-star team
  • Be careful with who you partner with
  • Have an exit plan ready

Read more: 4 Business Lessons For Entrepreneurs From Breaking Bad

# 3. What can you learn about branding from the Wu Tang Clan?

The Wu Tang Clan is one of the greatest hip hop brands ever created. Yes there are plenty of rappers and music groups out there today with their own clothing lines, sneakers, watches, endorsement deals and 5 Hour Energy drinks, but they learned it from the Wu Tang. The top 4 things you can learn from the Wu Tang Clan are:

  • Know your brand right away
  • Say it loud
  • Be strategic with your brand
  • Keep the brand simple

Read more: Learn How To Brand From The Wu Tang Clan

# 4. What can Macklemore and Ryan Lewis teach you about Bootstrapping?

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ ‘Thrift Shop’ YouTube sensation has received over 400 million views and 2 million likes.


Macklemore mentioned that they shot and edited the video for just $5,000 and within weeks it got over 5 million hits. They also went indie for their full length album, which is now platinum and ‘Thrift Shop’ as a single went 7 times platinum. Here are the top 10 best practices for Bootstrapping your startup:

  • Seek trade credit
  • Engage in factoring
  • Get a letter of credit from customers
  • Apply for a manufacturer loan
  • Sign a lease agreement
  • Seek cash from family and friends
  • Tap into your savings
  • Sell equity stakes to investors
  • Reduce operating expenses
  • Be a jack-of-all-trades

Read more: Bootstrap Your Startup Like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

# 5. What can you learn about crafting the ultimate business pitch from Jay Z?

What other hip-hop artists do you know who work with business magnate Warren Buffett and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg? What other hip-hop artists strike game changing deals and partnership agreements with Live Nation Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment (i.e., outside of a record deal)? Do most music artists owns a percentage of a sports team (i.e., Brooklyn Nets) and hangs out with President Obama? This is because Jay Z has a strong business brand that requires very little pitching.

Read more:  Pitch It Like Jay Z: How to Deliver an Investment Pitch Like a Business Mogul

#6. What type of tactics should you consider for your crowdfunding campaign?

Crowdfunding simply means you get operational cash from the crowd. Well, don’t get too excited too quickly. The way it works, investors and consumers—the funders—register via a platform, such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter. Businesses then vie for a part of the cash pie by explaining their operational plans, business objectives and profitability metrics, among other criteria. Investors get paid at specific intervals during the loan term, or at maturity. Here are the top 10 best practices for in developing a crowdfunding campaign:

  • Create a catchy, compelling story
  • Embed multimedia content—video, photo and infographics
  • Set a reasonable, clear goal
  • Pick the cheapest terms
  • Explain how the money will be used
  • Design your crowdfunding campaign page
  • Choose a memorable URL
  • Formulate a S.M.A.R.T. marketing plan
  • Keep the crowd updated
  • Show your gratitude

Read more: 10 Ways to Boost Your Startup Crowdfunding Campaign


I hope you enjoyed reading my tips and lessons learned for startups and entrepreneurs. We have witnessed a lot of innovation and creativity taking place in the last few years. Much of the new technology that helped to change the game for entrepreneurs happened during the recession period.  This shows you how resilient entrepreneurs truly are. I am excited to see what new discoveries are awaiting for us in 2014 and looking forward to sharing it with you.

Read Sian Phillips interview with Dr. Emad Rahim on #TYBspotlight: The Amazing Life Of Dr. Emad Rahim: Genocide Survivor To Entrepreneur

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Emad Rahim

Emad Rahim

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