“The key that I found is… just work with the best talent you can find around you, and try to keep up.”
“It’s something that I appreciate in people: an ability to pick up the phone and make the call, and go for it. You want it? The excuses are your own. Get up and do it. You can fail a million times, but at least you are doing it.”
“Some people have amazing networks, but they will go to their grave without using them. Because they’re scared. And they hold them so tight to their chest thinking that it’s an asset. But it acts as a hindrance. It’s keeping you from reaching out to people that might actually help you. If you’re not willing to use those contacts, then what’s the use?”
Most Interesting Man
Qarim Brown is an entrepreneur, a photographer, and a world-class storyteller. He has been a founder or co-founder of businesses that range from facilitating travel to luxury destinations to creating a digital concierge. He has directed a music video for Tiga, organized a party at the Playboy mansion, and made a living for himself in his early 20s as a male model in France.
Are you getting the vibe this conversation was one-of-a-kind?
Walk The Talk
There are few that get to explore just one of the many projects Qarim has been a part of. And although the above description reads nicely, Qarim’s journey isn’t just a string of successes.
On the show, he talks candidly about his experience as a model and how he educated himself in photography by witnessing masters at work, about going into business with family and friends, about losing millions selling an app when the buyers suddenly had second thoughts, about his approach to pitching projects or ideas to prospective investors, about winning a marketing award for his very first campaign, and more.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable talk for many reasons. Qarim is an effortless storyteller, and has a fascinating breadth of experience to draw from. One of his most interesting qualities is his relentless curiosity and momentum in life, and his skill in navigating the traps of failure as well as success.
Qarim Brown on The SpiritBros Podcast!
[2:19] What is the first step to throwing a party at the Playboy mansion?
[5:49] How an awful summer job was Qarim’s origin story as an entrepreneur.
[8:27] On his six years spent in Paris as a male model.
[14:49] What did Qarim learn from his experience as a model?
[17:49] On the challenges and hustle required to make it as a model.
[20:39] On the social media landscape.
[24:44] On transitioning from modelling to new projects.
[30:04] On his first entrepreneurial venture: starting a clothing line with his sister.
[33:19] “The key that I found is… just work with the best talent you can find around you, and try to keep up.”
[34:49] “I think that being curious is one of the essential elements of living a fulfilled life, and maintaining that curiosity is usually just an exercise of opening up your eyes and not being wrapped up in yourself.”
[34:19] On what he looks for in a photograph.
[37:14] On directing a music video for Tiga.
[41:19] Starting ‘Number of Names’ in 2009 and winning an award for their very first campaign.
[49:29] “I think this is imperative in life: that you have sounding boards and people that you respect who have tendencies that don’t mirror your own, because that’s where you get insight from; if everyone is saying the same thing you are… good luck!”
[51:09] How does Qarim prepare for a pitch?
[52:19] On the beginnings of his concierge app.
[55:19] “It’s something that I appreciate in people: an ability to pick up the phone and make the call, and go for it. You want it? The excuses are your own. Get up and do it. You can fail a million times, but at least you are doing it.”
[57:09] “Some people have amazing networks, but they will go to their grave without using them. Because they’re scared. And they hold them so tight to their chest thinking that it’s an asset. But it acts as a hindrance. It’s keeping you from reaching out to people that might actually help you. If you’re not willing to use those contacts, then what’s the use?”
[59:19] On working in the ‘chicken business’.
[1:03:49] On the impact of investors when running a start-up.
[1:07:19] In their first pitch, Qarim and his partner secured 350K from an angel investor.
[1:09:59] Qarim shares insight into how getting and maintaining customer engagement were the big challenges for his concierge app. Another challenge was data input.
[1:13:24] On the negative momentum created by reaching the end of their five year term with VCs.
[1:20:19] On founding ‘Man and Machine’ and organizing events all around the world.
[1:21:49] Qarim’s insight into the Fyre Fest quagmire from an event organizer’s point of view.
[1:25:44] What was Qarim’s Fyre Fest equivalent in terms of a failure?
[1:32:19] On having to decide what to do next when at a crossroads.
[1:41:24] Is there anything about the Playboy mansion party that we should know about?
[1:42:19] Qarim gives Scott advice on organizing a great event with “Ceremony of Yoga.”
[1:44:19] “When you are entering [the event], that is the formative moment. What is the transformative journey they are experiencing at that moment?”
[1:48:41] What is Qarim’s best failure?
[1:50:39] “Being your own biggest fan, is sorta the first step to the world of self-actualization. If you are being realistic with yourself, you’re not that bad… and you’re not that good!”
[1:51:09] What is Qarim’s dream for the future?
[1:55:31] En-Lightning Round.