[0:01:24] Career Journey
Brian was fired from his last nine-to-five job in 2008 and couldn’t get another one because of a legal issue. He went into entertainment as a hip hop artist, formed a record label representing artists, and hosting shows with big names like Ghostface, Mobb Deep, N.E.R.D, and Pharrell. He had a printing business after that and then a clothing line before starting the social media business. His “homeless man” video got him noticed.
[0:08:29] The Comedian
Growing up, he enjoyed doing comedy with his dad, so it was an easy transition from hip hop to comedy. He’s had quite a few “semi viral” videos including one where he posed as a celebrity, but his most famous prank so far was when he disguised himself as a homeless man and then gave $100 to anyone who stopped to help him. The video went viral, he got calls from major news stations, and many opportunities arose from that.
[0:13:24] Inspired to Help People
When he was 21 and feeling desperate, a good Samaritan settled his $1200 bill with a request that he pay it forward. The circumstances of that encounter left a deep impression and Brian would love to one day meet his mysterious benefactor.
[0:18:06] The Clothing Business
With the help of a talented intern, Brian set up a clothing line which he named Sikey. After a successful start, he balked at investing more money into it and the business kind of fizzled out but Brian is ready to reboot it.
[0:22:31] Brian the Speaker
After his TEDx debut, opportunities started pouring in. He was at a NetCon event, he’s scheduled to speak at two more, and he will be at the upcoming Disrupt Puerto Rico. He enjoys speaking because it allows him to share knowledge and help people. He adds humor everywhere and once went as far as protesting his own billboard. Though he makes money out of the social media business, he has yet to figure out how to monetize YouTube content.
[0:29:48] Skits, Pranks and Social Experiments
Some pranksters cross the line and are either rude or obnoxious. Brian is all for pushing boundaries with social experiments and pranks, but not in a way that will get him arrested or cause extreme distress. During a skit involving his dad and fiancé having an affair, Brian was concerned when he heard there were eight-year-olds at the scene.
[0:32:20] Tips for Instagram
IGTV features make it easy to share videos on Instagram. Keep them around three–five minutes because longer ones can put off your audience. YouTube pays for views but that means having ads on your videos. Brian is somewhat of an expert on Instagram but admits that he keeps learning new stuff. Some social experiments are well thought out but some like the “gold digger” ones are annoyingly unreal.
[0:35:38] I’m Verified on Instagram
In one social experiment, Brian went around trying to get free stuff with his blue Instagram verification badge. Included on his list were: an audience with Gloria Estefan; a free hotel room at the Hilton; a JetBlue ticket.
[0:40:00] Police Encounters
Brian and Brad have interesting ideas on how to improve the criminal justice system. Being sent to jail is not always the most punitive punishment for a white-collar criminal. Brian recounts incidences where he was harassed by police–perhaps his old drug felony charges were the reason he was targeted in the first place.
[0:51:13] Anyone Can Get Rich
There are lots of opportunities out there and some people might have to work harder than others, but everyone can make money. If you spot a problem, figure out how to solve it for less than you charge for the solution. Relationships are indeed the new economy and in Brian’s case, he met many people after putting up his crazy billboard which then led to many useful connections.
[0:55:02] How to Survive without a Nine-To-Five
When he was a kid, Brian was always selling something to get money, even if that meant stealing chrome caps off people’s cars. If it wasn’t for his legal problems, he would have walked into another nine-to-five job after he was fired in 2008. Left with no alternatives, he went all in on hustling. In his TED talk, he describes how he always managed to make money but also went from failure to failure in his business ventures.
[1:02:12] How to Make a Video Go Viral
- For videos with pets or just animals, LADbible is a site that has millions of followers on Facebook. Brad’s coyote video will stand a good chance there.
- Drop Easter eggs in the video. Add something funny, odd, or misplaced to create a discussion in the comments.
- Do something off the wall like shooting a real estate video in front of a dumpster.
- Arguments and negative comments in the comment section will almost guarantee engagement.
- Send the video to news outlets and major Facebook outlets.
[1:11:34] Upcoming Speaking Events
The next event is related to NetCon and will be somewhere in LA, after which he will go to Anthony Delgado’s Disrupt Puerto Rico.