They say 20 seconds of courage is all it takes to change your life. In love, work and play, this is very true. June, 2008, after a several days of rest & relaxation with my girlfriend in Las Vegas, we decided to rent a convertible and drive to LA.
Since I was in the cell phone business, I had my mind on my money and my money on my mind. The idea was to collaborate with a famous tattoo designer and make amazing tattoo iPhone cases. So first I drove over to visit Kat Von Dee before she had gone mainstream and had a show so she was mostly just getting started then.
I talked to her about 20 minute and she was pretty down. I got her number and took off to stop number two, but never called her back because of what happened next….Ed Hardy was the hottest tattoo brand on the planet so off I went to seek face time with Christian Audiger of now infamous and uber-hated on apparel brand, Ed Hardy.
Hate all you want haters, the man’s worth $250M.
And yes he is always laughing like a maniacal tyrant, and yes someone follows him around all day and randomly shoots confetti everywhere he goes.This was before the douche-bag and Jersey Shore stigma, when it was just a hot as hell LA brand.Enter the courage I was talking about before which consisted of walking into the Ed Hardy Culver City office, claiming I had a meeting with Christian and then stopped him and his entourage as he was getting into his Maybach at 6pm on an LA Friday. In that 20 second pitch I sold him on why he needed us and 60 days later we were part of the entourage and in the next three years, we sold a whole mess of Ed Hardy smartphone cases in 32 countries. We caught the mobile accessory category off guard and spawned an entire industry in fashion and licensed mobile phone accessories.Of course the Ed Hardy brand tanked after that and sure there are always ups and downs in business… typical stuff.. French Mafia, pirate hijackings (that’s for another post), but the business took me all over China to Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Berlin, Hanover, Paris London and more.. and world travel is and always will be at the top of my list as a lifestyle need.
Those 20 seconds of courage also landed me in front of top brass at Best Buy and Target and I even geeked out at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino at Apple and in 2011, landed my company on the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies in America and landed me at #6 Inc. 500 Top Asian Entrepreneurs in the Country. The experience, lessons and perspectives that I gained aren’t taught in school or learned at work… and I didn’t traded them for the $300k a year desk jockey jobs I turned town several times or the Parliament position I turned down from my home country as “Image Ambassador to the USA” (for another post). Those opportunities are still there, but the experiences I had, could have never been redeemed. I don’t say this to impress you, but to impress upon you that the next time you have a chance to execute insane courage for 20 seconds, do whatever you have to do and take the chance! You never know where it will take you!