1- Think like a boxer
In business, as in life, you will get punched many times. You will not know when, how many times or even by whom, but you can be certain the punches will come. “Those that can take the punches, and get back up, over the long haul, those are the people that usually thrive as entrepreneurs’.
2- Be an explorer
In order to be successful in business you have to know your sh*t, there is no substitute for that. But the most successful people have really diverse interests, they take time away from what they do to day to day to learn about other things in culture: they’re explorers, they’re incredibly curious and that’s what makes them more effective, more interesting and ultimately successful.
3- Give back
Take time to meet with people who are starting, or not as far along as yourself. Not only will you be contributing to other people’s success, helping them the way you’ve been helped before: you will also learn from these interactions and eventually even collaborate and do things together in ways you had never expected
In 1998, Cohen and his partner Stone launched music and lifestyle magazine, The FADER. Now am award-winning global media company responsible for providing artists Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, and Drake their first magazine covers, and honoring icons like The Notorious B.I.G, Serena Williams, Philip Glass, Outkast, Kacey Musgraves, Beck, and many others. The FADER has been hailed as a “music and fashion bible” by the New York Times, and championed by the likes of NPR, Fortune, The Atlantic, BBC, Newsweek, Fast Company, Billboard, and more.
Prior to Fader, Cohen served as Vice President of Columbia Records’ alternative music department and was head of Alternative Music at SBK/EMI. While there, he was savvy enough to sense a shift in musical tastes and championed such alternative artists including Blur, Alice in Chains and Jeff Buckley and was instrumental in shaping their commercial success.
In addition Cohen is a member of the board of directors for Sweetgreen, and for the Children’s Cancer Association, MyMusicRx, and serves as a senior advisor to Syracuse University’s Bandier Music industry Program.
This interview is part of Chaco’s 90 Seconds Of Wisdom series: our mad attempt at countering oceans of information with drops of wisdom.
Small firms can find it hard to match the energy, world class talent and diversity that make larger companies so competitive. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Start a business with less than 10 employees and you’ll soon discover how quickly your co-workers can seem dull. No matter how much you like them, walking into a small office with just the 6 of you feels as eerily quiet as church on a Tuesday morning.
Smallness can eventually work against you, as talent migrates out to rival firms with a mailroom bigger than your entire office and opportunities pass you by because you lack the scale and diversity needed to solve complex problems.
Realizing that we were not the only consultancy facing this challenge, we launched Kongo: our opportunity to surround ourselves with some of the brightest independent professionals and start-ups in the media and creative industries.
We opened over 5,000 square feet of beautifully designed loft-space to a small group of world-class designers, researchers, writers, producers, motion graphics experts, innovators and foreign correspondents. Some of our colleagues include FireFish USA (research), Positron (experiential design engineers), A Different Engine (UX design), Messaging Lab (biotech), QuesttoNo (product design), SmartAssDesign and Machine (innovation and design)
Based in Dumbo, the heart of New York’s most vibrant start-up community, we now collectively enjoy the resources of larger Madison Avenue agencies, with none of the politics.