Cash, cans and classes - 50 Cent's business tips
Mark Summers discovers 50 Cent's business tips are worth listening to...
Not many CEO presentations move their audience to scream, shout and, in one case, propose marriage - but
then rapper 50 Cent is far from the average executive.
The 37-year-old star drew a crowd of hundreds when he took the stage at the American University in Dubai on Thursday - but they’d come to hear him talk, not rap the tracks that have seen him sell millions of records.
The American has had something of a packed schedule during his visit to Dubai, combining a much-anticipated concert at Friday’s Atelier music event with a visit to GITEX Technology Week to launch his own headphones.
The latter event reflects his burgeoning business empire, a man whose breakout album was called ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin’ has long since made some serious cash.
Taking to the stage to a rapturous welcome from AUD students and faculty members , ‘Fiddy’ touched on his infamously tough upbringing in the New York borough of Queens.
“In the environment I was in, there wasn’t a lot of opportunities to do it the legit way, so I did it the other way,” he said of dealing drugs on the streets as a youth.
That was a path that ultimately led to the famous episode in May 2000 when he survived being shot nine times at close range. It’s surreal to think the softly spoken entrepreneur on stage in Dubai is the same person, but the rapper credits his near-death experience with giving him “bigger goals”.
What started with music has today grown into a portfolio which covers everything from clothing to headphones; boxing promotion to charitable interests to vitamin drinks.
He admits he finds it surreal when he visits universities that he is the one telling people with more education than he ever had how to be a business success. But, he believes, success involves cultivating the kind of instincts “that aren’t taught in the classroom”. The rhyme-smith speaks to youngsters, he said, to stop them “from falling into the regimen of the nine-to-five - and becoming people who get comfortable with just getting by”.
His number one business tip? “It’s really important that you be a good judge of character,” he insists.
Too many have become a cropper, he says, by having a business blind spot for friends or family.
“If you look at the people you see on the actual Forbes list of the top 500 business leaders so many have previously been divorced,” he says.
“So they have lost half of their income at some point - based on a friendship that didn’t work.” Perhaps that’s why he respectfully declined a student’s shouted offer of marriage. There is one match-up the newly registered boxing promoter wants to see though - the long-mooted contest between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
Asked if he knew there had been speculation that Dubai would host the slugfest, 50 Cent was unfazed. “Well, Dubai’s where the money is at,” he replied. “As I am well aware.”
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