Kanye West also known as Ye is a controversial rapper come businessman that has recently been cancelled due to his antisemitic comments, including the praising of Adolf Hitler. In this article, we look at what, if anything can be learnt by entrepreneurs from the apparent downfall of the once multi-billionaire, Ye, formerly known as Kanye West.
Negativity drives clicks
When Kanye West who once had an estimated net worth of $6.6 billion, sat on Alex Jones’ show Info Wars last week and pronounced his love for Hitler the expected reaction should be repulsion and rejection of the celebrity. Unfortunately, we live in an age where clicks are everything and rather than switching off, eyeballs continued to follow the car crash and implosion of Kanye West online.
A flurry of articles and YouTube videos followed the outrage and millions if not billions of clicks were generated. Social media ‘influencers’ like Kanye West, and others understand our inane need for negative stories and drama.
They understand that a negative headline will usually generate more clicks and drive more attention. In today’s digital age, attention is the new currency. Unfortunately, celebrities like Kanye have to stoop to ever-decreasing lows to get that attention as the digital race is only won by those in the top 1% of trending topics online.
Fortunately, we do not need to go to extremes to learn from this. Headlines like, Why 90% of entrepreneurs fail”, will always do better than “Why 10% of Entrepreneurs succeed”, bear this in mind when promoting your venture. Unfortunately, it’s just the way we human beings are wired. Most of us are averse to loss, so are more likely to respond to news that may impact us negatively rather than positively. It’s important to understand that our words have a powerful energy. If we choose to embrace the negative aspects too much, do not be surprised if negativity follows.
Contracts are important in business
Kanye appears to be blaming the entire Jewish community for his failings as a businessperson. He claims he has been treated harshly by the business practices of members of this community. Unfortunately, Kanye seems to forget that these individuals helped him make billions of dollars and is now aggrieved as the contracts he signed, he no longer considers appropriate.
Come on Kanye, you are better than this. If you truly have a problem with the business practices of associates or any contracts you have signed you should be prepared to prove it via the legal system and claim damages for such malpractices. Of course, such action is likely to be expensive but if you are convinced and have the relevant evidence you should win hands down.
What can entrepreneurs learn? Firstly, ensure you have a contract for all agreements, and avoid doing business on a ‘handshake’. Secondly, read all your contracts even if you have a legal team. No point complaining after the event when you realise you have signed away your rights.
Thirdly, be prepared to take action if someone infringes the contract or goes against what was agreed. Taking action doesn’t mean you sling mud and hatred via Twitter, it means contacting the party in private to discuss the discrepancy and trying to correct the problem before any legal action takes place.
Don’t pronounce yourself a genius – even if you are one
Kanye West is no doubt a highly talented musician and gifted marketeer. However, his fixation with his self-proclaimed ‘genius’ could lead to his ultimate downfall. We’ve seen this behaviour before, most recently from multi-billion dollar crypto failure Sam Bankman-Fried, another self-proclaimed ‘genius’ who went on to lose in excess of 20 billion dollars of user funds. We’ve also seen similar behaviour from the Theranos ‘genius’ Elizabeth Holmes, who is now looking at over a decade in prison.
Real geniuses do not parade their intelligence like badges worn to impress their peers. True geniuses observe and act to inevitably show real results. They do not orate hollow words that are designed to titillate our base emotions and short-term expectations.
Come on Kanye, how many record labels have you formed to help up-and-coming music acts? How many businesses of black origin have you invested in and nurtured? How many businesses of any origin have you invested in and nurtured? The point is real geniuses act, and change the lives of others not just their own lives or the lives of their immediate family.
What can entrepreneurs learn? Do not go into entrepreneurship just for the accolades. Your main concern should be to grow your business and make life better for your users. Put your money where your mouth is and invest in your business and community. Of course, you need to make money to do that but don’t make the mistake of thinking that having money instantly makes you a ‘genius’. Hubris is a mistake geniuses simply do not make.
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