5 Beats a Day for 3 Summers…by Albert Okagbue

Kanye West, the Marketer

Have you ever heard any of Kanye West’s music? Do you like any of it? Maybe you don’t, but surely you know many young people that do, right?

You probably think he is arrogant don’t you?  Most people do.  I’m not here to disagree with you, but I will challenge the idea that he shouldn’t be arrogant. I think Kanye West is a role model in a twisted, but very real way. Quite simply, he is damn good at what he does – and markets it well.

From his time as a producer to his time as a Rapper and even when he uses Auto-Tune, the guy makes music that millions of people enjoy. But all this comes at a high price.  Just look at his relationships with women!  I recall reading that he and Amber Rose broke up soon after she  realized that while recording an album, he would be in the studio 24-7 for three weeks straight. They didn’t even have sex…

I’m not here to make you a Kanye West fan, I just want you to consider that he works really hard at his craft. I also want you to consider that the price he pays is such that it hurts him a lot when it is not acknowledged. He’s so sure of how good he is that he thinks maybe you’ll understand. Culturally he is defined as arrogant, but financially he is defined as filthy rich.

Why is Kanye West Rich?

I think Kanye West is rich because he is willing to stake his reputation on the idea that he is better than 99% of the world’s population at something. He doesn’t mind looking stupid when he makes the claim, because as far as he is concerned he has the product and performance to back it up. In this process he is clearly arrogant, but he ends up with output that is always among the best.  It’s not an easy task and he has plenty of competition….when he released 808s and Heartbreaks he said something like “I knew if I didn’t do it, Lil Wayne would do it”. (Lil Wayne is another person who eats, drinks, and sleeps his profession.)

What I want you to understand as you read this article is that job-security is critical for achieving financial security. It doesn’t really matter whether you earn $30K a year or $5 million. If you’re not better than most people at what you do, then you might not earn that paycheck the next year – or be unable to convince a new employer to pay you that much. Bankruptcies happen most often among people who earn a lot, because they qualify for borrowing really large amounts in the good times, then in the bad times they are the first to get laid off.

Arrogance Is Good Marketing

I think it would help all of us to be a bit arrogant from time to time. If we push ourselves to claim to be good at something, we will have no choice but to put in the work to actually be good at it. Kanye West failed at this many times before he made it.  He failed at being a Rapper until his career as a producer took off — then he build a Rap career on top of that.  Sometimes, humility is an excuse for mediocrity; we don’t want to claim to know anything, because we’re afraid of being a fraud.  But if you don’t claim to know anything, you might never study anything enough to know it.  This is not how you become financially secure. The odds of becoming financially secure are increased more by how good you are at what you do than by what you do. Some millionaires are doctors, but others are librarians.

To have money, you must first earn it – and if your earnings will be reliable or ever grow really large you need to become more like Kanye West. Being cocky or arrogant is not socially acceptable, but if you can’t be so because you have nothing to back it up with you might be headed for financial mediocrity.  Think about it.

Want to see more of Albert’s work? Check here.



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