Daymond John, star of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” joined Elon University as the Fall Convocation speaker Sept. 29 in the Schar Center

From living in his mother’s basement to becoming an award-winning entrepreneur, John said he decided from the very beginning that if he had a passion, he would not let a lack of money hold him back. 

“In the first six months of my career with my clothing brand — I had a phone available to me, that’s all I had,” John said. “I didn’t have any money. I said I was gonna make 50 calls a day … So I made 50 calls a day.”

John used visual aids, music and videos to highlight his main points of what it means to “think like a shark.”

He started his presentation by providing background on his life and how he got started. He discussed his love for hip-hop and how it was an inspiration for him to start his brand, FUBU. 

“Hip-hop is the voice of the streets,” John said. “When you have the voice of the ‘have-nots’ talking about their plight or their hopes or their dreams, then they are totally unfiltered.”

As Fall Convocation landed on Elon’s parent’s weekend, many students and their families came to hear from John and  learn more about entrepreneurship. 

Sophomore Zack Golub attended Fall Convocation with his father, Jonathan Golub, where they both said they appreciated John’s incorporation of humor.

“When talking about his experiences, Daymond John joked that he didn’t want to date himself and then provided a number for his age,” Zack said. “He then continued to give a false number for his age, increasing the year each time he said it. He was very entertaining to listen to.”

John touched on the topic known as his five S.H.A.R.K. points. These points were his guide to successfully pursuing one’s passion. 

One point that particularly resonated with senior Sam Martin was his definition of the letter A: Amor. 

“Through Daymond’s story and his accomplishments, you can see first-hand how leading with love is such a strong pillar to guide your life,” Martin said.

John made note that he and his audience were one in the same, expressing that he is no different from anyone that was sitting in that room with him.

“This is what real entrepreneurship is,” John said. “Whether it is the faculty, staff, professors or family here, you are a group of sharks.”