NYC’s Most Infamous Socialite Reveals How to Network With the Elite
Being able to meet the right people can be a huge factor for success. Unless you become well known, people will always prefer to work with people they already know or through referrals. Rapport is a powerful thing and builds trust. That is how New York socialite Justin Ross Lee has been able to network his way into the elite. From comped luxury hotel and first-class flights to hanging out with every celebrity that you can think of including Brad Pitt, Jimmy Fallon, Paris Hilton and Pauly D, Justin has lived a life many only dream of; think Tucker Max raging in NYC. He is a self proclaimed “JewJetter” seeking the Shiksa of his dreams (editors note: no, we are not making fun of him, he actually said that he wants to find a shiksa to date).
Justin started showing up in the spotlight when he began documenting his lavish lifestyle through his Facebook account back in 2008. This means he was showing off through social media way before our friend Dan Bilzerian hit the scene on Instagram. Since then, he has started his entrepreneurial venture Pretentious Pocket, appeared on reality shows, and is currently working on a book set to be released in the near future.
We recently had the pleasure of catching up with Justin Ross Lee over the phone. Here, he reveals the networking secrets that put him face-to-face with the elite and one the things he’s learned that separates successful people from the rest.
Tell us briefly how it all started for you, from being a regular person to becoming a socialite and online personality.
“Well it all happened by accident. My father got me a job at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital after graduate school; he was in the medical field his entire life so he pulled a couple of strings for me and got me a job working in an internal fund there managing their money. I was there for three days. On my third day, I was called into the lead surgeon’s office who asked me “Are you on something called the Facebook?” This was back in 2008 and I gulped and I realized “Holy shit I haven’t even ordered my supplies yet and I’m already fucking canned.” I was a twenty-two year old Jew in a two hundred year old conservative Christian hospital. It was a total mismatch and I had just realized it.”
“I was writing about my experiences on the job and how it was just unbelievable. I was twenty-four, I just graduated from my MBA, and I didn’t want to join the real world. I didn’t want to go back to school, I had already earned my Master’s Degree; I don’t want to get a fucking PhD but I didn’t want to show up every day to some job. I wanted to set my own schedule. I wanted to be an entrepreneur. So what better way to do that than leveraging the feedback I got from social media? I realized that was the best format by which to brand myself because people wouldn’t know that I’m branding myself until it’s too late. I’ve always loved making people laugh; I could have gone into standup comedy. The problem with that is there are a hundred thousand standup comedy acts all trying to be the next best thing. I didn’t know if there’s a lot more than that by being personal branded characters by way of Facebook. So I sought out to be the first, the only one. By default, if you are the only one that does something new, you’re the best, and I had to be the best.”
How valuable was going to college for you? Did it ever benefit your business or personal life?
“No. In fact, I’ve always said that I wished that my MBA was made of matzah so at least I could eat it over the high holidays. I could eat it during Passover; then it would be valuable. I think more so than my degree or my academia, and I love my alma mater, but I think more so than that was kind of a coming of life. When I was in school, especially in grad school, I learned to love to travel. The fact that it was in Hartford and not at NYU meant that every weekend or so, and I scheduled my classes two to three days a week, I was banging this ridiculous Parisian girl I met at the Eiffel Tower or this really hot model in Paris, so I would fly back and forth and that’s how I found my love for travel. Then I would party and bang out my grades and bang out my assignments and I was able to do that because my classes are only two or three days a week, like probably 15 hours a day or so. But do I think it’s valuable? Will I insist my son to go and get an MBA? Absolutely, no regrets. But then again, I have a million dollar education and I’m looking for a lot of return on that.”
“Would it be more if I have had this much value for doing something else? Probably, but then again what else could I have done? I would’ve probably been in some kind of lame situation working for the man or some kind of fucking hedge fund or doctor affiliated real estate agency. I’d start lacerating my wrists and I’d kill myself. It’s like, I never understand how people who work for other people do what it is that they do because while the security is nice, I could never imagine wanting to go online and live vicariously from someone like me. But that’s what they do and they do it because they don’t have the ability to say things or do things that don’t get back to them or get back to their employer. And even if they work, even if they have a company and they’re the CEO, it’s still reflected upon what they’re doing. So what I have right now is the reason I kind of gave up working. Some conventional, vocational wisdom is that I created my own notion of freedom where I’m just professionally not going to give a fuck and let’s see where that gets me.”
You have a good amount of haters and hardcore fans, what do you think is something that attracts people to you especially, the high-level contacts that you’ve built over the years?
“Well it’s always got to be what I called the fifty-one, forty-nine split. It’s a Howard Stern effect. You always want fifty-one percent of the people to hate you and forty-nine percent of the people to love you, and the second that balance switches, you have to reinvent yourself and come up with some edgier material. Notoriety is all about people talking about you. No one likes to talk about good news or someone to write an article about how much money I have today, but how much money I won’t have tomorrow? That’s great. People are going to read it and it will likely take up an entire page in the New York Post on a Monday. I’d love that. I fucking love that, and I love my hate mail. Unfortunately for me, my biggest problem right now is I’ve been getting way too much fan mail. I have to learn how to piss more people off and I’ve got to tell you at my level that’s not easy.”
So since you seem to be getting more fans than haters now, it’s time to switch, right?
“Yeah, well what I feel is the best way to do that is just distribution and introducing myself to new audiences. One of the ways I’m doing that is by entertaining the masses, fly over states by way of reality T.V. and that’s the only way I’m going to gain more distribution, more followers and more hate, cause that’s really the end goal. The end goal is to piss off as many people as possible.”
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