The Phat Startup: Hip-Hop Meets Entrepreneurship At This NYC Tech Conference

phat startup
VC and lover of hip-hop Ben Horowitz (Left) at The Phat Startup.

If tech had an official soundtrack, it would be hip-hop. The idea of making something out of nothing is at the core of both entrepreneurship and hip-hop. Both tap into the promise of the American Dream we all have buried within us.

Enter The Phat Startup, a media company that unites those two in a very real way. Founded in 2011 by James Lopez and Anthony Frasier, The Phat Startup has managed to distinguish themselves in an online mess of buzzword stew and clichéd content by creating real content and dropping real knowledge. They’ve had some pretty legendary interviews with people like Ben Horowitz, Gary Vaynerchuck, Alexis Ohanian and James Altucher. The great thing about them is that all their content is super accessible — rather than delving into complicated theory, they provide content and advice that anyone, from any background, rich or poor, white or black, can relate to and understand.

In addition to their amazing content, The Phat Startup has also partnered with New York University to make Tech808, the first-ever hip-hop tech conference. It’s happening this Friday, Nov. 21, at New York University.

“It’s going to be just straight executable content,” James Lopez said. “We have 14 speakers lined up for the day … there’s not going to be any self promotion, it’s going to be just ‘here’s how I did this, here’s how you can do it too.’ I feel like a lot of people think that to do startups or tech you need to have graduated from an Ivy League school or have a trust fund, and a lot of our speakers haven’t had those things, so they’re going to show how to use what’s out there to advantage and how to be successful.”

The lineup is stacked — they have Grammy award-winning producers, venture capitalists, CEOs and more on deck. In the course of one business day — 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — they’re going to speak on virtually any subject one could want to know about, whatever their hustle is: purpose, determination, marketing, partnerships, funding, social media, dealing with failure, and more. Plus, there will be lunch and networking.

Their events always sell out, and tickets are going fast. It’s $200 for a complete startup education in one day. As the rappers say — real recognize real — and real OGs rock with and vouch for The Phat Startup. Instead of the pretentious bullshit that poisons a lot of tech and networking conferences, this is a real, down-to-earth, and useful event. I know I’m going to walk out of there a changed — and more inspired — man.

About the Author: Zach Schwartz is from Cleveland, Ohio. He is currently a contributor at VICE and Thought Catalog, and a Partner at Rapchat. He Tweets @zach_two_times.

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