Daymond John—investor on ABC’s Shark Tank, presidential ambassador for global entrepreneurship, bestselling author, and CEO of global fashion brand FUBU—speaking at the 2021 ULI Fall Meeting in Chicago.

At the closing general session of ULI’s 2021 Fall Meeting, Daymond John—investor on ABC’s Shark Tank, presidential ambassador for global entrepreneurship, bestselling author, and CEO of global fashion brand FUBU—summed up the lessons he has learned from life and business. After waiting tables at Red Lobster in the late 1980s, he began sewing wool hats popular with hip-hop fans, and by befriending stars such as LL Cool J, built a multimillion-dollar business.

He summed up the secrets of his success with five “S.H.A.R.K. Points.”

  • Set a goal. “If we’re not in charge of your goal, we often have to let other people take our goals from us.”
  • Homework. “Kids call it analytics. I love to call it homework. I just do my homework because you’re never going to create anything new in this world.”
  • Amor. “Isn’t that the real reason we do what we do—not because we necessarily love what we do, but because we love our families. We spend so much time trying to please others, and we don’t reinvest in the most valuable thing we have.”
  • Remember you are your brand. “Can you put yourself into two to five words?”
  • Keep swimming. This one came to him after undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous nodule from his thyroid. Now cancer-free, he said, “All of us sharks, we take care of everybody else, but we don’t take care of ourselves.”

RON NYREN is a freelance architecture, urban planning, and real estate writer based in the San Francisco Bay area.