10 Business Tips From Marc Ecko

On July 26th, 2013, several hundreds of eager young adults with notepads, laptops, and cameras in hand filled up an auditorium for Agenda Emerge. This creative and brand building conference featured some of today’s most iconic creative directors, industry leaders and entrepreneurs in the youth marketplace. Moderated by Jon Buscemi, industry insights and business intricacies were shared by jeffstaple, Johnny Cupcakes and Bobby Hundreds. The  night was capped off by none other than, Fashion Designer, Entrepreneur & Founder of ComplexMarc Ecko. After a presentation of his career up till date, Marc utilized one of hip-hop’s most notorious songs as a lesson in business.

“Tonight’s lesson is a lesson on philosophy and we will study the notion of deductive reasoning. Aristotle is the grandfather of deductive reasoning…but I wanted to draw from a different philosopher: the late great Biggie Smalls. Tonight our lesson will be taking an assessment of the ‘Ten Crack Commandments,’ which was released on March 25, 1997. The reason I use this song is because it is great for learning everything that you need to know about business. Every fucking thing you need to know about business is in this song!”

Here are Mark Ecko’s top 10 business tips:

1. Never let no one know how much dough you hold

“Culturally we want to brag when we get that first taste of success. That is one of the realities of being a capitalist. Culturally we like to count shit: money, grades, wins, loses, followers, fucks. You’re so busy counting! Show me where there is a straight line in nature. Straight lines are a creation of man. Stop seeking validation that can only be found in finite numbers.”

2. Never let the know your next movie…move in silence or violence

“Now silence is a rare commodity. It’s hard to find silence. We’re so busy vomiting in social media. I’m a fan of social media. I’m a beneficiary of it. But chill on too much information. There is a reason in business it’s not good. It can result in a certain amount of predictability. This notion of violence is the notion of being able to execute. Execute means to carry into effect. Getting shit done. Remind yourself who you are working for. What value are you creating? Social media is a big part of broadcasting your brand, but where is the value? I have this new app that’s called fucking discretion.”

3. Never trust no-bo-dy

“It’s real. In business it’s real. You have to be careful how you trust yourself. This notion of trust is a big concept. The lack of it can lead to paranoia. Trust means comfort and consolation. But in business, there is no comfort zone.  People allow themselves to create a false sense of comfort.”

4. Never get high on your own supply

“Don’t mis-utilize your product. What killed Jabba the Hutt? It was his hubris. What killed Jabba the Hutt was Jabba the Hutt. Your hubris is the most dangerous drug you will ever experience. It makes you treat your success in a vile way. Contrary to the frenzy we live in, fame does not equal success.”

5. Never sell no crack where you rest at

“You don’t eat where you shit. Family is a sacred concept. It is one of the most precious things to me. I keep my family and business completely separated. We live in a culture of ‘don’t sleep.’ But get some rest. The best advice I can give anyone is sleep. Have a nice pillow and a nice bed. And stay hydrated.”

6. Credit, dead it

“I’d gladly pay you Thursday for a hamburger today. The reference is Wimpy from Popeye. Be careful who you lend to and we are not just talking about money. It’s your time, energy, resources. Be careful who you lend to. No one should ride for free. If you are going to lend, have zero expectations of ever getting paid back. The spirit of lending is good, but have zero expectations. You might never get that shit back and that’s ok. Make peace with that.”

7. Keep your family and business completely separated

“This is different than the other point about not eating where you shit. How many of you think you are rational? We’re not rational. We’re emotional. Nepotism is a toxic thing. Even myself, I’ve employed people that I really care about. You’re just trying to help. But it can be toxic in business. Be careful.”

8. Never keep no weight on you/Them cats that squeeze your guns can hold jobs too

“Do not micromanage. Culturally we live in a micromanage era. Steve Jobs is a one in a billion guy. He is famous for it. But too many of us are fake ass Steve Jobs. It’s like the scene from Office Space: the TPS report. Delegate and learn to accept failure. That is what Steve Jobs did. Even when I hear Kanye, who I love and think is one of the most important artists of our time, when I hear him say he is the Steve Jobs of hip-hop, I laugh at that shit. It’s like ‘No, you’re not.’ Let’s not be a fake ass Steve Jobs. Be a real ass Kanye.”

9. If you ain’t gettin bags stay the fuck from police

“I deduce the notion of politics from this. Business and politics is not such a good idea. General office politics make for a great sitcom, but that shit is not cool. Who needs more soap operas? If you are tolerating politics in business, you are tolerating this other layer of stuff. It implies ulterior motives. You want to avoid ulterior motives in business. Your motive should be your strategy; what you’re focused on. Politics imply that you are lobbying for some other thing. Not cool in business. Politics is governed by gatekeepers. You will encounter many of them. Don’t try to comply to their standards. You’re going to be labeled. It’s human nature. But when you refuse to be labeled and comply to the rules of these gatekeepers, you create your own.”

10. If you ain’t got the clientele say hell no/Cause they gone want they money rain, sleet, hail, snow

“This one is real! If you do not have the clientele say hell no. You know that old John Paul Getty saying: If you owe the bank $150, that’s your problem. But if you owe the bank 100 million, that’s the bank’s problem. That some real Donald Trump type A asshole shit right there. By the way, it’s complete bullshit. Careful who you take cash from. Careful who you lend to and careful who you take cash from. Culturally we create illusions of being able to finance and get money with ease. Seek partners, not lenders. Distribute the risk and distribute the upside. It’s more fun that way. One of the great things about building Complex and Complex Media, and there are 130 sites across that network, it’s a lot more fun making money with a lot of people.”


Look out for Marc Ecko’s book, Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out coming out on October 1, 2013. You can pre-order it now.