15 things Ice T said during an insightful speech at an MIT event I also spoke at

Approach pitching a reporter like any business act, with purpose. I gave an updated version of a presentation I’ve given before on how to get your business media attention, with my continuing to evolve thoughts about the process, as an editor and reporter, to a Small Bytes entrepreneurship conference at MIT in February. But the keynote was rapper turned actor Ice T and proved interesting to be sure.

He was funny, smart and, truly, actually fairly insightful. He knew who he was and was playful about that but he had a long life of experience. It made me think about how valuable time-developed wisdom is. Pop culture or not, he had some wonderful stories with practical thoughts.

Maybe the personally most amusing part was that because I spoke right before Ice T, he watched my talk and referenced it a few times, referring to me as “the reporter.” I will smile for years in the future whenever I think of Ice T saying, after I addressed the crowd and told them that the media doesn’t owe anyone any favors: “Like the reporter said, no one gives a fuck about you.”

Though I was expecting to mostly just be amused, instead, I found myself jotting down a few notes worth remembering. Find them below.

  • “Don’t fuck with the president” — Is all press, good press? Ice T remembered then Vice President Dan Quayle using his music as an example of what was wrong with the industry and it lost him contracts, business and career progress.
  • “I don’t give a fuck about kids in Somalia” — Ice pushed on the idea that those pitching a business need to focus on profit first, particularly when pitching investors. “Is your work a business or a charity?” he asked repeatedly. Philanthropy is fine, he said, but that’s a different thing than a business.
  • “Every reality show is a commercial” — In describing product placement in his popular reality show. “If you’re on one for the fuck of it, you’re an idiot.” he continued.
    “Coco ain’t no celebrity, she just got a big booty”
  • “Nobody can stop a hit record” – Of the democratic nature of the creative arts.
  • “Building a business is just rearranging all the fuck ups from your team” — He described the experience of trying to make money with inexperienced partners around him.
  • “How do you stay innovative? Keep a group of kids around you.” — He said that there is value in keeping teenagers (or 20-somethings) as interns or a focus group if you’re trying to be cool. You have your core group and you get older, forgetting that what is new changes.
  • “You only lose by fighting the future” — Ice said Quincy Jones said this.
  • People hate up. Hate is a product of love, anyone who is truly loved will have someone who hates them, just ask Jesus,” he said.
  • Put money on the table to cut the deal — A lot of talk about partnering doesn’t go anywhere. All parties should put money on the table and see if it goes somewhere.
  • His investment strategy: Choose people first. Are you a winner, a loser or a faker? Never invest in something easy because it’s a scam
  • If you can’t walk into his house and open his fridge, then he’s not your friend, he’s a business associate. So don’t trust in someone who wouldn’t feel comfortable doing so.
  • Fame comes quick but respect lasts — He spoke about transitioning his career from rapping to acting and how many of his fans have aged with him. It’s hard to have longevity, he said.
  • Any real life criminal don’t hate the cops, they’re just the opponent in the game you want to win. Hate is just an act.

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