Shark Attacks Stage at CNP Expo 

May 22, 2012

On the first full day of the CNP Expo yesterday, clothing entrepreneur Daymond John addressed attendees at a morning session in Orlando, Fla. John, the fashion trendsetter who dressed a generation of urban youth raised on the first wave of hip-hop culture, shared lessons culled from his years building clothing brand FUBU and considering investment opportunities on the ABC television show Shark Tank.

John used a multi-media presentation and anecdotes from his youth in Hollis, Queens to convey his five “SHARK points”—recommendations he uses to guide entrepreneurs toward business success: Setting goals, Homework, Access, Remember your brand and Keep moving.

John spoke for more than an hour and acknowledged that e- and m-commerce are still in their infancy and present an enormous opportunity.

“[E-commerce represents only] seven or eight percent of retail trade. Seven or eight percent domestic,” he said. “Think about it. You guys are at the beginning of a mushroom. And you are the leaders, proactively putting this together and coming here to network and find all the other people in at the beginning of the mushroom.”

After a Las Vegas trade show in the early 1990s where John and FUBU finally made their mark taking orders for $300,000 worth of clothes, a stark reality hit him on his way home: he had to produce $300,000 worth of clothes. John used his predicament to stress a theme that CNP Expo founder Steve Casco had emphasized in his own welcome address earlier: you cannot expect as a business or an industry to move forward without establishing partnerships.

“I didn’t know anything about production. I didn’t know anything about manufacturing, shipping, delivering, returns or consumption of goods,” John admitted. “How was I going to do that? Just like you guys. You gotta know what you know. You can’t learn 10 different businesses, so you have to work with each other. Each of you is an expert. Work with one another.”

John concluded his keynote address by illustrating how business is changing and how merchants that take CNP payments are benefitting.

“Times are changing in business—definitely in fashion,” he said. “Because the kids aren’t going to malls anymore. Before they get a dollar in their pocket from their job, they’ve bought seven applications or got movies on Netflix. They’re playing Art of War or War of Art. They’re not even going to the mall looking for girls or guys anymore. Where do they find them? On Facebook. Technology is starting to suck the money out of their pocket before they ever get it. They’re hitting kids at home on a device they look at 200 times a day.”

John’s address was one of three general sessions at the CNP Expo yesterday. The event concludes today with a keynote presentation of new research examining how consumers feel about and react to fraud, a general session looking at the CNP payment environment in emerging economies and the final 10 panel discussions covering topics such as mobile payments technology, accepting alternative payments and best practices for chargeback management.