Young Allan, Old Allen & "Hustle Like F$@k"
My buddy Noel Ruane from Dublin called me up to see if we could help out a young software developer called Allan Dixon who had been working for him in Ireland. Allen was coming over to the US to try to get a job from an eccentric billionaire in Beverly Hills called Alki David and needed a couch to sleep on for a few days.
Allan was cool. He was a young Irish guy, full of energy and out to make a name for himself. After sleeping on our couch for a few nights in San Francisco, I brought him to LA and he went on a mission to find and speak to billionaire Alki David that he been stalking from Ireland for some time. After a bit of communication on Twitter between Allan & Alki David's girlfriend, we drove over to Beverly Hills to Alki's store/studio and young Allan rocked up to the front door looking for a job with me behind him with a video camera. Of course, he sent out his young gate keepers to tell us he wasn't available but Allan persisted and got to meet him and pitched him an idea. It turned out Alki wasn't interested in what Allan was offering but offered him a job coding which Allan turned down.
Young Allen came to be known as "Allan Junior," merely because we needed to distinguish him from older Allen, our legendary veteran designer. Older Allen was "Allen Senior."
So, Allan Jr. then asked if he could stay with us for a while and offered to help us with the marketing of Sonas. The last thing he wanted to do was go back to Ireland. My wife and I said it was cool for him to sleep on our couch for a while which actually turned into 5 months. As if I didn't know already, I learned once again that my wife is extremely patient. With Allan Jr. taking over our living room, my wife and I were relegated to the bedroom. But hey, that's how our baby came along! Actually, as a funny side story, when my wife told Allen Jr that she was pregnant, he congratulated her and then immediately said he was bummed that he'd have to find another place to live in 9 months! I also told Allen Senior that young Allan Junior would be crashing in our Sonas Crenshaw studio for a few weeks. Allan Senior was not happy about this at all. The last thing he wanted was some young Techie dude staying with him.
The way I saw it was, we needed help building our company. Building a brand isn't easy, especially on a seriously limited budget and not much marketing experience. I'll take all the help I can get and Allan Jr. had a lot of great ideas and helped us with our website, look book, line sheets etc...
As usual, I was raising investment and was having a hard time and Allan Junior came up with a fun interesting idea to help raise some awareness. "Why not make a fun video of a guy literally hitting the streets looking for investors in Silicon Valley?" "Fuck it, I'm in," I said. I'll try anything. So we made a short video called "Hustle Like F$@k" see link to video here. We didn't get any investment but we did get some notice, a few sales and a lot of weird looks.
Allan then left the US to go to Canada briefly. Needless to say, our dear Allan Junior had issues getting back through immigration and got banned from the US for 5 years. But that didn't stop him. He then went on to Australia and won the Australia's Greatest Job competition and we got our living room back.
Lessons I learned from this stage of my life.
1. Twitter is a great tool for reaching out to people who you may otherwise have issues getting too.
2. My wife is extremely patient and is the best supporter I could possibly wish for.
3. You don't always have to have cash to get what you need. Bartering works if you have something (even if it's just a couch) to offer.
4. No man is an Island, extreme dreams require extreme teams.
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