What drives me is an interesting question. I still get excited by coming up with ideas and seeing them come to fruition. That’s what made me fall in love with marketing in the first place. I still want to challenge myself every day to evolve and be better today than I was the day before. The only difference is now I do it all to be an example to my children and all the other young people. To show them that anything is possible if you work hard. That if you continue to challenge yourself to be great instead of good, that nothing is impossible. I see a million people who aspire to be the next Shaq or Jay-Z, but I want to be proof that if you just maximize yourself, and be the best you, that’s better than being Shaq or Jay any day.
What advice would you offer regarding maintaining longevity in your field?
Manage your career as if it were a brand. Everything you do can be judged or seen as an indictment or endorsement. Make decisions consistently with that in mind. I’ve worked for four incredible CEO’s in my life and have learned something different from each of them. From Puff I learned the value of hard work. He’s the most successful guy in the company, but he’s also the hardest working. From Jay I learned the value of truth, unwavering truth. Jay never does anything outside of his truth. Every decision, every endorsement, every song is propelling his truth. From Neil Cole I learned go big or go home. It’s just as much work and energy to be safe, so swing for the fences. And now with Yehuda at Sequential, I am a part of creating an environment where people want to see us succeed. You cannot meet anyone who does not want to see him succeed. Why? Because he has managed his career and his life in a way that actually embodies all the attributes previous stated. Hard work, truth, swing for the fences, and do it all with a level of integrity. If you subscribe to these tenets, you should do OK.
Which is more important: passion or expertise?
Passion and expertise go hand in hand. You can be much more passionate about things that you have complete understanding of. There’s nothing worse than someone passionate about something that they don’t fully understand. Passion can get you but so far, although it’s a necessary part of the process. One without the other is not ideal.
What is Jameel Spencer doing in 20 years?
In 20 years, Jameel Spencer has completed a successful and rewarding career in marketing (and made a load of money.) I have six children, the youngest of whom is now 4, so in 20 years I am an empty nester with my wife. I went back and got my law degree to start a high-powered law firm only to sell it and become the athletic director at the University of Texas in Austin, where my wife was born. And I am still the richest man in the world because I have the best family and friends a man can ask for.