That Time Diddy Made a SXSW Dream Come True

Sean "Diddy" Combs is a relatable guy who wants you to be passionate, fearless, and take him out to lunch.

Sean “Diddy” Combs took the stage at the Austin Convention Center for an interview hosted by Forbes senior editor Zach Greenburg to discuss Revolt and his long career as an entertainment mogul. Despite his elevated status, Diddy insists that he sees himself as a relatable figure for the younger generation. “I like to say that I specialize in millennials or I specialize in youth culture. … I call myself a curator of cool.”

The thing that’s real about me and the thing that I hope inspires people is I come from a neighborhood that you can relate to,” Diddy said. “I come from a type of personality that you could relate to. I’ve always been an introvert in an extravert’s body.”

Greenburg countered that everyone can’t have a fashion label or their own vodka, but Diddy jumped in, “That’s a thing that people put in people’s heads … that I am doing something that’s special. I think I’m doing a good job, but what I’m doing you could do too, you just have to work as hard as me and believe as hard as I believe.”

On the evolution of the music industry and indie artists, Diddy admitted that the landscape has changed and so must the Old Guard. 

The days of major labels and the days of the regular type of traditional marketing, those days of the traditional type of distribution and the power you may have as an executive in any of these forms, whether it’s advertising companies or it’s tech companies or music companies or even films, your time is ticking unless you embrace and align yourself with the independent movement.”

So what is Diddy looking for when he recruits new members into his empire? “I’m looking for a certain level of passion that’s unique. I’m looking for people that are smart and people that are fearless in the sense of they have an idea of what it’s going to take for us to accomplish our goal.”

The highlight of the talk, at least for one lucky attendee, came when Diddy invited an audience member to take him out to lunch after having a member of his team evaluate her project on the spot. There’s certainly something to be said for taking initiative and being fearless in the face of your idol.

Christina Couch and Tyler King contributed to this article. 

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