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Lesson #4: Live Big, Think Bigger
From the very first day Combs began his internship at Uptown Records, he had it in the back of his mind that one day he would start and own his own company. He wasn’t even thinking on the scale of Uptown; Combs wanted to be bigger – as big as they come. And, he knew that in order to get there, he couldn’t go it alone. “You have to invest in executive talent in order to one day own or be part of a Fortune 500 company,” said Combs. “I’m more mature now. I understand. It’s alright to need people.”
With the likes of Clive Davis and the Notorious B.I.G. at his side, Combs set out to achieve his goals. And, he did it by pushing the limits of what was expected. “You got to mix it up some,” says Combs. “I give it up to Madonna for changing her styles, never being too predictable, going in different directions.”
To this end, Combs set about revolutionizing the music industry by exploring new territory. In a fresh concept, Combs had his 1997 hip-hop hit single It’s All About the Benjamins reworked by Rob Zombie and Dave Grohl to create a hugely successful rock remix. He also surprised many by sampling music from the likes of David Bowie and The Police, mixing them with his light rap rhythms.
Combs was never afraid to take risks, whether it was with his music or with his other business ventures. “Keep on pushing the boundaries and reaching for higher heights,” he says. “If you try, if you give it your all, you go with what’s in your heart.” It was in Combs’ heart to reach the top and he knew that the only way he would get there would be by taking risks, doing the unexpected and doing things in a way that had never been done before.
“What I'm known for, as a producer and on the label side, is making people dance, or making people feel good with a ballad or something like that,” says Combs. “I study different elements, different genres, whether it's a melody by Nirvana, or the vibe of Metallica, or Soundgarden's Black Hole Sun. I just put together different vibes that people want – from a rebellious vibe to the vibe of crying out from hurt or happiness to just wanting to let go and party.”
From his music to his clothing lines to his restaurants, Combs has been a risk-taker who sets high goals and takes extraordinary steps to achieve them. He seeks out unexplored and new territories and tries to make them his own.
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