Shaquille O’Neal – Geek, and Proud Of It – Offers Inspiration to Akamai Crowd
We mentioned in a previous blog post right here on ShaqFuRadio that the Big Man was scheduled to appear – as a keynote speaker, no less – at a Las Vegas conference for a cutting-edge high-tech company. Shaq did indeed speak at the Akamai “Edge World 2019” conference last week. And while everyone knows Shaq for his NBA super-stardom, it was some Q+A comments that really got the best reaction from the crowd.
In a chat session on stage, Shaq was asked a very non-tech, personal question: How would he like to be remembered? The NBA legend, millionaire investor and self-described “tech geek” said “I want people to say ‘Shaq is a nice guy. Everyday I try to do 4-5 things that make people smile.
Yes, there was a little basketball talk in his presentation. Yet the majority of the talk was Shaq sharing his personal feelings about investing, technology and being a positive influence on the world at large.
Shaq told the crowd, “When I was young, I was a mercenary [investor], I wanted the big hit. But Shaq says as he got older (he’s 47 at the time of this writing), he says he made a change to become what he called a “missionary” with his investments. His big question now: “Is this going to change the world?”
Shaq’s investments are big – just like the man himself. He got in near the ground floor with search giant Google. He’s owned hundreds of restaurants and car washes, gyms, a Krispy Kreme franchise and a movie theater. Recently, he’s taken on a bigger position on the Board of Directors for Papa John’s Pizza, and he’s taking over several of the company’s outlets in the Atlanta area.
Shaq says he looks to invest in companies and people he likes, and that his intention with investing and working with companies and people is simple: “I want to do great things.” He says that attitude came from his parents, teachers and sports coaches…everyone who helped him and guided him in early years (and later, with his sports career). Shaq talked about being the class clown through much of his school life, but told of how he made the decision to be more focused after one coach laid down the “no pass, no play” rule to his team.
Asked about dealing with disappointment and the general ups and downs of life, Shaq said, “Life’s about peaks and valleys.” He should know… Shaq was cut from his high school team twice! He added: “Just because you’re not on top right now, means you have to work to get there. And once you get there, keep working.”
Of course Shaq was speaking at a business conference, so there had to be some business-like quotes, right? “Continue to utilize your teammates, continue to fight for each other,” he said. “And keep having fun.”
As we’ve talked about in a previous post, Shaq is the “Chief Fun Officer” for another of his business partners, Carnival Cruise Lines. So why not add that title to another company? Shaq asked Akamai’s Global Marketing VP Kim Salem-Jackson if he could have the same job with the company. Akamai brass were all for it… even after Shaq told them he had one big condition for working: “I come in at 12 and leave at two.” Sounds like a great gig!