Video: Brady Ferdig

Please follow the jump to see the entire recap and photos from the evening on the next page.

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Photos: Jerry Kasai & Kevin Matas 

Agenda Emerge saw its inaugural kickoff Friday at Center Theater in Long Beach, directly following the wrap up of the Agenda Show. The entire theater was filled almost to capacity with a rapt audience who dedicated four hours of their Friday evening to hearing from a cross-section of successful business owners.

Jeff Staple, founder of Staple design and the iconic Staple Pigeon collab with Nike SB, was the first presenter to take the stage, divulging his story of finding his way in the design world, and sharing the grim reality that most businesses fail in the first two years. Staple pointed out that although the internet has convinced the masses that successful people got to where they are overnight, true success actually takes lots of failed attempts and hard work behind the scenes.”There is no substitute for hard work,” says Staple.

He also added that finding something you truly love is the best way to encounter the least amount of opposition and resistance while trying to make it big.

“It’s really important to at first do it for the love, and then the money is going to follow,” says Staple.

Next up was Johnny Cupcakes, a Boston native who admitted he has been strategizing business plans since he was a kid. Cupcakes now has his own internationally recognized T-shirt retail business, with store fronts in his home city, as well as Los Angeles and London, UK. Some of Cupcakes tips to making it big were recognizing the areas in life where the most time is spent and then looking at how to turn more of your attention toward your business. 

“The real magic happens when you leave your social circle,” says Cupcakes. “Get out of your circle and get off your phones.”

Bobby Hundreds was next to address the crowd, throwing out the top five tips he’s learned throughout his ten year journey since launching The Hundreds back in 2003:

1. Have something to say – all great design has an opinion

2. The best way to define your brand is by defining what you’re not

3. Consistency consistently – 10,000 hours of doing anything is what creates success.

4. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should – passion and patience.

5. Be the best at being you, because you suck at being someone else.

“Your attention is worth the most,” says Hundreds. “Be careful who and what you spend it on.”

Rounding out the evening was Marc Ecko, founder of Ecko UNLTD clothing, who poured himself a nightcap as he launched into his “ten prescriptions” for aspiring business owners. Some of the key wisdom imparted was takeaways like “In business, there is no comfort zone,” “fame doesn’t equal success,” “Careful who you lend to,” and “don’t micro-manage, “a.k.a. “don’t try to be a ‘fake’ Steve Jobs.”