Is It Ever Enough? Q&A with Music-Business Mogul Scooter Braun
Scooter Braun is the music-business mind behind the world’s biggest music stars like Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Demi Lovato. Now he’s opening up about his entrepreneurial journey and how he’s reclaimed himself.
Scooter’s music career started as a party promoter in Atlanta. After dropping out of college, he worked at So So Def Recordings and eventually started SB Projects. He gave himself 12 months to make it, and that year discovered a 13-year-old Canadian artist named Justin Bieber.
Below is an excerpt from our exclusive interview with Scooter. Foundr CEO, Nathan Chan, asked him about reflecting on his early life and how he manages the question of “enough” in business.
Q&A with Scooter Braun
Nathan Chan: If you could go back in time and give 10-year-old Scooter, one piece of advice, what would it be and why?
Scooter Braun: I would just tell him you’re good enough. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. You’re good enough. You’re great because of you, not because of the things that happened to you. I just want him to know that your greatest gift is your sensitivity.
Your greatest gift is how hard you feel. I would just want to give him a hug and be like, you know, you’re great. I think that all of us have this core lie and for a lot of us, it’s deep down, no matter how confident we show deep down, we don’t think we’re good enough.
NC: You’ve reached the pinnacle of success. What’s something you miss from the early days.
SB: I miss firsts. I miss the first time experiencing something. Because the first time is usually the best.
NC: If you could have dinner with any entrepreneur dead or alive, who would it be and why?
SB: I honestly don’t know. I’ve never been asked that question. You know, like some of the people that I’ve wanted to meet who are alive, I’ve had dinner with them and I’ve gotten to pick their brain. Honestly, I don’t know who would it be.
NC: I’m just genuinely curious, you’ve achieved so much. Is it ever enough?
SB: I asked David Geffen that question the very first time we had dinner. I asked him, “when will I be content? Look at everything you’ve achieved. When were you content?”
And he gave me a really great answer. He said, “there is no destination.”
And he had me read a poem by Kafai called Ithaca, that I ended up naming my company after. I think everyone should read that poem. And I think it will answer your question. It’s not about being content. It’s about the journey and the things you experience along the way. You know, it talks about going to the island of Ithaca and you might see things in Egypt, you might meet philosophers. You might do these things. By the time you reach Ithaca, if you find her poor, she did not fool you.
Because it was always about the journey, you know? And I don’t wrestle anymore with whether it’s enough. I wrestle with the journey. I’m experiencing it now probably for the very first time in a long time because I’m present. Tomorrow doesn’t exist.
Any story I tell myself tomorrow isn’t real. I can litigate the past, but I can’t go back and experience it. The only moment I have that’s real right now is me talking to you in this moment. And I think when you start to get to that place, you realize it’s enough, you know, and we already had enough. It’s just going to experience life. That’s the human experience. That’s the fun of it.