The Tim Ferriss Show Transcripts: Bobby Hundreds — Building an Iconic Streetwear Brand, Making $7 Million in 40 Minutes, The Power of Garfield, Why Korean Entertainment is Taking Over the World, Maintaining the Mystery, The Fickleness of Fortune, and Developing “Nunchi” (#671)

Please enjoy this transcript of my interview with Bobby Hundreds (@bobbyhundreds), an artist, designer, and storyteller based in Los Angeles. Bobby is best known as the co-founder and chief creative officer of global streetwear brand The Hundreds. He is also behind the Family Style Food Festival and the NFT project Adam Bomb Squad. Bobby is also the bestselling author of This Is Not a T-Shirt, a memoir about his life and how he built a brand around community.

His new book, NFTs Are a Scam / NFTs Are the Future, about his two-year journey into Web3, will publish through Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Transcripts may contain a few typos. With many episodes lasting 2+ hours, it can be difficult to catch minor errors. Enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Musicor on your favorite podcast platform.


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Tim Ferriss: Hello, boys and girls. Ladies and germs. This is Tim Ferriss. Welcome to another episode of The Tim Ferriss Show. This is an in-person episode, and I’m sitting in, heard my little Pikachu in the background. I am sitting in an Airbnb in Venice, California. It’s a beautiful bluebird day out today, unlike some of the gloom that we’ve had before this.

And my guest today is Bobby Hundreds. You can find him on Twitter @BobbyHundreds. Bobby is an artist, designer and storyteller based in Los Angeles where we are right now. He’s best known as the co-founder and chief creative officer of global streetwear brand, The Hundreds also behind the Family Style Food Festival and the NFT Project Adam Bomb Squad. Bobby is also the bestselling author of This Is Not a T-Shirt, a memoir about his life and how he built a brand around community. His newest book, NFTs Are a Scam / NFTs Are the Future, about his two-year journey into Web3, will publish through, I never know how to say this, how do you say this publisher’s name properly?

Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Tim Ferriss: Yes, exactly.

Bobby Hundreds: FSG.

Tim Ferriss: FSG.

Bobby Hundreds: I think that’s why they just go with FSG.

Tim Ferriss: FSG, which also publishes some of my favorite authors of all times. So I may come back to that in just a second. Yeah, Twitter, as mentioned, @BobbyHundreds, Instagram, @BobbyHundreds, TikTok, not surprisingly, @BobbyHundreds. And then Bobby, so nice to hang with you.

Bobby Hundreds: Nice to hang with you too. And I guess as of this week, Bluesky.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah.

Bobby Hundreds: Bluesky.

Tim Ferriss: Bluesky. Bluesky, man. Yeah. And let’s start with FSG. How did you end up signing with FSG? Because I think FSG and they’ve been around a very long time. Unique shop. They publish any number of folks, including, I believe, quite a few of John McPhee’s books, which are spectacular. How did you end up landing on that?

Bobby Hundreds: I think I could be wrong. Maybe the most Pulitzers, some of the classical — 

Tim Ferriss: I would vote a yes for that.

Bobby Hundreds: — authors.

Tim Ferriss: If I had to bet, I would bet.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah. It’s a little bit of a different publishing house, a little bit more intellectual and writerly. And that was really in tune with the type of writing that I’ve always practiced and been drawn to and attracted to. So I was actually just as surprised as anyone else when I sat down with all my different publisher interviews and that was on the table. And then they came back with the strongest offer and were most receptive to what I wanted to write about, which at that time for that book was just the story of my life. And I hope that’s a testament to the type of writing that I do. I wrote the entire book myself. And I think many people are often surprised to learn that most people don’t write their own books, especially memoirs. And if you’re a successful business person, you don’t write your books. It requires a lot of labor and time. And I actually enjoy writing, so maybe that means that I’m a true author.

Tim Ferriss: I do have a little bit of jealousy, maybe even a little writerly insecurity. FSG, that’s legitimate.

So here you are with this esteemed publisher, FSG. Where did you begin in terms of growing up? Let’s begin at the beginning. I don’t always do this, but I think it might be helpful in this case for painting a picture. So where does the story begin?

Bobby Hundreds: I grew up in Southern California. I was born in Baltimore, but I grew up in Southern California in a town called Riverside, which is an hour east of here more towards the desert.

And it’s just, we called it Browntown. It was smog and dust and rocks and dirt, and everyone is brown like me, but not a lot of Asian-Americans. And so I felt a little bit marginalized, just a little bit outside of the mainstream conversation and didn’t feel like I belonged. I didn’t even feel like I belonged necessarily in my own home. I was a middle child of three boys and just was the outcast, the black sheep. I remember walking into our bathroom in the morning and everyone had a white toothbrush. And for whatever reason, my parents gave me a black toothbrush. And I was like, “There it is.”

Tim Ferriss: Subtle.

Bobby Hundreds: There’s the illustrated example of how I don’t belong in this family. And so that was always my narrative growing up. I never quite got along with my parents or my teachers or authority. So I gravitated towards fringe interests.

Ones that welcomed me, like skateboarding and punk rock and the hardcore scene, and also me being an artist. That’s where I really found a home. And I started building relationships and friendships around that. And I never felt like I quite had a community. And so when I found these subcultures, that felt like a resting place for me. And then that’s what also encouraged me or incentivized me to build a brand really, which is what the first book was about, was I didn’t have a universe of my own. So when you create your own brand and company, you can do that. You can build your community piece by piece from the ground up.

Tim Ferriss: Two questions related to what you just said. The first is, how did you relate to Korean culture and the connective tissue, the behaviors, maybe the beliefs in that environment. I would love to know. Yeah. And then secondly, when did you begin to identify as an artist?

Bobby Hundreds: Oh, wow. So I’ll answer the second part first. I was always so appreciative that anyone would acknowledge me as an artist. I think that was the first rung of identity that I could hold onto, because I didn’t necessarily feel like I connected with my Asian-American heritage. My parents were immigrants. They had immigrated here to the states in the ’70s, and along with a lot of other Korean-Americans and Asians, because the government opened it up at that time.

And their old world, more Eastern views, more Confucian ideals, didn’t necessarily pair well with America in the early 1980s, which was all about individualism. And there was a certain aesthetic of the type of person you were supposed to be, and you’re supposed to fit a specific mold, and you weren’t supposed to stand out and me not feeling like I necessarily fit into the context of my family or my town. I wanted to champion that. I really owned the fact that I was different, and especially through the lens of my art. And that really went against what my parents were trying to instill in me. The Confucian ideal is that you live a very circular and non-disruptive life, right? You go with the flow, and — 

Tim Ferriss: Lots of philiopiety.

Bobby Hundreds: Yes, that’s right. Exactly. And so for me to speak out or speak against or to not be a rule follower was so problematic in my household, and that was abrasive against my father, and we just had a lot of friction because of it. And that only made me feel more of an outcast because — 

Tim Ferriss: But did the arts start when you were say five, was it LEGOs? Was it drawing? Was it comics? Was it D&D? What informed what you were doing with your hands or keyboard? Where was it manifesting?

Bobby Hundreds: As early as I can remember, I was drawing. I found pictures and crayon illustrations from when I was three years old at my parents’ house the other day. And I vividly and viscerally remember drawing those pictures and what my process was and what I was thinking about of there was a kid on a seesaw with a beach ball next to it and how to make it look more of a ball than just a flat circle. And so there was never a time where I wasn’t an artist. And actually when I think back that far enough, as soon as I could read and write, which was quite early, I ended up skipping first grade because even before I started kindergarten, I was reading full books and not children’s books, but actual more or less — 

Tim Ferriss: Anna Karenina.

Bobby Hundreds: Les Miserables. But then they realized I could read and write quite early and I think I was around four at that time. So then they just kind of accelerated me a bit. But I started writing at the same time. And so the art and the writing went hand in hand. And to me, they were both the same language. I felt like I was doing the same thing, but writers have a little bit of a chip on their shoulder. I don’t think society or culture necessarily appreciates writing the same way that they do with the arts, because art, visual art, is a lot easier for people to consume and to understand, and it’s a lot more palatable. And especially me in the 1980s growing up. And to your question, what was informing my art was Garfield comic strips, Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson, and I think Calvin and Hobbes to that point is more about the writing than it is actually about the illustrations.

Tim Ferriss: 100 percent.

Bobby Hundreds: The way that he was processing ideas and delivering jokes was that’s much of my humor. And my sarcasm came from that. Garfield was more about the style of character, and caricature as well. And so between those two, that’s what inspired me, motivated me to write. We were growing up in the time of Saturday morning cartoons and comic books and Eastman and Laird’s Ninja Turtles. And so I became known more and more not as, “Oh, there’s that weird Asian kid in the corner,” or “The guy who’s not very good at traditional sports,” it’s “He’s the artist.” And as soon as I could hang onto that and really own it, I felt like I was special. And now I had meaning and belonging in this community.

Tim Ferriss: So one who has no, let’s say understanding of your backstory, someone who doesn’t have the ability to fill in the gaps already, who, maybe this is the first time they’re listening to you, they’re like, “Oh. So he took that, he ran with it. He became a professional artist and then A, B, and C, and it just unfolded naturally. And now he’s at FSG. How nice.” I would like you to — 

Bobby Hundreds: Oh, God, I wish it was that easy and linear.

Tim Ferriss: Maybe, maybe not, but I would love for you to describe who Abe was. I’m going to keep it very general. So who was Abe in the course of doing homework for this, I came across descriptions of in particular one conversation, but conversations that you had with someone named Abe. And so could you just paint a picture of where you are in life, how old you are? What is happening here?

Bobby Hundreds: So I wanted nothing more than to be an artist, nothing more than to pursue a creative path in my professional career and just in my personal life, and I was always frowned upon growing up in a Korean-American and an Asian immigrant household. My parents went through hell just trying to move to the states totally and build a better life. They’re coming out of the Korean War. In Korea, when they were growing up, was more or less a third-world country. And for them to endure and survive that amount of struggle, make it all the way here with nothing, and then to watch their children grow up and one of them to want to be an artist, which again, that narrative is always contextualized as a starving artist or a struggling artist. That’s not why they went through all that. So they really tried to mitigate and clamp that down as much as possible.

I ended up having to draw under the sheets of my blankets or under my bed. I remember my friends growing up, they were reading Playboys after the lights went out, or comic books and having to hide it. I was doing that just so I could draw. And as soon as my parents would come in, I would crumple up the paper and throw it away. And so I wanted nothing more than to have the opportunity to just draw or create or make art for a living. And that was never allowed. Even my teachers, when I would talk to them about it, they’re like, “Oh, that’s no life. There is no path for that.” And it’s kind of striking to think about in today’s context, when I think about young people coming up in the social media era, it is not only allowed and encouraged, there is actually a very clear path to figuring out a way to make music or dance on TikTok or start some kind of social media presence and build a brand out of that. 

Again, we weren’t allowed this. And so I had been conditioned to believe over and over again that I would never be an artist. And so I needed to figure out a different way. I ended up going to law school. It was right after 9/11. I was freelancing for a lot of magazines at the time, doing a little bit of fashion editing, traveling back and forth to Japan, covering music, and also the early foundations of Japanese streetwear from A Bathing Ape, brands like Neighborhood, WTAPS. And I’ve realized the media was drying up, not unlike what’s happened in the last few years, but it fell off a cliff. The advertisers kind of shrunk and all the books were kind of thinning out. And I was like — 

Tim Ferriss: And by books, do you mean magazines?

Bobby Hundreds: Sorry. By the magazines. And so I didn’t have much work coming in, and then I did what any good Korean son should do and went to law school. I was like — 

Tim Ferriss: I was going to say what was on the shortlist? It’s like doctor, astronaut.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah. Oh, no, no. Astronaut is — 

Tim Ferriss: out.

Bobby Hundreds: — very unsafe. Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Okay. No astronaut.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah and there were no Asian astronauts so there’s — 

Tim Ferriss: The only reason they bring that up is there was one, a Korean-American, I can’t remember his name. I wish I could, who was like doctor, lawyer, and astronaut, and I have another friend is Korean-American. He was like, “Oh, God, this guy’s making my life with my parents much, much harder.”

Bobby Hundreds: Oh, that guy.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. You know who I’m talking about?

Bobby Hundreds: Yes. We all know him. None of us quite remember his name, but he is the most hated. We don’t bring him up in the house around your parents.

Tim Ferriss: All right. So law. 

Bobby Hundreds: So law, yeah. We had really two options in the ’80s. You could be a doctor or you can be a lawyer. And my dad was a doctor and he said, “Definitely don’t be a doctor.” And so — 

Tim Ferriss: Why did he say that?

Bobby Hundreds: Malpractice, just the Clinton era. And there was just a lot of it was he was blamed for too many things. He delivered babies. And so — 

Tim Ferriss: Liability risk.

Bobby Hundreds: Liability and risk. And he’s like, “America’s so litigious. You just don’t, it’s not worth it.” And he worked, doctors do so much. It’s insane the amount of schooling that they have to go through and then to get into that profession and work around the clock.

And it’s quite thankless, especially a job like his, so he encouraged me to go into law school, and that’s where I thought, “Yeah, maybe I can do this.” Because my logic was, I’m a writer. I’m pretty opinionated and argumentative and persuasive. Everyone’s like, “You’re a little bit of an asshole. So I think you’d be great at being a lawyer.” And I wanted to actually enter, because I’ve always been involved in some type of sociopolitical work or some type of activist work. As early as I can remember, I was going to protests and rallies because just growing up in the punk rock scene, that was the background. So I was like, maybe I can get into some type of human rights or public interest work if I go to law school and it’s not only a meaningful job, it’ll pay the bills. And then at night I can pursue the arts.

I can draw and just be creative and start brands and do what I really want to do. But again, I had been so brainwashed to believe the narrative that I couldn’t actually do that for a living. And so no one had given me permission. This man, Abe that we’re talking about in my first summer internship, I was working at the L.A. Superior Court, and the research attorney on site was a man named Abe Edelman. And he was a genius. Everyone knew him.

They also, because he had literally memorized the library the first day of work, I came in, he’s like, “What case are you working on?” And I told him it was a crack in the sidewalk type of personal injury case. And he was like, “Follow me to the library.” And he felt the books with his hands. It was so savant, like A Beautiful Mind. And he pulled the book out, flipped to the page 1,034, drew his finger down to the paragraph was just like, “There’s your answer. There’s your case precedent.” And I was like, “How did you do that?” He’s like, “I memorized the library.” This man, Abe — 

Tim Ferriss: As one does.

Bobby Hundreds: — was irascible, very stubborn, did not get along with anyone in the courthouse, but they all had to abide by him. And he really took me under his wing. He had a lot of other interns by him, but he — 

Tim Ferriss: And not too old in retrospect — 

Bobby Hundreds: Not too old.

Tim Ferriss: At the time probably seemed quite a bit older.

Bobby Hundreds: Not too old at all. In fact, he was roughly around the age I am now. He was around, I just turned 43. I think he was 42 or 43. At that time I was 22, 23. And he looked like he was in his late 60s or 70s because he was actually dying of cancer. And his body was ravaged. He looked like a homeless person. That was another reason people kind of stayed away from him in the courthouse. He had a bad smell about him just because of the colostomy bag. And there was medicines that he was on. But we really intellectually struck it off. I loved the man. And we would go to lunch every day and talk about hopes and dreams and other things. And by the end of that externship, which was about two to three months in the end of August — 

Tim Ferriss: You just said externship — 

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah this — 

Tim Ferriss: So internship and externship. I see the prefix is different.

Bobby Hundreds: They are a little different, but it’s depending. It’s contingent on law school.

Tim Ferriss: I see.

Bobby Hundreds: So Loyola Law, for whatever reason, called them externships. I don’t know. I can’t explain why. We can call it whatever you want. It’s ambi-externship, whatever you, what you want to toggle back and forth with. So by the end of my externship, he started to disappear. He just wasn’t coming around that much. His health was failing. And so I didn’t expect to actually see him on the last day of work. I show up and he’s sitting on the end of a long bench, and there were nine or 10 other interns alongside me, and he was doing reviews. So he is going down one by one end. I’m at the tail end.

Tim Ferriss: And this is something like a performance review.

Bobby Hundreds: It’s a performance review. Just, “Thank you for your time. This is why I think you work on…” blah, blah, blah. He gets to me, “Let’s say, first of all, thank you so much, Abe.” And he’s just like, “No, thank you.” He’s like, “I’ve been doing this for 20 years. You’re one of the brightest interns I’ve ever had. You’re going to have all the success in victory in the world.” And I was like, “Really?” And he’s just like, “Yeah, you’re going to be an excellent lawyer.” He’s like, “You’re going to have all the cars. You’re going to have all the women.” And I was like, oh, plural. I love this. Yeah, let’s go. I’m all, let’s go.

Tim Ferriss: Green light.

Bobby Hundreds: Green light. And I just lit up and he looked at me and stopped me and said, “But you should never do this.” And I remember just being I was just taken aback. I couldn’t understand. I had him repeat it again. I said, “Wait, I don’t, I missed something. You just said, I’m going to be an amazing lawyer.” He’s like, “Oh, you will. You’ll be very wealthy doing this. You should never do this.” And I said, “Why not? Am I not good?” And so I started taking personal offense to it. I was like, “I’ve done everything you’ve asked me to do. I’ve written these brilliant memos.” He’s like, “It’s not about the work. Your heart’s not in it.” And then I got really defensive. This is the defensive Korean-American part of me that just starts standing up. I’m like, “What the do you mean I’m…”

Tim Ferriss: Oh, K rage.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah, the K rage starts coming up. I’m like, “How dare you say this?” He’s just like, “What do we talk about when we go to lunch every day?” And I’m like, “We talk about work.” And he’s like, “We don’t talk about work. What do we talk about?” And I was like, “Okay. We talk about The Hundreds,” which was an idea. There was nothing material out of The Hundreds yet. There were concepts I used to carry around a black book for anyone who grew up writing graffiti or tagging. We always carried black books. And you tag in there and you’d share that with your friends and everyone — 

Tim Ferriss: Is this basically a bound, like, leather-backed sketchbook?

Bobby Hundreds: That’s right. And in that book, at the end of it, I was writing down ideas and building out frameworks for the website because I also did web design at the time.

So I was building out the website and then coming up with concepts for t-shirt graphics. I was like, “This is the idea. It’s a streetwear brand, but it’s also a media platform, and it’s going to showcase my life and the process of building a brand from the ground up. And I’ll be transparent. There is no other clothing company like this. It’s not really even like a company. It’s more of a personal project, and it’s like a diary.” And so I’d written this all down, and throughout the entire summer we would talk about work, but then we’d end up there every single time, and he’s like “The Hundreds.” And I’m like, “Dude, The Hundreds is just an idea.” He’s like, “Your heart is with The Hundreds.” He’s like, “I don’t know what it’s going to become, but do that because one day you’re going to wake up and you’re going to be 40 years old like me, and you might be dying of cancer, and you may have spent your entire life doing something that you never truly loved.”

And I was like, “Well, what about you?” He’s like, “I was meant for this.” He’s like, “I was born for this. You see me walking around these halls.” He’s like, “I own this place.” He’s like, “I’ve loved every second of what I do.” He’s like, “You will have wasted your life.” And he ended up passing two to three months later. And then it really resonated with me how short life could be. And when I turned 40, and again, I’m now 43. When I turned 40, the morning I woke up, it’s like the conversation happened yesterday. It was the first thing I thought of when I woke up. I thought of Abe. I went actually out and visited his grave. And I just remembered that moment. And I was so grateful that he had imparted that advice to me. Because 20 years really does just go like that.

And the next 20 years is going to go and you can say, “Oh, it’s fine. I’ll get to that dream later. Or maybe I’ll do that once I’m secure and stable enough.” I had, again, The Hundreds was a nothing. It was just an idea. I had the luxury and privilege of having a little bit of money and some savings stocked up so that I could survive off of a dream. And so I should preface it by saying that, but I really didn’t have anything to my name. And he gave me permission. It was the first time in my life that anyone had given me permission. Not only acknowledged what I was trying to do, but saying, “You can do it.” And because he gave me permission, then I gave myself permission, which was the most powerful part of it, of, “Wait, you can do this.”

Why can’t you? Well, everyone’s always told me I was still a child. And so all my authority figures were like, you cannot do this. This is unreasonable. There is no future. And so I believed it. And then for the first time, he’s like, “You don’t have to believe that you can believe this.” And then I was like, “Yeah, of course. Why not? Nobody knows what’s going to happen tomorrow.” And then I just stepped on the gas and I never looked back. And so I can attribute, the very reason I’m sitting here with you, Tim, is because of Abe.

Tim Ferriss: Man. Thank God for Abe.

Bobby Hundreds: Thank God for Abe. Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: If your life circumstances had been slightly different and you had gone there a year later —

Bobby Hundreds: Mm-hmm. I could have had a completely different research attorney.

Tim Ferriss: — how different your life could have turned out.

Bobby Hundreds: There were six or seven other research attorneys with different sets of interns in the courthouse that summer. And I wasn’t even really supposed to be with him. I showed up late to the first day. I was wearing big baggy clothes, and they were like, “Oh, you need to go into Abe’s camp.” They were like, “You’re not going to belong anywhere else. You need to go with Abe.” And it would’ve been gone a completely different way. It also could have gone a completely different way if he had given me permission. And I didn’t give myself permission still. So it was still on me at the end of the day to make the choice totally of, no, I’m going to commit to this and I’m going to believe what he said and I’m going to believe it for myself.

Tim Ferriss: We’re going to bounce around a lot because that’s the way natural conversations work. My question is, you have this revelation, you’re given permission and then you give yourself permission. What was the conversation like with your parents?

Bobby Hundreds: There was no conversation. As is typical in a lot of immigrant households. I hid that shit. I ducked my head, pretended I was going down, I still had two more years of law school left. I finished law school.

Tim Ferriss: I got it. So you basically went on autopilot.

Bobby Hundreds: I went on autopilot and I started — 

Tim Ferriss: That’s actually perfect though, because you had this grace period Where you could be Batman and could be Bruce Wayne, but then hide it and put on this mask. And — 

Bobby Hundreds: This is my comic book origin story. This is what I always imagined when I was growing up. I’m going to have a normal day job, appease my parents, fit into society, make enough money to get by. So then at night I could convert myself into Batman or Superman and be an artist. And so I started doing that. Even after he gave me permission, I was just like, “this is what I want to do.” I’d started law school. I had to finish.

And what I did starting in the new year was, it was funny because there are kids that, well they’re not kids anymore. Other students who’ve become big lawyers, I’ll run into them around the city and they’ll be like, “Oh, I remember sitting behind you in class and your screen on your laptop was bifurcated between notes on this side on the left and on the right side it was Photoshop and Illustrator.” And through, as a class would progress, the notes would kind of cascade down, and then the drawings would start materializing. And by the end of the class, I’d have a full page outline of all the points I needed to take home. And then I would have a graphic, a teacher graphic finished, and it almost became a challenge for me. I would start as soon as the clock would begin, go and the professor would start talking, and then I would toggle back and forth just using shortcut keys.

Tim Ferriss: So just because it’s fun to share. So I did the same thing without a screen, but all throughout school I was drawing. And I would have one side, this is back in the day, now I’m dating myself here. Trapper Keeper style, right? Open up. I’d have the three ring binders. And then I would have the spiral notebooks and I would’ve one side where I would do drawing and then one side for notes. I think partially because I had extra cycles, the class was reasonably slow, and if I didn’t occupy my brain with the drawing, it was very hard for me to concentrate, to capture. So I had to do both. I also enjoyed doing both, but I had to do both. I did that all throughout school, until I graduated from college.

Bobby Hundreds: I’m getting goosebumps as you’re talking about that because I know exactly what that is. And there are few of us, maybe many of us that can relate to that. And I almost felt like those two blue lines on the left side of the page, this area over here is where you did all those doodles and would just start sketching just to keep yourself engaged with it. Otherwise, I would completely tune out or I’d fall asleep. That’s how bad my ADHD is, that I cannot focus. I still do it. If I’m on Zooms, if you ever Zoom with me, you’ll notice I’m looking down a lot and it looks like I’m taking notes. I’m drawing. And if I don’t do that, I will just completely fly off the path.

Tim Ferriss: I’m going to admit something that is hopefully not going to offend anybody, but even when I am interviewing someone on stage, and if I have a clipboard and pages, I will sometimes doodle some type of abstract, geometric pattern, because it helps me concentrate. It’s not that I’m bored.

Bobby Hundreds: No.

Tim Ferriss: I’m listening.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: It just helps me concentrate. 

So let’s provide people who are not familiar with The Hundreds, just a flash forward and then we’re going to flashback. So could you take a second just to brag about The Hundreds?

Bobby Hundreds: Oh, boy.

Tim Ferriss: Sort of, when shit was the craziest, and it was just like, “Oh, my God, I am riding a rocket ship.” Just so they understand some of the impacts, some of the status of The Hundreds. Could you just maybe give people a snapshot of if this were a time warp and you get shot forward and they’re like, “Okay, here’s a preview of some of the crazy stuff that’s coming, and then we’re going to go back.” But just for people who are not familiar with the brand, let’s do that and then just take a minute or two to be like, “Okay, here’s some of the bullet points,” and then we’ll flash back.

Bobby Hundreds: We had very sudden and sharp success out the gate and were very ill prepared for it emotionally and spiritually, mentally. And it would’ve been much worse today. I very much empathize with young influencers, brands, people who suddenly are on the map, because the immense weight of the internet congratulating you and adoring you, it’s flattening. I think it’s too much. And I felt that in a fractional way at the very first end of the Web1 internet, with the blog.

The reason why we had so much momentum was that people were discovering The Hundreds, L.A. streetwear, and whatever this movement came to be, and also online narratives and blogging all at the same time. And so for those who don’t quite remember this, blogging began in 1999 with Blogger and BlogSpot. I was one of the first to sign up for it, because I had grown up writing and publishing punk rock zines, and here was a way that was much easier to make lower-lift, but also cheaper zines, and with wider distribution. I could reach people on the other side of the world instantly.

And that was a revolution. The concept of self-publishing, independent publishing, free at your desktop. You could be sitting in your room and start communicating immediately and people can start learning your story. That broke my mind. Still to this day, I can’t think of anything that’s happened on the internet or with tech that was that much of a cultural shift. And so we’ve then incorporated that into the buildings of our brand. And many people understood us as a t-shirt company, as a streetwear brand, as, “Oh, we were part of this cool sneaker collecting movement that was happening.” And the other half of the people knew us as, “Oh, I just like reading what that guy’s thinking about and eating for lunch every day and whom he’s hanging out with, because it’s cool.”

We were on the front lines of culture, so we’re associating with the next artist you need to know. A lot of our friends became the next biggest rappers. The kids that were hanging out on our doorstep turned into Odd Future and Tyler the Creator. And so you wanted to monitor what I was writing about because then you were always a little bit ahead.

Tim Ferriss: You had your finger on the pulse.

Bobby Hundreds: Had my finger on the pulse.

Tim Ferriss: Or pulses.

Bobby Hundreds: Pulses. And not intentionally, it was just happened to be the community that we were starting out in, just all the kind of weirdos. L.A. at that time, more or less was kind of corny. It was a lot of Von Dutch, Ed Hardy. It was a lot of reality television. It was a lot of Paris Hilton and bedazzled clothing and Juicy Couture. And so no one was really looking to L.A. in a progressive sense, in a culture sense of they’re leading any type of art movement.

We’re not looking to them for fashion or leading the trends. Even with music, at the time, hip hop was starting to focus on other parts of the country. And especially street style, people didn’t want anything to do with it. If anything was happening, it was American Apparel. It was more of these ringspun, like fitted t-shirts. And nobody wanted this aesthetic. They weren’t into it.

And so we knew that there were young people here that were doing really amazing, incredible things. It’s just that the media wasn’t focusing on it. So through the power of the blog, we could reorient everybody’s attention and focus back on what was happening around us over on Fairfax, which became our neighborhood. It became the block. I forget where we started that question.

Tim Ferriss: We started with—, I wanted to let let you run for a bit like a marlin, like high speed, lots of horsepower. So I wanted to let the lead out a bit. I was wanting to just give some bullet points of when things were the craziest, right?

Bobby Hundreds: Oh, right. Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: So bullet has left the gun.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah, bullet has left the gun.

Tim Ferriss: And you have a tiger by the tail. I’m using a lot of different metaphors here, as I’m wont to do. What are some of the things that would give someone an appreciation of the scale and the reputation that The Hundreds achieved? And then we’re going to go back in time, but just to give people an idea of what the brand did.

Bobby Hundreds: So when I say that there was a very sudden and sharp success, it still was a hockey stick, in the sense that the first couple of years what we thought was winning, by today’s standards, I don’t think anyone would consider it that we were on top. And it was very organic in the way that we were building this brand. We were trying to actually not sell it. We would show up at trade shows, and we would actually cover our racks with tarps and turn buyers away. The exact opposite of what you’re supposed to do. We would pay for the trade show and turn down almost every sale, except for one or two. And that would create demand, because we knew we were investing in the longevity of the company. So after two or three shows — 

Tim Ferriss: So creating the scarcity or an imbalance between — 

Bobby Hundreds: Exactly.

Tim Ferriss: — supply and demand — 

Bobby Hundreds: Exactly.

Tim Ferriss: — creates a story, creates conversation.

Bobby Hundreds: Story, attitude. There’s an aura around the brand. We had a reputation 

Tim Ferriss: And I should say also, I think that of course the world has changed and it’s different, but I mean, you’ve made a lot of smart decisions — 

Bobby Hundreds: Yes.

Tim Ferriss: — and I think success needs to be viewed within the context of the times. It’s kind of like, if you compare the latest blockbuster film now, they might make more money, I’m making this up guys, but then, say, Gone with the Wind.

Bobby Hundreds: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: But when you consider the constraints and the penetration of movie theaters at the time and so on, Gone with the Wind destroys everything. Not everything, but just about, right?

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: So keeping in mind the times and so on. I just wanted to say that.

Bobby Hundreds: I think, and evidence and proof of that is that 20 years later, there was a Fear of God, a big fashion show at the Hollywood Bowl last night here in L.A., and I’m 20 years into the game, and when I’m there, I run into a 100 people that I know. And are giving us our props and paying us our dues and giving us the roses and all that. And I don’t know, I could be totally wrong, but there are a lot of brands that are of the moment right now that are making a ton of money, but are you going to be around in 20 years? Are people going to remember what you did?

Tim Ferriss: Playing the long game.

Bobby Hundreds: And so I think the cultural impact of what we were doing sustained much longer than any type of financial success at the time. But we did have financial success. And — 

Tim Ferriss: Question here, and if this goes nowhere, then we can clip it. But did Tommy Hilfiger almost buy the company?

Bobby Hundreds: Tommy Hilfiger wanted to buy it. He did. We’ve been courted by so many different designers, business owners on that scale that there have been, every three — we just went through another bout of these over the last, and I can’t name names, because NDAs, over the last two to three years, we just finished another riveting round of due diligence over the last six months.

Tim Ferriss: Sounds like so much fun.

Bobby Hundreds: People just interrogating and just forensic files going through every dollar we’ve ever spent to see how much the company is worth, because they were considering buying it. And Tommy didn’t work, because right at that moment, that was the inflection point in the other direction. Where fashion turns on a dime, and we had been carried by momentum for the first 10 years. When you’re saying, “What were the moments?” Jay-Z wearing it on stage when he came back for his Hangar tour and wearing, being dressed in our product on a front page of USA Today and, at the time, and that was very noisy. We were selling out of sweatshirts and making, at that time, which was a considerable amount. We would do a drop, make a few hundred thousand dollars using that money to build a store, and turning the money over hand and foot. Our first store over in the Fairfax neighborhood is 400 square feet. And we were doing, I don’t know, millions of dollars out of that store every day. So the conversion, the metrics on it were unreal.

Tim Ferriss: It’s insane.

Bobby Hundreds: But we’re in our 20s, we don’t know. And we thought everyone experienced that type of success. We thought that was normal to go around the world and people are greeting you and wanting to host you.

Tim Ferriss: It’s like Rick Rubin, out of the dorm room — 

Bobby Hundreds: Totally.

Tim Ferriss: — ending up signing LL Cool J as one of his first acts. He’s like, “Oh, yeah, this is just how the music business works.” And then Beastie Boys, I think were number two, and he’s like, “Oh, yeah, no, this is just how things work.” And he’s like, “Ah — 

Bobby Hundreds: This is how things work.

Tim Ferriss: — maybe not.”

Bobby Hundreds: And you don’t appreciate it until there are dry seasons, and then there are droughts and you look back and be like, “Oh, we had it so good.” Especially in fashion and street, where when momentum is in your corner, it’s a pretty easy job. You just show up, say the right things, hang out with the right people, and you’re on fire. But momentum can also turn on the dime, which is what happened when Tommy was looking at us.

Tim Ferriss: So let’s come back to that. I want to leave that as a cliffhanger.

Bobby Hundreds: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: So we will come back to that. But we’re talking about this momentum. We’re talking about Jay-Z on the cover of USA Today in your gear. Let’s go back, because I want to figure out how you began to hone in on this brand and the creation of this brand. So first, and I know we’re not going chronological order here, because that’s just not how human conversations go generally, The Hundreds, where’d the name come from?

Bobby Hundreds: The Hundreds is, first of all, it was the decade that we started the brand. It was mostly a reference to community. And the premise of the project was that we were people over product. That’s been our mantra since the beginning. It’s always about putting the community first. And I’m not just talking about customers and fans, but highlighting the people in our circles and talking about the artists before we even get to the art.

Because I believe the personal narratives and the stories, the context are the most meaningful part of why you even engage with the art to begin with. And I think with product especially, and at that time, again, you have to remember that brand owners, the purveyors were very much divorced from the customers and the consumers. There was always a wall. And there’s a beauty to that. There’s a little bit of mystery sometimes when you’re supporting a company and you’re like, “I have no idea what it’s about or who’s running this thing.”

Tim Ferriss: And I think tech has played and continues to play a large role in changing that, right? This is — 

Bobby Hundreds: That’s right.

Tim Ferriss: — true for authors, for the vast majority of the time that books have existed — 

Bobby Hundreds: Yes.

Tim Ferriss: — they have not had a direct relationship with their readers.

Bobby Hundreds: Exactly. And we’ve now seen, 20 years later, why that was maybe the best case sometimes. But for us, I wanted a direct relationship with our audience. And that’s just, again, coming up in the punk scene. And when you go to a hardcore show, it’s impossible to tell sometimes who the vocalist is and who the crowd is, because they’ll jump into the mosh pit. Sometimes, there’s no stage. Everyone’s literally and figuratively on the same plane. And the microphone will get passed around and you’ll say, “Who’s actually in the band? Who’s not?” And everyone is a part of the moment and in the band at that time.

Tim Ferriss: So if we continue with this montage, and I know this is for some folks like watching Memento, so you’re welcome. White toothbrush, white toothbrush, black toothbrush — 

Bobby Hundreds: Yes.

Tim Ferriss: — for Bobby, white toothbrush, white toothbrush. You don’t feel totally at home, at home.

Bobby Hundreds: That’s right.

Tim Ferriss: You don’t feel like you fit in the sort of default environment, school, et cetera, traditional sports. So you gravitate to these, let’s say, fringe subcultures. And then you mentioned as we got to Abe, in passing, that you did A, B, and C in college and spent some time in Japan and so on. So I don’t know if this is going to be specifically the magazine, but was it WARP magazine — 

Bobby Hundreds: WARP magazine.

Tim Ferriss: — that sort of staged the cosmic intervention? I mean, was that an inflection point for you? Or just a critical point — 

Bobby Hundreds: Yes.

Tim Ferriss: — that redirected things. So how did that happen? And why was Japan important, also? Out of my own personal curiosity.

Bobby Hundreds: I grew up skateboarding and reading a lot of skate magazines and Transworld Media. Transworld had SKATE, SURF, and SNOW, and they also had a fourth magazine called WARP. WARP magazine was almost a precursor to what the world became in terms of youth culture. It was a hybrid of SKATE, SURF, SNOW, music, fashion, all in one. And again, rewind back to the ’80s and the ’90s, if you were into metal, you were like a hesher, you looked a specific way, you wore a specific t-shirt, and you were part of that crowd. If you’re a punk kid, you hung out with the punks. The skaters were over here. And you listened to very specific types of music. You remember this?

Tim Ferriss: Oh, I do. Yeah.

Bobby Hundreds: No one mixed playlists. You didn’t listen to Taylor Swift.

Tim Ferriss: If you were a Black Flag person, you listened to Black Flag.

Bobby Hundreds: That’s right.

Tim Ferriss: You were a Slayer kid, you listened to Slayer.

Bobby Hundreds: Slayer, right. And you didn’t play together. You might say, “What’s up?” And you had respect, but you were like, “Oh, my God, look at that poodlehead over there.” And then the poodleheads were like, “These dumb skins,” whatever it was. And so everything was so segmented. WARP was fascinating, because it was one place for someone like me that grew up listening to punk but was also very much immersed in backpack rap and graffiti and art.

Tim Ferriss: Backpack rap?

Bobby Hundreds: Backpack rap, like underground hip hop.

Tim Ferriss: Okay.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah. Def Jux and Rawkus Records. And it wasn’t the mainstream rap, it was always like that subculture, subterranean type of approach to music, so it spoke to me. I was in college, one of my first TAs, she’s like, “Hey, do you need an internship this summer, because you’re a good writer.” And I was a photographer and whatnot. She’s like, “My boyfriend…” At the time, her boyfriend was the editor-in-chief of WARP magazine. I was like, “Oh, my gosh, I grew up reading that magazine. I’d love to work there.”

And so, yes, it was definitely a turning point for me, too, because it was one place where all of my different facets were embraced. I was a photographer. I grew up shooting, skate and band photography, and I still love to do that, being a writer, but also freelance art all in one place. And the magazine accepted it all.

Tim Ferriss: Also, I mean, it seems like after being denied for so long, told you can’t do things, you have the opportunity to take these seemingly incompatible, disparate interests and have them accepted by a publication, an institution, of sorts, that you respect.

Bobby Hundreds: A globally distributed publication, where everyone can see me in all my capacities. I’m not abbreviated to just, “Oh, he’s a writer, so he’s just doing music reviews. Oh, now I turned to this page and he shot that photo?” And so now I can utilize all my tools.

Tim Ferriss: What were some of the key lessons learned there or key influences that shaped you from that point forward?

Bobby Hundreds: Well, I think what it did for me is it was not only liberating and empowering, but it also revealed that not everyone is a monolith. Many people are just like myself, that we have so many different disparate incongruous interests, and we excel at all of them at the same time. We can be multi-hyphenate. And I think this was very early, it was more than 20 years ago, 25 years ago, the internet normalized this conversation we’re having right now.

To where someone like my son’s age, I have two boys, and the older one is 13, if I was telling them him this right now, he’d be like, “What do you mean you could only listen to that kind of music,” or, “What do you mean you could only do one type of art? Art is everything. You should be able to write and shoot photos in photo, be a TikTok influencer, and also go to law school. You should be able to do all these things.” And I’m like, “I’m telling you, the world did not allow people to be more than that at the time.”

Tim Ferriss: Well, I feel like now the problem has almost swung from one side — 

Bobby Hundreds: This is correct.

Tim Ferriss: — of the pendulum to the other where in — and also I should say for folks who are like, “How do these older stories apply?” The reason that I want to dig into these stories and these historic examples is to look at the decisions that were made, the unorthodox paths chosen, because those are lessons that transcend the time bound. So that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing in terms of co-piloting the conversation.

But it seems like when you were growing up, and just by extension when I was growing up, one of the key unlocks was removing constraints. How could you remove some of the constraints that were seemingly imposed on you? And now, we don’t have to spend too much time in this, but now it’s like, okay, if all of the constraints have been removed, maybe people need to be very creative in how they apply some positive constraints, so that they’re not scattered across 10,000 things. It doesn’t need to be one, but if it’s 10,000 or 50, chances are it’s going to be a tough slog.

Bobby Hundreds: I think that was born of us growing up in the postmodern age, and no one wanted to hold to any singular truth. I grew up in a religious home. America at that time was 76 percent Protestant Christian, or identified as such. And we all subscribed pretty much to what the government was saying, what the systems were saying. And we abided by that. And then many of us realized that some of those rules and some of those boundaries were harmful, and that they weren’t inclusive or they weren’t acknowledging or they were actually infringing in our lives in some type of way.

And so I grew up under a lot of those restrictions and regulations and expectations. And I wanted nothing more than to break through. The bands that I grew up listening to, like Youth of Today, had a big album and song called “Break Down the Walls.” And so you’re constantly thinking, “If there’s a wall in front of me, I’ve got to burst through it like the Kool-Aid Man…” If there’s a rule that’s meant to be broken, first, understand the rules and then break them.

And so wherever there was a straight line, I wanted to crinkle it. And if the line was crinkled, I wanted to flatten and straighten it out. And we’ve lived like that, or especially people like me or those who are renegades and rebels have lived like that for so long that we’ve now gotten to a place where all the boundaries, to your point, are quite blurry and soft. And that is amazing in some regards. But then it also leads to so many various truths and facts and misalignments, I guess.

Tim Ferriss: How did Japan come into the picture?

Bobby Hundreds: Japan came into picture, because Japan, in the late ’90s, was the hub of what streetwear fashion is known as today, street culture. And that was because what the Japanese were doing was they were coming to America, a designer like Nigo, who is responsible for A Bathing Ape, is a perfect illustration of this. I don’t know how much truth there is, but there was always a mythology that Nigo was going into New York, camping outside of high schools, and just monitoring how young people were dressing. And so the Japanese were so good and adept at this that they were doing it with car culture.

Tim Ferriss: And then Nigo would take that back to Japan — 

Bobby Hundreds: Perfect it — 

Tim Ferriss: — tweak it — 

Bobby Hundreds: — tweak it, play with it.

Tim Ferriss: Right.

Bobby Hundreds: Putting their own spin on it, and then just be very meticulous about the details, which the Japanese are always very, very good at doing, from the packaging to the way a hemline is constructed. And then present a new type of streetwear that is a little bit more thoughtful and considered and at maybe an elevated price point. And then it feels premium. And now it’s geographically out of reach, too. So there’s a little bit of an exotic allure around it.

Tim Ferriss: : Yeah, exoticism.

Bobby Hundreds: The language is a little bit different. And so Japanese streetwear became very much in vogue by the late ’90s. And from what we were looking at here in the States, they had appropriated Levi’s and made vintage Levi’s a really hot commodity in the ’80s and ’90s.

Tim Ferriss: Can I comment on that for a second?

Bobby Hundreds: Yes.

Tim Ferriss: So I was in Japan, this is my first time out of the US, as an exchange student in ’92, ’93.

Bobby Hundreds: Oh, my gosh. Yes.

Tim Ferriss: And I was coming from growing up on Long Island to Tokyo, which was quite a transition. And I recall there being this incredible denim culture that I’d never been exposed to in Japan. And there are jeans being sold for thousands of dollars, which blew my mind. I see Brad Pitt doing jeans advertisements on television, and the ads make no sense whatsoever.

Bobby Hundreds: Is probably Edwin, I think.

Tim Ferriss: Edwin.

Bobby Hundreds: Edwin, yeah.

Tim Ferriss: It was exactly Edwin. I remember there’s one, he’s just falling down the stairs in a subway. And then he looks up and he is like, “Huh,” smiling, Edwin with his jeans. And I’m like, “What the hell is going on here?” But I did notice that many things I took for granted in the US were transplanted to Japan. And of course, they did this with manufacturing as well, automobiles, et cetera. They’re really good at sort of borrowing and then tweaking and modifying and prototyping.

Question for you, based on dinner last night. So I was chatting with our mutual friend Neil Strauss, who introduced us.

Bobby Hundreds: Love you, Neil.

Tim Ferriss: Love you, Neil. And he was commenting on a recent trip to Japan, I don’t think you would mind me saying this. Where during my time in Japan you would see a lot of American or pseudo American culture. So you would see variants of pretty bizarre English, which we could talk about. Sometimes on huge billboards, and you’re like, “Clearly they did not want to bother to check anything.” Maybe it just doesn’t matter because it’s for Japanese people.

Bobby Hundreds: It doesn’t matter.

Tim Ferriss: And it was a culture infused with a lot of American cultural influence, but then they would tweak things and make things better, in a lot of ways, or different. Coffee’s another amazing example. And it’s hard to find a 45-minute pourover in the US. You can find places like that in Japan. Like Jiro Dreams of Sushi, but for a cantankerous old Japanese guy who makes one type of coffee, that exists. What Neil observed and what I’ve also seen on recent trips is that Korean pop culture is starting to, in some respects, overtake that.

Bobby Hundreds: That’s right.

Tim Ferriss: So you see a lot of K-pop in Japan, you see it also in the US. So as someone who has their finger on the pulse and you have your hands in so many things, you know so many people, how is it, and I mean maybe something like Squid Game on Netflix is a causal factor, but maybe it’s just a consequence of other things that I’m not aware of, Parasite, how has Korean pop culture and entertainment become such a force now?

Bobby Hundreds: It’s intentional by the Korean government.

Tim Ferriss: Okay, tell me more. This is fascinating.

Bobby Hundreds: 20 years ago, they coordinated and orchestrated what’s known as the Korean Wave. They realize that if they can export their culture, in terms of marketing and branding and essentially characterizing Korea as the coolest and the ones that are the most innovative and on the front lines, that they will have a greater world power. And that has only proven to be true.

Tim Ferriss: Pure genius. How — 

Bobby Hundreds: Pure genius.

Tim Ferriss: — did they do that? Do you have any idea of any of the actions they took or any of the policies?

Bobby Hundreds: Well, the government directly funds and works with the music labels.

Tim Ferriss: Wow.

Bobby Hundreds: And so that’s kind of unheard of here. Those two are separate entities. They’re very much in the weeds and working alongside, funding, giving investments to, and helping out entrepreneurs to get these industries off the ground.

Tim Ferriss: Like Korean entertainment — 

Bobby Hundreds: Korean entertainment — 

Tim Ferriss: — that is ready for worldwide export.

Bobby Hundreds: — is clearly leading. In television, you see it across Netflix. I think Netflix just greenlit over a hundred more Korean dramas. So if you’ve seen any of those pop up, there’s a really good one right now called Glory. My favorite Korean drama is called Itaewon Class. I think it’s universal. Once you get over the subtitles and you can swallow that, these are stories that you’ve never seen told in this way or fashion before. And Koreans are a little sick and twisted. We’ve been through so much that it makes for some really interesting storylines.

Korean film, as you know, Parasite sweeping the Oscars. Everything Everywhere All at Once is not a Korean film at all, but just the influence of Asians and Asian-Americans in entertainment that has been worked on for many, many years. Korean cosmetics, the beauty standard, the beauty industry, global, constantly leading. Everyone wants Korean beauty.

Korean food products are about to take another step. There’s some really big Korean food companies that are entering the US. You might see Bibigo on the Lakers uniforms. Everyone doesn’t really know what that is. They think it’s a restaurant. It’s like Farmer John’s, but for Korea. And we were talking to them a little bit and consulting. And what I told them is, because they were like, “How do we get into Korea? We want bulgogi and [Korean 01:01:53] to be accepted here.” Well, the first thing is we have to normalize the fact that these foods, we don’t have to even classify them as Korean foods. I don’t eat pizza and think, “I’m eating Italian food,” right? It’s American food. I don’t eat hamburger and I think “It’s German food.” It’s just a hamburger. It is going to get to a point where Korean foods are going to be so normalized and accepted. There’s a huge chain in the Midwest right now, a Korean barbecue chain. I’m blanking on the guy’s name, and the name of his restaurants, very popular. And they’re all in the Midwest. They’re in Kentucky and Indiana, and people love it. The Midwest loves to eat red meat and marinated barbecue ribs and fresh vegetables alongside that. It’s very healthy, some parts of the more vegetarian, vegan aspects of the Korean food palate. So [inaudible 01:02:40] coming in and there are some others. There’s one that’s coming in with vegan or animal cruelty-free type of products, and so they’re coming with vegan sausages, Korean meats.

Tim Ferriss: What do you think has contributed to this? So I can think of a whole bunch of plausible explanations that are not mutually exclusive. There could be a ton. So you have the government funding and coordination, which is wild and fascinating. I want to read a book on that. And then you have changing tastes and hey, at some point, things cease to be new and people are looking for a shift, so there is just a newness and things that have reached their peak and descended and then the next chapter begins. I also was watching a documentary not too long ago related to League of Legends and for those who don’t know, I’m not much of a gamer, but the scope of League of Legends, and I think at some point they had 200 million monthly active users, something insane like that. Maybe it’s higher now.

This was an older documentary, but they talked about launching the game in Korea, and how launching the game in Korea was the Super Bowl of desktop PC gaming, because of the broadband penetration. The broadband penetration is so high in South Korea that it has affected almost all aspects of culture and what goes viral and what does not. Are there any other factors that you think play into, and then in a sense, sorry, had a lot of caffeine, guys. And in a sense, then you have the success of not just something like Parasite, but Korean-American directors and actors, and then I think Crazy Rich Asians was a very big deal in establishing the market viability. And then all of a sudden, once you have a few success cases, then the studios, and then all these people are like, “Okay, yeah, let’s put money into this.”

Bobby Hundreds: Now it looks like a sure bet.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, exactly. But what has contributed to this? And part of the reason I’m asking the question is because I like to study these things, but also it might help people listening, and me, to look further down the line and maybe spot things earlier, in the nascent stages. And I’m fascinated by places like Korea, that, in such a short period of time, go from, as you said, a third world to what you find now. Singapore would be another amazing example. The story of Singapore is just insane. Are there any other factors that you feel were critical to Korea becoming and Korean exports becoming as in as they are now?

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah, yeah, and we didn’t even acknowledge Korean music, by the way.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

Bobby Hundreds: So BTS and Blackpink and what Hybe and BigHit have done with the music industry and just completely broken TikTok and the algorithms and Korean pop artists like Blackpink headlining Coachella, which is, whatever your take is on that, it’s bonkers to me to even see that, because we grew up listening to Korean pop music almost embarrassed of it as Korean-Americans, because white kids would never understand.

Tim Ferriss: When did that change? How did it change?

Bobby Hundreds: I think it changed lot. Some people point to Psy. Do you remember Gangnam style 10 years ago?

Tim Ferriss: Yes, absolutely. Of course. I could still do the dance.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah. That was this really bizarre, breakthrough moment.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, I forgot, I about that.

Bobby Hundreds: For Korean pop culture.

Tim Ferriss: Absolutely.

Bobby Hundreds: And there’s someone much better suited out there in the universe that can break down why anthropologically that was happening. But me as a Korean-American that never saw many of our faces in pop culture, in American pop culture, we were growing up in the ’80s when people didn’t even know where Korea was. Kids would say, “Are you Japanese or Chinese?” And it wasn’t until the 1988 Olympics in Seoul that I finally had a reference point. “I’m Korean. We’re having the Olympics in Korea this year.” And people were like, “So is Korea in Japan or China?” They still didn’t quite get it from that all the way to Psy being the biggest global hit maker because of YouTube.

Tim Ferriss: That was one of the craziest things anyone had ever seen.

Bobby Hundreds: It was insane. I think it was. And he had already had a long career before that. But it was the way that I think YouTube actually, he capitalized on YouTube and YouTube capitalized on him. And now there was this universal language of just a really fun pop song with a fun dance that anyone could do. I was in Sicily at the time at a friend’s wedding, and almost everyone was from this very small Sicilian town looking around the room at the reception kids dancing, grandparents dancing to Psy and I had to catch my breath. I couldn’t believe my eyes that a Korean artist was affecting and influencing Sicilians to listen to their music. The thing that I will say, and this is a total abstract and very anecdotal, there’s no science behind anything that I’m about to talk about, but Koreans are known to have this emotional repression, which then manifests and converts into brilliant art, romance, and passion, and also violence, and it’s called han. Have you ever heard of this?

Tim Ferriss: I am shocked that I haven’t because I have so many Korean-American friends.

Bobby Hundreds: You have so many Korean friends, I know.

Tim Ferriss: Han.

Bobby Hundreds: So bring it — because even your Korean friends, they might not know about this. You can Wikipedia this, H-A-N, in the cultural context. So the belief is, and I thought it was just me that was wired like this. As you hear me talk, go listen to other Korean-Americans from my generation and below, they all sound like this. We have a lot of angst and we’re very artistic, and we can be very emotional and impulsive as well. And so that, what they think it is, historians believe, is because essentially we got our asses kicked for so long. We were on top. We were gigantic people at one point in time. Mongolians. Koreans are still really tall. I think on average now in Korea, a male is about a half inch shorter than the average American male, which, that’s just in one generation.

Not only are we growing as an economic power and a cultural power, we’re growing physically. There’s a show on Netflix right now. It’s really popular. It was called [Physical: 100] or something. Have you seen it?

Tim Ferriss: I have.

Bobby Hundreds: With all these buff Korean dudes?

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. And women.

Bobby Hundreds: And women.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Just smashing one another.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah. Just changing the ideas of Asian body shapes.

Tim Ferriss: The reality [inaudible 01:09:33].

Bobby Hundreds: When you go to Seoul, really, people look like that. You go out into the clubs, they’re gigantic, six foot four men. Huge, beautiful, statuesque women, and they’re just in their most peak physical form and beautiful, and they do a lot of surgery and they have the greatest beauty products, and everyone just looks perfect. It’s like a real robotic AI, futuristic life. But for whatever reason, we have that instilled in us because we were on top at one point. We were the best. And then Japan, which was a small island, came along and kicked our asses and kicked a lot of people’s asses out there on that side of the world. And so we were humbled.

And so ever since then, our pride has it so that we know that we should be better, but we have just been held down, impoverished. And so companies in the ’80s and the ’90s, it was companies like LG, Samsung, and [inaudible 01:10:26]. Samsung, when I was growing up was a joke. You wanted only Japanese electronics. You wanted Sony, Panasonic. Anything made by Samsung was, that’s going to break. And the people behind Samsung knew that. They knew that was a reputation and the stigma with anything that was of Korean product, but they had so much pride that they believed that their product could excel and be the best. They worked so hard at that. In so many artists, and especially Korean-American artists, you see the same thing. It’s just in us to prove ourselves and to come out on top. I even see it, my children are half Korean and I still see it in them in the way that they’re reacting. And I’m like, “Is this just a biological?” It’s in our DNA.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, some epigenetics thing.

Bobby Hundreds: It might be genetic, because the way that they react, we can get easily frustrated when things don’t go our way and we just want to breakthrough, and we want to break the system and make it work, and we won’t stop until we win.

Tim Ferriss: Is the han, okay, I’ll look this up. Is it the han of hangook?

Bobby Hundreds: I don’t know if it’s — it’s probably, it’s spelled the same way. I don’t know if it’s coming from the same etymology.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, I’ll check it out. Okay. Makes sense, though. It makes a lot of sense.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah, it’s an interesting one.

Tim Ferriss: Wow. All right. So we’re going to take a left turn, and then we may come back to this, but I’m so glad [inaudible 01:11:45].

Bobby Hundreds: I love talking, by the way, Tim, I never get to speak on these subjects, so you’re giving me the platform to do so, it’s great.

Tim Ferriss: I love this. Yeah. This is so intensely interesting to me. So if anyone else has more to add to this, please hit us up on Twitter and let us know, because I would love to read a long investigative journalism piece on this or a book or anything like that. Watch a movie, a doc, listen to a podcast. 

So the Jay-Z USA Today cover, I don’t want to gloss over this, how does that happen? So I know nothing about fashion. Jay-Z, what is it? I’m not a businessman. I’m a business, man. He has no idea.

Bobby Hundreds: That’s right.

Tim Ferriss: So how does that happen? How does Jay-Z end up on the cover of USA Today in your —

Bobby Hundreds: In The Hundreds?

Tim Ferriss: Exactly.

Bobby Hundreds: At any given point in time, there’s another new young streetwear brand that everyone wants to be on first. And even though there are thousands of them starting up every single day, everybody’s talking mainly about two or three. I was at a party two nights ago at a store called Cherry here on Melrose in L.A. Cherry is one of those brands in L.A. people are talking about. And in that time, we were still raw, a little bit undiscovered, but the stylists and the people in the industry knew that we had the momentum and we had the bag and the juice. And so stylists essentially do this type of work. They are the ones that are really almost like the A&Rs. They’re seeing, “What are people talking about? Okay, I’m going to go pick from them.”

Tim Ferriss: A&R, this is from music.

Bobby Hundreds: For music, but A&Rs, they’re doing the same type of work in the fashion realm.

Tim Ferriss: Could you just explain what that is for people who don’t know?

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah, they’re essentially scouts.

Tim Ferriss: Scouts.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah. They’re scouts. And so stylists are doing the same. They’re paid to do this to know, Jay-Z always wants to look relevant and that he knows what’s going on in culture. So you’re going to pay a scout to go out there and source fashion to make it look like you’re hip, and that you’re part of the community, and not that he’s not, but just you want to make it look like you’re the most coolest, and trendiest. And so I’m assuming, we don’t know how that product ended up on Jay-Z. I’m assuming that his stylist came to our store, bought some stuff, and brought it over to him, “You have to wear this.”

Tim Ferriss: Is there anything proactive that you did to seed — 

Bobby Hundreds: No.

Tim Ferriss: — your product in, not necessarily that individual case, but if stylists are the tastemakers on some level — 

Bobby Hundreds: That’s right.

Tim Ferriss: For celebrities, if they are the scouts, is there anything that you did with respect to stylists or otherwise to help create that type of demand, whether for these entertainment figureheads or people who are then going to have this irradiating ripple effect or otherwise?

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah. Well, there’s multiple ways you can do it. You can pay these people, which is what a lot of brands do. They work with PR agencies. We’ve never done this, but you can work with PR agencies. PR agencies have relationships with stylists and they say, “Hey, I’ll pay you. You pay me. We’ll carry that down,” and then this product ends up on X, Y, Z celebrity.

The other way to do it, which is just what’s always come natural to us, is being a part of the culture and the community. And most of those stylists are actually in the culture and community. They’re friends of our crews, or they may even be working for us in some capacity, and they turn into stylists. And L.A. and New York and fashion streetwear especially, is still a very small, tight-knit world. Most people, especially the ones that are innovating and influencing the most, they know each other somehow. And so if you’re out there and you’re doing the work and putting on events and speaking that language, you are going to connect and build relationships with these people to where they’re going to be like, “Yo, I need something. Can you bring it over real quick?” “Yeah, I’ve got you. We’ll throw it over.”

Tim Ferriss: So that speaks to the current benefits of, say, being in L.A., one of the benefits. And you also are just immersed, you’re saturated with entertainment, of course. But at the time that you started, you mentioned people were not looking to L.A. to set any trends in streetwear. How have you thought about the, did you ever consider in the early stages, say, moving to, I’m not sure, I may not be picking at the right place, but New York or elsewhere, to be in the middle of the action? Because many people who come on the podcast do that. They’ll say, “Where are the movers and shakers? Where’s the action? We’re going to have the most serendipity.” And they pick up and they move. Bob Dylan did this. Bobby Knight did this. As Bill Gurley has famously talked about in his speech at UT Austin, “[Runnin’] Down a Dream,” if people want to look it up. But you did something different. How did you, if you did, make that decision early on?

Bobby Hundreds:  I hear this and I see this all the time, especially from our young community, especially if they’re living in remote locales. “Hey, I’m trapped in Denver.” “I’m in Indiana.” “I live in the Philippines. I have a great idea. I don’t think I’m going to get much exposure if I stay here. Should I move to a big city? Should I move to L.A.?” And I’ve always looked at it, be the big fish in the small pond, champion your home. That’s what you know. That comes most natively and authentic to you, especially if you’re proud of where you’re from. L.A. has a lot of problems. We’re sitting out here in Venice right now.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, there’s an entire homeless encampment.

Bobby Hundreds: There’s a homeless encampment across the street.

Tim Ferriss: Across the street.

Bobby Hundreds: There’s a lot of things that aren’t great about L.A. and the city that we live in. But I still think it, every time I come back and I come home, I don’t think there’s anywhere else like this. And I just knew, and it wasn’t that I knew all the millions of people that live in this city and thought that they were all great, but I knew that the people in our immediate community, our direct friends, had so much to offer and they weren’t being heard. So if we built the platform —

Tim Ferriss: Can you give maybe an example just — 

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah, sure. There was — I’m trying to think of early collaborators of with us.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, it could even be a composite, hypothetical, but just, let’s say there’s a person X, or it could be a real example.

Bobby Hundreds: Yes. So there’s a friend of ours named Tofer, who is an amazing artist, but even he, at the time, everyone’s not really looking to L.A. for that style of art, perhaps. But if we can help build a platform and then bring our friends up on stage to work with them, then everyone can start enjoying and experiencing their art alongside with us. And so that was really the philosophy with how we were building the brand. The idea was to build the stage for ourselves. And then once we have the notoriety and the audience, okay, now we can share the microphone with others.

Tim Ferriss: So is it fair to say that one of the most critical components of your success, and I know that’s a squirrely word, but let’s just use it for now, has been simply asking the question over and over again, “How can we highlight people?”

Bobby Hundreds: Yes. Always. That’s inherent in the work, because a rising tide lifts all boats. I’ve never looked at anyone else as a competitor. I have always believed that I’m competing against myself. If any other brand is winning or getting one over on us, that’s our fault if we want to play that game. And so I’ve never looked at anyone as an enemy or going against or mitigating our success in any way. We have to work collaboratively in order to build the entire platform so all can be seen. There’s so many people in the world, and this was directly in contrast with so much of streetwear up until that point. And not just streetwear, but fashion and brand building.

The traditional model has always been, especially here in the States, is that you just, you do your own thing. It’s your individual path. You don’t play well with anyone else. If you acknowledge anyone or you collaborate with them, it’s going to hurt you. And that’s very false. And we knew that very — we believed in the power of collaboration early on. We believed in the power of diversity and having diverse voices involved in the presentation of the brand. And so very, in the early years of The Hundreds, what we started doing was we started hosting block parties on our street. And the reason why we did that was to invite all of the other brands to come in, that at the time, we were all very small and independent, but we had our own little universes. And it wasn’t us saying, “Hey, we are co-signing each other.” It wasn’t us saying, “Oh, we’re all even.”

Tim Ferriss: What do you mean by co-signing?

Bobby Hundreds: It’s not like we’re validating each other, saying, “That’s a brand that we think we’re going to vouch for,” and say, “They’re good people and they have a great product.” We’re not even saying that. What we’re saying is that everyone has their own lanes, but we can all exist together and be respectful and professional and hang out and party.

Tim Ferriss: Got it. So these are potential competitors, perhaps, in the minds of some.

Bobby Hundreds: That’s right.

Tim Ferriss: So adjacent, but you each have slightly different lanes.

Bobby Hundreds: Yes.

Tim Ferriss: And what were you hoping to come out of that? Would it be the sharing of best practices, the just cordial relationships so that if there’s the flow of talent from one to the next, it doesn’t turn into a huge disaster, what came of those [inaudible]?

Bobby Hundreds: For me what it was, it was all those things. But for me, what it was is what it presented and symbolized externally, to the audience, to the market. Because now it looks like we’re a movement. If all of us are working in tandem and agreeing and in confluence with each other, now there’s more trust in this idea of streetwear. Oh, it’s not just these individual silos, these kids on remote islands. It’s actually a network. And so if you’re a kid coming up and you’re a fan of The Hundreds, and you’re a fan of HUF or Diamond or Supreme, and then you see them all hanging out together, there’s more trust. And I think brand building is really, at its heart, about trust building. It’s about dependability. It’s about, is this thing going to last forever?

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. I think about brand sometimes as reliably — it’s a reliable, durable association over time. The Hundreds means X. When I engage with The Hundreds, it means X, so that that is going to be dependable over time on some level.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah, yeah. And I think people want that in this world more than ever, when everything is a little mushy. And so what you’re doing is you’re making streetwear look like it’s a fad to, “Oh, this is a movement with some permanence,” and now the network is growing. Because if The Hundreds believes in Diamond, and Diamond believes in HUF, then I can believe in all three of these brands, because now they’re fortified. They’re a lattice. And so that’s what I wanted to do in doing those block parties early on. It was a fun party, but then all of a sudden people started looking at Fairfax, which is our neighborhood over here in L.A. as, “Oh, that’s where I can go and everyone is part of a community.” So when I talk about building brands around community, I mean that. It’s about these relationships. And again, it’s not anyone vouching for each other or saying, “This is my close friend,” or anything. It’s just, “Oh, collectively, they are a thing that we cannot ignore anymore.”

Tim Ferriss: So let me throw out something I haven’t thought about in so many years, because it’s been a while since I’ve pitched journalists directly. But back in the day, I remember I got great advice from a writer at some very large publication, and I don’t remember if it was a he or a she. Doesn’t matter, but they said to me, one example of something could be anything, one example is an exception. Two is interesting, especially if they’re geographically separated. Three is a trend. And the reason that they said that to me was, in the very early days, I think people are tempted to pitch their company or their product or their service as a story to a journalist. This is why you should write about, say, The 4-Hour Workweek. I’ll just use my example, the first book, that’s a very hard pitch, to get someone to write a long piece about a single book, a single launch, a single product.

But, the way I incorporate that advice, and the way I suggest some people incorporate this advice when they’re launching things, is see if you can sell around your products such that, okay, 4-Hour Workweek, let’s pick a few umbrellas that fits under, okay, let’s choose remote work. Great. So The 4-Hour Workweek and what’s happening in Silicon Valley in 2007 could be one example. Let me find another example in New York and maybe another one in Chicago. Then I can go to a journalist and I can pitch a trend piece or a style piece with three examples. And then that, I would say, was one of the key ingredients in the coverage of The 4-Hour Workweek. So in a similar way, you were fortifying creating this, not quite the, what do you guys call it in Korean? [foreign language]. It’s not quite, but you’re creating this fortified network that presents a more interesting story, and humans are meaning-making machines.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah. Yeah. So that’s what I was going to say. It goes from a fiction or a myth, to now, this is a reality. Everything begins with myths, as we know. And so the idea of streetwear, when you really get down into the granular nitty gritty of it, it doesn’t make any sense. It’s just t-shirts. And no one invented, we didn’t invent the t-shirt. The t-shirt’s been around since the ’50s, James Dean. And so when you trying to define what exactly it is and what are we doing, I’m like, “Oh, this is just a repackaging and purposing of punk rock,” or ’70s street gang fashion, or what James Dean was wearing in the ’50s. It’s not about the actual fashion. What it was was this movement and this network of individual artists that were coming together and building something collectively. That’s streetwear.

Tim Ferriss: So when you’re highlighting folks, you have a platform, maybe it’s a blog, website. Now of course, there are a million different tools, but in the beginning when you were doing this in a very deliberate way — and I use that in a very positive sense — you’re being focused. You’re using the platform and the microphone to highlight people. You can’t highlight everybody. You have to pick and choose. How did you pick and choose?

Bobby Hundreds: So the curation.

Tim Ferriss: Exactly.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah. I think for us, it was people that we believed in. It’s the same philosophy as when I go out and invest in someone or angel invest or back a startup, I want to believe in the person first. It’s not even really about the work. And this is why we emphasize people over product, and it’s so community-focused all the time in the human story, because the art changes. The product always changes with people.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, totally.

Bobby Hundreds: So you can’t just bank on someone as — if someone were to invest in, we never had an investor, but if someone were to invest in us at that time, they would’ve invested in us as a t-shirt brand. But we were never meant to stay relegated to t-shirts.

Tim Ferriss: And that would’ve been a huge problem.

Bobby Hundreds: Huge mistake for them and for us.

Tim Ferriss: For them and for you.

Bobby Hundreds: Because now we are imprisoned in making t-shirts. But as an artist, we continue. As a creator, you evolve. And they would’ve never foreseen denim, and denim would’ve never foreseen us building retail stores, and then us getting to NFTs. NFTs didn’t exist back then. And so no one would’ve thought to look that far ahead. And so I always look at the person first, and if there’s something in there, for whatever reason, when we’re talking about, “Oh, I have the pulse on many things,” it’s this ability to be able to read people. Oh, there’s actually another Korean term for this. It’s called nunchi. Have you heard of — 

Tim Ferriss: Nunchi.

Bobby Hundreds: Nunchi.

Tim Ferriss: I love the sound of it.

Bobby Hundreds: Nunchi. And there’s many historical reasons why, and contextual reasons for why this exists as well, is being able to read a room. Koreans have this incredible sense of gauging how people are, and just reading emotional states.

Tim Ferriss: That is so — I’ve never put a finger on it precisely like that, but that’s so true. And I’m generalizing based on really only, whatever, half a dozen to 10 really close Korean-American friends. But when I think about watching them in rooms, they are good at that.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah. We generally don’t [inaudible].

Tim Ferriss: Why is that? Why is that? Because that’s actually not broadly — I don’t think that can be generalized across East Asia.

Bobby Hundreds: Right, no.

Tim Ferriss: At all.

Bobby Hundreds: I think it might have to do, again, with the war history and just knowing where our place is and having to understand this Japanese imperialist that’s in my neighborhood, where do I stand against him? If you read Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.

Tim Ferriss: This is supposed to be an amazing book. It’s been recommended a ton. I haven’t read it yet.

Bobby Hundreds: This is a beautiful book. Will be known as one of the best books of all time, and it’s modern, and the context of it isn’t modern, but the writer just wrote this book, and so I strongly encourage everyone to read it. My manager actually worked on the television show on Apple. You can also watch the TV show. Beautiful, both of them. You will get a very clear understanding of how Koreans are, but nunchi is all over that thing, yeah.

Tim Ferriss: So pachinko, correct me if I’m wrong, I just learned this in my last, let’s see, two trips ago to Japan, which I did not know. So pachinko is this — it’s a gambling game. It’s a vertical pinball machine. It’s extremely loud, and they’re everywhere in Japan. And you walk in and you put in money. It’s like slots, let’s just say. I did not realize that something like, what, 75 percent, maybe 85 percent of them are owned by Koreans.

Bobby Hundreds: Koreans.

Tim Ferriss: By Koreans. I didn’t know that.

Bobby Hundreds: That’s right.

Tim Ferriss: In Japan. I had no idea.

Bobby Hundreds: And there is this really fascinating and somewhat tortured history between Korea and Japan just because of the war.

Tim Ferriss: Super tortured.

Bobby Hundreds: So if you read Pachinko, you’ll understand a lot of my family contacts as well, my grandparents also — 

Tim Ferriss: All right, okay, [inaudible].

Bobby Hundreds: — had to live in Japan at one point. Yeah, please read Pachinko, everyone. You’re going to be spellbound by it, I promise you. But yeah, nunchi, going back to nunchi, if you see Koreans, we rarely step into the room and steamroll over anyone. We are very slow to grab the microphone first. I hated being called on in class, and I had no problem talking in class, but I’d rather sit and observe and get the lay of the land before I entered. And so we’re always very careful and considerate. And again, these are all generalizations. So I don’t want anyone to take offense of saying, “Don’t pigeonhole me and classify me as that type of Korean,” because not all of us are like this, obviously. But I think it can be a positive, powerful thing for us to — 

Tim Ferriss: I’m going to speak for all the white people. I’m just kidding. I’m just kidding.

Bobby Hundreds: You are the white. I am the Korean, and we are going to do this.

Tim Ferriss: We’re going to get it covered, folks. All right. We’re not leaving this podcast episode until we sort all this out. So the nunchi, when you think about that sensitivity, let’s just say, that orientation, are there any early examples of people you highlighted that really clicked, that just really had, for whatever reason, an effect on the brand or business or ignited the rest of the community? Are there any that come to mind?

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah, I’m going to be hard pressed to think back then and pick out specific examples that work.

Tim Ferriss: It could just be a type, because you’re experimenting also in these early days. It’s not like you had a playbook that you were just executing the same way every day. You’re testing a lot. You’re throwing a lot against the wall. So I’m wondering, and it doesn’t have to be in the category of people you highlighted, but just in those early phases, let’s just say, just before you hockey sticked, or as you were hockey sticking, what were some of the experiments that really worked and you’re like, “Okay, it’s time to pay attention to that.”

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah. Well, in terms of individuals, and I think this is true across the board, I’ve always been so magnetized and attracted to passion and passionate people. Those who are stubbornly and almost irrationally devoted to whatever their craft is and they have to see it through. And that’s, again, the Korean side speaking to me. And that’s something that’s really innate in my own experiences. And so whenever I see that, I know that they can make it, even though their specific art or product or brand that they’re working on might fail. I’m like, they’re going to either evolve and graduate to the next level, or they’ll come up with something else.And I’ll bet on them in the long run. I’ve been able to spot it in streetwear and art and music. And — 

Tim Ferriss: When you do that, how does it help The Hundreds?

Bobby Hundreds: It helps The Hundreds in the sense that I think people look to us, and they still do, to be, again, one of the first ones to work with a specific individual, or co-sign them.

Tim Ferriss: Just to be ahead of the curve.

Bobby Hundreds: That’s right. There’s a young sculptor kid out of south L.A. right now. His name is Yung Kazi, and Kazi yesterday went out and he’s like, I have a Supreme collab. This is a big deal. And we were the first ones to give him a t-shirt collaboration. Thinking of musicians, Machine Gun Kelly, I was the first one to introduce him to everyone in Los Angeles when he moved here. And we spotted him at South by Southwest. There were six people in the room and watching him perform, and this man was giving it his all, jumping up on stages and speakers, and there’s only six of us watching. It didn’t make any sense, but I was like, this guy’s going to make it. And he’s charismatic. Yeah, let’s start helping him out.

We used to have a print magazine and we’d always feature a female on the cover, which I wanted to do because we were known as a menswear brand, but the brand was really gender neutral. Anyone could wear it. So we wanted to start changing that narrative. For many of those models or subjects. It was their first magazine covers and they ended up becoming big deals. It was Rita Ora, Azealia Banks, Olivia Munn, I think it was her second cover, but personalities like that. But we just knew, I ran into Karrueche last night and Karrueche, I think it was her first magazine cover, and then she became a big actor. But we just know when someone’s going to break. And I even have this relationship now where I meet someone fascinating and I’ll spend some time with them, and then there comes a moment where I’m like, I’m about to lose you.

And this happened once. There’s an actor named Ruby Rose who some people might know out in Hollywood. She had moved here from Australia. I was one of her first friends in L.A. We’d known each other for a very long time. And then she got cast in Orange Is the New Black. And I could just tell things were kind of changing a little bit. And I said, “Hey, I’m about to lose you.”

Tim Ferriss: Because she’s about to go —

Bobby Hundreds: You’re about to go — 

Tim Ferriss: She’s about to go hypersonic.

Bobby Hundreds: Hypersonic. And she’s like, “What are you talking about? You always talk about this thing.” And I’m like, “It’s going to happen before you leave. I need to shoot you.” So I shot her for a magazine cover. She shows up an hour and a half late to the shoot. We do the entire thing. She’s just like, “Sorry I’m late. I had all these auditions.”

She was auditioning for all these big movie franchises. And when was I like, “It’s happening,” she’s like, “No.” She’s like, “I’ll never stop talking to you. What are you talking about? We’re such close friends.” Two years to the day, I think I’d earmarked it, put in my calendar. I texted her and I was just like, “How are you doing?” And she’s like, “Wow, that was a whirlwind that happens in L.A.” 

And to your very first question, that’s happened to us so many times, especially in the internet and social media age, where things, when they accelerate, they’re to an immeasurable degree and you cannot keep up. That happened in the early days of The Hundreds. It’s happened three or four times since with The Hundreds. It happened again during the pandemic because we had another surge because everyone was locked down and they were resorting to comfortable brands that they had known and grown a familiarity with.

And they wanted that. It was almost like soul food for them. To revert back to their favorite high school streetwear brand. And then it happened and for me personally, it happened with NFTs because when those were starting to come up, we had already been involved for six to eight months. And then the amount of phone calls and the amount of emails and the amount of people that were reaching out, I never thought I had access to any of them. Also, whenever this happens in my life, I have to change my email and phone number. I do this thing where I coordinate it at the same time and I will plan it to the minute where I will be, get on my it’s phone, be on the phone with Verizon and be like, “Change them now.” And it’s this beautiful silence for three — 

Tim Ferriss: Mission: Impossible.

Bobby Hundreds: But it’s like this really crystal clear, beautiful silence for three days before everyone finds me again through my wife or through DMs or through my business partner Ben. But somehow they track me back again. 

Tim Ferriss: It’s like Catch Me If You Can.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah. I always thought that when celebrities, we know a lot of celebrities, so whenever celebrities change their number, I always thought it was because their number got out. That was the assumption. But it’s not because their number gets out, it’s because they’re getting flooded with so many people asking them for things. And so you have to change it.

Tim Ferriss: I have to basically divert all of my plans and now fixate on this changing email and phone because I’ve had the same email. I’ve many email addresses, but I’ve had one forever and I’ve had one phone number forever. And as you said, it’s not that my phone number gets out and therefore there’s a problem. It’s that I’ve accumulated a million loose ties and maybe I had a great dinner with someone 10 years ago in a group context, and they were fantastic. And for whatever reason it made sense to connect at the time. But now every time their brother, cousin, or they have a book or a startup or fill-in-the-blank for five other things, I get an email or a text message.

And over time it just turns into a daily tidal wave of inbound requests. So how do you make this switch? Because the reason I haven’t done the switch so far is I have, I think, an irrational fear that people I know who are important to me who haven’t, say, emailed or texted in a year or two, will get lost.

Bobby Hundreds: Right.

Tim Ferriss: Right.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: So how do you do this? You have done this multiple times.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: I would love to know.

Bobby Hundreds: It’s much harder today because so much of our phone is connected to our identity for 2FA purposes.

Tim Ferriss: Yes.

Bobby Hundreds: And so that becomes — 

Tim Ferriss: Two-factor authentication.

Bobby Hundreds: Extra, that’s right, a two-factor authentication. So it becomes an extra layer of, oh, if I change my number, then I won’t be able to 2FA or get into certain accounts. Because I don’t remember what passwords are.

Tim Ferriss: Right.

Bobby Hundreds: And so that makes it a little bit more complicated.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah.

Bobby Hundreds: But I think you’re going, you just have to be willing to sever relationships and know that they’re gone.

Tim Ferriss: You’re going to lose them.

Bobby Hundreds: And if during the, and okay, so we’ll get into this, I’m sure at some point, but when NFTs were starting to really fire, there were only a few people that in the world, and not saying three or four, but there was just a scant amount of people in the world that could take this very complicated subject and explain it in very simple terms. And I think I was one of those people. And I also have such a big network that everyone was coming to me and then they all came to me at once.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah.

Bobby Hundreds: And so I’ve never experienced this in my career for a year and a half straight.

Tim Ferriss: “Wait a second. People sold a JPEG for $69 million!”

Bobby Hundreds: Yes.

Tim Ferriss: “Bobby, now I’m interested.”

Bobby Hundreds: And we’re in the middle of the pandemic. People are bored and they’re gambling a lot. And so they’re like, “Oh, he has the keys. He knows how to do this. He did it. He sold 25,000 NFTs in 40 minutes. Yeah, I want to do that too. That seems like a really fast, easy way.” And all I’m doing is waving red flags saying, “Don’t come over here, turn around, U-turn, U-turn, back, back. But the calls and the phone, the emails and the messages that were coming, every A-list Hollywood star you can think of, women, men, all of them I’ve talked to about this and gone through it and said — 

Hey, there’s even an anecdote in the book where Seth Rogen and I, we were at his house and I had been through three sessions explaining what’s going on. And he didn’t really ever want to do it. He was considering it because it’s right up his audience’s alley. That type of dude was really interested in flipping JPEGs. He’s like, “Is this something I need to consider?” We ran the gamut of all these conversations. I couldn’t keep up with it. And then, there I felt bad. I have a lot of guilt. And so saying no to people or just not returning calls, I felt really bad about it and I forgot who it was, but someone who deals with this kind of problem a lot was like, “It’s okay. Just ignore them when they need something else from you. They’re going to find a way back. You’re not severing any ties. Even if you change your number, they’re going to find you when they need you again. So it’s not like you’re ever losing them.” 

But yeah, sometimes it feels like they’re barnacles or skin tags. They’re like skin tags and you’re just like—

Tim Ferriss: Why do I have so many psychic skin tags? Yeah, exactly. That’s definitely going to be in the description of this episode,

Bobby Hundreds: But I’m also guilty of that on the other end. I’ve done that to friends all the time. Someone that I met, I met you, and I was just like, “Ooh, by the way, Tim, let’s talk about my book.” And thankfully you were gracious enough to want to talk to me about it.

Tim Ferriss: The stars aligned also. Yes. In a very unusual way. So I’m happy it worked out and we’re going to get there, but I want to cover the mechanics, just the process. So yes, you have the two-factor auth. Yeah, considerations. And I would say for most folks, it’s a very good idea. Well, look, I’m not a doctor, I’m not a technologist. So talk to professionals, but generally move to some type of authenticator or one-time password as opposed to your phone number just because of swapping and different attacks. That’s correct. Yeah. Especially if you’re a public figure, there are just more attack vectors. But how would you go about doing it?

Bobby Hundreds: You coordinate with Verizon, it’s very easy to switch your number, by the way. Yeah. It’s like you can do it within five minutes.

Tim Ferriss: So you call whichever carrier you —

Bobby Hundreds: Call. Sorry, I’m just, don’t call Verizon. If Verizon’s going to be like, “You don’t use us.” Yeah. You can call your phone carrier and just say, “Hey, I want to switch my number.” And they’re like, “Okay, you can pick from any of these.” And it changes just immediately. So you get on that phone call and then if you use it, or if you want to do it yourself, you just set up an auto reply on your existing email that says, “I don’t use this email anymore.” That’s it. And then immediate, if you want to direct people to a new email, you can do that. Otherwise it’s just, “Hey, this is a dead end.” And then you set up a new email at the same time. And then you email out to the people that you absolutely have to stay in contact with for work reasons or for family, for friends, that it’s probably only about 30 to 50 people, to be honest.

Tim Ferriss: It’s not that much.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Not that many. The email, email, I, from a process perspective, find easier to wrap my head around. Let me ask just a bunch of dumb specific questions. beause I can’t be the only person who wants to change their number. When you change your number, this is such a Luddite question. I know people, what happens to your, say call history, text messages that came into the old number? Do they remain on your phone so you can reply from a new number?

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah. It really, not to be crass, it really fucks it up on that scale.

Tim Ferriss: Of things. Not to get too technical, but it really fucks it up.

Bobby Hundreds: It really fucks it up. Especially with iPhones. For whatever reason, the message, the messenger, iMessage, I don’t know what we call it, iChat, all that. And especially if you’re using it on your computer, people will start getting your texts from when you ever get a text from an email address. It’s the weirdest thing. Yes. “Why are you emailing me a text right now?” Or it’s going to their email. A lot of that starts happening and it takes a while for it to sync back up again. This is just my own anecdotal experience with it. I could be doing something wrong. I’ve been on tech support trying to explain, and they were like, “Yeah, this is just really funky right now.”

Tim Ferriss: Just the thing.

Bobby Hundreds: It turns into a little bit of pain.

Tim Ferriss: So there’s a little bit of pain. So it’s a little bit of friction. So sell me on the upside though. Yeah. The, because upside, I need the encouragement.

Bobby Hundreds: The upside is that it, I, first of all, he, I’m telling you those first few days of silence one, I’m hoping—

Tim Ferriss: I’m just hoping more than a few—

Bobby Hundreds: I have this thing where I love washing the dishes. If you ever ask me to wash the dishes after a meal, I love it because it’s the only place, especially in my house, where nobody asks me of anything. There’s two things that I do to surf. Everyone’s like, “Why do you surf so much? Do you love it?” And I’m like, “No one asks me for anything when I surf,” and when I wash the dishes, everybody leaves me alone because for the first time, it looks like I’m contributing to the household. So my wife isn’t bothering me. The kids are like, “Daddy’s actually doing something meaningful. Let’s leave him alone.” And then I can think. I can’t answer a phone. Yeah. No one can text me while I’m washing dishes. Same way I feel when I’m surfing. But when you turn your phone, when you change your number, you get that for a, I do it on a Friday afternoon so then I have a weekend.

And it’s better than going to Hawaii for a vacation. It’s a real brain vacation for 48 to 72 hours before they’ll start trickling back in again. But to this day, I’ll get people being like, “Dude, I’ve been messaging you for years and you haven’t replied.” Or finally someone said, “This isn’t his number anymore. Can you please tell whoever this is that to tell his friends you know?” and I apologize, but I’m like, “Oh, I’m sorry.”

And I should also add the other layer of complexity now is that people, because of your DMs, right, and especially young people, they DM more than they text or call anyways. And so as long as you still have your social handle, you are going to get those messages. But I don’t have a lot of those apps on my phone anymore. Or my WhatsApps and my Telegrams. I don’t even have them on my computer. And so if I ever want, and then I have them archived and hidden. I have the apps off of my phone. So if I ever want to pull those up, I have to go through six steps. And it’s too much of a hassle.

Tim Ferriss: It’s archived in your phone, like a hidden folder. So there’s just friction and pulling it up.

Bobby Hundreds: So you just want a little bit of more of a mental hurdle of, “Oh, I have to get to that, and I won’t do it.” And so even in my group chats that I love to be a part of in my WhatsApps and Telegrams, I archive them. So it’s still there, but then you have to open it up, then jump into archive and then pull them up as opposed to them just being there. I have no badges on my phone, no notifications. All my calls are like silent, muted, and just that I want communication on my terms always. And so when people are, and I think I’m not alone in this, if you text me, like I’ll text, I go, sometimes I won’t answer texts for three to four days. And I answer them just like I would emails and I’m like, “Hey, sorry, I’ve just been working.” Especially when I’m in writing mode, I have to be complete. It takes me 40 minutes to get into the zone. So totally, you cannot interrupt me for about six to eight hours at a time.

Tim Ferriss: During our water bathroom break that we took, which may have been invisible to the listener, but now you know how the sausage is made. You were mentioning a tieback to the question around Korea, right? South Korea. And if we’re seeing this current explosion for many, many reasons of influence coming out of Korea, and if we further relate that to some of the descriptions that you had of characteristics of Korea and the Korean people, where would you be looking to next? Yeah. And why?

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah. So my theory is that creativity is born of struggle. And Koreans struggled for so long. I mean, many people all around the world have struggled in different ways, but Koreans struggled for so long that when they finally broke through, it all emoted and manifested in really beautiful art. And I would suggest looking at other regions of the world that have either been repressed or just haven’t had the education or the medicine or the technology advancements over generations and are now being supplied with such. So India and the Middle East are probably really strong areas of focus right now. For a lot of industries, especially for me, I try to build as much of our Indian community as possible from here, constantly conversing with Indian followers. Whenever I get an Indian follower, I’ll start messaging them and be like, “How did you find me? What’s going on?”

Because India is just a vast, vast, vast country with just a zillion people in it that have all different backgrounds. And I know very little about it. It’s on an entire other side of the world. So I think that that area of the world, the art that is coming out of there, I collect a lot of art with my partner Ben. And the art that is coming out from that region of the world is also like no other art and in filmmaking, the same things are happening. I think there was an Indian film, so I’m sorry that I forget, said—

Tim Ferriss: RRR.

Bobby Hundreds: Yes. Yeah. That did well at the Academy Awards. So I think we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge what India’s doing right now.

Tim Ferriss: So I want to tie one loose end before we move to the scary dark neighborhood. 

Bobby Hundreds: Oh, no the jungle. The forest, the black forest.

Tim Ferriss: We alluded to the rise and then perhaps the change in taste, I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but the change perhaps in the company and the momentum that seemed to have coincided with interest from say, Tommy Hilfiger in acquiring The Hundreds. Could you just paint a picture of what happened during that time?

Bobby Hundreds: Fashion is very fickle, and so much of it hinges on momentum. When you’re young and you’re an entrepreneur and an artist, and you’re finding success, the ego wants to believe and loves this idea that you’re in control of whatever path your career is taking. But as you grow older, you realize that you’re subject to so many different influences and factors in the ecosystem. And so when I look back on it now, The Hundreds was, had really, really fast success in that era because of what Ben and I were working on for sure, and the community we were involved in. But there was also a rapper named Kanye West that was also getting really deep in streetwear and working with a lot of cartoon art. And our mascot was this cartoon bomb that people really gravitated to and loved.

And the way that sneakers were, the retro sneaker movement was starting in that period of time in the 2000s, all these really rainbow colorways and people wanted colorful clothing, and then they wanted streetwear brands to kind of coincide with that because no other segment of fashion was communicating that you were into sneakers. And so there was just a confluence of factors that attributed to, that contributed to our success at that time. And so as much as it seems like you are in the driver’s seat and you’re in control, you’re still on someone else’s road, let’s say, right? And so that road could end, or that road can detour, and you might take the wrong path or you know, might run out of fuel, whatever, all the metaphors, but there will come a point in time. And we had been told that for the first 10 years, fashion is really volatile. It’s a really dangerous business to be in because when it stops, it stops immediately and without warning. And we had survived the recession in 2008, 2011, when the rest of the world was really, really struggling. We were thriving, we were just crushing it. Streetwear was having a really golden moment. And then people had their fill. Because the way that fashion goes is that you cannot be wearing the same thing today that you were wearing yesterday. And especially if you’re a young person, identity-wise, you cannot be wearing in high school what you wore in middle school. And you certainly can’t be wearing in college what you wore in high school, right? Because these are moments of transition and you’re coming of age and you want to differentiate in segment and divorce yourself from, “Oh, that was me under my parents’ roof, and now I’m an independent person. My hairstyle looks like this. I’ve adopted these traits, and now I dress this way. I can’t be associated with that.” 

And so we were moving into that generation where the kids that had grown up with us were like, “Oh, I wore that when I was young and I was an active skateboarder, but now I’m in college and I’m trying to attract women,” and whatever it is. Or, like, men. And now there’s a new type of fashion that speaks to this, which is when streetwear started to adapt and evolve and the style became less branded and it became more subdued, not as colorful. “We want blacks and grays and neutral colors,” and this happens in fashion all the time. “We don’t want loud patterns and camouflages, we want solids. We want the clothes to drape like this.” And then it graduated to, “Well, that’s all juvenile, amateur hour streetwear. Let’s start penetrating and influencing high fashion.” 

And when that movement started happening, then we looked almost alien in comparison because we’re a real street brand that the kids on the street, they jump over fences wearing our t-shirts. But how do you drive that with what’s going on on the Paris fashion runways where you’re making these beautiful garments, pieces of art, works of art, and these designers are now being esteemed as design gods? And that was not anything that was in our DNA or communication. We were always of the community and wanted to speak directly to the streets. And then when it came back around, you know it’s happening in this moment, the last two to three years, there’s been return and call back to, well, we wanted grounded streetwear. Again, we want to wear what the streets wear. We want to be a part of the community. And so it goes, it toggles back and forth. This is just how trends work.

Tim Ferriss: What did that mean in practical terms for you in the company over the span of three months, six months, whatever the period of time was? And when you say things can change quickly, yeah. Does that mean that you guys were sort of on top of the world financially and from a brand positioning perspective, and then six months later it was totally different? 

Bobby Hundreds: It is that fast and dramatic and a heartbreaking when your distributors overseas are dropping you left and right. A store that you sold to for seven years straight won’t return your calls for the next season because they order season by season.

Tim Ferriss: I guess the reason they’re going to give us is like, “Hey, times have changed. Sorry—”

Bobby Hundreds: Times have changed. “Hey, it’s not you guys. It’s us. We have to survive now and we can’t sell your product. And so we need to find the hot new thing. It’s not personal.” It’s business and streetwear, so much of it is architected around — it is personal, it’s not business. It’s all personal relationships, especially for a brand like ours, which is our entire journey being translated online. It’s the most personal thing. And so when these relationships start to stutter and you’re looking out in the marketplace and you’re not being received the same way, it’s a— Talk about an identity crisis. That’s a real hardship that a lot of young brands and entrepreneurs will never be prepared for, but turns on the dime. And we’ve gone through, we’ve, I’ve now understood over two decades of doing this, it’s all just about surviving and thriving. It’s all about just making it to the next cycle.

I don’t even need to be the best. I don’t need to crush it. I don’t need to win any awards. Just get me to the next cycle. If you survive, you win, right? And of the class that we started out with at that time in 2003, there were hundreds if not thousands of streetwear brands that were really doing well at the time. We are one of a handful that still exists and of that that do exist, ones that are still profitable and are still considered respectable and people treat us as a modern streetwear brand. And so surviving and thriving is the name of the game. We are sophisticated and savvy enough to know now when it’s coming. And so we’re entering another downturn. We’ve been in it for the last few months, but we saw this coming a year ago. 

Tim Ferriss: Did you see it coming?

Bobby Hundreds: We saw it coming just in. There was so much inundated, there was so much product flooding the market that every time this is happening —

Tim Ferriss: Okay, this is peak saturation. We’re going to have a peak saturation. The rubber band’s going to snap back.

Bobby Hundreds: If everyone is carrying this X amount of this blue sweater by every brand and this amount of volume, people are going to not want that blue sweater anymore. And then the stores are going to get stuck. And then when the stores are stuck with it, they’re going to start discounting it. When they start discounting it, that just sends ripples across the board, six to eight months later, nobody’s in the mood to buy. They have been traumatized and they’re like, “We’re going to just wait and hold off. We have too much product.” And then there’s supply chain. This is a COVID situation. Supply chain issues also factor into this.

Tim Ferriss: So you look into the crystal ball, really, you look at the spreadsheets and you look at the distribution and you’re like, “Okay, yeah, we’re about to have a turn here, a downturn,” and you see that say a year in advance. What do you start to do?

Bobby Hundreds: You cut fast and you cut deep.

Tim Ferriss: Cut fast, meaning headcount, meaning inventory, meaning overhead.

Bobby Hundreds: Everything, all of it. Everything. And unfortunately, it deals with people’s lives.
Tim Ferriss: That must be a tough conversation because for the people on the front lines, perhaps, yeah, they’re not seeing what you’re seeing.

Bobby Hundreds: They don’t see it.

Tim Ferriss: “Things are great.”

Bobby Hundreds: And from a PR/brand perspective, it’s a little bit harmful too, because not everyone else in the marketplace or your peers or competitors see it coming. And so they look at you like, “Wait, we’re crushing it right now. Why are you guys doing layoffs?” 

Tim Ferriss: “Why are you struggling?”

Bobby Hundreds: “Why are you reducing?”

Tim Ferriss: “Yeah, no, we’re planning ahead.”

Bobby Hundreds: “You should be selling more sweatshirts right now, not reducing.” But we’re like, “Those sweatshirts that you’re selling right now are going to come back to you and haunt you, and so you need to diet correctly now.” And so it sucks because being a little bit far ahead, we’re always the harbingers of the bad storm approaching. And yeah, you’re right. Some of the staff that have been with us and are really, really amazing people to work with, they don’t understand when we’re like, “Your work is great and everything is hot right now, but we have to do this to get ahead.” So cut fast, cut deep is not personal. And then just being really mindful of the expenses, and again, consolidating and limiting the amount of product that we’re making in the marketplace, getting back to making product that’s really intentional and meaningful. And this is made to sell. This is made to wow from an editorial perspective. This is meant to create noise. Because when times are fat and everyone is just humming along, everything’s just working, you can really sell anything.

Tim Ferriss: You, you can get a little loose.

Bobby Hundreds: You get a little loose, and that’s when you just reap, right? You’re reaping the harvest and you’re going out. You can do anything you want. I personally dislike those times as a creative person because they’re the least creative moments of my career. No one has to steer the boat. There’s inertia, right? No one needs me to get up and captain the wheel. Everyone’s looking like, “Bobby, take a break. You’re only fucking shit up by getting in the mix here. We’re good. Just put more of this cartoon bomb on everything. It’s selling.” But I’m like, “This is not — I didn’t do this just to make money. I did this to make art.” And so whenever time slowed down and the boat needs a little bit of a kickback, and people call me back, “Hey, can you get back in a seat?” I’m like, “Thank God. Even though we’re not making as much money right now, I get to try things.”

Tim Ferriss: So if you’re comfortable, I’d love to give people a picture of what the company looks like today and just the business. It’s like, okay, here’s the pie chart. Or here are the different divisions. Maybe we could start with the shirt that you’re wearing. So what is the shirt that you’re wearing?

Bobby Hundreds: I’m wearing a Phantom of the Opera shirt. It’s actually a collaboration that we did with Andrew Lloyd Webber. I’m wearing it because emotionally I’m a little bit sad that they’re closing the show. Do you know this? After 35 years it is leaving Broadway. 

Tim Ferriss: I had no idea.

Bobby Hundreds: And so it’s just like a tribute to that. I don’t know. I felt like it when I was wearing it this morning.

Tim Ferriss: So the reason I bring it up is for most people who are not of the streetwear world, they might have a certain image in their mind, but Phantom of the Opera is probably not appearing. What does the business look like today in terms of operations and just the business model/models?

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah I actually, can I tell a story about this real fast?

Tim Ferriss: Absolutely. Of course.

Bobby Hundreds: And to that point, we are known for our collaborations, maybe more than anything on the marketing front. We don’t do traditional advertising, billboards, magazine ads, or anything like that. We do collaborations because collaborations, number one, I believe that’s the heart of, and the beginning point of all creativity is two minds coming together, making something out of nothing. And also it helps cross-pollinate audiences. And it’s all about us just educating our community on what this collaborator’s all about. And there aren’t putting them onto something, but it also says something about us.

Tim Ferriss: So what is a collaboration?

Bobby Hundreds: A collaboration can be for us simple as us working with Adidas and doing a new color wave as shoe and putting our brands on it. It can be if we’re working on a project with, let’s say Pokémon, you know, getting their characters to interact and engage with our IP or, and we just, our fans like to see us communicating and relating and building with some of their other favorite properties or brands or artists.

Tim Ferriss: And you interact with some huge brands. Big IP. Yes. And these are the biggest of the big.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah. Okay. And that when we were starting, that was a little bit frowned upon in streetwear because streetwear was supposed to be anti.

Tim Ferriss: Anti-establishment.

Bobby Hundreds: Anti-establishment, and one of the first major collaborations we did was with Disney. And the reason why we did it is because we kept ripping Disney off doing these weird parodies and Mickey Mouse. And they came to our booth at a trade show and said, “Please stop. We are going to sue the pants off of you.”

Tim Ferriss: “We’re good at this. We’re good at suing.”

Bobby Hundreds: We’re really good at suing. Our lawyers—. We’re holding them back. They’re chomping at the bit. Or we can do this officially. Why don’t we do a creative collaboration together? And that was chaos. 

Tim Ferriss: I mean, good for them.

Bobby Hundreds: To recognize that, to—

Tim Ferriss: Even open that door and have that conversation. Totally.

Bobby Hundreds: Well, it changed the tune for them a bit because up until that point, Disney, in terms of they’re very—

Tim Ferriss: Protective—. 

Bobby Hundreds: Very. Oh, my God. Maybe the most, and that’s also speaks to the strength of their brand.

Tim Ferriss: Absolutely.

Bobby Hundreds: But they, at that point, consumer products was really focused on selling. And their success is mainly with women and with young people, children, Disney consumer products. And they had a really difficult time penetrating this market, which is teenage guys, 20-something guys who are into rap music and skateboarding. They’re like, “That’s just not Disney’s lane.”

Tim Ferriss: What trade show was it? I’m curious how they were even there in the first place.

Bobby Hundreds: It was Magic, the magic trade show, which still exists. It’s a Las Vegas fashion trade show. Trade shows are not as in vogue anymore in practice. We haven’t done a trade show in many years.

Tim Ferriss: But the Disney folks were there ostensibly to find licensees, perhaps?

Bobby Hundreds: That’s right.

Tim Ferriss: Or looking at relationships where they can license.

Bobby Hundreds: I can’t speak for them, but I do know a lot of the studios and the licensors are walking around, number one, to see if anyone’s infringing. Number two, their creative teams are walking around to gather and collect references and inspiration. So it’s a great place to go to see what the art’s going to be like in six months.

Tim Ferriss: And so you guys started this first major collaboration because you were infringing, basically.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: And they came by and said, “Okay, look, there are two ways this can go.”

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah. “We’re going to sue the pants off of you, or let’s just do it officially.” And they were like, “You can have any property you want. You guys want Mickey Mouse?” And I was like, “No. That’s not our approach to anything that we do. It’s too obvious, it’s too mainstream.” I’m like, “You know those characters in Peter Pan, the Lost Boys?” And they were like, “Why do you want that?” They weren’t reinvigorating that license. That movie wasn’t coming back into theaters. They’re like, “Those characters? Why?” 

I’m like, “Because narrative and storytelling wise, that’s us. We’ve always been fighting the corporate pirates; we don’t ever want to grow up. They’re really fun little mischievous kids. We are the Lost Boys.” They’re like, “All right.” So we do this project with them. It was the first and last time that they allowed any partner to do what we did, which was merging the logos to a point where they were almost inextricable and almost confusing, which is the entire point of IP is to avoid brand confusion, likelihood of confusion in trademark law, copyright law. And we were taking the Disney font and writing “The Hundreds” in it. And all of this flew under the radar.

Tim Ferriss: I am amazed that you got away with that.

Bobby Hundreds: We got away with it because, thankfully, we had folks on the inside that were on our side and knew that it would just have a really big impact. And so the project released, we sold it to specific stores around the country, lineups, everything sold out within an hour. Kanye West had a blog at the time. He blogged about it. You can still Google this. He’s just like, “This is crazy what these kids have done, The Hundreds. Who are these guys?” And so that was another inflection point for us. And there was a lot of chatter because it was a corporate brand that we were collaborating with, and it wasn’t so independent. But at the same time, our approach to that was always, if you’re going to work with a big dog like that, always make it look like you got one up on them, whether you got paid or you just came out on top.

Tim Ferriss: So you’re a smart guy, so you, I would have to imagine, and I don’t want to speak for you, but Disney comes along, you have this launch.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: You’re like, “Okay, I’m thinking long-term. If this works, it’ll probably open up some interesting doors. I want this to work.”

Bobby Hundreds: Yes.

Tim Ferriss: So what are some of the ways that you stack the deck? What were some of the key decisions that you made in that launch?

Bobby Hundreds: In that launch?

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. So you describe some of the product design, which is clever. So it’s corporate, but it’s also kind of anti-corporate in the way that you did it.

Bobby Hundreds: That’s right, yep.

Tim Ferriss: Just in terms of the launch itself. I’ll let you answer that any way you want.

Bobby Hundreds: Well, at that time, this was also a novel thought because we’ve grown very accustomed to limited drops and drop culture, and everything needs to hyper sell out right away. Streetwear, for the most part, in terms of this genre of fashion, invented this. And it’s not like we were the ones who created either, brands had already been doing this for years. So we limited the supply, they didn’t understand that. They were like, “Don’t you want to make a lot of money?” And we’re like, “No. It’s not about making money. It’s about making noise.” We’re building a brand forever. I want this to be the next Levi’s. And it’s not making the money now. I need it basically amortized over the course of my career.

So we don’t want all the money right now. We need enough money, but we just want to make noise. And so let’s just make a few products and just a little bit of inventory, and let’s have it sell out immediately. And so as soon as that happens, then the demand goes through the roof. People are like, “How do I get this? When are you reprinting it?” And again, context, at that time, every other brand would reprint. We’re like, “We’re never making this again.” And then we started to build this reputation of, “Oh, wait, so if I like this shirt right now, I should get it.” I’m like, “We’re never making that shirt again.” And we didn’t. And that project’s done.

Tim Ferriss: And you have to stick to that.

Bobby Hundreds: You have to stick to it.

Tim Ferriss: If you deviate, game over.

Bobby Hundreds: Exactly.

Tim Ferriss: People are smart.

Bobby Hundreds: Now you’re unreliable. And the whole point of being a brand is that you’re dependable as that’s what you said and they’re going to hold you to that. And Disney didn’t understand it either. “Hey, when are we going to do this again? What’s our next collaboration?” “Oh, we’re not working with you guys anymore.” “What do you mean?” And they loved working with us because, again, for the first time, they had access to this demo that they never quite had before. They ended up working with a bunch of other streetwear brands and repeating similar success. And now Disney does a lot of streetwear stuff.

Tim Ferriss: So what did you do? I find it hard to imagine that you weren’t thinking ahead.

Bobby Hundreds: Right.

Tim Ferriss: So launch goes well.

Bobby Hundreds: Launch goes great.

Tim Ferriss: What’s the next collaboration that — 

Bobby Hundreds: Oh, at that time? I think what we did was — 

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, how did you then approach the next collaboration or bigger collaboration?

Bobby Hundreds: So we couldn’t look like we were just doing consecutive corporate licenses.

Tim Ferriss: Totally.

Bobby Hundreds: That’s only one type of collaboration. It’s not bad or it’s not wrong, it’s just one type.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, but if you did four in a row, people would be like, “Okay, these guys have sold out. We’re done.”

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah. “They’re just selling out and they’re slapping logos together and it’s just a corporate thing.” And so I think, and I don’t remember, this is so long ago, but the way I remember it back then was then we started working with smaller artists or independent artists or more obscure properties. Around the same, time we worked with Stan Sakai and Dark Horse Comics because I grew up with Eastman and Laird’s Ninja Turtles, and I loved Usagi Yojimbo.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, for sure.

Bobby Hundreds: So Usagi, he made this cameo in issue three. And then they incorporated him into the animated series. But he wasn’t a part of the Ninja Turtle universe. And I just loved that, that he didn’t necessarily belong, but here he was coming in from a different universe.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. So Usagi Yojimbo, just so people have an idea, rabbit who is, I think “Yojimbo” is literally “bodyguard,” something like that in Japanese.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: I should look it up. But similarly, you’re not going for Mickey Mouse.

Bobby Hundreds: Right. We’re not going for Mickey Mouse. They were like, “Don’t you want to do Ninja Turtles, because those are really hot right now?” I’m like, “No.” There was this random rabbit samurai named Usagi Yojimbo, and we need to work with Stan Sakai directly, this Japanese American comic book artist.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Yojimbo does mean bodyguard. I just [inaudible].

Bobby Hundreds: Yojimbo’s bodyguard. And we can’t just work with the property. I want to work directly with the artist. I want to work with him.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah.

Bobby Hundreds: I don’t want to just pull a piece of art out of a style guide that someone prepared in a PDF and put in on a shirt. I need to work with him. And all the way up until today, this shirt I’m wearing right now, it’s a Phantom of the Opera collaboration. Why? When I was saying why we even do collaborations, it’s not just to educate our community on our partner and what they’re all about. Whenever you’re speaking on somebody else, it highlights a nuance about yourself. And so now we’re not a monolith of, oh, I thought you were just a streetwear brand and all streetwear brands are like this, and it’s just about skateboarding and rap music or whatever it is. You’re into Phantom of the Opera? Now we feel more human because most people aren’t just these monoliths and they don’t just have one unidirectional creative path.

And so for us to work with a musical, it even startled and surprised Andrew Lloyd Webber, because when we got on the phone with them, they thought it was a joke. Andrew Lloyd Webber sincerely was asking, he was asking, “Are you guys being sincere or are you being ironic? I don’t understand why you’d want to do this.” And I was like, “I have to explain something to you. I love the theater. So much of what we do in streetwear is theater. And so that’s the message that I want to send to the audience, that it’s all one and the same. The things that you’re talking about in this musical, this is…” 

Tim Ferriss: You’re good.

Bobby Hundreds: “…the things that we’re talking about in the musical are very much on par with everyone’s lives.” So he’s like, “I don’t get it, but let’s do it.” And then he loved it. And so he even made an Instagram video where he’s wearing the jacket and talking about it.

Tim Ferriss: So if this were, let’s just say a Harvard Business School case study, and they’re like, “Okay, The Hundreds, let’s look at the current state of The Hundreds.” What does the company look like just in terms of revenue streams or primary focal areas?

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: What does that look like?

Bobby Hundreds: So we are talking right now in the spring of 2023. We are coming out of the hotbed frenzy that the pandemic was — 2020 to the early parts of ’22, maybe late ’21. What happened in those periods is, for those who aren’t aware, I’m not going to assume that anyone knows this, direct-to-consumer brands exploded. Everyone was fish in a barrel, stuck at home, shopping online for comfort or because they were bored, or there were stimulus checks. There was a lot of money floating around. And so we just had a boom. If you were set up online in any type of capacity, chance is that you had a very, very successful booming couple of years. And we did. Those were some of arguably maybe the best years that we even ever had as a business. We couldn’t stop selling. And it wasn’t a gradual rise, it was overnight. We do drops every week to two weeks, meaning there’s another collaboration that we’re introducing to the world. A Pokémon project or a Harry Potter project to an artist that we’re making t-shirts with.

Today, we did an Earth Day project. So there’s Earth Day t-shirts on sustainable recycled t-shirts. So we do these drops. And the lockdown started March 10th, I think. The next drop that we had, it was tripling numbers. And we were like, “Oh, everyone loves this artist.” And everyone did love that artist. His name is Blue the Great, he’s a local L.A. artist. He’s worked on Jordan collabs. So we’re like, “Okay, everyone likes Blue. Let’s try this one.” And then I think the next project was with the estate of Roald Dahl, and we did all of his books as t-shirts and sweatshirts. Went bananas. And so that was the course of the next two years.

Tim Ferriss: Let me just pause for a second.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: So not to beat a dead horse, but just so I understand. Is the majority of, and I’m going to act as a stand-in for the audience. Okay, so just so people understand the business. Is then the revenue that’s generated by the company that you’re using to pay the employees and so on coming from you forming a collaboration with, say, a licensing agreement predominantly, doing a launch every one to two weeks, and then you are driving direct to consumer sales? Or is there another component where you have retail distribution or these partners themselves are also promoting to their audience? Are they driving to your website? Are they selling inventory that you ship them some other way? Just so people have a picture on how things are moving around.

Bobby Hundreds: It’s all of that. It’s all of that. So we are still a seasonal collection brand. Four to six times a year, we do big seasonal drops. And that’s a comprehensive range of apparel that you see hanging in retail stores.

Tim Ferriss: And this would be The Hundreds.

Bobby Hundreds: This is The Hundreds.

Tim Ferriss: No collaboration.

Bobby Hundreds: Yes, it’s pure inline products. Sometimes there’s collaborations that we’ll sprinkle in there, but the store buyers, they buy it a year in advance, year and a half, six months in advance, we produce it, and then it ends up and it all releases. “Hey, the spring collection’s out right now, here are the retailers, and you can buy online from us.” When we do these drops that I’m talking about, those are outside of the general inline collection, and they’re these specialty online drops. But we also have a physical store. And so you can also go to the store when we do a drop, and that’s where you’ll see a line of kids waiting for it.

Tim Ferriss: Got it.

Bobby Hundreds: And that’s a hyper strike, very limited, one-time-only drop of a collaboration, let’s say.

Tim Ferriss: How much of the collaboration drops is almost a marketing/PR function where you’re using that to create the noise that creates the visibility and informs the brand that then helps you to sell the seasonal collections?

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah, there is this really delicate dance. It’s exactly that. When we started doing collabs 20 years ago, they weren’t to make money. And because streetwear was really small and people weren’t accustomed to drop culture and drop mechanics, it took everyone about 10 years to warm up to this idea of, “Oh, it sold out, and did you learn your lesson? You’d better be on it for the next one.” And so as soon as it comes out, “Okay, let me grab it and take it off the table.” Nowadays, I would say it’s a mix. I’d say half of the projects we do are — when we collaborate with Pokémon, we have a few projects coming out with Star Wars over the next year. When those projects drop, they are so noisy.

It’s a huge chunk of change revenue that’s coming in. I love that. It keeps the business going, obviously keeps the lights on. But in order for those to sell and for them to even gain that amount of energy, it’s all in the smaller collaborations that lead up to it with unknown artists, the next band that you’ve never heard of that you’re going to love tomorrow, the hot new rapper. It’s all those little projects that they don’t make a ton of money, but they’re just really good for the culture and storytelling of the brand. And they round us out so it doesn’t look like — because there are some brands that only do corporate licenses, they’re specifically architected just for that reason. And then there are brands that won’t do any corporate licenses, and they’ll only work with really small-time artists and keep it pretty small.

And it’s a very core type of brand. We ride the line in between because we know it’s like Coachella. You have the mainstream artists, you have Blackpink headlining along with Frank Ocean. And then that gets most of the ticket sales. Everyone’s wanting to see Bad Bunny and Rosalía. But then when you’re there, you discover the smaller artists in the Sahara tent or on the side stages. And so everyone kind of works in concert, no pun intended. Same with the smaller names on the bill. They want to go and perform. It keeps the festival grounded and a little bit closer to the street but then they also get the exposure that the mainstream artists bring, and so everybody wins.

Tim Ferriss: So a couple things. First, funny side note that I would want to corroborate, but apparently Frank Ocean was interviewed for some mainstream music publication. This was a couple years ago. And I believe he said that when he’s on onstage performing, a lot of the time he’ll have this podcast playing in one earpiece.

Bobby Hundreds: What?

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. It’s pretty wild. I’ve never interacted with him, but if that’s true, thank you, Frank. I appreciate it.

Bobby Hundreds: What up, Frank?

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, that’s wild.

Bobby Hundreds: He’s a really thoughtful and heady individual, as we all know.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, super sick.

Bobby Hundreds: He grew up also on Fairfax and was just around the shop. And he came in a few years ago right before the pandemic, and we made a t-shirt that said, he knows the kids that work in the shop, and we had a shirt that says, “Maintain the mystery.”

Tim Ferriss: I like that, I like that.

Bobby Hundreds: And I use that phrase a lot in our branding and our messaging, because I love that. We are such a transparent and communicative and open brand, but I do believe there is a magic and a power to maintaining mystery, especially in brand building.

Tim Ferriss: Could not agree more.

Bobby Hundreds: And he walked into the store, and this is so Frank, he looked at everything and he’s like, “What is that? I will buy that shirt.” And he started wearing it around town. You can just Google “The Hundreds Frank Ocean,” and you’ll see it. He’s walking down SoHo with Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber or someone, Gigi, Bella Hadid, one of the girls next to him. And so that shirt just went viral.

Tim Ferriss: Maintain the mystery.

Bobby Hundreds: Maintain the mystery. It was like the most Frank Ocean moment for The Hundreds, but that’s Frank for you.

Tim Ferriss: What a great story.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: So if we then go back to Disney, Lost Boys, good news, bad news. “Went great, guys. We’re not going to work with you again.”

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: “Good luck.” And I know it wasn’t quite that simple. Then you go back to the roots with respect to highlighting up and comers.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: What was the next big brand licensing deal, and how did it happen?

Bobby Hundreds: The next big one.

Tim Ferriss: Because now I can imagine you have a lot of inbound. You probably have a full-time team who handles licensing.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: And maybe there are two or three trade shows that you go to, but you have a couple of channels through which you develop these relationships. But since the Disney came about in a very idiosyncratic way, let’s say, how did the next one happen?

Bobby Hundreds: Gosh.

Tim Ferriss: Or whichever you can remember.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: But did you go seeking it?

Bobby Hundreds: Right.

Tim Ferriss: Or was it some different dynamic?

Bobby Hundreds: It’s probably the most common question that I get asked from young entrepreneurs is, “How do you do collaborations and how do you set them up? And how do you even go about walking into a deal?” And the answer is, is that they’re different every single time. Sometimes they’re entirely serendipitous. We’re sitting at a bar, I’m like, “What do you do? Oh, you work there. Hey, we should do something together.” And we’ll write it on a cocktail napkin.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. L.A. is a good place for that too.

Bobby Hundreds: Right. And then sometimes it’ll be a handshake where there’s not even a contract put up against it. We worked with Epitaph Records, which is a punk label that I grew up listening to. And we worked on that project for — this is a whole other thing. Sometimes collaborations take a long time. They can happen overnight. And Epitaph took 11 years for it to come together just to get every band to sign off. But even with that project, Brett Gurewitz, the owner, was like, “You don’t have to even pay us. This is advertising for us. You guys keep all the money.” So every agreement is set up a little bit differently. And I’m trying to think of the next big one.

I mean, we didn’t work with Disney again for 12 years, and that one was with Roger Rabbit. And the same thing applied with that one in that Roger Rabbit is a really bizarre, anomalous entity where it’s split up. It’s like a product of divorce of every studio that came together for that lightning-in-a bottle moment. Warner Brothers, King Features, Disney, obviously, Hanna-Barbera all put their cartoons in one project, and Steven Spielberg too. And then they said, “We’re never doing this again. We hate each other.” That’s why every character has equal amount of time on screen.

Tim Ferriss: Oh, no kidding.

Bobby Hundreds: Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse, when they’re falling in the sky, it’s the exact same amount of seconds because Disney was like, “Well, if Bugs is in it, then Mickey has to be in it.” And it was such a — 

Tim Ferriss: It’s like two agencies dunking it out with their stars.

Bobby Hundreds: It was like seven studios that were running Hollywood at the time. “We’re never doing this again.”

Tim Ferriss: So I suppose my question is, you get Disney.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: This is one of the best-known brands, maybe the best-known brand in the world.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: There are a few others that might vie for first place. I think Harvard would be another one.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Just globally.

Bobby Hundreds: Right.

Tim Ferriss: Dominant brand. How did you use the fact that you had had a successful launch to help with things over the next few years?

Bobby Hundreds: Right. Well, Google at the time really worked. And so if you looked us up, that came across. And Kanye blogging about it was very impressive. You put together essentially a deck and say, “These are some of our greatest hits. If you’re approaching a partner who doesn’t know anything about you, or if you’re trying to win them over, you’re saying, “Hey, this is everything that we’ve ever done and this is how fast it’s sold out and this is how much money we made,” if they want to see that. Other than that, most of our projects have been inbound. Someone reaching out and saying, “Hey, we’re with this estate. We’re with the estate of Jackson Pollock. You guys do a lot of work with art. Can we do…” I was going to say, the next project that I can think of that was a huge success and that was on that scale, and this one was even more meaningful to me because it’s how I learned how to draw, was with Jim Davis and Garfield.

Tim Ferriss: Oh, wow.

Bobby Hundreds: And we directly reached out to them and said, “Hey, we have to work with you.” And they are a licensing powerhouse. In some ways, they invented a lot of consumer products and licensing. And it all started with, I don’t know how old you are, but in the early ’80s, late ’70s, they were called Stuck On Yous. They were the Garfield stuffed plushies that were on the insides of the car windows. And it looked like they were hanging on. Up until that point in 1978, Garfield was just a local comic. In fact, it was just about Jon Arbuckle. And then by the second or third edition of the comic, Jim started realizing that people were more interested in the cat than the guy, so then he spun it around and made the comic about the cat. And he made money doing this comic and a licensor from, I want to say from Asia, came to him and said, “Hey, can we license this for these? We just want to make these Stuck On Yous and put them in people’s cars.” And he said, “Sure, I don’t really get it, but I don’t even know what a license is, but let’s do it.”

It transformed the company. It made the company what it is today. I went and directly visited them. They’re in Muncie, Indiana, which is an hour and a half outside of Indianapolis. They’re in this giant orange barn with a big paw print on the side of it. And the entire organization was built off of the backs of those Stuck On Yous. For the next three to four years, they made all their money, and then they realized comics are great, licensing is where the money happens. SpaghettiOs, breakfast cereals, TV shows, blankets. I grew up with all that. Bedsheets and my alarm clock, which I still own, Garfield.

And that was, to me, this really important lesson in how to build a brand that can be beloved, still make money, and stay true to the art. I don’t know if he’s still doing it anymore, but back then he was still in the office every day overseeing everything, even the blue lining of the comics. And so we worked with them multiple times. 

And this is a total tangent, but when you look at the two comics that I loved growing up, Garfield was architected that way. And Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes, which was anti-license, Bill Watterson never licensed a thing. So those weird Calvin pissing on Ford logo stickers were all [inaudible]

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, yeah. I heard a story, maybe somebody can verify this, that he hated licensing so much, the idea of merchandising, that someone, maybe a business manager, someone brought him into an office and they wanted to set up this meeting. And there was, it must have been Hobbes, there’s a four-foot stuffed Hobbes in the corner. And he was so upset that he took some pair of scissors and just hacked it to pieces in front of everyone in the meeting. And he was like, “That’s how I feel about this, and goodbye,” which I kind of love that he’s so clear, that he’s so clear on it.

Bobby Hundreds: He had such a set idea and opinion on what Calvin and Hobbes was supposed to be from the moment he started drawing that thing. I don’t know how. It’s like he could read the future. And look, I don’t think that property has held up as well as Garfield just because it hasn’t been licensed. And he retired that comic. I was in high school. Do you remember the last one where Calvin and Hobbes take both — 

Tim Ferriss: I don’t remember the last one, but I still have all of my paperback collections of Calvin and Hobbes to this day.

Bobby Hundreds: They’re great. Yeah, my kids read them. But a lot of young people don’t know what that comic is anymore. It had its place in time, and it might just die on the vine like that, which is okay.

Tim Ferriss: He probably doesn’t care at all.

Bobby Hundreds: I don’t think he cares at all. He recently announced that he might be doing something, or I think he dropped a new comic strip just for the fun of it. Every three to four years he kind of pops back up again and says something, but he doesn’t care.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. He would be fun to have on the podcast.

Bobby Hundreds: He’s great. He’s so elusive. There’s a documentary called Dear Mr. Watterson, I think. The entire documentary is this guy trying to get Bill into a doc.

Tim Ferriss: That’s hilarious. It’s like in search of the snow leopard.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah. There’s a few of these figures in my life. Culturally, they’re all the same. Salinger is one, Bill Watterson is another. But even in streetwear, there’s a character by the name of Don Busweiler, who’s arguably the most iconic and influential streetwear pioneer. Don, and I’m in contact with him every single day, but no one else is. He joined a religious group. Some people call it a cult. In the ’80s, he was on top. He’s from Miami, Animal Farm, his store, was probably the first real streetwear store, owned the club scene, made a ton of money for two to three years, went to a trade show. This is how the mythology goes. Went to a trade show, made a million dollars, walked into his room, tore up all the POs, threw them out the window.

Tim Ferriss: Purchase orders.

Bobby Hundreds: Disappeared. Yeah, sorry. The purchase orders disappeared. No one knew where he went.

Tim Ferriss: I love these stories.

Bobby Hundreds: And then he showed up in a cult eating trash. They ride bicycles around the country eating trash out of bins.

Tim Ferriss: Freegans, sometimes they’re called.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah. And 20/20 had done a documentary on this cult called The Brethren. Look, a lot of that is mythology. I’m good friends with Don and we talk every single day, but he still leads this very virtuous spiritual life where he lives off the land, he travels the world. And not a week goes by where he tries to convince me out of this. And he’s like, “How’s business going?” I’m like, “It’s good. It’s a little stressful.” He’s like, “I’m waiting for you on the other side.” Constantly, “This is where I am today in Israel. This is where I am today in South Africa. This is my office.” And he’s alone or he’s on top of a train just going into the middle of nowhere and enjoying his life. So those are the people. I don’t think I could ever be these people, but they are my north stars.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. There’s part of me that wants to be one of those people. I’m very skeptical of my own ability to ever do it.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: I seem to be too addicted to my own suffering and self-imposed grinding. But these cases of folks, and there are others, I don’t know how much we would have in common, but you find, this is not the same, but like a Daniel Day-Lewis, right?

Bobby Hundreds: Right.

Tim Ferriss: Just disappears for five years, no idea where he is.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: And then he shows up and wins everything.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: And then disappears for another four or five years.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: And then wins everything. And then he’s like, “Yeah, I’m done.” Oh, man.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Or what Dave Chappelle did as well.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah. How many people can do this, though?

Tim Ferriss: It’s like 50 million. He’s like, “No, I’m good.”

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: “See you later.”

Bobby Hundreds: I romanticize and idealize that life too. And maybe if I was disciplined enough, I could do that, or I believed in myself enough and had the conviction. But I don’t know. I like saying yes to things. Branding is all about saying “No,” but I like saying “Yes” to so much.

Tim Ferriss: But also, maybe the key, not to get too metaphysical or philosophical, but maybe the key isn’t is having these friends so you can say, “Maybe at some point I’ll do that, and that will be the salve on my soul that addresses all these things.” And the key is not doing it, because then you can’t burst the illusion. So you have this hope that you kind of keep on your shelf and you’re like, “If I ever did these things, I could see how it would change my life, and that’s the value. Because, for instance, I know so many people, and I’m sure you do as well. Once they have a degree of financial success that allows them not to be worried about A, B, and C, they realize that, actually, the money does not fix their problems and their mental health and their inner demons, which is why I think, in part, so many, and look, this is not [inaudible] one of my friends. It’s like, America weeps for these people. It’s like, no, it’s a joke, right.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Nobody expects any sympathy for people who are like, “Oh, my God, I have money now and I’m so miserable.” But I think it’s not that, in a sense, they were miserable all along. It’s that they get the money and they realize, “Oh, this doesn’t fix the things.”

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: And then they lose some degree of hope.

Bobby Hundreds: Right.

Tim Ferriss: So maybe in this case, it’s like with the reclusive. It’s like, “Okay, let’s keep this hope in its pristine, un-overexamined state so I can put on a shelf.” Anyway, we’re getting down a pretty deep rabbit hole. Let’s completely flip this around.

Bobby Hundreds: Yes.

Tim Ferriss: And I’m going to go straight for the juicy bits. We’ve alluded to NFTs. All right. At one point, you and your team made more than $7 million in 40 minutes by selling 25,000 NFTs. Was it worth it?

Bobby Hundreds: Oh, boy.

Tim Ferriss: And that’s going to be a strange question for folks, but you and I have had some conversations offline. Yeah, was it worth it? How do you even begin to unpack this? Because you have, as you noted earlier, been tracking NFTs for a while. You were tracking them before a lot of folks were paying attention, and then you became a source of knowledge and people came in and had a lot of questions for you.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: And you had what I think a lot of people would consider a huge home run.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: So feel free to lead into the story any way you like, but the question of “Was it worth it?” is one I want to please keep on the radar.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah, yeah. I’m going to be a politician about that. Look, was it worth it in the end to get into NFTs, delve into them, create a project? Absolutely. Speaking of suffering, was it painful and horrible? And at times, did I regret entirely ever stepping foot into that space? 100 percent. And if you take money out of the equation, if the $7 million people also have to be mindful of, almost all of that went right back in. We didn’t pocket that. That’s actually going back into supporting the company. At the time, everyone was like, “Wow, you guys made $7 million in a day.” We didn’t — 

Tim Ferriss: Also, pre-tax. Let’s just — 

Bobby Hundreds: Pre-tax.

Tim Ferriss: Important to note.

Bobby Hundreds: Even if it was crypto, pre-tax. And people are like, “Oh, you made $7 million in a day,” because they just assumed that these assets were generative and we built that project in two weeks or something. In fact, we spent over a year researching, listening to the community, being in clubhouses, trying to figure this out, doing the education part of it before we even stepped into how do we make this happen and then let’s create all the art. And most of it was manual. If you look at our art, it’s not like Mr. Potato Head style where you’re just flipping traits around. They’re individual pieces of art that were borrowed from 20 years of history from The Hundreds. Our project was set up a little bit differently.

And so if you look at it like, “Oh, they made $7 million over the course of a year,” and not to show too much of ourselves, but in terms of us selling clothing, we make a lot more than that as a clothing company. And we had reduced the amount of clothing that we were selling in that time consciously and also because so much of our efforts, and especially me, my attention was entirely consumed with making these NFTs. If anyone reads the white paper, which is essentially the Bible as to why we built that project to begin with, a large motivation was to essentially go against what fashion has been doing in terms of contributing to waste in the world from a sustainable perspective. And if we can move a lot of digital ownership, but really a lot of digital status signaling online instead of having to make product against it and costs so much to make this stuff, and it just ends up in a landfill in Chile.

We can do that with JPEGs. It makes a lot more sense to us as fashion brands to move into that realm. And so there was a lot of things that we were trying and experimenting with, and I think we actually moved the needle in doing it. So was it worth it in the end? It was. Did we make money? I think we lost money. The amount of time that we’ve spent and the amount of resources we’ve invested into giving back into that community who supported the project and has been with us along the way, it hasn’t actually come out like we’re profiting a great ton off top. We’ve lost money by being a part of this.

Tim Ferriss: And even if, let’s just say, you made a bunch of money — 

Bobby Hundreds: In that moment, we did.

Tim Ferriss: Right. Yeah. In that moment, you did. The work that goes into it beforehand and afterward is invisible because what people see is the drop. I just want to point out also because I like to do this when I interview folks, you were talking about your early collaborations and the importance of coordinated drops and drop mechanics. I just want to point out that you could not have predicted that the learnings in that world would later apply to something like this.

Bobby Hundreds: That’s right.

Tim Ferriss: So it’s easy to connect the dots looking in the rearview mirror, but it’s good that you didn’t take a bunch of money and get pigeonholed with a board who’s like, “Hey, you’re a t-shirt company. CEO, we have the right to fire you, by the way.” And you’re like, “But wait a second. We want to explore in these areas because we want to try to at least envision where the puck may be headed.” You had mentioned to me, I don’t think you’ll mind me saying this, but at one point you were like, “Yeah, you could basically consider,” and I know this is an overstatement, but, “Any of the profit that I might’ve had, I put the entirety of it into therapy.”

Bobby Hundreds: Oh, right. Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Not an easy year.

Bobby Hundreds: Right. No. The mental anguish that comes with this, especially if you have issues with guilt, which I do, especially if you have savior complex, which I do, this is not the lane for you, this specific corner of NFTs, which are PFP projects that people were trading and collecting, which is what we wanted, but then also started gambling with, because when you reduced the art just down to a tradable asset, then you can start flipping them at a really lightning pace and it turns into ponzinomics and turns into just hyper gambling really quickly.

Tim Ferriss: Super quickly.

Bobby Hundreds: And so people realize that with NFTs pretty early on, like 2021, 2022. I think we’ve actually gotten out of a lot of that, either because people were satiated or they were mainly burnt and this is a little bit tangential, but now we’re seeing it happen in other sectors. And so I wrote the book also almost as a bellwether for other industries to look at. Eventually, everything, luxury handbags, sports cards are already starting to do this, any collectible and anything that is really collectible with the hindsight of nostalgia is going to end up on the blockchain. Someone is going to record those assets on the blockchain and then they’re going to hold them in a vault. So here’s a great example. Sneakers. Right now, if you trade sneakers, you’re buying them and collecting them and selling them off, you’re probably going through an app like StockX or Grailed and what they do is you send them the sneakers, they list them on their website, and then they inspect them, and then if someone buys those sneakers, then they deliver it. So there’s actually this escrow period where it takes a couple weeks for you to actually get your sneakers that you bought from somebody else. Two to three weeks in the pandemic was like four weeks. Now what’s going to start happening is that that’s a lot of movement for our product.

Tim Ferriss: A lot of risk too.

Bobby Hundreds: A lot of risk. It’s a lot of waste. It’s a lot of gas and fuel and jets and ships moving things around, and it just takes too much time. And so what we’ll end up doing is those sneakers will end up being converted to NFTs and just sit on the blockchain. And then when you send them the shoes, StockX or a company like that in theory, would hold them in a vault. And then if you were transacting on the shoe and you have no intention of wearing them, you’re just buying and flipping, you’ll do it on the blockchain just like an NFT does and performs. And if you ever want to call the sneaker out, you can and then you burn the NFT. And so there’s a lot of companies that are looking at this structure because everything, the secondary market is becoming so massive, not just in fine art, not just in sneakers, but again, luxury handbags are huge right now with women and men that are going to Japan, sourcing them, bringing them back here and flipping them for two to three times the price.

So you make an extra $3,000 to $4,000 on a bag, you do that 100 times, you’re doing pretty well. And so eventually, those are going to end up on the blockchain as well. And when you start doing that at that pace, and there’s no escrow period for you to be thoughtful or to think about what you’re doing or even to consider the art and you’re reducing everything down to just a code, and now you’re not even acknowledging that there was any human involvement in this, it gets into this really slippery and very almost dystopian category or lane where now it’s not about the creation at all.

Tim Ferriss: Everyone’s a day trader.

Bobby Hundreds: And now everyone becomes a day trader whether you acknowledge it or not. NFTs have been around for three to four years, and arguably, when we got in at the end of 2020, it was not really looked at in this way. It was about collecting art and buying art and selling it, and then Bored Apes happened. And that summer, there was a few projects leading up to Bored Apes, but what Bored Apes did was essentially, they tied in some type of utility to the NFT, and that changed the narrative for the first time where it wasn’t just collectibles anymore. CryptoPunks, which were the biggest NFT project, PFP project at that time, and still is in my opinion, they’re the alpha and omega, CryptoPunks had no utility. They were just trading cards. And it’s the same way that Pokémon cards are set up, tops and sports cards, anything under fanatics, they don’t promise utility because if they promised utility with their collectibles, then they become securities and that’s a stock.

Tim Ferriss: You have to be very careful with that.

Bobby Hundreds: You have to be very careful. I’m going to say “Not financial advice” all over this podcast.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, that’s right. That’s where you end up with an ankle bracelet that — 

Bobby Hundreds: That’s right.

Tim Ferriss: Has you on house arrest in the best case.

Bobby Hundreds: Right. And so if you look at a company like TCG, like the ones that run the Pokémon cards, they don’t even acknowledge the secondary market exists. They’re all about just primary market. What do you mean? These are just fun cards for kids to play a game with. Disney’s coming out with Lorcana. It’s their version of a Pokémon card game, like Magic the Gathering. That’s going to become a huge collectibles the pop culture card market. Right now, sports cards are ruling trading cards. Non-sport trading cards are going to become massive. Star Wars is already doing anything associated with Disney because Disney is leaning so heavily into this space. Everyone’s looking at anything made by Disney right now. There are Mickey Mouse autograph cards coming out of Asia that are $30,000. So people are going to start trading these things as well, but — 

Tim Ferriss: And these are digital?

Bobby Hundreds: No, these are physical trading cards.

Tim Ferriss: These are physicals. Okay.

Bobby Hundreds: These are physical trading cards, but on the digital card front, ViiV is the NFT blockchain of choice for a lot of the bigger studios. And I don’t know how official this is. I’ve heard that ViiV makes billions of dollars a year, and no one ever talks about — they only want to talk about Bored Apes, but Disney NFTs trade much more than anything in the Bored Ape or Adam Bomb Squad or a Doodles or RTFKT or any of that, but people don’t look at it like it’s a gambling thing because over there, people are actually collecting them and holding them. I had no problem with the way that people flip NFTs. I think there just needs to be more emphasis on people holding NFTs, and in order for them to hold them, there needs to be a collectible asset or a culture built into it and that takes time.

Tim Ferriss: And I think that understandably, NFTs, let me just back up for a second and say — 

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah, I know. There’s a lot.

Tim Ferriss: If people are [inaudible] non-fungible tokens, NFTs, this is going to be very simplistic, but think about it. Please correct me if you want to change this definition, but think of it as digital title. So you have digital title to X, it could be anything. So envision a world where rather than buying tickets from scalpers or going onto StubHub or whatever it might be, it could still be on StubHub, but let’s just say Ticketmaster wants to get a cut every time their ticket is resold, travels from hand-to-hand, it could take the form of this NFT where it’s not quite this simple. I understand that guys, but they get some royalty, they get some cut every time it changes hands. Or you think about all the waste. Some would say just administrative cost, fine, but you think of all of the intermediaries and all of the costs associated with, in many cases, buying a car or especially buying a house. A lot of that, at some point, could be made much cheaper and much faster through digital means and then you could still have, say, an NFT that corresponds to title. And so you could have a piece of artwork that is in and of itself identified with this NFT. And so you can buy and sell that. That’s how you prove the equivalent of say, provenance, right?

Bobby Hundreds: That’s right.

Tim Ferriss: Authenticity. But you could also have something physical, as you said, where you buy a pair of shoes. You’re never going to wear these shoes. It’s like maybe buying a really fancy bottle of wine. The same could be true. You buy a really fancy bottle of wine, you are a collector and a trader of wine. You may hold it for five days, you may hold it for five years, but you’re not in the business of storing wine in your basement and shipping it around. You’re in the business of buying and selling. So that wine could stay at this central storage facility by some exchange or something like that and you are simply using smooth, hopefully, technology, reliable, hopefully, trustworthy, hopefully, because by the way, code is not always perfect, to buy and sell in a much more frictionless way.

Bobby Hundreds: That’s right.

Tim Ferriss: And I guess I’ll say just one more thing, which is NFTs in the form of artwork, I think, made for a very easy to understand on-ramp for a lot of people. There’s still a lot of ugliness in the multiple senses. People aren’t going to like this, some folks, but I think anonymity breeds really bad behavior.

Bobby Hundreds: It can.

Tim Ferriss: So one of the features can also be a pretty big bug in so much as almost everyone I’ve spoken to has come from outside of NFTs. They’re not NFT-native, and they launch something, they’re like, “This is the worst so-called community I have ever been exposed to. All of the worst behaviors are reinforced, and it is really bad.” And there are good people, of course, but it’s hard to drown out the negativity. So there’s ugliness there. There’s also ugliness just in terms of user interface and the ability to have, let’s just say, even friends of mine buy an NFT to support another friend. They’re like, “God, this is so complicated.” 

Two questions just in terms of what you see coming, but also, the bigger question is why write this book? Because books are hard.

Bobby Hundreds: Books are so hard.

Tim Ferriss: At least for me, they’re hard.

Bobby Hundreds: I had no intention on writing a book about this world, but as I’ve talked about on this podcast, my entire journey has been transparent. When we started The Hundreds, from day one, I was blogging about what we were doing. “Here are the rivets that we sourced for our denim. Here’s a store that we sold to. I want you to meet them. This is what we ate lunch with today, and this is the artists that we’re hanging out with. You should follow up on them.” And so everyone was along for the ride. As we were building our business and discovering and learning about streetwear ourselves, so was our community and we were always on the same page. And the same thing happened when I started discovering Web3. I remember the day that I learned about it, a friend of ours, this guy, Trevor, posted something on Twitter about Beeple’s sale in December of 2020, $3.5 million off of a digital piece of artwork.

I could not wrap my mind around it. It not only confused me, it frustrated me. It angered me. I got really pissed off. I was like, “This doesn’t make any sense. This is totally unfair when there are perfectly good artists out there that can’t sell canvas and now we’re selling JPEGs. This is a myth and a lie.” Whenever my brain moves into that territory, I always pause and I just start questioning myself. And it made me curious. I was like, “I want to expunge this off the face of the planet, but before I get there, I have to understand everything about it.” And there were definitely some soft and blurry parts of it, and still some elements, especially when it gets into Metaverse talk that I’m like the way, “This is kind of bogus,” but there were some really useful and important parts of it that I thought were valid.

And that was what captivated me and drew me into the space of “Here’s a technology that can potentially correct a lot of the frictions and a lot of the errors that we’ve been repeating, especially in fashion and how we build companies. And for the first time, maybe we can balance out a lot of the disparities between the owners and the consumers. Perhaps we can rectify how artists are paid through secondary sales.” Again, I come from collecting a lot of physical art and it is a little insane to see an artist sell a work for $5,000 and a collector to turn around and flip it for $50,000 and the artist makes none of that. That doesn’t seem quite fair and it keeps that starving artist narrative going instead of — you never hear of starving art gallery. It’s always the artist is the one who gets screwed over in the end.

And so that’s what really attracted me to the space and I thought that there was a lot in that and I wrote these essays not just for me, but for our community to understand. I’m like, “This is what I think is going on.” In 2020, it was called crypto art, crypto media, more than NFTs, and so my first essays were about that, and then I started holding Zoom rooms where I would invite anyone to come in and we would just talk about it. That working definition or that open-ended definition and discussion about NFTs, I don’t think I’ve ever stopped anyone who enters a room and claims to be an expert and say, “This is, again, the concrete truth or fact about what NFTs are,” and I’m like, “Do not listen to this person.”

Tim Ferriss: Back away.

Bobby Hundreds: Back away.

Tim Ferriss: Slowly.

Bobby Hundreds: Because this is a living conversation. Everything is still happening in real time. Goalposts are changing, shifting every single day. Some of the things that everyone believed were true last year, last month, last week about NFTs don’t apply anymore and so you cannot come in and say, “Oh, this is what an NFT is.” Now we’re starting to understand more and more that physical things can be NFTs, because from the very beginning, NFTs were really just code on the blockchain and the narrative for so long was, “Oh, it had to be a digital JPEG or something online.” It’s like, “Oh, no, no, it can apply to that, but it can also be something physical.” It can be this table that we’re sitting at right now. So people’s ideas and impressions of NFTs are changing over time. I’ve recorded all of these in essays that I’ve been writing for the last two years and I started off by talking about how NFTs are a scam.

And the last chapter is called “NFTs Are the Future,” because I extract the elements of it that I believe can live on and may be more meaningful to us in different ways, not just in gambling with million dollar monkey JPEGs, but in ways where we can use it to be disruptive around business or how we treat our customers and our communities. I actually start off the book by talking about SBF and FTX. I have to acknowledge that. And our good friend Neil Strauss was the one who was just like, “Hey, have you ever thought about the fact that there are parallels with SBF and Charles Manson and killing crypto or killing the hippie movement?” And as I looked into what Manson and what his murderers did to the hippie movement and theoretically killed it, Joan Didion was writing a lot about it at the time.

I opened the book with a Joan Didion quote. She says basically, “This is dead. The hippie movement is corrupt. It’s a bunch of immorally bankrupt people. And then Charles Manson happens and then that’s just proof that these people needed some kind of structure.” And what she got wrong in that is number one, Charles Manson was actually never a hippie. He escaped from jail and he preyed on the vulnerabilities in the hippie culture. And then he took advantage of that, which I don’t know anything personal about SBF, really. I don’t know him as an individual, but it seems like there’s a lot of room for that in crypto. The infrastructure is so porous and the scaffolding is not established yet. So anyone can walk in and take advantage of somebody, especially with all the anonymity, all of the dense language, all of the open tech. It’s just very easy.

Tim Ferriss: And the lack of structure.

Bobby Hundreds: Lack of infrastructure.

Tim Ferriss: Lack of infrastructure. And some folks are not going to like [inaudible] this is true for everything, but especially in crypto blockchain chats. There are a lot of checks and balances in the, let’s just call it, the traditional finance.

Bobby Hundreds: It’s like regulated entries.

Tim Ferriss: It’s like whoa! And there’s a lot of bloat. There is a lot of red tape, but man, a lot of those regulations were created for very good reasons and when you remove those guardrails, not all outcomes are going to be good.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah. Well, when you think about with crypto, what’s happening is that you become your own bank, which sounds amazing, and parts of that are actually really powerful and enabling, and they should exist, but what many people won’t tell you is that you becoming your own bank, you also have to become your own bank security guard. And not many people are set up to do that or are informed on how to do that through ledgers or other types of security devices.

Tim Ferriss: And even if you use hardware wallets, as speaking as someone, and maybe you’ve had these issues, we don’t have to get into it necessarily. We could, but you certainly know celebrities. You relate to something called a wrench attack differently when you’ve had real security risks. And I think it’s an abstract event that most people assume will never happen to them, but in this world in particular, there are real security risks. And that’s scary. There’s a reason why were banks appealing in the first place. It’s because people are like, “I don’t want to have to sleep with my gun next to my bed because I have gold bars under my mattress.” And you’re right. You’re totally right.

Bobby Hundreds: This is a problem that is facilitated by the nature of the internet and how fast a conversation happens. We’ve never experienced anything like this before where we have such a powerful technology. I still very much believe, by the way, in digital ownership and sovereignty in blockchain and crypto. I very much do, but the progress is happening at the same time as the conversation. In fact, the conversation is outpacing the infrastructure at this point. And so when you get into that mode, because of the nature of Twitter and Discord and all the WhatsApp group chats, everyone is ideating and innovating so quickly that the technology to actually build this stuff takes decades. And so we’re getting so far ahead of ourselves, so, “Well, this is what we can do and this is where it can go next.” Well, someone actually needs to sit and build this. It’s hard to even do that in the bull market because everyone is trading so much that no one is actually building anything. We’ll get to the security piece later. Thankfully, right now, we’re in a moment where everyone’s taking a breather and there are really capable people in the background who are developing and building and engineering programs and networks that will keep us safer as we move forward. And eventually, we’ll get caught up, but it is going to take some time.

Tim Ferriss: What are some of the coolest things that you’re seeing in the, broadly speaking, Web3 space? I know that’s an all-encompassing term, but just for simplicity, what are some of the things that you’re seeing or tracking?

Bobby Hundreds: I think that just the idea of smart contracts are going to be very useful for us. And so in records of deeds and ownership receipts, we may need those things. Membership, there’s all types of — Starbucks has a really good membership rewards program that’s starting to be built. Nike entered the space with .SWOOSH. What they’re doing is very much along the lines of what I do, just because I come from fashion. They’re realizing that instead of having to produce all these physical sneakers, sometimes people just want to be able to collect and own great art. And they’re also utilizing .SWOOSH so that their community can become creators and put in their own flips and spins on shoes. And if they’re ever made, then they will get a kickback and profit off of the upside. And so those elements of Web3 to me, and that’s really where I start pulling out of the book, is that we cannot just look at Web3 as relegated to these digital assets, these gambling NFTs, these crypto mediums. Web3 is really a philosophy that can transcend, and if anyone has watched the Air — have you watched the Air movie yet?

Tim Ferriss: No.

Bobby Hundreds: It’s the Jordan — 

Tim Ferriss: Not yet.

Bobby Hundreds: Shoe deal.

Tim Ferriss: I know of it. Yeah.

Bobby Hundreds: The movie’s about, I’m not giving anything away here, is Michael Jordan’s mother insisting that Michael Jordan gets paid a cut of every shoe moving forward and that was revolutionary at the time. Nike resisted it. Eventually, she got her way, and then it changed sports endorsements, and especially athletic shoe endorsements forever. And everybody won. Nike won the shoe wars. At that time, they were struggling against Converse and Adidas. Then they come out on top, set the tone. Revolutionary 40 years ago. We’re still watching the movie today being mind blown that Michael Jordan’s mom asked for this and Nike agreed to it. You walk away going like, “Oh, my God! That’s an amazing thought that the creator or the athlete or the sponsored person or the influencer should be paid alongside the company.” Why is that such a crazy revolutionary thought still? The production company that made that movie is called Artists’ Rights, I think.

Tim Ferriss: Yes. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

Bobby Hundreds: Right. And the way that that — 

Tim Ferriss: Among others.

Bobby Hundreds: Company is organized is established on the same philosophy. No one seems to be talking about this in the press, but what they’re doing is that creators are getting paid alongside them fairly. And so that idea, which, again, actually goes back to the hippie movement, the hippie movement never died. It just got repackaged and redefined and reshaped. And now we understand it as environmentalism, sexual liberation, women’s empowerment. We don’t call it the hippie movement anymore. The same thing is going to apply with crypto and NFTs in Web3. I’ve said this from the very beginning because everyone’s like, “Where are NFTs going to go next?” We might not call them NFTs. They may not look like monkey JPEGs, but the ideals and the principles around them are going to affect business and brand building forever. People are going to — 

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, 100 percent agreed.

Bobby Hundreds: Right? And people — 

Tim Ferriss: It’s too bad in a sense that I think the baby’s getting thrown out with the bathwater. There’s been a lot of bad behavior and with the anonymity comes wash trading and all sorts of very shady behavior.

Bobby Hundreds: It can happen.

Tim Ferriss: Short-term incentives drive a lot of strange things. Not really strange, actually. It’s totally predictable based on the incentives. I would love to double click on how artists are compensated and to get your two cents on what you think this might look like in the upcoming years, because I think the allure of let’s just say NFTs, blockchain, et cetera, for many of my friends and for me, frankly, on one level was this prospect of an annuity. So there’s the initial sale, but then the creator gets a compelling royalty of each subsequent sale.

Bobby Hundreds: That’s right.

Tim Ferriss: And what I think many people who got in for that reason realized is, “Wait a second, I’ve been doing this for a year and a half. It’s actually not as immutable as I thought.” In the smart contract and on a platform basis, there will be competition. And a lot of these platforms are competing for the purchasers. So they’re getting rid of fees. They’re getting rid of — 

Bobby Hundreds: Royalties.

Tim Ferriss: Royalties. Oh, fuck. Yeah. Now what? And at least for a period of time, I haven’t been tracking it closely, but there was this race to the bottom to capture more — 

Bobby Hundreds: Still happening.

Tim Ferriss: Still happening. And then there was the blowback, and then so-and-so had enforced this, and then that triggered a change in this platform and that platform, but do you think that given the incentives to day trade and speculate that the toothpaste is out of the toothpaste tube, so to speak, and you can’t put it back in with respect to the race at the bottom? Or do you think that the initial appeal to musicians, illustrators, artists, and so on can be preserved or take another form?

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Because, man, there was a period where it’s like I had a friend who was a musician and a very good musician, but had always had to tour and do a lot of things that were incredibly taxing to make the model work financially. And all of a sudden, while the royalties were more or less intact, he was able to generate a real fantastic living for himself.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah. We were too.

Tim Ferriss: And then things changed. So where do you think this is going? Are there any innovations that you would like to see or that you are seeing? Because the dynamics have changed such that I think it’s become a lot less compelling as it stands now or as it stood, let’s say, as of December of 2022.

Bobby Hundreds: As far as creative royalties, right?

Tim Ferriss: Exactly. How are you thinking about this?

Bobby Hundreds: I think on the technical front, what’s going to have to happen is that most of these projects are going to have to set up their own marketplaces, kind of like CryptoPunks. And if you want to buy and trade and collect and sell, you do it on their website and so it ensures that they’re still getting some kind of royalty. So it’s funny because the conversation started there years ago that everyone was like, “Oh, we are going to…” Because everyone is essentially modeling themselves after CryptoPunks, and they’re like, “We’re going to make 10,000 just like CryptoPunks, and we’re going to have it on marketplace.” But then it was so much easier to use OpenSea, because someone else had already set the marketplace, and these marketplaces had all agreed. There was a moment when the crypto artist came together and actually wrote a letter and said, “Hey, we would really prefer it and we would appreciate it if you would preserve this artist’s royalty.” 

And the marketplaces agreed out of a gesture. It’s not built in anywhere. We all came in with the promise, but it was just the promise. It was a pinky promise that they would preserve these rights for the artists and creators. And then we get into a bear market and things change very quickly. Where one marketplace is like, “Well, maybe we’re going to cut that down a little bit, so it’s a little bit cheaper to trade over here.” And then another marketplace is like, “Whoa, the momentum shifted in a matter of two to three weeks. We were 80 percent of the trading volume, now we’re 20 percent, so we’re going to have to go to zero percent.”

We were stuck in the middle of all of this, because in the fall of 2022, we were releasing a second project called Badam Bomb Squad, and we were working with OpenSea on the primary sale. They came to us and said, “Why don’t you launch it through our marketplace? We’re doing this with new projects right now.” And we were like, “Great.” They were in the background talking about doing the same thing. “Let’s cut out the artists and create a royalties.” They didn’t tell us this until the Friday afternoon before our Tuesday drop. At first, they couch it with, “New projects, we can build into the smart contract that if you’re going get stuck on OpenSea, we’re going to keep you here. You can’t trade on the other marketplaces, but we’ll still give you your 10 percent, or five percent, or whatever you’re asking for, in terms of your royalties.” We’re like, “Okay. All right. Well, is that it?” “Oh, but your existing collections, any old collections, yeah, you’re going to be kind of kind of screwed. You’re not getting royalties on those anymore.”

We’re listening to this. I’m on a call. I write about this. It’s the very last chapter in the book. I’m at Disneyland, with a bunch of other NFT creators. And I’m under NDM, I’m not allowed to tell them what’s happening. And they’re like, “What’s wrong?” Because I’m on this call and freaking out. Because I’m watching the entire romantic premise that I entered Web3 with evaporate, right? This is everything I’ve ever told my community, and any fans of The Hundreds or anyone on the outside when I’ve gone out on the speaking circuit, “This is the power of Web3. We can finally reward creators and artists the right way. Come in.” Now we’re seeing the biggest marketplace in NFTs saying, “Oh, we’re just going to eliminate that, and not really run it by anybody.”

They said, “Oh, we’re going to leave it open for discussion for the next few weeks.” But I’m like, “No, you’ve already made up your mind.” They have to protect their bottom line too. I’m not even 100 percent blaming them. I think they should have done the right thing. It’s a lot easier for me to say in my position, but it is this fiction that Web3 offers this creator royalty — 

Tim Ferriss: Automatically.

Bobby Hundreds: Automatically. And I think everyone must be aware of that. We tried to fight it. We went out on Twitter Spaces, and we talked about it with the people who run OpenSea. And we had these debates back and forth, and I wrote essays about it. FEWOCiOUS, an amazing NFT artist, wrote like a call to action, and kind of a request, a letter, handwritten letter, thank you X. Our friend Ryan, Betty from Deadfellaz, Fvckrender. A lot of the artists and creators came forward in unison to say, “Hey, we need to protect this. This is really what Web3 is modeled after. And if you take this away, then it changes the entire dynamics.”

They’re still, some of them are still fighting that fight, and being very vocal about it. I’ve come to a place where I’m like, I don’t think I’m going to be able to change any of these marketplaces’ minds again. They don’t care about me. They don’t care about what I say about them on the internet or in my book. 

So how can artists continue to make money? And then I started looking back at physical collectibles again. And if you think about it, NFTs, when people were making these PFP collections, they were inspired by CryptoPunks. And CryptoPunks was just one project that Larva Labs made, and they stopped. There’s only CryptoPunks one. Well, arguably, there’s v1, we won’t get into it. There’s v1.

But they had one collection of these CryptoPunks. They made Meebits, and they got into some other things, but CryptoPunks was just one. And so I think everyone was under the assumption, “Oh, if I make a project, I’m only supposed to make one. And flip those over and over again to the same people and just move the money around in the same 10,000 JPEGs,” or for us, the same 25,000 JPEGs with 8,000 owners, and everyone’s just shifting it around to the same community. That actually never quite made much sense to me, but as a business in Web3, okay, it’s fine because every trade I make four percent on, so I’m still making money off of this existing project. If you turn those royalties off, the automatic rational decision for me is, you need more collections.

Tim Ferriss: Well now it’s sort of all things that were old are once new again.

Bobby Hundreds: Exactly.

Tim Ferriss: In the sense that it falls right back into your sweet spot.

Bobby Hundreds: Yes.

Tim Ferriss: And your kind of pft.

Bobby Hundreds: Exactly. Thank you.

Tim Ferriss: A zone of genius.

Bobby Hundreds: Exactly. And we can draw it all the way back to Air Jordan. Air Jordan did not stop at Air Jordan one, they had great success with that shoe. It blew it out of the water. They made more, like five X the amount that they thought they would, or whatever it was. The next year, they made the Jordan two, right? And the Jordan three. And the thing is, when I went out and I said, “Hey, we’re doing a second collection called Badam Bomb Squad.” There was a lot of grumbling from our community, “Oh, this is going to dilute your community. This is going to dilute ownership of the first collection, because now, you’re splitting people up.” And I’m like, “It was never meant to be stuck in the same room.” The entire idea of an artist is to continue making work, to be prolific, to grow the audience.

And the more art that I make, the more my career flourishes. There are more touchpoints with different customers to come in. But I’m not going to speak to the same 8,000 people over and over again. And even if we have a dip, which we did, right? We’d released the second project just like the Air Jordan two came out, and it was a flop. It did not perform the same way that the Air Jordan one did. And over time, they made the Air Jordan three, and they stuck with the idea as a brand. Every year, there’s been another Jordan since, and the last one just came out in, I think, a few months ago, it sells for $137. The Jordan one today sells for $25,000. So the more Jordans you made, the halo around the existing, the original ones, got only bigger — 

Tim Ferriss: Sure.

Bobby Hundreds: — and increased in value, right? Because that’s the strength of a brand.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah.

Bobby Hundreds: But in NFTs — 

Tim Ferriss: What’s the value of the first appearance of Batman, if it’s the one and only appearance?

Bobby Hundreds: Totally. There was a Pokémon, I was on, I was looking at Rally today, and they have a Pokémon wrapped box first edition, and it was insane. It was like $230,000. Right? And so, at the time, you’re like, “Wait, we already have Pokémon cards? You don’t need to make more. You’re going to dilute the community.” Who thinks like that? NFT people think like that, because the space is so new, they don’t understand the strength of brand building and how this is supposed to go.

But we’ve been doing this for 20 years and I’m like, “Guys, the first stuff that we made wasn’t valuable then.” We sold out of 25 t-shirts to our friends. Nobody cares. If you can find one of those today, they’re priceless. We didn’t think about that back then. But 10 years in, 20 years in, you look back, and there’s a halo around all that product. And it only comes by building a narrative over time. So an artist doesn’t just make five paintings and stops, an artist keeps making. And then all those arts, all those works are part of the repertoire. I just went to New York and Richter had his last show up, and he’s the most expensive living artist today.

Tim Ferriss: Is Gerhard?

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Richter.

Bobby Hundreds: Yep. And he is the most expensive living artist today. Has his final show up in Chelsea. Or no, it’s at Warner, I think. I could be wrong. Don’t quote me on that. And the final painting on the wall, he’s in his 90s now, and he didn’t stop at making only 10 paintings. The man lived his entire life. So that painting, it’s not for sale because nothing’s for sale, but it could probably enter the market at 30 to $40 million, for one painting. So it’s just something that NFT people, collectors have to understand that, and I say this a lot in my work, sometimes it takes some time. We need to give things room to grow, and breathe, and materialize, and mature. But if you’re only looking, and you’re choking, and you’re suffocating a project to be everything in that moment, in that year, within that art, it’s going to fail. It is impossible to sustain that energy. You need to make other art so that that art looks more special.

And it seems counter, right? I was saying this from the beginning. Everyone thinks of Supreme as a limited brand. Everyone’s like, “Oh, it’s really hard to get.” I’m like, “Supreme is the most unlimited brand. Every season they put out a new collection.” Within those collections, they’re limited, and the resources are finite. But Supreme, as a brand, is infinite. It’s going to exist forever. It is the next Levi’s, it’s the next Gucci, it’s going to be the next big fashion house. It goes on forever. Every season you can keep buying. But then the halo, the minuscule, the minimal pieces in between, those are the special ones. So that’s how I have to look at NFTs.

It’s really, I understand why people don’t look at it like that, because they’re stuck in the CryptoPunks model, but we have to get out of that. And as creators, we will make money by moving more on the primary market, until someone figures it out, or we build our own marketplaces to get our cut of the secondary again. But I’m all about collectibles, if you can’t tell. I’m a big collectibles guy. I love collecting. And I’m not a really good trader. I don’t know how to sell. I always lose money on anything I try to sell. I love the idea of collectibles, whether they’re physical or they’re digital. And if they’re digital, then they’re NFTs.

Tim Ferriss: You gave me some really good advice way back in the day, when I was preparing to launch CØCKPUNCH, The Legend of CØCKPUNCH, to raise money for the Saisei Foundation.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: For a foundation, which then in turn, funds early scientific research predominantly. And the project ended up doing really well, and selling out very quickly. I mean, in a matter of whatever it was, 60 minutes or 90 minutes. So that’s the good news. It raised whatever it was, 1.7 or $2 million for the foundation. All those funds have been distributed already to grant recipients.

And Neil introduced us, and I remember, I was in New York City in an Uber, and we had a fantastic conversation. We went through all these different mechanics and specifics, and I was asking you about the pros and cons of different brackets of pricing, and the number of days that you thought might be effective for a reveal. Ultimately, I was doing the project also as a creative unlock for myself, so that I would write fiction and be held accountable in some way.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Which has proven fantastic. It’s exceeded all of my expectations. But what was happening, I’m not sure if we talked about this, behind the scenes for me was, I delayed the launch date, because of a lot of the changes in variables with respect to the marketplaces.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Right. So this was also happening.

Bobby Hundreds: Amidst. This was in the midst of all that.

Tim Ferriss: This was all in the midst.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Another, I don’t want to say complicating factor, but one aspect of this that made it fascinating for me, and also led me to pause was, I’m an early investor in OpenSea. So I was like, okay, this is interesting, because now I’m seeing it from two different perspectives. I’m looking at it as an investor and someone who’s understanding the pressures, the competitive pressures on OpenSea.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: And I do think that that could have been communicated better.

Bobby Hundreds: Sure, yeah.

Tim Ferriss: The comms definitely could have been handled differently. And I’m not speaking for anyone on that team, but these are good people.

Bobby Hundreds: Yes.

Tim Ferriss: The people I interact with are great people.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: But understanding the cutthroat competitive nature on one hand, of what it takes to try to not just grow, but maintain for the long term, a competitive, financially viable marketplace. And at that time, being on the cusp of launching a project and thinking, “Fuck. What does this mean for me?” Because the secondaries were also intended to be, sort of cover the costs and be fed back into the project, because all the primary sales are going to the Foundation. I’m like, “I’m hundreds of thousands of dollars into this project, and this is just something I’m going to have to eat.”

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: “Or will I have a chance of covering my expenses?” So looking at it from both sides raised a whole bunch of questions. And in retrospect, I mean, I’m very glad that I had that experience, because I was forced to look at it from two sides.

Bobby Hundreds: I think I did the same.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Yeah.

Bobby Hundreds: Because empathy wise, for me to attack OpenSea, and I did my part, I spoke my piece, but I couldn’t even drag them so much. So much of it was reminiscent of some members, not my entire community. Some members of my NFT community also coming after me saying, “Hey, you promised us this,” or, “I was under this expectation. You gave us this false hope that X, Y, Z, and I’m not seeing that.” And I’m like, “I never promised that.”

Tim Ferriss: Yeah.

Bobby Hundreds: But that was the context of this space. Everyone was starting to enter NFTs by the fall of 2021, thinking rich, right? Even though — 

Tim Ferriss: Free money.

Bobby Hundreds: — we didn’t say that anywhere.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah.

Bobby Hundreds: All we said was, even when we minted, we said, “These are digital collectibles.” They’re just like sports cards. They’re like t-shirts. No one, up until that point, was buying and collecting The Hundreds, thinking they were going to get rich. I never thought about it that way. Because in the beginning of 2021, when we were really getting into NFTs, none of us thought like that. We were like, “Oh, this is cool. You can make art. And then a customer can buy it and it’s done.”

Tim Ferriss: Yeah.

Bobby Hundreds: That’s it. And then by the end of the summer, people were like, “Hey, that guy over there just made $10,000 flipping that JPEG.” And everyone’s like, “Can I do it? Oh, my God, it worked for me too.” And then the entire narrative — 

Tim Ferriss: And all hell broke loose.

Bobby Hundreds: — and expectations changed right as we were launching our collection. And so, when we came in with these plans for it to be, “Oh, this is a collectibles project, it’s like streetwear.” And then people were like, “Oh, I’m buying these things,” expecting something else, even though we had never promised it. That really sucked.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah.

Bobby Hundreds: And I can’t blame those people, even though I never told them that.

Tim Ferriss: Incentives, yeah.

Bobby Hundreds: I can’t blame them.

Tim Ferriss: Incentives are incentives, man.

Bobby Hundreds: Incentives are incentives. And so the same thing with OpenSea. Me having run a business for 20 years, at the end of the day, they have to protect their bottom line because if they don’t, they’re out of jobs. They can be all for the culture, but if they don’t exist anymore, then how much can they help the culture? And so, they’re saying, “Hey guys, this is what we have to do in order to just, we’re going to be put out of business by these other marketplaces unless we do this.” I think there’s other things they could have tried. Of course, it’s easy for me to say as a backseat driver.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah.

Bobby Hundreds: And it’s not my business. I don’t know internally what’s going on over there. I’m just from the outside being a grumbler. But that was the moment where empathetically, as a business person, I was just like, okay, I know what it’s like.

Tim Ferriss: Totally. So a handful of questions, and then we’ll wind to a close, since we’ve been going for, God, almost four hours probably.

Bobby Hundreds: Perfect.

Tim Ferriss: Which is great.

Bobby Hundreds: Which is great, because it doesn’t feel like it to me.

Tim Ferriss: No, sure.

Bobby Hundreds: Usually, this would really hurt me, but it’s not.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, I know. It’s super, super fun.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Super, super easy peasy. And that caffeine is also — you’ve seen me consume a fair amount of caffeine. And it’s a beautiful day here too.

Bobby Hundreds: It is.

Tim Ferriss: What a great time to have this conversation.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: So a couple of questions for you. I call them rapid fire, but an answers don’t need to be rapid fire, but the intention is to have a kind of handful of bite-sized Scooby snacks for folks. What are some books that you have gifted frequently, or recommended frequently to other people, besides your own?

Bobby Hundreds: Besides my own, I like to — speaking of which, you just gave me a book, a Rumi book.

Tim Ferriss: I did, Gold.

Bobby Hundreds: I do also give books of poetry, Rumi, Neruda. A lot of people come to me for business and entrepreneurial advice, just because that seems to be what people are attracted to most in my speech. And so, I put them onto books like that. Like The Hard Thing About Hard Things or — 

Tim Ferriss: Ben Horowitz.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah, Ben Horowitz’s book, or Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog is a great example. Kids like In the Street, where I love that book. And then if they’re looking for entrepreneurial or brand building advice, Simon Sinek’s stuff is very easy to understand.

Tim Ferriss: Start With Why.

Bobby Hundreds: Start With Why. And Leaders Eat Last. But I read a lot of FSG books, just to bring it full circle. I like reading a lot of fiction. I’m doing a talk tonight at a local bookstore with Héctor Tobar, who’s one of my favorite authors. It’s not fiction. Well, it is kind of like a fictionalized non-fiction book on the Chilean miners. It’s called Deep Down Dark. But that book it — I know it sounds kind of random — I love that book. I love The Godfather by Mario Puzo. I’ve given that out a lot. That’s probably one of my favorite books.

Tim Ferriss: Oh, right.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: I’ve only seen the adaptation, so it sounds like I should probably read the book.

Bobby Hundreds: Try reading the book. And the story of Mario Puzo, as he was writing all that literature, the way that he dedicated himself to the craft, it’s really beautiful. I think a lot about it. I’m a father. And he was in his home writing it every day and trying to raise his family, and just put his heart and soul into it.

Tim Ferriss: Oh, wow.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Seems to have worked out.

Bobby Hundreds: It worked out, yeah. Thankfully, for all of us.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, seriously. All right. The billboard question, which is metaphorically speaking, if you could put some message, quote, image, anything on a billboard, that would reach billions of people, non-commercial, what might you put on that?

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah, lately — 

Tim Ferriss: It could be anything.

Bobby Hundreds: Lately, it would be to “Be slow to judgment.” And I said earlier, “Sometimes it takes some time.” I say that a lot. Everyone is in such a rush to be right, and definite, and have such a cemented idea of what truth is, or what the reality is, that they don’t want to give anything room to grow. And I became very sensitive to this, being involved in Web3 over the last few years, because there are elements of the technology that I think are going to be very useful, transformative, and positive for the world. But everyone was so quick to write it off as either a good or a bad, the entire NFT Web3, which I’m like, “NFTs can be many things, guys.” And they’re like, “Well, all of it is good,” or, “All of it is bad.” Everyone’s speaking in such absolute terms.

It threw me off, because I was like, “Guys, it’s so new. We won’t know what this is for another 10 years, 20 years.” So that’s the takeaway from the book is, with technology, we have to really give this stuff room to breathe and grow. I say the same for AI. I know there’s a lot of danger in that right now, but it’s the same. Be very slow to judgment with what’s going on, and just be there to monitor and observe.

I was actually really impressed by a lot of my friends as Web3 and NFTs were happening, or they were watching a lot of people make money around them, that were like, “I’m going to sit on the side of the river, and just watch and wait for my turn to jump in.” And some of them never did. Some of them just waited a year for things to kind of cool off a bit.

But I think that’s the right approach, not only to tech, but to people also. Everyone is so quick to judgment with everyone now. “Oh, you made one mistake, we’re going to cancel you.” Or, “We’re going to write you off or designate you as this kind of person.” And we’re just not allowing, it’s not even allowing room for nuance, it’s just allowing room for people to grow and make mistakes. Technology and science is all about making mistakes. Correcting, getting closer and closer to truth, which you never quite achieve. We should be doing that with people too, but we abbreviate them all the time, and we stunt them in our minds and say, “This is what that person is. Now I can move on to the next one.” We’re collecting them as JPEGs. And people evolve, and they live, and they grow, and they change. They become different. We have to allow people to become different.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. The being slow to judgment. I think another way maybe to look at that is, take your time to develop some nunchi, right?

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Some awareness of the room and the space before you make any snap decisions. And I think that undergirds a lot, as far as I can tell, a lot of the success that you’ve had, in so much as, you take your time to develop that room feel, that ecosystem feel, and you play the long game.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Right? So it’s not about milking Disney for all it’s worth with 10 consecutive releases. It’s like, no.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: The function of this is not to create revenue, it’s to create noise.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: And that is because this is step A in a process, that I think, with some reliability, we can oversee for the next year, two years, five years. And then if doors open that are interesting, fantastic. But there’s a long-term plan.

And what I would say to people also, who are listening, is that, if you’re competing for the short term home run, you’re competing against everybody. I mean, just about everybody. But if you play the long game — 

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: — I actually think, you can more reliably snowball your way into outsize success just by having a longer timeframe, because you are going to have less competition. You’re going to make fewer impulsive decisions driven by short-term incentives. Because you’re like, “I’m going to focus on this small thing that I can impact today, with the confidence that, if I continually do that each day, and have some form of a plan, there will be a cumulative effect.” You just seem very good at playing the long game. And I suppose what I want to echo is that, I think that is a trainable skill.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: You know?

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah. And unfortunately, it’s getting further and further away from young people’s minds. Everything is so immediate, and gratification wise. Just emotional intelligence wise, everyone wants everything now, because the way that social media is set up, and the way that trends develop, is that they kick off overnight. And even if that happens, you have to know that that’s a moment. It’s ephemeral. And if you want to build a career, if you want to have a lasting and meaningful longevity-based job or life, you have to pace yourself. You have to think about the next thing. You have to look 10 to 20 years down the road.

I know that more than ever now, just because how fast 20 years went. Everyone’s in such a rush to get to that success. And I’m like, “Guys, it’s been 20 years, I’ve barely begun.” And 20 years are going to go again. They’re just going to fly. So it’s okay. Just take your time.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah.

Bobby Hundreds: We’re going to get there. You don’t have to be so impulsive with all this, the decisions you’re making.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Time’s going to move plenty fast, and there will come a time when you wish it moved a lot more slowly. So in a sense, I’m borrowing from friends who are former military, but slow is smooth, and smooth is fast, with say, reloads with weapons. But it also applies to so many other things.

Bobby Hundreds: I like that. Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: If you rush, moving fast is going to lead to costly mistakes.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: And there are times to buckle down and focus and sprint. I’m not saying never sprint. But I’ve been really impressed with your ability to pause when you have a visceral response to something. And as was the case with say, Web3 and NFTs.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: You’re like, “Ooh, let me take that as a cue. Let me take that as a cue to say, wait a second. Okay. That’s a strong response.” Strong responses are interesting.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Let me take a closer look at this, to figure out why there’s such a strong response. And then you found these opportunities, and have had these successes. You’ve learned along the way. And I think people should check out the new book. It’s sitting right here.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: It has a beautiful, elegant cover. NFTs Are a Scam / NFTs Are the Future, through FSG. God, so jealous. You bastard.

Bobby Hundreds: I have two tattoos. One is my wife that Mr. Cartoon did 15 years ago, and one is the FSG logo that’s on my arm.

Tim Ferriss: No shit. Oh, that’s, there it is.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Wow.

Bobby Hundreds: And I actually just got this. I’ve always wanted it. Tattoos are hard for me. It’s not that I don’t want them, they require a lot of time, and I just don’t want to give it any time. It’s always like a six-hour process. I don’t want to sit there for six hours and do it. But when FSG signed me for my first book deal, and now my second one, it was the pinnacle of my entire career. Which is weird to say, because I come from streetwear and I’m known for a streetwear brand. And not everyone knows me as — if they know me, they don’t think of me as an author or a writer. But to know my writing and to read my material, is to really understand me. When I design and I create clothing, it goes through so many other people’s hands. And there’s intermediaries, even all the way down to the production process. But my writing is purely me. And so, once in a while, someone will come up and say, “I love you for your writing.”

Tim Ferriss: That must feel good.

Bobby Hundreds: That feels like I’m naked. I’m just so seen. Yeah. I can’t explain any better than that.

Tim Ferriss: Well, I’m excited for you, man.

Bobby Hundreds: Thanks.

Tim Ferriss: You’re getting a second bite of the FSG apple.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: And any other comments you’d like to add? Anything you’d like to draw attention to Bobby Hundreds everywhere.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Twitter, Instagram.

Bobby Hundreds: I have a Substack also, Bobby Hundreds on Substack. Bobby Hundreds on My Substack’s called Monologue. If you like the way that my brain moves, and the things that are on my mind, I write there once or twice a week, and they’re very median, verbose passages. But I cover a breadth of topics, from being a father, to mental health, to whatever is trending in terms of fashion. I talked at length about that Air movie and also about being slow to judgment, but it’s all there. And it balances around, but there’s the through line that you’ll pick up on.

Tim Ferriss: Amazing. Bobby, what a pleasure. So nice to hang.

Bobby Hundreds: Thanks, Tim. This was a really big deal. I’m going to get this tattooed next. This is a very big, I didn’t want to say it till the end, but yeah. When you asked me to be on the show, I couldn’t contain myself. I told so many friends of mine. And I was like, “I’m going to jinx it. He’s going to have to leave town for something.” Because every time I get this excited about something, it doesn’t pan out, and it happened. Even this morning, I woke up, I was like, “It’s happening today.” And then you’re like, “See you at 9:30.” I’m like, “Oh, my God. It’s real.”

Tim Ferriss: Yeah.

Bobby Hundreds: I’m very enthusiastic.

Tim Ferriss: Me too, man.

Bobby Hundreds: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: The excitement is mutual. And you’re just getting started. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s coming around the bend.

And for people who are listening, the book, again, NFTs Are a Scam / NFTs Are the Future. Bobby Hundreds is the name. Keep an eye on him. I feel like he is, this young guy has some promise. It’s going places.

And for everything we discussed, you can find links to anything and everything that came up in the show notes as usual at And until next time, be just a little bit kinder than you think is necessary to others, and to yourself. And hold back on that quick judgment, just for a pause. Pause can be magical, it can be powerful. And thanks for tuning in.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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