Shaq Talks Business at High-Tech Conference in Las Vegas

August 19, 2019

In a previous post here on ShaqFu Radio News, we mentioned that the Big Man had been invited to be a keynote speaker at a high-tech business convention in Las Vegas. Well, the “Akamai Edge World 2019” has come and gone… so now it’s time for the post-game analysis. 

In his closing talk to the conference, Shaq took some questions from company leaders and audience members…and while he had lots of good business and investing-related things to say, it was a personal question that got the most heartfelt response. Attendees said they heard a very noticeable “awww” in the audience when O’Neal was asked how he wanted to be remembered. “I want people to say Shaq is a nice guy. Everyday I try to do 4-5 things that make people smile.”

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Shaq talked about going from what he called a “mercenary” investor in his early business days, to being a “missionary” today. He said he thinks a lot about any potential investment or business deal, and ponders the question of “Is this going to change the world?”

O’Neal said after he retired from the NBA, he was very much into making more and more cash… taking deals and investments based only on their potential ROI – Return On Investment. 

Today, Shaq says he only invests in companies and people he actually likes, and products he uses and enjoys. His newfound attitude toward life and business is a desire to “do great things.” In recent years, that’s led Shaq to owning businesses like restaurants, car washes, gyms, a Krispy Kreme franchise and more. Of course Shaq’s really Big Deal has been joining the Board of Directors for Papa John’s Pizza (see our recent post on Shaq’s behind-the-scenes, top-secret Boardroom video). 

In his talk at Akamai Edge World, Shaq also reflected on some personal history. A story on media and entertainment-news website quoted Shaq as saying, “Growing up, my parents did a great job pushing horror stories in my face, that 70% of professional athletes end up with nothing. I wish I was smart enough to go to MIT. I wish I was smart enough to go to Harvard. I was a medium-level juvenile delinquent. I was a class clown. Once my coach said ‘No pass, no play,’ I started working harder in class.”

As an NBA superstar, Shaq played with a lot of great team-mates. He talked about the importance of team play in business, too. “Continue to utilize your teammates, continue to fight for each other,” he said. “And keep having fun.”

“Fun” is a really big deal for Shaq. He’s already well-known for his position as CFO – Chief Fun Officer – for Carnival Cruise Lines. Not to be outdone, Akamai’s Global Marketing Vice President Kim Salem-Jackson offered the same job in her company. O’Neal said he would take the job on one condition: “I come in at 12 and leave at two.”

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