I was kind of in my ...

I was kind of in my office one day

and I just said, you know,

I think I could be

really successful here,

but this is just not

a business that I loved.

And what I was concerned about

was that in competitive places,

if you don't really have

a passion for something,

it's easy to get outcompeted.

Welcome, everybody, to Disruption Now.

I'm your host, and

moderator, Rob Richardson.

Here with me is Karim Hutson.

He is an entrepreneur, a developer.

We're going to hear a lot

about his background.

You definitely want to stay tuned.

But before you do,

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And now I definitely want

to turn my attention

to Karim Hutson,

who is, as I talked about

earlier, is a developer

he's an entrepreneur

has been a developer

in the space for about 17 years,

and he's in New York, New Jersey,

pretty difficult place to be a developer.

So he's got a lot of good experience.

But they say if you can

make it in New York,

you can make it anywhere.

I think that statements still true.

So, Karim, v welcome, brother.

Thank you, my friend.

Thank you, Rob, for doing this.

No problem, man.

It's great to have you on.

Let's start.

How did you get started in real estate?

Like what?

What what hit you

one day to say this is what I want to do

and how did you get into it?

Well, it's funny. I was

I'll fast forward to when I was in

in a General Atlantic Partners,

which was a very successful

venture capital firm, focused on,

you know, technology.

And I was kind of in my office one day

and I just said, you know,

I think I could be

really successful here,

but this is just not

a business that I loved.

And what I was concerned about

was that in competitive places,

if you don't really have

a passion for something,

it's easy to get outcompeted.




so at that point, I knew that

I wanted to make some sort of change.

And I started thinking

when I was in business school about, hey,

what's something that I think

I could utilize my skills

for somebody to be passionate about that

I felt like would have some connection

to community, to uplifting

where I could be,

you know, just not behind a desk,

but also really active in the community.

And real estate was really a

natural place to go.

so I tested out when I was at Harvard

Business School,

I was actually taking the bus down

a couple of times

and maybe once every other month

to the community

board meetings in Harlem.

I would just listen in

and listen to what was happening.

I started in going to the real estate

community board meetings,

and that's where they plan

all the things that are

happening in the community.

And I ended up meeting, you know,

two black developers

who end up being my first bosses

out of out of business school.

And from there, you know,

I just love the business

and started started Genesis

a year later in 2004.

So you did that right out of college?

Wow so basically

out of business school,

out of business school, OK.

Well, so not quite our college,

but maybe like five or so years.

OK, that's still pretty good.

That's still pretty good.

So you started Genesis

if you were talking to your younger self,

knowing everything

you know, when you first

got into development,

what advice would you

give your younger self

and what would you ignore?

Oh, man.

I think the advice I would give

my younger self would be

whatever you think is big, multiply it

by three hundred and aim for that.

Oh, wow.

And I just think, you know, when I first

started my business,

I think I had a big dreams.

But I think,

you know, my my mentors always say,

you know, think bigger, think bigger.

And I think as you've been

in the business longer

and you've seen the possibilities,

you kind of don't know

what you don't know.

And and I would say, like,

I wish I had, you know, just not only,

you know,

not only aim for that

grand slam, I wanted to,

you know, hit it out of the stadium

and into the lake. Right.

Still got time.


And not that we haven't done well,

but I think that's you know,

if you're young and you're thinking

about what you want to do

and where you want to go,

I think, you know,

whatever you think is big,

you know, think about it

being just bigger and bigger and bigger.

I think the other thing

I would tell myself is, you know,

there's a lot of pressure that

comes on you as an entrepreneur.

I don't think people

necessarily appreciate.

Yeah, it is.

It's a lonely place and it's hard.

It's hard to know

unless you've been there. Exactly.

And and so and I think

you get pressure

to do a lot of things

in order to make sure

your business works. Right.

And I think one of the things

specially that black developers

get pressured on is, you know,

do you have enough,

quote unquote, capacity, you know,

liquidity money.

Yeah. Yeah.

This is the day that that folks

talk about to try to justify

or really explain

why you can't do the deal.

Oh, yeah. Yeah, that's


You're absolutely right.

I've seen that.

Just to just a little bit on that,

that that cut across the across

the board is not just development, it's

any business you're in.

They assume if you're black

that you must not have capacity.

That's number one.

Number two,

you know, they never ask

the same question

to white guys is like, all right,

if they got capacity

or they assume they have the ability,

even if they don't

have the capacity to do it,

it's just that like,

you know, something

we have to fight against.

It is being like small

or they've set up

these grandfather clauses. Right.

That's what my my mother said.

It well because she used to have a restaurant.

And they they they

they told her at this festival

that that she was working to get into.

They said, well,

people are grandfathered in.

My grandfather was a slave.

So, I mean, I'm never getting in?

So what's that mean? So,

no, it's so true.

And the sad thing about it is that,

you know, one of my friends

said it's almost like when

when Charlie Brown was going to kick ball

and Lucy, kept moving it every time

he was ready to kick it.

I mean, that's kind of

optimistic capacity.

It's like whenever we get to

where it looks like we have capacity

and they always move the ball. Yeah.

So but I would say to that point,

be careful who you align yourself with

when you're trying to address

what people are saying

you need to address.

And I think, you know,

you know, partners are it's

like marriage, right.

And so you always have

to be careful, like,

you know, who you get in bed with,

sounds like there's a story there.

Well, there's a lot of stories that

I hear something coming so like it's

I feel like it's there

as though I want to try to pull

out of you here so.

One of the one of the hardest

lessons of being a founder

is building a team and building a founder

and finding the founder,

if that's right, fit.

Sounds like there's some lessons

you had there in terms of founder fit.

What lessons would you give

current entrepreneurs

out there in this space?

I would just say it's really hard

when you're when you're out

trying to figure out

what you need to do a deal

and you're in the hustle.

You got to make sure you do

all the diligence you can possibly do.

And you got to make sure that

whatever folks that

I will say this and this is

that this will go to the advice

that I would ignore.

You also get your

you often get told, hey,

this is your first deal, young,

buck you know, you're going

to get the next one.

Don't worry about this. Right.

And I would say ignore that advice.

Please, please, please, please, please.

You know, always look to strike

the absolute best deal

you can for yourself

and understand, obviously,

all the pressure points.

But I would say that would definitely be

what I would be ignoring,

because, you know,

oftentimes folks

who are who look different

than us and have more potential power

at the table, at the point in time

you're in the negotiation,

you know, when they

have money on the table,

they're taking every dollar,

every single dollar.

And then some like it's they're not you know, and

and oftentimes, you know,

actually think, you know.

They're often reading

whatever agreement you have to

the detriment of of you.

And so and that's, you know,

especially if they feel like,

you know, you're

you know, you're young in the business

and trying to come up.

So I think, you know, you just gotta

you've got to be smart.

I'm not saying you got to be

angry or greedy.

You know,

I would also tell also of young folks

when they were in the business, like,

you know, sometimes

you got to share your concepts

with people, give you advice.

You don't want to have

your arms too close and your hands too

close that people can't help you. Right.

But at the same time when you have that opportunity,

I think you got to swing for the fences

and grab what you can grab and say,

hey, this is my chance.

This is what I'm doing.

Here's a value that I'm that I'm adding.

I want to make sure that value gets

acknowledged and that I get

monetary value for that.

And so to me, that's important.

No, I completely agree.

You know, there's often this,

this, this,

I think there's this fear about

are we overcharging?

Is it too much?

And that's that's

kind of imposter syndrome one, two.

I really hate the mantra and that,

you know, we have to work twice

as hard to get half as much.

I'm like, no, I have no problem

working twice as hard.

But let's get twice as much.

So let's have our perspective

kind of change on that end.


yeah, I tell you what,

I think that's right.

And what I would also say,

I mean, to the best negotiators

out there, you know,

you're always looking you know,

I learn really quickly

in New York real estate

that you could be

that you could be negotiating

what you think your value add is.

And the other person on the table

is typically negotiating into your pot.


So you're like trying to get to

where you think you are.

And they are already

where they think they are.

And they're just trying to, like,

get further into your side of the table.

And so

it's a different way of negotiating

and it's probably a trademark of

of kind of New York negotiating style.


I mean, New York

is a very aggressive place,

but development is a hard place.

Man development is a

you know, there's no easy business,

I guess, really.

But development is definitely

there's a lot of surprises

that can if you don't

you don't negotiate. Right.

You can end up

not only make as much money,

you can end up losing money very easily.

So it's a

talk about the importance

of really being in the game.

I think more of us need to be developers,

more of us need to be owners

and really understand how much money

is being given away in some ways, like,

you know, tax credits,

other grants, like there are

there is money being given

to do development.

Nearly every development

that is out here

is subsidized one way or another.

It is it is not completely paid for,

but a lot of it is it just requires

some upfront capital

to kind of bridge the gap.

But then if you do that,

you can have a lot of opportunity talk

just if you want to hear.

And people that are in development,

that want to get into development,

that aspire to be where you are,

where should they start?

You're in New York, obviously,

but there's probably some

things that that rhyme everywhere,

like there's probably some basics

that approach when

it comes to development.



I would say this about

the importance of ownership,

which I think you get on the exact point.

And, you know, I just recently wrote a

an op ed Impact Outfit

One of the things I was talking about

was the fact that,

you know, CRA

try to set up homeownership.

Right, for for for low

income folks or opportunity

housing for low income folks,

but for black people specifically

to prevent redlining.


Well, that's what they fail

to talk about specifically,

just low income.

But we you

so so that's one things I talk about,

is that there needs to be a mention of

black and brown.

But even on top of that,

I think what's important is that

we understand that

there is a tremendous

opportunity and there's a tremendous ,

I think, obligation,

especially for black

and brown communities

to be to be entrepreneurs

and to be owners. Right.

Especially in the real estate realm.


And so like in I would say, I think

for low income housing,

tax credits was a large way

that deals that are

affordable are being financed.

I think there are probably two

or three percent,

I would gather, of

those firms are owned and controlled

by black and brown people.

But those developments are built for by,

you know, for tenants

that are probably 70 plus percent.

I think the number sixty seven percent,

black and brown.

And so we can't replicate

the situation where we are

providing land to

to firms that are not controlled

by black and brown

folks and entrepreneurs.

They're not given the opportunity

to contribute to those communities

in a meaningful way as owners. Right.

On a mass scale,

however, you know, they're being owned.


And but folks who are living in them

don't look like those owners. And I do.

And I do think it makes a difference.

You know,

I'm very proud of the fact that,

you know,

my firm is hiring a lot of black

and brown folks to

to to to work there

that we're controlling

and making decisions

as black and brown folks, as women,

as black women in this company.

And also that we're

going out to hire folks,

whether architects, engineers

that are black and brown.

And even on top of that, that I think

there's an argument be made that

we think about the

communities differently,

you know, every morning.

You know, I live close to

a lot of the buildings that

I own in Harlem.

And I walk my kids to the bus stop

and they

and they see the buildings,

they see the tenants that are there.

And, you know,

if there's something on the street,

that my eight year old doesn't like,

she'll say, daddy, how come.

This looks like that, right?

And and so there's an investment

in that community that's really strong.

But the same when I go to Jersey City

or what I'm going to East

Orange, all other places in

those communities are looking like me,

that there's an investment

there's an understanding what the issues are

and how to think about an ownership

from a holistic standpoint.


I would just be more for

we more subsidy to build

affordable housing.

But what am I going to be doing

to really promote these families

to a place where they're sufficient,

where they can move up the ladder?


Those are the things that we're trying

to think about and solve.

You know, as I think black developers

in these communities

and not as statistics,

but folks who were sitting there

going to church with those folks

who we know, who

we know every day

when we go in the grocery store

and we see them.

So to me, that's important

and that's why we really got to promote

black entrepreneurs

on the real estate level.

So, yeah,

and I think, you know, starting you know,

I always tell folks, listen, you know,

you get low, get small

from the extent of understanding

what's happening

at the local level, understand

what's happening in the communities

that you're interested

in trying to develop.

And then think big

in terms of the opportunities,

as I said to my point.


Don't just say, hey,

you know what, I'm

just going to go get this small building

and start small.

A lot of people give advice, say start

small, start small

in real estate I think it's the opposite.

You go as big as you could possibly get.

And you try to go for it

and be smart and hire a great team around

trying to get the work done.

And I think that usually results

in good results.

No, I agree.

I want to talk about ownership

a little bit more.

When you when you look at all

across the country,

you're seeing traditionally

black communities,

upper middle class,

middle class communities

kind of being lost. Right.

There's communities in L.A.

Harlem might be I'm sure

there's some examples of Harlem

too where there was

this concentration

of a lot of black professionals.

Grandma had the house.

All of a sudden

somebody offered a bunch of cash

and gave away the house

for the cash, thinking that, you know,

that was the better deal.

What's your thought on us?

Making sure that we keep grandma's

house leverage, that for future

opportunities versus

just getting the quick cash?

My my my feeling on it is

that we need to we need to hold on

more to our property

because that's how we

A we should just do that.

But B that's how you really

accumulate wealth,

because it builds as you have property.

That's how you can leverage that

to do things like you're doing,

like actually do development versus

just taking a million dollars

and know people

probably never see money

like that before.

But if someone offers

you a million dollars for your house,

that means it's worth a whole lot more.

Yeah. You know, it's funny.

My wife and I are looking at buying

a brownstone up in Harlem right now,

kind of trading,

kind of what we're living in now.


you know, we were

we there was a for sale sign

that just had a little number.

And we think that's weird

because, you know,

we didn't see like a play or anything.

And we so we called and on

the phone made an appointment.

There was an older black guy who

lived in there and his wife was there.

And they took us all up and down.

And he told the story

about how when he first got the property.

There was a black man who owned it

and he bought it from him.

He said, when I

when I shook hands with that guy,

I didn't have money,

but that guy was committed

to seeing me buy that property .


And and he said I had that

same commitment now as I'm selling

to try to figure out

if I can move another

black family in there

because of what you said.

I want to see that

ownership chain continue.

He said, look, I've done my course.

I've done what I can do.

I'm ready to move on.

But if I can sell to somebody

in the community,

you know, I would like to do that.

So I think those stories

are happening a lot.

You know, in the black community is not

that I think folks are saying, hey,

we don't want it.

We don't want white folks

here in the community.

I think what this is about

is about maintaining our wealth

and ownership and maintaining

our history, too.

These are historic places.

You know, Lardaro,

all these places are a lot a rich history

of black excellence.

And it's about maintaining the culture

and respecting the history

and also leveraging the wealth

to that's really what it's about,

because these properties

are worth a lot of money.

That's it.

I mean, that situation I appreciate.

I was also more speaking to people

that inherit the property. Yes.

And they just give it away

for a lot of money.

That's not a good deal.

It feels like it is.

But long term,

just literally borrow the money

and that makes them more money

off of the house

Don't give away.

Grandma's property stop it.


I mean, there are some

extreme situations.

People are desperate.

That's usually not situation.

Situation is wow.

That's a lot of money.

I've never seen that much money.

And and I get it.

But that's part of us,

I think some of us not.


The understanding

of how money actually works

and compounds is not,

you know, you spend it,

it's it's gone versus letting it grow.

Well, I think that's

the real point, is that

what are you going to do with that money

when you're selling?

Look, we are investing into a business

where you're going to try

to create something of value,

then that's fantastic investment.

But I think the major point here

is that the understanding

of how money works,

how we can put money

to work more effectively,

you know, in our personal lives,

to me is a huge, huge story. Right.

And that's something that

we just think right now.

Just interrupt your point real quick

right now,

if you had the value of a house

that was totally paid off.

Money is super cheap right now.

You have that right.

You have that right now.

You can easily keep that property, right?

Let's keep them up.

Let's say sold it like they want to.

I want to sell for a million dollars

instead you keep it.

You longer have a mortgage,

but they pay like

you still have a mortgage.

So that pay you pay for that one, two

Then you borrow money on top of that,

which is not taxable, to then

get another piece of

property to add income.

Three, you use the value to depreciate

from your from

to actually reduce your income tax.

So there is no like.

But, you know, we I didn't

I didn't learn this stuff until recently.

I'm like, oh,

this is why people keep property.

Like there's I mean, not only

can you make money,

it also helps reduce your taxes a lot.

So there's like getting rid

of the property.

Generally speaking, is a is a bad move.

And think about and think about that

when you're an entrepreneur

in real estate as opposed

to just a homeowner

and multiply that value

and those savings.

And that's why that proposition

of black folks owning

and becoming mass owners

and entrepreneurs

scaling real estate is so important

for exactly that.

You know, look, I agree.

I kept my own property and

moved into this property

that we have now.

We we moved here,

but I kept the old property

and I'm renting it out.

I'm like and it's saved a bunch of taxes.

And they paid the mortgage like

this is the life

to do this a little bit more

like I do.

I'm starting to understand why

people do why people do this

So I ought to get a few more

properties on this man.

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

I mean, I would also say that, you know,

a lot of folks I do warn people

and it's not to count on your point,

but I would want

I would want people to say, listen,

you know,

if you're going to be a property owner

and that's what you want to do, right.

Even if it's a side business.

Make sure that you take into account

everything that it takes

to manage the property. Oh yeah it does take time.

You got to set aside some money too

you got to set aside some money

That's called reserves, right?

Yeah, I think a lot of folks

don't think about those things

and they quickly get over their head

and then they get into a situation

where I got to sell

because I got to get out

of this situation. Right.

That creates the problem.

So I think you've got to

be smart regardless

whether you're keeping a real estate,

putting your business,

figure out another way

to utilize your savings,

investing in the market.

You got to be smart with your money

and think and think thoroughly

about what you're doing.

No, I agree.

But again, what's originally taught us

is that you go out

and you get a good job.

You have just enough

to pay your mortgage,

and that is success.

And I'm not saying that's not successful,

but we need to think

on a higher level now.

We need to think about

generational wealth,

not just make it enough

to make ends meet,

not just getting there,

but actually excelling

and then providing a path.

So the next generation behind us

doesn't have to struggle in the same way

they get a head start. People look at

this, there's this

false story that's told often in America

and that people pull themselves

up by the bootstraps. I'm sure there are.

That's that's not that's not

that's not the normal story.

The normal story is.

Jeff Bezos, who's

very smart, man, brilliant.

I'm not saying he's not brilliant,

but his parents gave him

three hundred thousand dollars,

like twenty five years ago

to start a company. Right.

I mean, like Bill Gates,

other people like these people had

a privileged life

to get to the level of

status that they did.

Generally speaking.

And so, yes, you can definitely make it

without any of that.

But you have a much stronger chance

if you have a support system

and you don't have to go through

some of the struggles that most of us do.

So we do have to

we do have to think

not just in this generation,

but the next.

No, you're absolutely correct.

I mean, look,

the story of wealth generation

in America has been the story of home

ownership over time. Right.

Which is exactly

what you're talking about.

And the fact that

this goes back to CRA act

we were legislatively not allowed to get

the benefits of homeownership

like all the LBJ

New Deal stuff sounded great.

But when it got down to the local level

to to administer those programs,

they typically have provisions

which stopped African-Americans

to be able to participate in them.

And so we lost out on all

the postwar post-World War

homeownership benefits.

And so you're absolutely right.

I mean, and it's and it's

one of the reasons why we look at ourselves as

Entrepreneurs today

we are in that capital

crunch, right,

and we're forced to do stuff

to try to solve it.

That may not always be the wisest

because we're trying to get them done.

And so that's the legacy.

And I think the question now is

how do we solve it? Right.

Part of it is recognize

what the issue is.

Take it face on and say,

hey, this is a problem.

We've got to figure out a way

to deal with it.

And and let's and let's

And let's do it let's do it

wisely and let's do it directly,

you know, and not hide behind

what the real issues are.

No, I agree. And

it requires us working together too

investing together,

trusting each other enough

to not believe the narrative

that have been put out

about black businesses,

because we are sometimes

guilty of that, too. Right.

And then being able to work

and working together

means investing, too.

It means giving some dollars at

some point.

So like it's

I've learned as I ran for office and

and it was a it was still an education

to get a lot of black

folks to understand. Yes.

I'm glad you're voting for me.

But we also need money

like we need money.

You need money to win anything.

You need money to run a business.

You need money to win an election.

And we had this idealistic point of view,

like, well, you know,

everything should be grassroots

and yes, it should.

But it's not. Right.

So I like it takes money to have impact

no matter what.

And if you want to have someone that,

you know, believes

in the things you believe in, then, yes,

it takes multiple

levels of participation. Everybody can.

Most people say they're

going to go out there and do grassroots.

Most people aren't out there

handing out leaflets on Sunday like for real

So like if you can't do that.

Give fifty dollars. Right.

And then if you want

to support a business, go out

and find a black business to support.

There are tons now.

There are there there

there are funds you can give to my friend

Matt Conwell.

He has his own rare, rare

breed ventures.

You can you can donate to him.

You can donate to

Monique Isla Molesley.

She has her own as well,

Grainne Ventures.

That's the key to that from the LPN.

You can you can participate as a

as a as an angel,

then you can participate

on on on real estate

deals that you guys have.

I mean, what I'm saying is

we have to begin

to trust each other

with our capital, too,

just like we trust others,

because that's how we're going to

I mean, that's how we're going to rise.

The Jewish community,

that's what they do.

And I and I commend them for it.

That's what they should do.

We should do the same thing.

And I agree.

And I always talk to black businesses

that we've got to reinvest,

make sure we're reinvesting

back in the community,

you know, that we're hiring

smartly, that we're looking

for opportunities

to promote other black businesses

and that were participating monetarily

and for community service,

you know, in the

in the in the in the community.

So the community doesn't forget

how important it is for us,

for that asset, for the

black business to be there.

Right. Exactly.

It's because oftentimes,

as I have to go around and remind folks,

because they're saying,

you know, they'll come and say, well,

what's the difference between

you doing it or somebody else? Right.

And like I said,

at different levels of business.

And we want to make sure

they're not saying that,

that they understand

see hey, we're here,

we're part of this community.

We care about what's happening.

And then by definition

and by force, we're

forcing everybody else

who may not look like us

to also be responsive

because they got to compete with us.

And the things that we're doing,

so we're pushing.

Excuse me, the effort to be responsive.

The community forward in a fast pace.


Let's ask a couple of our lightning

round questions I like to ask.

So can you think of a time

that you failed, had a setback

and you learned or pivoted from that?

Can I think of a time?


Or the time that sticks out,

whatever, whatever

sticks out in your brain the most?

That's what I want to hear.

I want to hear the details of that.

Oh, man, there's something there.

See, I can tell. Just go ahead

Bring it on

And so a time that I failed and I

and how I pivoted from that

or you learn from it

or it made you better.

I mean, it's pretty wide question.

But a time time

you time you failed, had a setback

and now you are

you learned and grew from it.

I would say like.

The toughest time, I think, from a

from a from a business standpoint was

when I kind of had

a tough time with one

of my first investors.

And I would say that

I learned a lot quickly

that I didn't know

about how the world works, how

the litigation world works,

how a bunch of things work.

And I would say choose your investors

wisely, brother choose them wisely.

Now, I would say that, you know,

we were able to pivot from that

because we had a lot of strong

institutional support from folks

who believe in our mission.

And I would say because

black institutions

and white institutions

supported us and supported

what we were doing.

And and so I learned a lesson,

not only that you have to choose

your investors very, very, very wisely.

But, you know.

This is a journey

and there's ups and downs

and twists in the road,

and that's all part of

what happens in life.

I remember one of my mentors,

Don Peebles, called me

when some stuff was happening

and he just said, you know what?

You know, keep your head up.

Remember who you are

and don't worry about

what other folks are saying,

you know, be aggressive

and and keep moving forward.

It was ome of the best advice that I had gotten.

And so, you know, we we

we plowed through that.

We actually ended up

securing equity investment

from three huge institutions

for our foundation

True Fund and Morgan Stanley

that, you know more than

more than made up for what

that person had done.

And so, you know,

we've been up and running

and moving forward ever since.

And I think that this statement

I interrupt

you just made me think of something.

A good statement I heard today

is that everything

when you're in the middle,

everything looks like failure. Right.

So when you're in the

middle of this drama with that investor,

it feels like failure.

I have had so many points in my

both in my public service career

and my entrepreneurial career.

Now that you're in

the middle of the grind,

you're in the middle of the grit,

and it looks like failure,

but it's not just a process, right?

No, I think that's absolutely right.

And you learn so much from them

because you see things that

this person had much more experience

and had much more developed

strategies than I had known on

how to deal with simple things

and showed me a lot about about

about aspects of business

that I thought I had known.

And so it made you sharper.

Even though it's a pain in the ass.

Yes, it made you sharper.

Made me sharper, that's for sure.

But I think, you know, just staying out

and knowing who you are.

Look, I have a business plan

that makes sense.

And I know that I'm doing it

wisely and earnestly and fairly.

And that's at the end of the day what keeps you going.

All right,

final couple of questions.

So you have a committee

of three, living or dead,

to advise you on life business again.

They can be living.

They can not be with us

at any point in time.

Who are these people and why?

Oh, man, that's a good one.

You know what I must say, Sam Cooke.


I'm going to say.

Jimmy Carter.

OK, Sam Cooke, Jimmy Carter

and who else we get?

I want to know why each one of these.

I thought I was going to

be able to say the name I said and why.

I said why?

So tell me about Sam Cooke why Sam Cooke?

Well, I, I watched

I watched a ducumentory on on on Netflix

about his life.

And I admit I mean, I knew his

music from my parents. But,

you know, what really

inspired me about him was how he pushed

the the the he pushed a line on ownership

when it came to musicians

and the production of black music

, really supporting

ownership from that perspective.

And so I thought

that was really inspiring.

And I and I thought it was also,

you know, I

I understood the difficulty of trying to

be in two different worlds. Right.

You've got a world where you feel

you have to be an image

that maybe you're not. Right.

So yet the images

of white America had of him,

but still feeling that urge to speak out.

Right, in a way that you feel like

you need to as African-American

against injustice, injustice.

Every socially conscious black man.

can understand that position.

And so I kind of

I really I really appreciated that.

And so I feel that's why

I say Sam Cooke,

Jimmy Carter, I don't hear people

mentioning him as a president,

that they would listen to Jimmy Carter.

Tell me why. I like to hear that.

Just like the way he's lived, his life

post presidency is inspiring.

I think, you know, taking on the Israeli

Palestine struggle

and speaking out about it.

And whether you agree or not, I thought

it was really courageous.

So I would say, you know,

I would I would I would, I would.

So that's why I would mention him.

And then

it's going to sound probably.

But I would probably say

Martin Luther King.

That is his his passion, his.

You know, his ability

to speak out on issues,

I think to be a change agent

right to me

is how I kind of think of myself

as a developer like you.

I want to be successful.

I would do great things in the community.

I want to be a good business person,

but I also want to be a change agent.

Right. And effect change In a real way.

And and so to me,

you know, that's why I would include him.

That's awesome.

All right, final question.

You have a billboard

or maybe a Google

ad to be a little more 21st century

that says your theme

or you're saying for life.

What does that say and why?

Life is a journey.

Stay focused.

I think that's pretty obvious

about why you got to stay focused.

So, yeah, stay focused.

Stsy focused

Karim Hutson, brother,

has been a pleasure to have you on.

Definitely look forward to having you

stay in touch

to be a part of the discussion down

network, it's been an honor.

Thank you so much, Rob.

Thanks for having me. Thank you so much.



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“In competitive places, if you don’t really have a passion for something, it’s easy to get outcompeted.”

As Founder and Managing Member of Genesis Companies, Karim Hutson oversees the firm and its strategic direction. Karim enjoys focusing on forging new partnerships and pushing innovation in our operations and investment approach. Karim’s experience as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs and a private equity investor at General Atlantic Partners, allowed Karim to develop the investment acumen he now devotes to Genesis’ financial strategies.

Karim holds several advisory seats in local organizations, including his roles as Trustee of the Randall’s Island Park Alliance and a Member of the Reform Leadership Council for Vera Institute of Justice. Karim earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Philosophy from Amherst College, an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Master’s in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. Karim is an active member of the Harlem community where he lives with his wife and two daughters.



Entrepreneur & Keynote Speaker

Rob Richardson is the host of disruption Now Podcast and the owner of DN Media Agency, a full-service digital marketing and research company. He has appeared on MSNBC, America this Week, and is a weekly contributor to Roland Martin Unfiltered.



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