At 15 years old, after hearing the music of his soon-to-be idol, Stevie Wonder, Ryan Leslie called his dad and said, “Dad, I’m behind,” to which his father replied, “Ryan, how are you behind? You’re attending Harvard University at 15 years old.”
Leslie was enrolled as a pre-med student; he wanted to study music.
If you listen to his speech, it’s clear why Ryan was able to attend Harvard at such a young age. He’s sharp. (It probably helps that he’s very driven, too — practicing polyphasic sleep while in school.) It’s also clear why he disrupted the music business in the early 2000s, at that time leveraging the Myspace platform. He doesn’t accept the status quo. Like any great entrepreneur, he’s constantly questioning, constantly wondering, “There’s gotta be a better way.”
Leslie will be entering a battle of David v. Goliath, as he looks to disrupt the now-deeply entrenched iTunes business model. In an industry forever reluctant to change, he wants to give artists the ability own the relationship with their fans, instead of Apple having a monopoly on that data.
Fitting that Leslie refers to his fan club as “Renegades,” because he personifies the term as well as anyone.
This is why I have been following Ryan Leslie since 2004.
I think I’ve already reblogged this several times. But I just can’t stop. And I’m not sure why.