What did you learn from
writing Rise and Grind?
I’ve learned from the book
like crazy. I learned, and I hope
other people will learn, that
you are always going to hear
no, and people are always going
to doubt you. Look at Kyle
Maynard, who climbed Mount
Kilimanjaro [without the aid
of prosthetics]. It’s amazing to
hear people say, “He had an
unfair advantage in wrestling.”
The man has no arms or legs.
Nobody wants the unfair
advantage that he had, but it
shows that no matter where
you go in life, no matter what
you do, somebody will tell you,
“That’s unfair. You’re lucky.”
Did you want to prove
wrong the people who
say things like that?
Not anymore. As a kid I did.
Now, I say, “If they knew
so much, I wouldn’t be here.
They would be here.” They
are idiots. You’ll have some
people go, “Daymond, you
walk on water,” and some
people say, “You’ll be over
with tomorrow.” But you can’t
pay attention to them. To
the people who say you can
walk on water, you can say,
“Trust me. It’s not like that.”
If they are underestimating
you, I just ignore them.
How can you work hard all the
time without burning out?
I put the time in to take the
time o;. I just came home from
14 days away, and I hit 20
cities. I was really exhausted.
I went to my home in upstate
New York, but then I drove
another hour and a half to go
snowboarding by myself for a
day. I turned o; the phone; no
one could get a hold of me.
That felt like a week of vaca-
tion. Last night, I was at an
event on the Lower East Side
[in New York City], and I
walked from there to 65th
Street with my headphones on S P R E A
Al and Brittani Baker
Co-inventors of Bubba’s-Q
“I will persist until I succeed.” That’s a
quote from Og Mandino. It’s also a
line that has motivated my friend
Al “Bubba” Baker throughout his
career—both as a 13-year veteran of
the National Football League and now
as the owner of Bubba’s-Q World
Famous Bar-B-Q and co-owner of
Bubba’s-Q Boneless Ribs.
“This was his great project, but he
kept getting sidetracked,” Al’s daughter Brittani says. “He just had so much
going on, so he told me it was my job
to keep him focused.” One of the ways
Brittani kept her father on track was to
remind him of the time he wouldn’t let
her quit the track team when she was
in high school. “He never let me quit
on anything,” Brittani says.
Al was running his famous Bubba’s-Q barbecue joint in Avon, Ohio,
but it was a tough slog. Brittani was a
big-time Shark Tank fan, and she got
it in her head that her family’s story
would play well on the show, so she
went ahead and threw their hat in the
ring. When the producers finally called
to invite Al and Brittani to participate
in a Skype interview as the final step
before coming out to Los Angeles to
appear on the show, Al was at the
bank trying to arrange a refinancing.
Specifically, he was about to default
on a loan—that’s how up against it,
how broke, he was at the time.
It wasn’t just their sauce that won
me over. It was their heart, their hustle.
And their sense of humor. If there’s a
secret ingredient in what these good
people bring to the table, other than
the finest herbs and spices and the
best cuts of meat, it’s their sense of
humor. “Even though we’ve been on
Shark Tank,” Brittani says, “we’re still
grinding. Every day, we grind.”
Former Air Force pilot and
founder of TurboPup
Kristina Guerrero kept thinking there had to
be some company out there selling the
doggie equivalent of a Clif Bar or PowerBar,
something you could carry when you’re out
and about with your best friend and a bowl
of food isn’t really an option. She went
online, tried every search term she could
think of, and came up empty. I should
mention that Kristina, like everyone else
you’ve met in this book, doesn’t do things
halfway. When she goes, she goes hard. And
when you’re the kind of person who sees a
need and looks to fill it, like Kristina, things
start to happen.
Her direct, aggressive approach to problem solving, her relentless work ethic—she
comes by these traits naturally, but they
were sharpened and refined by her military
experience. But I also liked the grind in this
woman. I looked at her and said, “Obviously,
you don’t sleep, just like me.” One of the
things she said in her pitch that struck me
was how her friends all joked that she’d
come up with the name for her product.
They said it was because she only knows two
speeds: turbo or off. My thinking was, a
woman who has done three tours for our
country will not go to sleep on this. She was
in it to win it, and now so was I.