NEW YORK — To celebrate the introduction of its new Galaxy Book tablet, Samsung hosted a panel on Wednesday night at Samsung 837, its store and event space in the Meatpacking District. The panel, which was moderated by Steven Bertoni, the senior editor at Forbes, featured Lil Yachty along with Adam and Ryan Goldston — the twin brothers behind Athletic Propulsion Labs, a performance sneaker brand — and Jaymee Messler, who cofounded with Derek Jeter The Players’ Tribune, a media site powered by athletes.
Yachty, whose debut album “Teenage Emotions” was released last May, has been able to extend his brand outside of music and partner with major corporations including Nautica, Target and Sprite. The Goldston brothers have disrupted the footwear market by making a performance shoe that the NBA banned in 2010. And Messler has made a big impact on the male-dominated sports media landscape with a platform that lets players tell their own stories.
Each panelist detailed how they made it and what’s next. Here are the highlights.
On how they got their start:
Lil Yachty: “I’ve always been into music but I didn’t take it seriously until I went to college and realized how terrible life looked. The first step is realizing who you are, and understanding that I’m nobody and I have to work to get to a grand scale.”
Adam Goldston: “Ryan and I had this idea that we could make a shoe that would make you jump higher. It started with creating product for ourselves that not only the rest of the world wanted but needed.”
Jaymee Messler: “Sports media is a crowded landscape and we had to find a purpose and a need, but as news was driving the traffic it felt like there was a need for athletes to connect with their fans, and that trust and access has helped differentiate us in the editorial landscape. We are finding such compelling stories that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.”
On building relationships:
L.Y.: “Before building my fan base I built friendships. I moved to New York two summers ago and slept on my friend’s couch because I felt like it was important to build relationships. Before trying to push something on them, I built a friendship so that they wanted to genuinely support me. It’s like I had a street team and they went twice as hard for me as a promo team would.”
J.M.: “I worked 17 or 18 years in sports management and that’s how I created the relationships with these athletes. For a year-and-a-half we didn’t take a brand dollar because we wanted to build trust with our contributors and tell their stories.”
On what excites them when they wake up:
L.Y.: “I don’t know. It’s usually really early. I’m usually not excited in the morning. I actually kind of hate it. My life is really spontaneous, I never really know what’s going to happen but usually when I wake up in the morning I’m going to the airport. I almost know all the ladies at the TSA now.”
A.G.: “One of the things I like is that there is no real set schedule with what you do. Most people get uncomfortable with the gray area, but I love the gray area. I believe we are in charge of our destiny and I get excited every day thinking about what opportunities will present themselves.”
J.M.: “I get excited about being a resource for athletes and there is so much space to empower women.”
More from WWD: