Shaq Shares Secrets of Success at Refresh19

Shaq Shares Secrets of Success at Refresh19

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Basketball legend and entrepreneur Shaquille O’Neal sat down with Girish Mathrubootham, CEO at Freshworks. They spoke at the recent Refresh19 conference to talk business and a few other things.

Shaq Shares Secrets of Success

They started out discussing how Shaq had a lesser known talent. He was actually a DJ.

Trending and Important

“I started DJing in 1988 in college and in clubs just as a hobby,” he said at the conference yesterday. Refresh19 is Freshworks’ global conference that ran yesterday and continues today. It brings professionals together to discuss what’s trending and important in the CX industry.

That means there’s a large entrepreneur contingent at the conference. And they were all interested in what the basketball star turned businessman and investor had to say.

Shaq told the story of missing the adrenaline rush after his days on the hardcourt were over.

“I went to see a famous DJ and there were 200,000 kids there,” he told Mathrubootham yesterday at his keynote address. It inspired him to do the same.

“It reminded me of a Game 7 and I said: ‘I can do this.’”

Working As a DJ

Working as a DJ gives him the same connection and rush he got during his playing days. He goes by the alias DJ Diesel.

Looking for those kinds of opportunities is what helped Shaq make the transition for one career to another. His NBA career spanned almost two decades. He’s a member of the NBA Hall of Fame.

Shaq made the list of The 100 Most Creative People in Business last year by Fast Company magazine. He’s also an NBA analyst on TNT’s Emmy-award winning show, Inside the NBA on TNT.

Along with being legend on the hardcourt, he was an early investor in Google.He knows what it takes to be successful. When Mathrubootham asked him about his most important achievement, his answer was furthering his education.

He recently got his Masters and tells the story about how his business dealings motivated him.

“When I went with my business representatives to see about deals, they only saw me as Shaq, the athlete,” he says. “ I knew business but I wasn’t the master of what was going on.”

He didn’t stop there and even has his PhD.

Interest In Technology

Shaq has an interest in technology too. Another good quality for today’s entrepreneur. In fact, when asked about his investments in Google, he admitted to being a geek.

“I wanted to be at the forefront of everything that was coming out. If you open up your mind and continually learn, the sky is the limit.”

Ambition. Education. Motivation. Put them all together and you’ve got a successful mix. In a word, you’ve got Shaq.
He also touched on investing. Shaq looks to the products that will change people’s lives. It’s one of the yardsticks he uses to gauge where he’ll put his money.

Mathrubootham also asked Shaq what he was chasing. He said that as a young boy playing sports he was never satisfied.

Everyone at Refresh 19 wanted some advice from Shaq. They might have been expecting something financially focused. But they got a few more fundamental tips instead.

“I was raised by a military drill sergeant who taught me honor and respect,” he said. “Be kind, be friendly and be giving.”
Great advice for your business and life both.

Finally, he summed up everything in one sentence.

“I just love working.”

An estimated 700 attended Refresh19 Sept 4 and 5 in Las Vegas. The event functions as a global user conference.

Freshworks is a CRM software company that caters to businesses of many different sizes.  The company maintains a headquarters in San Mateo, California with over 2,400 employees globally. For more information visit

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Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends. Rob is a freelance journalist and content strategist/manager with three decades of experience in both print and online writing. He currently works in New York City as a copywriter and all across North America for a variety of editing and writing enterprises.

One Reaction
  1. Success is not a one-line path. There will always be some barriers and these are designed to make you stronger.