OZY.com is a multimedia platform that shares cutting edge stories to 40 Million visitors per month. The Silicon Valley based co-founder and CEO, Carlos Watson, grew tired of reading the same headlines in media and in 2013 started his own path to tell his own stories. Check out our interview with Mr. Watson as he talks the importance of entrepreneurship, diversity in Silicon Valley and more.
Mainstream Media has a way of portraying our community a certain way. When did you know this was your time to display us in a more positive light?
I founded OZY four and half years ago because I looked out on the media landscape and I felt uninspired. It was a regurgitation of the same five headlines over and over, and they were often the most sensational and negative stories. It was amazing to me that with a world full of interesting stories and compelling people and places to explore, we were focused on the same negative headlines. I founded OZY to tell cutting-edge stories.
How important in today’s world is it to embrace entrepreneurship?
One of the reasons I founded OZY in Mountain View, California, rather than in New York City or D.C. or Los Angeles, where most media companies are based, is because in Silicon Valley, anything is possible. People on the West Coast have seen more crazy things happen and believe the impossible is possible. That mentality often fosters creativity and ingenuity and can ultimately produce greatness.
How can Silicon Valley become more diverse?
It will take a mix of forward-looking leaders like Ben Horowitz and Marc Benioff and successful entrepreneurs of color like Stacy Brown-Philpot and Marc Jones. Throw in some serious outside pressure and hopefully we will get some progress.
What is your secret to success?
I wish I could say something simple. But to the extent that I have had success, there have been a number of factors, including blessings, being organized, ferocious hard work and real resilience.
What is the best advice you’ve received that you still use?
Learn to sell. The best thing a mentor ever did for me was give me tapes to teach me how to sell. I would encourage everyone to learn it. It’s such a valuable skill, and you can use it in any field you pursue.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Get out of line. Don’t just follow the path that others have perhaps painted for you and hope it leads to success. Instead, carve your own trail, and don’t be afraid to be unconventional or make missteps along the way to greatness.
In this Trump Era, what is our role as black men?
Definitely don’t be quiet and don’t back down. Stand up for what you know to be right and good and true. Don’t let the negative rhetoric bring you down or, worse, reduce you to hateful rhetoric in return.
I would also say it’s really important to listen. At OZY, we work very hard to bring both sides of the aisle to our editorial coverage, so we have everyone from Bill Clinton to Jeb Bush to Kamala Harris to Karl Rove contribute their thoughts and opinions. No one is right 100 percent of the time, but everyone deserves to be heard. Be humble enough to know there are many perspectives that have merit, and be willing to find the good in others and compromise to reach a productive solution.
What is a Quintessential Gentleman to you?
Someone who goes above and beyond to do the right thing, not because someone is watching, but because he knows it’s what’s right.
What can we look forward to from Carlos Watson?
I hope I can help OZY become the most important media company in the world. I hope I also get a chance to become a husband and a father. And I hope I will also be an even more valuable part of helping more people get a shot at the human dream.
Make sure you stay tuned in to OZY.com