A few months before I graduated college with a double major on a full ride scholarship, I had an incredible opportunity: to tour in one of my favorite (and obscure) punk rock bands. But that meant dropping out and moving across the country. In two months, I found myself in Portland, OR and soon after that, touring across the country. The adventures led to many important lessons about getting along with other personalities (and cultures) and learning important skills like learning how to hack your way into internet access in any city (this was before coffee shop wifi was a thing). This quick, hilarious, and inspiring talk takes the five biggest lessons that can be applied to any culture, career, or lifestyle.
music, art, entrepreneurship
Simon Tam is an award-winning musician, author, entrepreneur, and social justice activist.
Simon has been a performer, presenter, and keynote at TEDx, SXSW, Comic-Con, The Department of Defense, Stanford University, and over 1,200 other events across North America, Europe, and Asia. He has set a world record by appearing on the TEDx stage 10 times.
He is best known as the founder and bassist of The Slants, the world’s first and only all-Asian American dance rock band. His approach to activism through the arts has been highlighted in over 2,000 media features across 84 countries, including BBC World News, NPR, TIME Magazine, and CBC Radio. His story has been featured on the front page of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Oregonian, and many more.
Simon has been fighting a landmark case against the United States Trademark Office, which recently helped expand constitutional rights for artists and small businesses. The case is now pending before the Supreme Court.
He designed one of the first college-accredited social media certificate programs in the United States. He has won over a dozen awards in marketing. Bloomberg Businessweek called him a “Social Media Rockstar.” Forbes says his resume is a “paragon of completeness.”
Recently, he was named a “Portland Rising Star” from the Light a Fire Awards, received a “Distinguished Alum Award” from Marylhurst University, and was twice-nominated for Portland Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” List. He has earned 34 awards for his marketing campaigns work.
He is currently serving as the Marketing Director for Oregon Environmental Council, on the board of directors for the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) and Know Your City, is a member of the Policy and Equity Committee for the Jade District, and serving on the Cultural Resource Centers Advisory Council for Portland State University.
You can find Simon’s appearances, writing, and current projects at www.simontam.org