Dr. Shaquille O’Neal Dunks on Investing, Geekery, and Social Media

Yes…that’s me floating above Shaq’s head.

One of the highlights of SXSW Interactive this year was Dr. Shaquille O’Neal (did you know he had a doctorate degree?). He joined me on stage at the Long Center for Performing Arts to a theater packed with adoring fans. Before we took the stage, we spent some time to shoot a special episode of Revolution.

Not only is Dr. Shaq an NBA champion, an Olympic gold medalist, a 15 time All Star, 6th on the all time scoring list, and an all-around icon, he’s an active investor and self-described geek. His portfolio includes Google (pre-IPO), Five Guys, Vitamin Water, Muscle Milk and a whole slew of traditional businesses and tech startups. While at SXSW, we walked through the Startup Village as part of a “Pitch Shaq” initiative hosted by real-time video network Tout. At the end of our session, Shaq announced that he would take official meetings with two lucky startups, Speakerfy and Beam.

On the technology front, Shaq is always looking for the next big thing. He bypassed traditional media and announced his retirement on Tout, a platform that at the time had only been live for six weeks. Shaq was early to embrace Twitter where he still engages with his now 7 million fans. In fact, Jack Dorsey was once asked who he thought the ideal Twitter user was and his response was Shaq. Why? Because he’s engaged, it’s him, and he believes in community. His mantra for social media is 60% to make you laugh, 30% to inspire you and 10% to let you know about this product.

Take a few minutes to watch this enchanting interview. I think you’ll agree, Shaq is not only an investor, geek, and super star, he’s also a wonderful human being.

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  • Arushi Gupta

    Did not know Shaq had a doctorate degree! It’s always great to hear that influential people take the responsibility to learn about and endorse products that they truly feel passionate about to generate that same excitement in their fans.

    • http://www.briansolis.com/ briansolis

      Thank you for watching!

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  • http://dlpv.ro/ Vlad Anghene

    go Brian ! Love Shaq !!! Excellent expose

    • http://www.briansolis.com/ briansolis


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  • fatrabbit CREATIVE

    Fun article, Brian! Shaq has always been an early adopter of social media technology, which is why it makes sense you’d bump into him at SXSW. Hope you had a great time!
    (Also, we believe that he’d probably refer to his degree as a “Shaq-torate”.)

    • http://www.briansolis.com/ briansolis

      too funny. you should have seen the keynote we did together…

    • fatrabbit CREATIVE

      We can only imagine. (We’re also pretty sure you could dunk on him.)

    • http://www.briansolis.com/ briansolis

      You know it!

  • Katie Ryan

    After reading the title to this blog post I was
    very curious to what Shaq has to do with geekery and social media. Yes,
    obviously I knew he most likely had some sort of social networking base but not
    enough to base a post about him. I was surprised to find out that Shaq is
    actually in the middle of all the new social media trends of this digital era.
    Some people even see him as the best Tweeter. We all know Shaq is known for his
    incredible basketball skills, maybe now he can bust through only being known
    for that and merge into and be known for a new skill.

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  • Joey Lee

    Big Shaqtus is one of my all-time favorites. Love watching him and Barkley on TV. However I didn’t know he had such deep roots in the business and technology world. His portfolio really is impressive and I’m glad that he’s not just bumming after retirement and going down the wrong path like many other athletes.


Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.

His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.

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