Ep. 6: Bobby Hundreds

In Episode 6 of Probably Nothing TZ (@TZhongg) and Alexis Ohanian (@alexisohanian) chat with with Bobby Hundreds (@bobbyhundreds), founder of streetwear brand The Hundreds and the Adam Bomb Squad NFT project. In this episode you’ll hear about the difference of building a streetwear company versus an NFT project, the key elements of brand building, and and why communities are the key to everything.

In Episode 6 of Probably Nothing TZ (@TZhongg) and Alexis Ohanian (@alexisohanian) chat with with Bobby Hundreds (@bobbyhundreds), founder of streetwear brand The Hundreds. Bobby is also the creator of the Adam Bomb Squad, an NFT project consisting of 25,000 pieces each related to the history of the Hundreds company. In this episode you’ll hear about the similarities and differences of building a streetwear company versus an NFT project. You’ll also learn about why community and durability are so important to building a brand, and whether Bobby considers The Hundreds to be a successful brand after 18 years in existence.

- Links and References Mentioned in This Episode - 
- Timestamps -

2:00
: Who is Bobby Hundreds?
04:50: How did Bobby move a web2 company into the web3 space?
09:09: What is most important for the Hundreds?
12:40: Community and its importance to brand building.
17:00: How did Bobby first get into NFTs and what helped him understand them?
22:00: How does building the Hundreds compare to Adam Bomb Squad?
26:05: Why projects become cash grabs.
32:34: How will The Hundreds maintain a brand quality in a decentralized world?
39:50: Desert Island NFT

- Mentions -
- Highlights -

*Web2 and Community*

“I didn’t want to be in the stage, I wanted to be on the floor, in the mosh pit with everyone else, and the microphone gets passed around.”
  • Bobby didn’t have the tech knowledge at that point on how everyone could participate and rise up together. So he was doing it from within their brand and other brands trying to establish their community.
“If there is any web2 company that I feel is sympathetic to what is happening in web3 and decentralized, but really embodies that spirit. I think it’s us”
  • Bobby literally wrote a book on building brands around community.
  • What really makes The Hundreds function is the community. Their entire company is based on community.
“In telling someone else a story we are telling a little bit of ours”
  • It was never about The Hundreds being the winner. It was about telling the story, which is why they invested so heavily in collaborations.
  • Their mindset was that they were all part of this ecosystem together.
“As the tide rises, we lift all the boats together.”
  • They were doing it in the industry and now they are doing it through the community.
  • A lot of established brands are looking at web3 and are scared because they have a lot to lose but for Bobby it’s inspiring.
“To think that every single day I might lose this company entirely to the community is electrifying”
  • Bobby wants to get to a point where he can completely lose himself to the community and everything is entirely decentralized.
“All signs point in that direction. They’ve tried so hard to make it the other way for the last 10-15 years and it caused a lot of distressed and made me unhappy.”
  • Bobby has lived with this guilt because he has been convincing young people that they aren’t enough unless they have a product.
  • A simple consumer to business brand never sat right with Bobby even when he was a kid. He felt like he was a walking billboard for someones company.
*Community and Ownership*

“We’ve always endowed upon the community this sense of ownership, they’ve always felt like they own this brand.”
  • People buy brands for community, identity, and because they have a sense of ownership.
“When young people are getting our logo tattooed on them, it’s not that they are a fan of me, they feel like the brand belongs to them.”
  • Bobby is constantly promoting the brand as a community. Their consumers support and represent The Hundreds not for Bobby but for themselves because they feel like the brand belongs to them when it really doesn’t.
  • Bobby wants The Hundreds community to feel like the brand belongs to them and actually have a sense of ownership.
*Becoming Immortal*

“As an entrepreneur if people are alongside you saying ‘I don’t work for you, I am not your fan, we are all in this together we are all equally invested’ I feel invincible.”
  • No matter how many people have been invited we are all in this together.
  • In Bobby’s opinion, when Steve Jobs died he thought it was a problem because Apple’s entire brand was centered around one man.
  • This got Bobby thinking that when he is gone, will his brand also be gone. For some people they want their company to go down with them to show how great they were. But that is not the case for Bobby, he wants his brand to live on forever.
“What the brand is and the community is, is very special and unique in history and I don’t ever want that to die.”
  • That was a concern of Bobby’s, he worried about what would happen to the brand if something were to happen to him. Now he doesn’t have to worry about that because of the community.
“I feel like the brand is immortal because it’s not just me, it’s not just these community members, it’ll get passed onto generations. The technology lives forever so the brand lives forever.“

*How did Bobby first get into NFTs and what helped him understand them?*
  • This time last year there was news about Beeple’s sale. Trevor McFedries (@whatdotcd), who has been a part of The Hundreds for a while, tweeted about the Beeple sale.
  • The Beeple sale didn’t make sense to Bobby, and it scared him. At first he got really mad about it, the number was so big at the time. Then he became curious.

*On brand building*

“Brands require time and discipline, passion and patience, and the ability to maintain that passion long term.”
  • A lot of projects today are “fast rise fast demise” and that never ends well. Bobby has seen it multiple times in the fashion industry when he sees brands have a lot of hype and take off for a few months but eventually die.
“I’m not interested yet in calling Adam Bomb Squad a brand. I call the Hundreds a brand because we have been around for 18 years and to me, that’s still not nearly enough.”

*Building for the long term*
  • The streetwear era of Bobby’s generation was very cash grabby and short term. Bobby wanted the Hundreds to be like Levis, they never took outside money, they wanted to move very organically and authentically.
  • Bobby believes that a lot of people, in the NFT and Brand space, don’t intentionally build for short term. They think you are supposed to move fast and take the money, which does look cash grabby but they didn’t go into it with that goal.
  • He believes that people think the hard work only has to be done before the drop is released and they don’t realize the hard work if after the drop.
  • With NFTs, Bobby didn’t understand the hard work that would come after you drop until he got there. Once he got there he realized he was really starting at zero but he was used to it because he had been doing it for years with the Hundreds.
“I’m accustomed to this lifestyle. Where 24 hours 7 days a week I am pouring myself into the project, and constantly innovating and adapting.”

*Being selfish vs building a team*
  • For Bobby, the Hundreds started as a very selfish project. Most founders start their company because they feel their voices aren’t out there, they don’t see themselves and their passion represented. So they stand up and start building.
  • Bobby felt like the world needed his art, and that it needed to be represented.
“I started this project from a selfish point of view, as a creator and artist.”
  • Bobby’a business partner, Ben, told him he needed to hire someone because he was holding them back.
  • Bobby refused to have someone else create his art to keep it pure. It took Bobby a while but he started hiring designers to build a team. The work is still to this day never held up to the standards he wants.
“As an artist, you are never going to get the results you want or 110% how you would do it because there is no one else like you. You hire people to work with you not for you.”
  • The people you hire are just collaborating and designing pieces of what they interpret of your art.
  • Bobby didn’t appreciate the help until years later when he realized that the project is really not about him.
“You project is not about you, it left your mind and entered the universe.”
  • People that support your projects, don’t necessarily support you. They support the brand.
  • Bobby compromised with the team on a lot of the clothes in a way he would never design it. But that made the brand stronger, because it is a mosaic of Bobby’s vision and all the other talented people.
“The kind of clothes I want to design by myself is awful, thank God I have a team.”

*Hobbies*

“Your job as an artist is to make the world look better, that’s why we have art. It’s not for you, it’s for everyone.”
  • If you want to work alone and not take anyone opinions then do it as hobby
*Desert Island NFT*
  • Bobby wrote an essay that he minted earlier this year called The Robots. The moral of the story is about how humans need our imperfections to heal each other. Robots, on the other hand, are perfect and we always think we want perfections.
“I’m not proud of because it sold for $10 million like a crypto punk or because I sold 25k like Adam Bomb Squad. I’m proud of it because it means something to me.”

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