RECAP: Agenda Emerge 2014


After Day 2 of Agenda Long Beach 2014, the 5th Element team wrapped up with Agenda Emerge, a conference featuring talented and successful speakers to shed light on the industry and inspire others to believe in the impossible.



Hosted by pro-skateboarder Felix Arguelles, he starts the conference wishing there was a space like Agenda Emerge during his time, as it provided the necessary tools and lessons to success. Arguelles then brings out the founder of HUF, Keith Hufnagel. Engaging in dialogue, Hufnagel explains during the teenage years, he would find ways to hack and steal money to fund his passion of skateboarding. Through skateboarding, it led to collaborations and visibility. As a result, it began the journey of his brand, HUF, which he named after himself. Hufnagel then shifts into a series of cease and desists (C&D) he’s received ranging from Burberry to the MLB. In a way, it all seemed flattering that such a small brand was getting so much attention, but Hufnagel explains the importance of trademarking your name and brand with simple advice – always protect yourself. Wrapping his segment, Hufnagel encourages doing your research, stealing shit, and most importantly always being different.


Staying true to the theme of skateboarding, world-renown skateboarder Paul Rodriguez (PRod) came to the stage. Humbly speaking, PRod doesn’t feel like a talented skateboarder, but rather someone who practices and works hard on a constant and consistent basis. PRod explains some people can think of a trick and do it on the spot. For him, it takes lots of practice to land that one trick, but his level of commitment and stubbornness is what paved the way for his level of expertise. He believes if you overshoot, you’ll end up in a further spot you could have imagined, which isn’t too far fetched as it led him to the collaboration with Nike. Through Nike, PRod claims, “If you can imagine it, they can create it”. He further discusses an idea he pitched to Nike about Nas, and the next thing he knew, a collaboration was scheduled to take place. And just like that, Nike makes dreams come true.


Shortly after watching the collaboration video, it built the highly anticipated appearance of Nas. In full discussion, Arguelles, PRod, and Nas talked about the video, working together, and future collaborations we can expect. Without any leaks or further details, PRod and Nas do have something in the works. However, Nas did announce the releasing of his brand called HSTRY to come soon. Feeling like he’s been part of history, he feels his brand fits well with him. Then, they went further in depth about his new endeavor 12am Run in Las Vegas. Showcasing both streetwear apparel and high-end retail, Nas aims to create a space for the entire family, which falls in line with his message of always aiming higher towards new levels.


“Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.” – Nas, Musician and Founder of 12am Run


Next, CEO and founder of Karmaloop, Greg Selkoe discussed the importance of being fearless. With hardly any capital, Selkoe turned to family and friends to get his company off the ground. Not knowing whether success loomed in the future or if he could repay his debts, as a risk-taker, Selkoe took a chance and proceeded forward. At some point, you have to decide how much you want to succeed and go for it. True to his rebellious fashion, Selkoe didn’t follow directions and took questions from the audience during his segment. Questions ranged from branding to what type of opportunities people should seize, his answers gave an underlying tone to always take the leap despite your fears.


Switching gears towards something more “traditional”, Arguelles brought Tom Campion, founder of Zumiez, to the stage. With a speech prepared, Campion brought lots of knowledge to the table. Over the last several decades, Campion has built and watched the retail industry grow. In order to survive and be successful, Campion notes three things an entrepreneur must have. First, you have to love change; whatever it may be, it can never be good enough. Second, you need a competitive spirit in order to put the next guy out of business. Finally, you must be adaptive or you will go away. Campion then goes further and reveals the secret to the success of Zumiez. It begins with the employees, the kids selling their products. Zumiez has built a great working environment that encourages their young employees to sell by providing rewards such as the Zumiez100K conference in Colorado. Campion believes rewarding your employees will allow them to perform beyond expectations.


Uncensored and to the point, Agenda Emerge gets applauded for hosting another successful conference with insightful leaders. Learning from such great minds, I walked away inspired to continue pushing towards grander heights.


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