Growing up, Redfoo thought he could make it as a professional basketball player. Then one day, his mom said he’d never make it because he was too short. He then dove into music, asking his parents to get him a Casio keyboard. That led him to becoming what he thought was a pretty good rapper, inspired by the likes of Run DMC. Redfoo faced another hurdle as he pursued his love for music.
“When my dad, one of the most successful people in the music Industry, Barry Gordy, the founder of Motown, tells you “you don’t have the voice & that’s a big challenge,” Redfoo recalled. “So, I had to just say, ‘Well, you know what, that’s your opinion … and I have my opinion and my opinion about me is a little has more weight … and it’s tough with your father.”
Despite his father’s critique, Redfoo, born Stefan Kendal Gordy, is a mutli-platinum selling rapper, perhaps best known for his group, LMFAO, and the hit single, “Party Rock Anthem” in 2011. Redfoo did learn something from his father.
“Being concerned about what you want to do for your life is one of the most important things,” he says. “You can identify what dreams [you] have. And you gotta do that through journaling, and you gotta write it down and figure it out. … I have friends that still don’t know what they want to do with their life, and they’re over 40 … and why aren’t people picking what they want to do, because I think they’re concerned about what their friends will think or [what] their parents will think, what their current employers will think. You have to be more concerned about more what you think because at the end of the day you have to live your life.”
Redfoo is doing just that. He has stepped away from his music to pursue his latest passion: coding. As he says, “Coding to me is the ultimate creativity. … It’s math, science, engineering and English all in one. … I’m working on a few things now, but the possibilities are endless.”
Several years ago, while at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, Redfoo had a chance meeting with Piers Ridyard, CEO of Radix that is creating software platforms for Web3. Impressed with Redfoo’s questions and knowledge about programming, Ridyard began exploring how the two could work together. Last year, they launched Foo Hack, a three-day hackathon at the musicians “Party Rock Ranch”. Based on Redfoo and Ridyard’s love of chess, they focused the hackathon on developing a non-hackable, web-based application. “Chess is a game of rules that have to be strictly enforced,” Ridyard says, “…you could then play chess against each other in a way that you couldn’t cheat at all.”
Ridyard’s and Foo’s goal is to create digital platforms that are accessible and easy to use. “We built a programming language called Scrypto, which made it incredibly easy for anyone to pick up Web3 and Decentralized Finance and build something … in an afternoon, in a week, in a weekend.”
Both men agree that at the heart of it all is relationships and community. “It’s all about people skills,” Redfoo says. “Trusting other people, you’re around … You have to be a good judge of character. … I wanted to learn from Radix and Piers because there was a lot of humor, good food, our vegan food and our dogs. … It also was a test to see if I could get along with coders because that is an area that I’m moving towards.”
As a CEO, Ridyard adds, “One of the most important skills of a CEO is getting them aligned on a vision. … [and] understand what type of person they are and what motivates them. “
Ridyard believes that once you bring people together it’s amazing to see how they draw off each other’s energy and inspire each other. He and Redfoo also believe that too many people think that networking is about how they’re creating a network for themselves. “It’s like, no. You’re building it for all of the people that you’re connected with. And how can you bring people together to spark that next level of innovation or inspiration.’