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Entrepreneurship

Meet Gen-Z’s Teenage Football Meme Tastemaker

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In a few short years, 19-year old Austin Stenson has become one of the largest influencers and most recognizable faces in the Instagram meme community. Austin creates and features pieces of funny content daily on his Instagram page, @__extendo__, which often reverberate throughout Instagram, being reposted by dozens of other pages. He has over 1 million hyper-engaged fans, mostly composed of teenagers and college students (as well with A-list celebrities such as Bella Thorne and Diplo). Along with being a distributor of memes, he has become one himself. His face is often incorporated in memes or used as a reaction picture. With his platform has come partnership opportunities and promotional deals from brands and budding artists, looking for new and effective ways to reach young audiences.

 

Being within the demographic he’s posting for, Austin has his finger on the pulse of content that’s “in”. His page is regularly used as a feeding ground by larger pages looking to find content to reshare. His tweets are often reposted by more traditional internet media outlets such as Worldstar. Austin has also spurred viral crazes such as his “earth sandwich” stunt, which garnered 10s of millions of impressions.

 

Austin was born in Opelika, Alabama, but raised in Atlanta. He’s the youngest of 3 children, having 2 older sisters. Growing up, he’d get in trouble in school for bad behavior because he would mess around and try to be funny. When he’s away from his phone, he spends most of his time playing video games or basketball.

 

I had the chance to interview Austin to share his social media story.

 

Tell me about your Instagram journey.

Austin: If I had to summarize my Instagram journey I’d say it’s a teenager who turned nothing into something. Some of my most memorable moments is when my first meme page got deleted on Halloween 2016 and after that I made the meme page I have now and hit 100k in March just 5 months after my first page got deleted. It felt like a setback followed by a comeback. A notable event is in the summer of 2017 I beefed with smokepurpp over Bella Thorne which led to Bella Thorne and Smokepurpp  following me. He even went live dissing me and me and him raided each other’s comments. And every milestone of me getting closer to a million is an achievement to me because when I first started my meme page, I didn’t think it’ll be this big. I didn’t think back in 2016 I’d have nearly a million followers, 100k+ on my personal page or nearly 100k on my twitter. So I’m proud of the support I’ve always got from the followers.

 

What made you start Instagram?

Austin: It was just out of boredom, I use to just watch YouTube videos a lot all summer. I also already had Instagram but I was just a regular dude who followed meme pages. Then I thought it would be cool to try to get into the meme game since I always loved memes and seen the fun in the community from the outside. The page that inspired me the most was a page called Ksteezy, that was my favorite page at the time and I wanted to be like him. But I never would I think me being bored during summer would lead me to make a life changing decision. So that’s how the extendo persona was born.

 

What is your advice to others who want to build a large, engaged audience?

Austin: Try to interact with your followers, as your page gets bigger it’s gonna be a lot harder to do so, so even try to interact in your comment section or do things on your page that involves engaging with your followers. And try to be personal and show your personality it what makes you different.

 

What are your plants for the future?

Austin: Right now I’m in college so that’s a focus of mine, I also want to continue to build my brand on my meme page, my personal page, my twitter and twitch. So hopefully more success, more business opportunities and continue to interact with my supporters

 

Thanks for the interview! What’s the best way for our readers to find you?

 

Instagram: @stendo

Twitter: @extendobans

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Editorial

Journey Into An Artist’s Life: Exclusive Interview With Jennifer Jean

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Meet Jennifer Jean. A hapa who grew up in Philadelphia and has been creating art for over 15 years. She attended Syracuse University and received her MFA from Boston University. She worked as a gallery director, operations manager, and fine art consultant, and has been an adjunct educator at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Jennifer Jean is currently the President and Founding exhibition chair of the National Association of Women Artists, Inc. MA chapter. Recently I got a chance to interview Jennifer, and we spoke about her journey as an artist. 

In this article, you’ll learn all about her story, her biggest influences, values and principles that led to her success and a lot more. This article is jammed with a lot of life-changing experiences. 

1. Tell me about yourself (a brief background story) and what you do?

My name is Jennifer Jean, and I grew up in Philadelphia. I attended Syracuse University and received my MFA from Boston University. Art and being an artist are therapy for me, not just physically but psychologically and spiritually. My dual Buddhist-Catholic heritage is reflected in my work. I think of my art as an objective homage to my Eastern and Western traditions and to the raw architecture and sounds of the city. My 2D work (primary oil on canvas and wood) is a reflection of what is beautiful and sometimes misconceived in both cultures. My use of color and creative texture lend harmoniously from the natural world and my heritage influences. 

Each piece I create is inspired by my own life, language, travel experiences, and poems. Poems have a way of speaking the truth, to empower and encourage the reader as 2D and 3D artworks affect the viewer. Conflict, balance, and harmony are reflected in each piece.

What do I do? My life is filled with creating, managing, mentoring, and communicating about modern and contemporary art. I worked as a gallery director, operations manager, and fine art consultant, and have been an adjunct educator at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. I am currently the president and founding exhibition chair of the National Association of Women Artists, Inc. MA chapter. As one Gallery Director said ‘You are a character who is always smiling’. I know for myself I am unconventional but inspiring and outré at times — so what I do and create is a reflection of that. In short, I do artsy things.

2. Who were the biggest influences in your life?

My Mama has always been my creative inspiration, a safe and offbeat person. My first memory in the arts was being able to create a wall consisting of a large white or brown paper held by tape—my artistic Mama would say “wow me.” I thought this was the norm in everyone’s home. She would always hide my doodles from my Dad who feared the lack of security of being an artist. 

Other influences, include Philadelphia. Outside of school, I spent many hours exploring the 1300 Chestnut Street murals, sketching at the Rodin Museum, and sitting/drawing in the Arms and Armor room at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In addition, I sketched anyone who would let me and sometimes people I saw at a distance—I still remember the glares and fingers of unwilling subjects.

Happily, both continue to be strong forces and inspiration to me. This year I started my COPA Artist in Residence ‘the Arts in the Court project 2020-2023’ for judge’s chambers where my 60×48 inches oils give us a glimpse into an earlier period of Philadelphia history where the city was the “workshop of the world”. The potential subjects include the manufacturing line at old industrial companies such as a Bergodoll brewery, the Tasty Cake Company, Philco Radio Company, and steel making at Midvale Heppenstall.  

3. What do you think about when you create art?

I always start by writing ideas. These thoughts lead to themes adding conflict, balance, and harmony to shape my work’s form and energy. 

From the written ideas, images are formed from quick sketches, and the work begins. Every piece in the series is a representation of an idea. I did this with my current theme: ‘Knots of the mind’ which explores the ongoing melee between the heart and the mind, complicated by love, hunger, power, doubt

4. What values and principles have led to your success?

A constant thirst for knowledge and determination. I’m lucky to have my Mama’s gift at following through with things. She would say “Listen to yourself as there is always another way,” Those words along with “one, done and move on” are constant reminders of why I love being an artist. 

As long as I am able to create art, write, and experience the joys of life—a hopeful outlook—then I have achieved some balance. Balance consists of always learning, experiencing, and pushing myself to reach for more—an ongoing narrative where I hope to always be surrounded by honest critics, and people who are inspiring and stimulated in their own lives. Laughing is a must, and being loved and respected by intelligent people. I want to be mind-blown and leave this world a little better.

5. Do you have a special ritual when you create art? 

I’m a creature of habit! My personality keeps me listening to the same album when creating a piece and ultimately a series. I sit on the ground a pillow covered with paint along with standing constantly when my bum is numb. I am able to close off the outside, which I am grateful for.  

6. Any other hobbies we should know about?

I love anything water-related especially vacationing on lakes where I can waterski and so forth. Other than collecting books, I collect shells from my travels. They are so beautiful and to know they were once a home that provided shelter for a beautiful or unsightly creature is incredible. 

7. What advice would you give to your younger self?

No preparation is enough to be a full-time artist. You just need to persist and dive in.

“I think a lot of making art is listening to yourself,” said Kiki Smith. This holds true to how you want to be perceived on social media. By listening to oneself you are never limited—it is your own vision. 

You can reach Jennifer Jean on IG: @jennyjean25

You can also check out her website: http://jenniferjeanart.com/

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Entrepreneurship

Meet Rob Krzak: The Athlete Turned Businessman That Operates a Seven-Figure Online Business

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Rob Krzak grew up playing three different sports, with dreams of attending a D1 school and one day being the new face of the sports industry. Now he runs a successful e-Commerce business that has transformed his life. 

In the 8th grade he began getting offered D1 scholarships, but instead he chose to go to public high school instead. He went into his local Public High school believing that he could change the culture and make a change in the sports world. He worked hard, but eventually felt like he had enough and started making bad decisions. After being a three sports athlete his entire life, his senior year came around and he was completely kicked off of all teams because of his poor choices in partying and having many distractions,

“The day I got in my car after finding out I was kicked off the football team where I was the senior quarterback, I drove home devastated, but deep down I knew a chapter of my life was coming to an end and I needed to find a new one,” he shares.

Rob knew he wanted to be different than everyone in his graduating class. He didn’t believe in dream chasing, he had a much bigger vision. This is when he first started with online business. Rob first did Amazon FBA where he was successful, but he wasn’t able to grasp the scaling aspect. After, he decided to move into the e-Commerce business. With e-Commerce he learned that he can scale Facebooks ads aggressively. Rob loves speed and control, and he quickly learned that e-Commerce gave him both of those things. His business has now turned into a seven-figure online business.

His biggest challenge throughout this process has been commitment. Staying focused when you first start an online business can be very difficult he shares, especially when you are used to a certain lifestyle.

“When you jump into online business the biggest challenge is commitment. People don’t actually realize that an actual online business requires everyday work, rather its 15 minutes to 10 hours. Checking in everyday is showing commitment and I believe when first starting, commitment is something lots of people lack in the beginning, including myself,” he says.

For him, mindset isn’t the biggest thing when it comes to starting a new business venture, if anything he believes it is overhyped. He believes that people focus too much on mindset and not enough on the commitment aspect of things.

“People would rather THINK they were doing something good rather than showing up and winning the day. Mindset is very important when things get rough in business, which they do. Entrepreneurship comes with bumps in the road and when first starting if you do not have a STRONG mindset you will fail and become the 95% off people instead of the 5%,” he emphasizes. 

What truly sets Rob apart and has made him so successful is his authenticity. He describes this as the most important aspect of himself and business owners alike. When it comes to his business, he is completely transparent with his customers. He values over providing information and making an actual impact on the world more than anything else. 

For more information on this entrepreneur, click here.

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Meet Andrew Evans: The Serial Entrepreneur With The Secret To Success

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Serial entrepreneur Andrew Evans is the host of the Ace Weekly Podcast, one of the top 100 podcasts on Apple Podcasts. He currently owns and operates four separate companies: AI Powered Forex Trading Software, Student Development Company, Ace Weekly Podcast, and a Social Media Marketing Agency.

For as long as he could remember, Andrew has had a heart and desire for entrepreneurship.

“Whether it was starting a landscaping company, performing magic at restaurants or starting an e-commerce site, I always was attracted to the idea of getting paid based on the value that I deliver to others. My perspective is that entrepreneurs are the people that change the world and I love that my work each day has the opportunity to impact so many others,” he says.

At a young age, Andrew was already fueling his entrepreneurial drive with his success in sales. He developed his work ethic, speaking skills, and learned to connect with others by building numerous small businesses, but he always knew that he had a deeper calling to serve and impact others. After breaking sales records at his company throughout the years, Andrew decided that he wanted to equip other young people with the same skills and habits that he’d developed.

In 2018, he began working on the Ace Weekly Podcast where he would be teaching other aspiring leaders how to gain the mentality needed to be successful.

“Ace Weekly teaches people the skills, habits and the mentality that is needed to succeed today. I show others how to dominate their field, and find fulfillment in the process by interviewing high-profile entrepreneurs, CEOs, athletes, and other influencers,” he shares. 

Andrew’s Spartan organization works with more students than any other organization in Miami-Dade County. His mission is to empower young people and transform the way that they show up in our world and in our communities. The reason why he opened his original sales office in Miami is because of the great impact that Vector Marketing had on his life at a young age and he wanted to be able to provide that same opportunity to other young people in his community. They work with more students than any other organization in Miami-Dade county.

“Young people are the future of our country and world, and because of this, I know that when I am able to positively impact and change the trajectory of many students lives and careers, I am subsequently impacting and changing the world,” he says. 

Aside from his podcast and sales office, Andrew is also passionate about creating a financial revolution for individuals across the world. Powered by Artificial Intelligence, his corporation Ace Trading Enterprises is helping provide software that allows the average person to have an easier and more successful experience in the world of trading and investing.

His future goals involve transforming the broken education system by building a non- profit college in Miami. Andrew wants to create a modern curriculum that advances human consciousness and teaches students the information and skills that are most important for young people to learn, all while creating a placement program that ensures that students are graduating with job offers and equipped to be valuable in the industry that they desire. 

When Andrew started the Ace Weekly Podcast, his main goal was to help provide and equip people with the mindset that is required to succeed. As someone with the habits and mentality needed to be successful in life, he is a role model for people who wish to find success.

For more information on this entrepreneur, click here.

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The Disrupt Magazine & Podcast tells the stories of the world top entrepreneurs, developers, creators, and digital marketers and help empower them to teach others the skills they used to grow their careers, chase their passions and create financial freedom for themselves, their families, and their lives, all while living out their true purpose. We recognize the fact that most young people are opting to skip college in exchange for entrepreneurship and real life experience. This Podcast is designed to give them a taste of that.