Jason Acuna, better known by his stage name, Wee Man [of Jackass fame], is a skateboarder, actor, tv personality, and stuntman. As you’ll learn, he’s far deeper than a funny guy in movies.
Welcome to Remarkable People.
I confess that I wasn’t sure who Wee Man, aka Jason Acuna, was because I’m too old. But when I asked my kids if I should interview him, they were ecstatic.
Wee Man is a skateboarder, actor, tv personality, and stuntman. As you’ll learn, he’s far deeper than a funny guy in movies.
Wee Man was a star of the Jackass MTV series that ran for three seasons. It was popular and controversial because it featured dangerous and politically incorrect stunts and pranks.
After the MTV series, Paramount made three Jackass movies. The box office gross of these movies totaled approximately $500 million.
Everything is hard about podcasting, but the hardest part is getting guests. Come to find out Wee Man is on the board of directors of Merge4, my favorite sock company.
So booking Wee Man was easy because the CEO of Merge4 made an intro, and it was game on. It just so happened that Wee Man was appearing for Merge4 at a mall in San Jose shortly after my request.
We met there, ate at Cheesecake Factory, and then did the interview at my house. Let’s just say that a lot more people recognized him than me at the mall.
BTW, Wee Man let’s a few f-bombs fly too, so be prepared.
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Question: Have you executed on your dreams like Weeman?
Use the #remarkablepeople hashtag to join the conversation!
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Disclosure: I’m an advisor to MERGE4 Socks
FULL TRANSCRIPT of Guy Kawasaki’s Remarkable People Podcast
Wee Man: California Dreamer Ollies to Jackass Fame with Crazy Stunts
Guy Kawasaki: Hello, this is Guy Kawasaki. Welcome to Remarkable People. I confess that I wasn’t sure who Wee Man, AKA Wee Man was mostly because I’m too old, but when I asked my kids if I should interview him, they were ecstatic. Wee Man is a skateboarder, actor, TV personality, and stuntman. As you’ll soon learn, he’s far deeper than just a funny guy in the movies. Wee Man was a star of the Jackass MTV series that ran for three seasons. It was popular and controversial because it featured dangerous and politically incorrect stunts and pranks. After the MTV series, Paramount made four Jackass movies, the box office gross of these movies totaled approximately $500 million. Everything is hard about podcasting, but the hardest part is getting guests, come to find out, Wee Man is on the board of directors of MERGE4, my favorite sock company.
Guy Kawasaki: So booking Wee Man was easy because the CEO of MERGE4, Cindy Busenhart, made an intro, and it was game on. It just so happened that Wee Man was appearing for MERGE4 at a mall in San Jose. Shortly after my request, we met there, ate at a Cheesecake Factory, and then did the interview at my house. Let’s just say that a lot more people recognized him than me at the mall. By the way, Wee Man lets a few F-bombs fly in this interview, so be prepared. I’m guy Kawasaki, this is Remarkable People, and now here’s Wee Man.
Wee Man: I’m an army brat. So my dad is an LA native, and he was a knucklehead growing up as a kid, and when he turned 18, my grandpa went to the army recruiting place and threw him into the office and said, “It’s your turn.” So my dad signed up for the Army, he was then transferred to Germany, he was stationed in Germany.
That’s where he met my mom, that’s where I was conceived and then my dad was then stationed in Italy and while he was stationed there, my mom lived there and they lived together in a town called Tirrenia. It’s near Livorno, I think it’s Tirrenia, and it’s way more old school than Santa Cruz and full beach town, same thing, and I was born there, and I was three months old. It’s really close to Pisa, Pisa’s the main city near it, so Pisa would be like the San Jose and it was the little beach town there.
Wee Man: And then when about when I was three months old, my dad got transferred back to the States and brought my mom and me back and just started living here.
Guy Kawasaki: In-
Wee Man: Yup, in LA. We first lived in Van Nuys for a year or two, and then my mom got a place in Hermosa Beach, and that’s where I grew up was Hermosa, Torrance, Redondo, South Bay.
Guy Kawasaki: And what was your youth like?
Wee Man: It was pretty fun, started off roller skating on the beach, and just the kind of tennis shoe roller skates that were pretty cool. They looked almost like Adidas but roller skates and did that for a little bit. And then I was seeing kids skateboard and stuff, and my mom started dating another guy, and he got a skateboard one year, and I told my mom, “That’s what I want.” And after that, I had a skateboard my whole life and just skate down the beach, skate at school, skated all around.
Guy Kawasaki: How much schooling have you had?
Wee Man: I fully finished high school. I was kind of a knucklehead, so I had to do some night classes to make sure I had enough credits to graduate, and I got 11 extra credits at the end of the year. And then I went to junior college for a little bit, but I realized even in high school, I realized it wasn’t for me, it wasn’t the education I need. I’m glad I got the education, I’ve learned a lot from it, but it wasn’t the education I need kind of to form the route of lifestyle I wanted to live. And once I was in junior college, I took a couple courses, different things, and I was just like, “No, this is taking up too much of my time. I already know which path I’ve paved for myself. I know what I’m going to do, I know how I’m going to be happy.” And that’s what I did.
Guy Kawasaki: And what was going to make you happy?
Wee Man: I already then by junior college was sponsored by skateboard companies and was going on tour, and was already getting paid and I was also working at skate shops too. So I had income coming in from a couple of different places, and I was just living the life I lived. I didn’t care if I lived in a house with four bedrooms with four different dudes. As long as I got to do what I wanted to do during the day and nobody told me … Nobody really had a hand on me or a hold on me to live the way I wanted to live, I was happy.
Guy Kawasaki: And if high school kids are listening to this-
Wee Man: You have to be a certain person. I think I had ADD before it was diagnosed as ADD. I definitely couldn’t pay attention in history class because, to me, that was like, “That already happened, things that we know about, we already know.” But I did better in math and art classes and stuff like that. I did better in more challenging classes than I did in like, “1866 …” And I’m like, “Oh my, I’m about to chop my arm off. I can’t deal with this.” So everybody’s different, you know what I mean? Nobody learns the same way as anybody else. So just because I did school that way doesn’t mean somebody else does it that way.
Guy Kawasaki: Do you think there is a minimum amount of education every kid should have?
Wee Man: Yeah, I totally think there’s a minimum.
Guy Kawasaki: And what’s the minimum?
Wee Man: I think at least sophomore year of high school, and then I think you should be able to decide which … I think from then on, to me it’s even late in the game, but I think you should pick a trade that you feel comfortable with. I think too many people settle with jobs nowadays that they’re like, “I hate my job.”, “Why don’t you get a different job then?” “I can’t.” Yeah, you can, you can do whatever you want. If you put your mind to it, you can do whatever you want. So I think about sophomore year of high school, I think every student should be pulled aside and say, “Hey, where do you want to go in life?” You’re able to drive a car when you’re a sophomore so you can drive to a job, you can drive to work, you know what I mean? You’re held responsible now in a vehicle. If you crash into somebody and kill somebody, you’re responsible. I think at that age I think you should also be responsible to figure out what career path you want to take.
Guy Kawasaki: What if somebody said, “Well, someone who’s 16, 17, 18 can’t possibly know what career path they should take.”
Wee Man: Then I think they should stay kind of in a general ed program where they still get a little bit of everything, and I think at least finish to a high school diploma and with a high school diploma, I mean you can get a job pretty much any basic place. Granted, if somebody comes in with a college degree and you guys are having the same job, the guy with the college degree, of course, he’s going to be the one that’s going to get the job.
Guy Kawasaki: Would you have gotten more schooling if you could go back?
Wee Man: Schooling wise, no. Do you want me to say I wish I would have taken the route of having a choice of what I wanted to do and focus maybe on one subject? I would’ve rather have focused on one, I kind of did the general ed thing just to have it, and I did it through even junior college. I wish I would have rather have been, “Hey, maybe focus on something and go all the way and maybe get a degree at that sooner than trying to still wishy-washy and having to learn all this stuff at once.” I think it’s the education system, granted when you’re a kid, you can absorb a lot like I learned German before I even went to elementary school, your brain’s so fresh and mushy, you can learn a lot. But I think by a certain time, kids get put on too much stuff at one time that I think they need to figure out which route they want to take and which thing. If I was asked at 16 and pulled in by a counselor, “What do you want to do?” I would have said, “I want to be an architect.”
Wee Man: I loved drawing, I loved the math behind it and figuring out equations and I would have at least got a degree or a master’s in architect just to have that under my belt, but still taking the same life path that I wanted, which, most people who get degrees anyway don’t follow what they went and got a degree for anyway. But to have it and say, it’s kind of a respectful thing.
Guy Kawasaki: Cindy, are you the CEO of MERGE4.
Cindy Busenhart: Why yes, I am.
Guy Kawasaki: You’re the boss?
Cindy Busenhart: I’m the founder.
Guy Kawasaki: I interviewed Wee Man for a podcast and in the podcast, I found out that he’s one of your directors, and he’s also one of your artists and just all-around marketing resource. So first, I want to confirm that relationship. So what is the relationship there?
Cindy Busenhart: The relationship between Jason and MERGE4 is he’s pretty much the international man of mystery. No, he-
Guy Kawasaki: Okay.
Cindy Busenhart: He’s a shareholder. He started off as a collaborator, and so a lot of people follow Jason, and he’s got a ton of followers. So we were really happy when he decided he wanted to be a collaborator and then he became a board member, a shareholder and board member at the same time.
Guy Kawasaki: It seems to me that there’s this chasm or at least two different Jason Wee Mans. So, on the one hand, we have Jackass, and that’s all about doing stupid, painful things to people. And on the other hand, which may be why his brand is so well known, but on the other hand, he sounds like a legit influencer, businessperson, smart guy, and is he both? I mean what-
Cindy Busenhart: I think he’s both, I mean for the Jason that I know is he’s a super positive, happy person. He’s super proactive, he’s a hard worker, he’s a comedian. So when he’s around I’ll say he’s a great presence. When he’s around, he walks into a MERGE4 retailer as an example, and people go crazy, and it must be awesome to be able to walk into somewhere and really make people happy and kind of bring joy to people. And I think he does that amazingly well, on the other side that you’re talking about is his business side, and so he’s still that super happy, positive person on the business side. But he’s definitely strategic in almost everything he presents to MERGE4.
Guy Kawasaki: So how do you think he got to that position? Because I mean he doesn’t have an MBA, he hasn’t, whatever. He didn’t work at Apple, God knows.
Cindy Busenhart: [crosstalk 00:12:08] actually push is grit, right? So I think he’s a hard worker and I think he is persistent and as I often say, I think persistence trumps brilliance at times. So I think what he does is he listens, he works hard, he learns from his mistakes and he just keeps going. I don’t think that there’s anything other than that, I mean, he’s a super hardworking, strategic, proactive guy. I think he does his research as well, so he definitely is skeptical, not negatively. But will look at things thoroughly and then form his own opinion based off the information he has, and then he’ll dig in, and having him on your side if he wants to dig in with the business that you have is a benefit, for sure.
Guy Kawasaki: How’d you get into film?
Wee Man: We did it all on our own, even in 12th grade I had an alternative English and history class where the teachers were kind of hippy and stuff, and we got our 12th grade English and history through them. But they asked for, at the end of the year, a final project and a buddy of mine just went out and filmed in the streets and did funky stuff like Jackass style stuff and aced the class because of that.
So the filming stuff I’ve always done on my own, even when before Jackass and all that, we were doing Big Brother Magazine where we’d film skate stuff and Jackass bits in between, and it was the same thing. We went out on our own, filmed it, put it together, and people just ate it up. It was even outside the skateboard community that the general population was like, “Oh my God, you have to see these videos, these dudes are insane. Look at the crap they’re doing.”
Guy Kawasaki: And what year is this?
Wee Man: This? It started ’93, and we did that till about ’98, ’99, we put out four full-length videos, and then we realized, “There’s a momentum of big stuff going on, we should maybe take it to the next level.” And in ’99 we started filming Jackass. We said, “Hey, let’s just try this.”
Guy Kawasaki: Where was YouTube at this point?
Wee Man: YouTube wasn’t even around yet.
Guy Kawasaki: So how’d you distribute these films and videos?
Wee Man: Skateboard distributions. So skate shops and skate companies all had them around, and it was like an underground thing that even the norm of people picked them up. And most skate shops are surf shops, so surfers would see them, skaters, snowboarders. And it was like that. They were on VHS tapes, the internet-
Guy Kawasaki: VHS tapes?
Wee Man: Yeah, VHS, even when we filmed Jackass, our pilot episode is on a VHS tape.
Guy Kawasaki: Jackass is on a VHS tape?
Wee Man: Yeah, 2000. In 2000, there was still VHS tape.
Guy Kawasaki: So this idea for Jackass, were you guys stoned or something?
Wee Man: No.
Guy Kawasaki: Did you sit there and-
Wee Man: We just did it anyway, we were just knucklehead kids, you get bored. Like I said, I think I was diagnosed with ADD before ADD was … Your mind’s always going, like skateboarders, when we drive down the street, we see things that normal people don’t. You see, just a set of stairs, we see what we can do around and above and all that. So you got to think, our minds are already going fast forward more than the normal person walking down the street.
Guy Kawasaki: At this point where you’re deciding to do Jackass, did you sit there and say, “Okay, so we’re going to blow up toilets. We’re going to hit people with high fives with a hand that hits you across the face.”? I’m just trying to imagine how you came up with this idea.
Wee Man: You watch cartoons and everything that happened in cartoons we made reality.
Guy Kawasaki: How many people were involved at this point?
Wee Man: There’s 10 of us?
Guy Kawasaki: Still.
Wee Man: Well, Ryan passed away. So there’s nine now.
Guy Kawasaki: And what was the business model? Sell it through shops, or you just did it for the hell of it?
Wee Man: No. For Jackass, we did it to put it on TV. We went to every station known around.
Guy Kawasaki: And what happened?
Wee Man: The first network we went to was HBO, and it was two female executives, and they looked at Knoxville and Tremaine like, “You just wasted 30 minutes of our time, this is bullshit you brought to us, are you kidding us right now?” That’s the reaction they got, it was the first meeting they had. Then a few started going crazy, when we finally got the reactions we wanted, it was a fight between Comedy Central and MTV.
Guy Kawasaki: And?
Wee Man: We chose MTV.
Guy Kawasaki: And the rest is history?
Wee Man: And the rest is history. MTV wrote the rest, they put it out there. They put it out every Sunday, and it was even from the first season, people like Shaquille O’Neal and Brad Pitt were having Jackass parties at their house like, “Come on over.” Ordering tons of food, all their friends just to watch our show, and then we were getting phone calls because they wanted to be on it and then they were on it.
Guy Kawasaki: Today, Wee Man is making a personal appearance at the MERGE4 store in Valley Fair Mall.
Speaker 4: Yeah, it’s Wee Man. Wow, yeah, yeah.
Speaker 5: I seriously do know a lot of your stuff because I’ve watched a lot of old school CKY videos and all those. Yeah, and all those. So I’ve been watching your stuff for years.
Wee Man: Hey.
Speaker 6: This is crazy, this is amazing, it’s so cool to see Wee Man in person, I mean I’ve been watching him from early Jackass days, so very fun.
Wee Man: What happened right before you came here again?
Speaker 5: I had edible cookies right before I came here. So I’m a little effed up, I am so sorry.
Wee Man: That’s all okay, I wish I had one.
Speaker 5: I had a little too many of the cookies.
Wee Man: I know, dang, I’m kind of jealous.
Speaker 5: Dude, I can’t have anymore, I’ve got to make it to my appointment later.
Guy Kawasaki: What’s your favorite episode of Jackass?
Speaker 7: I liked the movie.
Guy Kawasaki: The movie?
Speaker 7: The movie was good, yeah.
Guy Kawasaki: How about you
Speaker 8: Aw man, there’s so many memorable moments. I would say in the movie when Bam’s locked in a, I think a cage with a snake.
Wee Man: Oh, in the snake pit?
Speaker 8: Yeah, that was awesome.
Wee Man: That was a good one, yeah because we pretty much made him cry.
Speaker 8: Yeah.
Wee Man: Yeah, it’s a good-
Speaker 8: [inaudible 00:19:22].
Wee Man: Yup.
Guy Kawasaki: How do you guys come up with like, “This is what we should do next.? “
Wee Man: It’s all of us just thinking of different ideas.
Guy Kawasaki: You’re just sitting around or-
Wee Man: Sitting around, come over and just think something and tell each other about it.
Guy Kawasaki: Anybody get seriously hurt?
Wee Man: Mm-hmm (affirmative), all the time. I stopped counting broken bones after 10. I have a titanium rod in my right femur.
Guy Kawasaki: Did you ever get-
Wee Man: Been knocked out.
Guy Kawasaki: Yeah?
Wee Man: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Guy Kawasaki: Did you ever get letters or phone calls from parents saying-
Wee Man: We never did personally. Granted, the network did, but I mean, you put out a disclaimer. We’re the ones doing this, we’re not saying you do it, so-
Guy Kawasaki: That’s the disclaimer?
Wee Man: Pretty much, we’re professionals at it, we’ve been doing it our whole lives. You’ve got to think skateboarding, we’ve been falling off. It’s skateboarding and surfing too, you fail the majority of the time, but you get back up to pull it off. A normal person that you say, “Hey, I want to try skateboarding.” That’s not coming from their heart, and they fall and maybe scratch themselves or whatever. They’re not going to do it again, they failed once, and they don’t want to fail again.
Guy Kawasaki: So is that not a valuable life lesson from you?
Wee Man: It is.
Guy Kawasaki: Right?
Wee Man: You’re going to fail a bunch of times, 99% of the time you’re going to fail.
Guy Kawasaki: And how do you push past?
Wee Man: Because that 1% that you do, the glory you feel from it is amazing.
Guy Kawasaki: Okay, so now movies, what happened there?
Wee Man: We did three seasons of TV, and we weren’t getting paid much. We didn’t make much money doing it, but we were making it, and we just stopped, and we said, “No, we’re not going to do more TV. You want to work with us, we want movies.” And then they said, “All right.” They knew they wanted to work with us.
Guy Kawasaki: Who’s they in this?
Wee Man: MTV and Paramount. So they said, “Let’s do it, let’s do a movie then.”
Guy Kawasaki: What is the rock star lifestyle that you then acquired? Or what-
Wee Man: It’s crazy, even when the TV show came out, I was still going on skate tours, so the TV show had been out for three months. So it’s been out three months, we’re still filming, I went on a skate tour to Japan with some buddies for a company, and we were in Japan and people were running out of stores yelling my name, and my friends were like, “Whoa, this is …” They were like, “You fucking made it, this is crazy.”
Guy Kawasaki: In Japan?
Wee Man: In Japan, they’re like, “You’re done, you’re worldwide now.” So that’s the first probably moment I realized, “Yup, this is big, we did it.”
Guy Kawasaki: What do you want your legacy to be?
Wee Man: I don’t know, I never think about that kind of stuff. I’m not one that says, “Hey, I’m this, I did this.” Or whatever. We just do what we do, I think the less you care, the easier it is to do. The more you care about it, you’re not going to get as much out of it because you’re stressing over it. But if you’re carefree about it and don’t care, I don’t care, it’s out there. Whatever happens with it, whatever. Once I’m dead, what does it matter? I don’t have any more bills to pay. What does a legacy do? I take it like this, and I’ve learned a lot of things later in life.
Seinfeld was offered a lifetime achievement award from some just award thing, and he goes, “No, I don’t want it.” They’re like, “What do you mean you don’t want it? It’s a lifetime achievement award.” He goes, “The work’s already done, and I’ve done it. I’m moving on. Why do I need an award about it?” And that’s living, and that’s living, I think people who need that are narcissists. But if you’re doing something you’re already happy with, why do you need something to tell you more?
Guy Kawasaki: I have kids, 14 … I have lots of kids, but the 14 and 17-year-old, they know exactly who you are. My 14-year-old finds what you do so funny and interesting and all that. So I think because of that platform, you may feel a moral obligation.
So do you feel a moral obligation that you want the Nate’s of the world to see what you’ve accomplished, how you’ve accomplished? Is there a lesson you want Nate to learn from you or are you just don’t give a shit if Nate’s like-
Wee Man: No, no, no, no, about that, no, no, no, no, no. I would say don’t think it just comes to anybody. I will say 100% we got lucky, very lucky for the opportunity we had. We didn’t just say, “Hey, we’re doing this.” And made it happen. It was tough for us, and to get it and be paid, we were being paid minimum wage the whole three seasons, but we were putting something out that was making money already. So don’t think that just because you do something, it’s going to happen. It’s a tough world, and you’re going to fail, that’s what I’m saying. You’re going to fail, but there may be small windows of opportunity. I think kids, and I get so bummed about this nowadays, and the school system has done this too, that kids nowadays they show up to school and get a gold star and it’s like don’t treat kids like that because they’re going to take the most minimal thing and think they’ve done good, then trying to accomplish something and then feeling good.
Wee Man: So I think you can’t just go, “Oh, well I grabbed a skateboard, I’m going to be a pro skater.” No, there’s work that you don’t see, just because you see the final project doesn’t mean that all the hard work was shown of eight hours a day to get to one thing and then another eight hours a day to get to the next. Just because you see it, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, or you only see the ending contest, they don’t show what it took for the person that trained to get to that.
Guy Kawasaki: And what’s the lesson there?
Wee Man: Just do it and don’t think about the outcome. Do what you’re doing right now, but you can’t think of, “Hey, I’m doing this to be this.” Do it first for heart, and it will follow through easily.
Guy Kawasaki: But what happens if you do something for the heart that has no market value?
Wee Man: There are tons of people that do that all the time, then you have to be a strong person and figure it out. I know billionaires, and this is what they’ve told me, “You have to have seven companies.” And the reason is not every company you have is going to make it, but you’re not putting all your cookies in the same cookie jar. You’re going to learn from the ones that fail, and those will profit the ones you’re already doing good at. So even if you’re like, “Hey, I want to be a pro.” With anything, tennis player, golfer, biker, architect, anything, engineer, you may not have what it takes, and there may be somebody right there that’s just working a little harder than you and you can’t just throw everything away and say it was a failure. You have to take that failure and put it into the next thing.
Guy Kawasaki: What’s the most difficult challenge you’ve faced?
Wee Man: Self. I’m very-
Guy Kawasaki: Doubt?
Wee Man: No, self, like I’m very hard on myself. I don’t think what I do, I’m a perfectionist at what I do, it is always the best. Even if it is and people say, “Got it, nailed it.” I’m still like, “Nope, should do it again.”
Guy Kawasaki: Which means what, that has made you better?
Wee Man: Yes. So I have a brother, and every family has a couple of kids, and he’s younger than me, and we grew up the same, but he struggles that the path I took isn’t the same path that he took, and he has this he feels entitled feeling, and I’m just like, “No, just because I did it, you weren’t there all the days I was doing it, you were doing something different.” But he’s still-
Guy Kawasaki: Why does he feel entitled?
Wee Man: Because we grew up the same, we grew up under the same house, we grew up under the same parents.
Guy Kawasaki: So he feels entitled because you’ve been successful, he should also be successful?
Wee Man: Yeah, at what he does, he thinks … He does things, but I can tell he doesn’t put the same effort in that I did when I was doing things.
Guy Kawasaki: From the outside looking in though, the Nate’s of the world, they could look, “Oh, so I’ll just do crazy stuff. I’ll just do dangerous crazy stuff. I’ll get hit by footballs in the balls, I’ll play golf in the racquetball court and get hit by the golf ball, and that’ll be a living?”
Wee Man: It’s like this, the neighbors are doing a garage band, and you’re doing a garage band, not every band is the same, there’s a chemistry behind it. So somehow the group I got together with, we were all put in the right instruments, and we put the right albums out. Now maybe there’s cover bands just because they see us and they’re doing the same thing or trying, it’s not going to be the same.
Guy Kawasaki: So here’s what I want to ask you. So obviously, you are … What’s the right word? I don’t even know what the politically correct word is.
Wee Man: For what? An actor?
Guy Kawasaki: For your shortness.
Wee Man: Oh, my stature?
Guy Kawasaki: Your stature.
Wee Man: Stature, it’s-
Guy Kawasaki: Your physical stature.
Wee Man: Yeah, physical stature is dwarfism.
Guy Kawasaki: Okay, so-
Wee Man: It’s achondroplasia dwarfism, I’m on the bigger side on the scientific term, but yeah.
Guy Kawasaki: And is your brother?
Wee Man: No, nobody else in my family is.
Guy Kawasaki: So this is just the luck of the draw?
Wee Man: Mm-hmm (affirmative). You have 27 chromosomes; any one of them can do a tiny hiccup and change anything about you, it’s just a hiccup in a chromosome, and it doesn’t matter what your dad’s genes are or what your mom’s genes are.
Guy Kawasaki: And you never in this whole interview mentioned, “Growing up I had to overcome other kids teasing me.” And all that, did none of that happen?
Wee Man: No.
Guy Kawasaki: Not at all?
Wee Man: It did a little bit, but I am more alpha that I used to … I was more the one doing it, and I’ve always walked around like I had the don’t give a fuck attitude like, “This is me. What? So you’re going to attack me for this when I can attack you for not just this, but inside you?”
Guy Kawasaki: And have you had to do that?
Wee Man: I’ve done it multiple times, and I’ve put people shorter than me that are taller than me.
Guy Kawasaki: Say that again?
Wee Man: I’ve made people shorter than me that are taller than me, to feel that short.
Guy Kawasaki: And what did they try to do to you? What was their-
Wee Man: What are you going to say? “Oh, you’re a midget. You’re small. You can’t do you nothing.”
Guy Kawasaki: They say that to you?
Wee Man: Yeah.
Guy Kawasaki: And your reaction is what?
Wee Man: I go out and beat myself up and break bones doing stuff, do you think the words coming out of your mouth hurt me right now? No, it’s a piece of air that’s just flying by, but you know what I love? That I’m living in your head rent-free, and when I walk away, I’m not going to care about you anymore. So you’re going to have to live with that thought for the rest of the time.
Guy Kawasaki: And you don’t give a shit?
Wee Man: Duh. I’ve knocked myself out, I’ve broken bones, I’ve dusted myself off. I’ve accomplished more before any age of anything than 90% of the people, I became a pro skater, I’ve made three number one movies, Google any actor and see how many number one movies they’ve made. I’m a restaurateur, I have 62 restaurants worldwide, I own 10% of the brand. I have a sock company, why? Because it’s just me and the people in the sock company want me. I own real estate, why? Because I have friends in multiple places, and I listen in, I listen to business and stuff. And one of the biggest things to own for money is real estate. That’s five, I’ve talked to billionaires, and they say you have to have seven brands. Well-
Guy Kawasaki: What’s the last two?
Wee Man: They’re not there yet.
Guy Kawasaki: And you’re reaching for seven? I mean, you’re not going to stop till you get seven?
Wee Man: I don’t stop.
Guy Kawasaki: You’re going to stop at seven-
Wee Man: Yeah.
Guy Kawasaki: … or you’re going beyond seven? So what will make you stop? Or you just won’t stop?
Wee Man: I don’t stop, even when I’m sick, I can’t stay at home. I focus three hours a day on each project that I’m working on, and that’s all you need to do because then you’re focusing too much, and you need to make sure everything else is okay.
Guy Kawasaki: So from the outside, looking in again, people get the impression that, “Oh, this guy does silly, funny stuff, he makes a lot of funny videos.”
Wee Man: I learned that when I was young, first car I bought I was 16. I was 16 in 1989. I got a 1983 used Toyota Corolla, yup.
Guy Kawasaki: My first car was a Toyota Corolla too.
Wee Man: Yeah. Bought it from a guy who sold junk cars but we’d rebuild them and stuff, I was at his shop doing a little tinkering with it, and I was talking to him like this, my back’s kind of to the junkyard and the gates over there and I look over shoulder and I’m like, “Hey, there’s a guy coming in, he looks like a homeless guy coming in to tinker with your stuff.” And he just turns his head real quick and comes back and starts laughing and I go, “What?” And he goes, “That guy’s a brain surgeon, he works in the middle of the night. He walks around looking like a homeless person because nobody’s going to care what he does and come for his money.” And I go, “Oh, I get it.” And then this job I had was at a skate shop. The guy owned the whole neighborhood but had a skate shop, had all kinds of money. If you saw him walking down the street, he looked like a homeless guy. You don’t need to flaunt what you have, you just do what you do.
Guy Kawasaki: There you have it, wild man Wee Man, AKA Wee Man. Let’s hope there’s another Jackass movie soon to further offend and entertain people.
Surely there’s something to learn about taking a passion for skating and craziness and turning them into a brand and a business. I’m Guy Kawasaki, and this is Remarkable People.
Guy Kawasaki: Thanks to the queen of socks, Cindy Busenhart, the sound God, Jeff Sieh, and the social media goddess Peg Fitzpatrick. Next week, my guest is Martha Stewart, put your perfectionist hat on for her. For sure, you’ll learn how to dominate garlic cloves.
This is Remarkable People.