How to Make it in America … How to Make it Anywhere


I love this show! While my dear friend regards this as white noise in a culture where there is tons of amazing work being produced I look at the story-line as one that is rather positive and calls to the entrepreneur and dreamer in all of us. He jokes grumbling like an old man “It should be called How to Make T-shirts in America” and while the development of the story line was rather slow there is a deep sense of admiration, to be one cheering on characters that are forging ahead in this country trying to make a name for themselves. In New York City the task is a ritualistic day-to-day, exhausting grind, a hustle that requires the wherewithal to understand when to pull yourself back and when to lower your shoulders and barrel through the barriers placed in our way.

What this 30 minute show on HBO shows us is that it is not about who you are so much as it is who you brand yourself to be. We are all our own product and in a world where it is not what you know but rather who you know, that product has to be at its best everyday. We judge, there is no denying that, we live in a nation of “So what do you do?” and you can’t stutter or hesitate. You have to know what you are even if there is only a little truth to it.

You have to ask yourself what single word embodies your soul what is your spirits name? When you enter a room do you enter to the sound of crickets or to the breaking of neck as everyone has drawn their stare to you at the threshold of ever every place you share yourself with. I am a BOOM what are you? My spirits name is balls to the wall, a.k.a. gung ho, a.k.a. Geronimo, a.k.a. was I talking to you?

What do I do? I am a man of the town. I sell, I write, I market, I network, I get those tickets for free.

How to make it in America is the same way you make it anywhere. The only way to make it here is to steal it. There are no handouts, if you want a better job take a sick day; behind every fortune is a great crime. I do not care if the product you are hustling are shirts, gourmet food, words, statistics, bikes, dro or dog walking. Don’t expect the riches to come at you the moment you ask god for them, don’t expect them at all. Just hustle.

In this economy we are all entrepreneurs and what How to Make it in America provides its’ viewers is a small reminder that there should be no shame in what you hustle just so long as you keep grinding out small change long enough to keep you at the table for the big pot. The hand that is going to pay out and make you Big Chief takes a long time to show its face.

My uncle once told me you need to get the paper to make the paper. What you need to make the paper is a relentless, self-serving attitude and energy to make dozens of trips to the top of the mountain. A college degree in this economy is toilet paper. You can be more successful with your parole papers in your hand then with a degree on your wall from Duke. My buildings super brings in a cool 100k between what he makes on and off the books and he has been contemplating taking a college class out of boredom.

That is another thing we are so hell-bent as a society to preoccupy ourselves with nominal jobs, going over numbers, chasing positions tied in with banks, most of us do not know our head from our asshole when it comes to using tools and making a product. In a way it is why I envy the televisions show’s characters Ben and his business partner protegé Cam. They actually are in the business of making stuff. They are selling a craft, their craft, their way. A little blue-collar ingenuity and a great attitude could bleach a collar permanently to white. The show is a slow start but there is a lot of heart in its’ characters and Luis Guzman’s character Renee, over time evolves into a really loveable and in some ways distinctly relate-able character for anyone who has been branded with a scarlet letter and wants to re-brand themselves into something more than the crimes and short falls of their past life.

How to Make it in America is airs Sunday’s on HBO and is currently in its second season, filmed in contemporary New York City it makes you want to achieve just a little more every day.

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