Simon Tam: Entrepreneur, Author, Musician, Activist, & Troublemaker

Simon Tam Highlights

Simon Tam Highlights

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My Native Admission Statement: I’m a self-proclaimed artist, activist, author, and troublemaker who likes to shake things up with unconventional conversations fueled by compassion. I’m known for starting the world’s first and only all-Asian American dance rock band, winning a landmark case at the U.S Supreme Court, having the world record for most number of TEDx talks, being a serial entrepreneur, and relentlessly fighting for marginalized communities. I believe all of our actions should be grounded in our values and that apathy is not compatible with love. My biggest success so far is inspiring another generation of Asian American artists and activists through my work. Also, getting shout-outs from Ruth Bader Ginsburg. My aspiration is to never be complacent in the face of injustice. I would be honored to be able to continue doing the work that I do.

How did you get into the industry?

I first stepped into the worlds of involved with arts and activism when I made the decision to start The Slants, an Asian American band that would provide a bold portrayal of our community’s culture. Little did I know that this would resonate with so many others. That got me involved with numerous organizations which taught me about public policy development, social justice, and grassroots community activism. That eventually put me on the path to the Supreme Court, to fight for civil rights and civil liberties. Running a band is also like running a startup: you have to find your target audience, raise capital, build a brand, find distribution, and so on, so it was also a great lesson in entrepreneurship as well. I leveraged that experience to start multiple other businesses, both in and out of the entertainment industry. This helped me learn ideas like strategic philanthropy, purpose-driven companies, and addressing problems with unconventional solutions. If you ever want to learn how to be a jack-of-all trades, just go on tour with a punk band: you’ll learn survival techniques real quick.