This article is republished here from Entrepreneur
Early in his career, Shaun Neff carried around gold business cards that read Shaun Neff, Boss Man. People weren’t always sure how to interpret this. Was it braggadocio? A joke? They would half smirk and reply, “Oh, a gold card,” Neff says, imitating the reaction many people had. But the gold card wasn’t an ego thing, and critics didn’t necessarily see what was driving the young entrepreneur. “My favorite inspiration ever is Willy Wonka,” Neff explains. The card symbolized fun — it was the golden ticket.
Nearly two decades later, Neff is definitely having fun. He’s an avid surfer, his vibe is casual, and he often sprinkles his language with words like dude, gnarly, and rad. But underneath the relaxed appearance is a shrewd marketing guru, a guy with entrepreneurial hustle and a highly analytical mind working overtime to make sense of complicated trends. His process has ended up making a lot of money for a lot of people, earning him the nickname “the Brand Whisperer.”