What We Learned About Leadership From Jamie Foxx

April 26, 2018

What We Learned About Leadership From Jamie Foxx


In the world of eCommerce, trailblazers wear many different hats. They can write code and launch marketing campaigns while developing new products.  

Our keynote speaker at Imagine 2018 is also a multi-faceted performer.

Jamie Foxx is a winner of both an Academy Award® for acting, and a Grammy Award® for music. He is also a renowned comedian and producer. At Imagine 2018, Foxx joined Magento CEO Mark Lavelle for a candid discussion, in which he shared highlights from his remarkable life, and revealed how he juggles the many facets of his phenomenal career.

Here are three key takeaways:

    “I don’t think [fear] is part of my DNA,” Foxx said. “You get butterflies, but intimidation is the worst thing.” He added that his daughter is nine years old, and 5’1,” but when she plays sports, he tells her: “When you go out there, dominate … I ask her, ’Anelise, what’s on the other side of fear? Nothing!’…and she goes out and scores 18 in 18….You can be nervous, let life waste away, or just take life by the horns. Practice it as a discipline, when you feel nervous you just push through.”

    Foxx recalled his early days studying at an International school: “81 different countries went to my school. Back in Texas it was black, whites, and Mexicans, it was simplified… But I remember getting settled into the [International] school, and I didn’t know what a Jewish person was… I was 18. I got a lesson in humanity. There was a Jewish kid and a Palestinian kid arguing…. I said ‘Let’s play music together.’ Every lunch we would play Brazilian music, Spanish, classical. We played music from all different places. They started to call me Spackle — the stuff in between the bricks.”

    Backstage, Lavelle and Foxx discovered some common ground, remarkably in A/B testing. Foxx revealed how he would test his early standup material. “I have to be universally funny…I’m killing the ‘hood,” Foxx said. “But if you want to expand and touch everybody, I learned to go to the whitest spot in the nation, in Colorado, and I went to the college and I did all of my black material, to see what they would pick up….And after an hour if they understood fifteen minutes, then I would go to my chocolate cities, DC, Chicago, and I would do my mainstream comedy. And I would do that for an hour. Now I got an hour of material that everybody loves.”

After blowing off the roof with a mixture of stand-up, song, and dance, Foxx posed with Mark Lavelle wearing his Privé Revaux sunglasses – and proudly told the audience which eCommerce the brand uses: “We run it on Magento!”

Check out more highlights from the chat, and stay in touch with show takeaways by following the hashtag #MagentoImagine on Twitter.