The Marcus Davis I Know
When I told Marcus Davis he’d be the first #dreamcatcher profiled, I’d already written three-fourths of the story. Pleased with the clever intro and word plays on Wings and Waffles, I was prepared to introduce him as the Master Marketer – that was before accepting his invitation to hear him speak last night.
A fan for years and later an enthusiastic employee (over 8 years ago), I’d listened to him mesmerize audiences before and thought, “Why not?” I had no idea how evocative and profound his lecture would be. In principle, I’d equate it with the culinary complement to listening to Steve Jobs. It changed my profile and my perspective on the art and science of…magic.
Tonight, I listened with earnest fascination to his exceptional delivery of “Make the Magic Happen: Leading Others to Believe in the Impossible,” held at Rice University. As a master of using unexpected agents of compulsion (i.e. Wings and Waffles, Fish and Grits), he brought his audio visual A-game with the same tenacity that he tackles taste and quality in his stores. His lecture (and visual aids) were linked to a world-renown magician, to whom he drew parallels of passion, dedication, exuberance, and heartbreak.
There were references to industry icons; leadership philosophies and theories; personal anecdotes from his childhood in East Houston, and my favorite, etymology…the language-immersed origin of words. The Marcus I Knew had morphed into the Marcus He’d Become, and the 2015 update was even more insightful than the visionary I remembered. Accordingly, I’m compelled to blend my past and present impressions. They were nothing short of remarkable.
Because Marcus exudes the essence of Southern hospitality, patrons easily slide into casual conversations unintimidated by the magnitude of his achievements. On many days, I’d chuckle as countless customers would say, “Oh, I know the owners,” warmed by their own personal connections. However, there weren’t too many people that dined there who couldn’t say the same. He greets every customer, seasons dishes with his laughter and smiles, and hooks more than katfish with his unconventional branding. He cultivates with charisma.
What You May Not Have Known
Many quickly equate the infamous “line around the block” as the key to his success; but, the line (which moves quite efficiently and is a haven for social bliss) is less a precursor and more an after-effect. Few realize the breakfast klub was born on paper long before it was a nationally recognized dining experience. It was empty for nearly two years as he contended with nearby dilapidation, unwelcoming construction sites, fierce competition, and needless naysayers. Not only was Marcus fighting against odds, he was fighting without essential financial support. Nevertheless, his passion was so potent that his perseverance was his most powerful investment.
Recounting his uphill battles, he recalled downsizing from his four-bedroom home and luxury vehicle – twice – to a small apartment and affordable car conveniently located within walking distance of the restaurant. He then relayed a moment that truly distinguished his refusal to abandon his dream amidst bleak outcomes: “After seven rejections at the bank, my wife asked me, ‘How far are you willing to go with this?’ And I said, ‘If I have to divide this restaurant and put a wall up, and sleep on one side and serve grits on the other, that’s what I’m going to do.’ She knew it sounded crazy, but she knew I was prepared to do it.” He followed up his entrepreneurial entree with a bit more for the audience to chew on when he asked, “What are you willing to sacrifice to make the magic happen?”
7 Lessons I Learned and Love from My Relationship with: Marcus Davis
- There are so few innovators among us, that their absence would yield an irrevocable void among the masses. Be an innovator, not an inundator.
- Neglecting the gift that is in essence your passion is done also at the expense of those who would experience it.
- While failure isn’t always an option, it isn’t always a failure either. Sometimes, it’s a very powerful fuel.
- Success is never paved with pleasantries alone. It’s cherished deepest in the context of anguish overcome.
- In our efforts to create, we emulate the Creator, subsequently enjoying the uniqueness of our humanity.
- Entrepreneurs, Magicians, and Leaders are linked by materializing the magic that lingers in the heads of masterminds and hesitant hopefuls.
- Entrepreneurship can’t be confined to the concept of mere business. It must be redefined to entail those who are bridging the unthinkable with achieving the impossible.
The #catchphrase I Remember Most from Marcus: “There it is.” Translation: I can see you just had an epiphany.
My Best One Word Description: “brilliant”
#catchthis: What do you want? What are you willing to do? When will you start? What are you waiting for? #catchyourdreams
Picture: Carla M. Brown, #dreamcatcher, with Marcus Davis, #dreamcatcher, on the campus of Rice University following deafening applause and an awe-inspiring presentation on achieving the impossible.
Photo Credit: Emile C. Browne, ECB Photography
This is how I catch my dreams, by surrounding myself with people like Marcus Davis.