Jesse Itzler is an interesting character. As a younger man, he bluffed his way into a record contract and released an album as the rapper Jesse Jaymes. His album reached 74 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1991 and he ended up performing on MTV’s Spring Break with a video in rotation while playing shows and making friends with industry heavyweights such as RUN DMC.
Itzler later used those connections to help him found Marquis Jet, a company that sells ticket cards for private jets to individuals who want access to the convenience and luxury of a private jet without the expense of partnering to own and maintain a jet. When an initial meeting was unsuccessful, Itzler brought his friends from the music industry to a second meeting to convince the owner of a fleet of private jets that there was a market for the service Itzler was proposing.
After years sharing a tiny one-bedroom apartment in New York and rapping about a lifestyle he hadn’t yet obtained, Itzler made it. He would later marry another self-made entrepreneur, Sara Blakely, who founded the billion dollar Spanx shapewear empire from her Atlanta apartment. Together, the couple joined principal owners Tony Ressler and wife Jami Gertz to buy the Atlanta Hawks over the summer.
But even with all of the success, Itzler continues to make a habit of making interesting friends, pushing limits and breaking down barriers. When Itzler, an ultra marathoner, saw a Navy SEAL running a 24 hour team marathon BY HIMSELF, Itzler did what he does: he got the SEAL’s phone number and made friends. Continue Reading…