I have a group chat with some friends I used to work with at Nike, and we'd just keep each other up to date on stuff we were working on. It was kind of a term of endearment, you know? “Oh shit, you just dropped your own sneaker? You heating up!” I honestly don't know who used it first, but we're all big basketball fans and of course grew up on [the video game] NBA Jam, which is where the phrase actually comes from. After you hit two consecutive unanswered shots, the announcer says: "HE'S HEATING UP!" which essentially motivates the player to try and get a third consecutive shot. When that happens, the net burst into flames the announcer screams, "HE'S ON FIRE!" It's just one of those things that if you played that video game, you'd understand. I just liked the phrase and figured it would work well for the name of a company.
The way I look at it, we're always working on projects, so we're not missing shots. We're perpetually "heating up,” so to speak. Once I had that phrase, I figured I could do so many things with it creatively from a branding and marketing standpoint. It doesn't just have to be an agency with services, but it could grow to be so much more—a lifestyle brand, essentially.
Back when I had just graduated from college, I was fascinated by the concept of influencer marketing. I used to take day trips from DC to New York to catch speaking engagements that this guy Coltrane Curtis was involved in. Coltrane founded a consumer marketing agency called Team Epiphany that was (and still is) super tapped into the spaces that I was most connected to: music, lifestyle and culture.
I've pretty much always had one foot in the corporate 9-to-5 world and one foot in entrepreneurship. After my friend and I started a radio show in college and evolved it into a successful music blog, we used that platform—as well as the relationships we'd fostered through that journey—to throw concerts in our hometown of Washington D.C. The first show we ever threw was in 2011 with Kendrick Lamar, but we also had full-time gigs, too.