Kazi Sorrentino. If you are not familiar with the name, you are his brand. The 22-year-old son of Bangladeshi immigrants is the CEO of Omicon Entertainment has thrown some of the most extravagant parties in New York City for Millennials such as “I’m Shmacked” and “Electric Flurry”. Recently, the mogul has begun to expand beyond nightlife into other ventures. In this interview, we explore his upbringing, success, and life’s philosophy.
In past interviews, you have stated that you had a pretty traditional upbringing. How would you describe that and what lessons did you take from it that have benefited you in your career?
I learned that money doesn’t come by so easily. My mother and father are both hard working middle-class citizens, and I saw how hard they worked for every dollar they earned. Being an immigrant, I also learned to be very happy at opportunities that this country has to provide as opposed to Bangladesh where moving up the social ladder very rarely happens.
Being a promoter means exposing yourself to all kinds of temptation. How do you stay focused in an industry with so much of it around?
Where most people go wrong in this business is that they don’t know where to draw the line between business and pleasure. Yes the industry is very fun, and people can get too involved in the lifestyle, but both my mother and my girlfriend knew that I was in it to help myself financially and my family.
Working in nightlife in the city that never sleeps is extremely demanding and requires a lot of time and effort. Have you always had the hustler’s mentality or was it something that arose later in your life?
In my life, I learned very very quickly that working smart is much more important that working hard. I learned that if I am not good at something, I would make someone else do it more efficiently. Where people go wrong is that that they try to do too much alone and try to be some sort of Superman, and that’s when things fall apart.
Your first parties you promoted were successful because you marketed toward Pace University out-of-state students. Even though you have said that the only reason why you graduated college was for your mother, don’t you think to be around so many college kids provided momentum for your business? How else could have you broke into promoting the nightlife scene being barely 18?
I wanted to drop out my second year of college. That’s when I realized that being an accountant would not allow me to be financially free in what I wanted to do. I broke into the scene when I was 18 and really had momentum by the time I was 19, being around the college campus helped me to a point but a lot of people in Pace barely ever saw me or some thought I never existed. I am very good at picking students who can represent me and what I stand for in schools.
I remember hearing years ago about one of your first parties. You hosted a concert headlined by Basshunter, and he completely bombed it. How did you turn such a disastrous situation into a triumph?
As quoted in the Wolf Of Wall Street, “Any publicity is good publicity.” This has been my motto for years. I never take offense to what anyone says about me and whatever negative publicity I get, I am very good at twisting it to promote something else.
Establishing connections is vital to being successful in any industry. How did you build your network and what advice would you give to others?
Well, I was always someone who wanted to meet new people. I always went out of my way to meet anyone and everyone. If I strike a conversation with anyone, I always either take a phone number or Instagram or Facebook so I can contact him or her in the future. You really never know who is going to be useful to you in the future. I have made a large sum of money in my life just by connecting two people together. Some advice I would give to others is never ever be rude to anyone you just meet and always be polite. If it’s at clubs, bars, networking event or social events, you can always share some sort of information with each other. Your network is your net worth!
As you became more successful, you began to attract more haters, including being sued for overcrowding on daytime television. How do you deal with them? Do you view it as a badge of honor?
At an early age, I always admired Superman. Everyone loved him, and he was the most flawless superhero. As I aged, I did begin to feel a lot of hate because of my age, what I said and how I presented myself in social media. Now I realize that it doesn’t matter if you are looked as a good guy or bad guy, as long as you’re happy internally, and the people who matter around you are also happy then nothing else really matters.
You’ve recently taken your knowledge of New York City nightlife and applied it to the world of apps. What is Crashr and why do people benefit from using it?
Crashr is the “juno” of nightlife. I didn’t want to say “Uber” because now Uber is overpriced and doesn’t offer too much of a competitive advantage with pricing like it used to before. Crashr allows you to purchase tickets to Nightlife events while giving you points to redeem prizes or more tickets in the future. With my relationship with venues and promoters, I can give discounted ticket prices to a various number of events and clubs. The main reason I created Crashr was to provide the millennial generation a one stop party app. College kids are usually never able to find any parties and crashr allows the 18-year-old to go out which was a huge problem I had growing up.
What other ventures do you have going on and how would you describe them?
My newest venture is Off Campus Guru, which is a lifestyle brand that helps students get out of their Dorms and into Apartments. Our founding team consists of Lakshay Jain, Sarah Figueroa, and Taylor Clayton are recent grads from NYU and Pace. One might ask why Real Estate after nightlife? The reason I chose this path was because I had a huge database of students and I know that every single one of these students needed somewhere to live eventually, or they hated their dorms enough to move out. So I realized that it only makes sense to serve same audience (that already has some sort of trust in me) again. The business so far is going very well, and we have a very dedicated team to get it moving!
You have identified Engr. Mehedi Hasan to be one of your most influential people in your life. How did you meet him and what lessons did you learn from him that you did not learn from anyone else? Do you have other people you look up too?
The way I met him was through Facebook. I gained some presence on social media and around the time I was throwing one of my biggest events, and he messaged me on Facebook. I met him, and the rest was history. He invested a large sum of money in me, and he got me the office in the Trump Building, and he turned me from a kid who didn’t know what to do in business into a solid businessman. He taught me an endless amount of things from negotiation skills to people skills to how to lead and maintain a team. He taught me how to handle sticky situations and delegate work to people. He taught me how to run a business properly and become more of a man than I ever could have been.
One of my role models for life was Mark Cuban and always loved the way he had an I don’t give a fuck attitude on life and the way he handles himself.
You have used sensationalist tactics and persuasive rhetoric to attract people to your parties. Given the rise of Donald Trump, what are your thoughts on him using similar strategies in this year’s Presidential election? Do you think there is a place for that in politics?
I feel like what he is doing is similar to what of world leaders did before but now with the rise of social media, everyone just knows about it. Now the media has control to influence the masses much more than any other period in human history. Also, Trump is very smart in the sense that he knows that everyone won’t like him, so he has a very smart approach and choosing his target audience. Do I agree with Trump? I don’t. Would I use a similar strategy? Yes
Where do you see yourself in 2 years? Do you have any game-changing ideas?
In two years, I see myself doing something I love and makes me a lot of money. My main goal in life is to be able to do anything I want at any time with the people I want.
I have a lot of ideas for the future, I guess we just have to wait and see.
Do you have any last words? Anyone you want to call out or shout out?
Throwing a yacht party-July 15. www.summer16yachtparty.com
If you need an apartment, www.offcampusguru.com
Too many people to shout out!