Eddie Huang seeks a greater purpose in his pursuit of paper (Video)

The speaker who strolled on stage at Big Omaha 2012 to the cash-infused chorus of Kayne West song was, unsurprisingly, unapologetic about his own acquisition of liquid capital. “People are always like, 'It's not about money; it's not about money," Eddie Huang said during his May 11 talk at Big Omaha. "It is about money.

Video by Three Pillars Media of Lincoln. Post-production by Evolve of Des Moines.

La, la, la, la … wait ’til I get my money right.

The speaker who strolled on stage at Big Omaha 2012 to the cash-infused chorus of a Kayne West song was, unsurprisingly, unapologetic about his own acquisition of liquid capital. “People are always like, ‘It’s not about money; it’s not about money,” Eddie Huang said during his May 11 talk at Big Omaha. “It is about money. You should not be embarrassed to be about money, and I’m about money.”

Huang, who’s the chef, entrepreneur and TV personality behind such projects as New York restaurant BaoHaus, has gotten that money all kinds of ways throughout his life. At Big Omaha he told the entertaining tales of some of his small-time hustles — things like doing kindergarten classmates’ homework in exchange for Transformers and selling JPEGs of scantily clad centerfolds to fellow middle schoolers. But more important than Huang’s myriad means of making money was his eventual realization that he needed motivation beyond the Benjamins. 

Huang didn’t just want stacks of cash; he wanted a “why,” a greater purpose in his pursuit of that paper.

Huang found a why in Barrack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Huang made a line of streetwear T-shirts in support of Obama’s candidacy and, when the clothing line took off, donated part of the proceeds back to the campaign. 

“My belief is you can do more for people by being commercially viable,” Huang said. “And not only can you help with money, but if you have a valuable product, people will listen to what you have to say. And the most important thing is while you’re getting money, don’t forget your ‘whys’.”

To hear Huang discuss the whys behind his many and varied entrepreneurial ventures and hear him engage in almost 20 minutes of question-and-answer with the Big Omaha audience, check out the video above, the 12th in the Big Omaha 2012 Video Series presented by Microsoft BizSpark.

Read our recap: “Eddie Huang: ‘I’m all about getting paper, but I need a why’

About Eddie Huang

Huang is a writer, chef, entrepreneur and TV personality based in New York City. He is best known as the chef and owner of BaoHaus, which has received critical acclaim and coverage from The New York Times, The New York Post, CNN, NBC, CBS, The Village Voice, Town & Country, XXL, The Source, Complex, Entrepreneur, The Wall Street Journal and many other outlets. Eddie earned a flawless “$25 and Under” review from The New York Times, “Best Bun 2010” from New York, “Best Fries” from TimeOut New York 2010 and Top 10 Eats The Village Voice.

Find Huang on Twitter: @MrEddieHuang

About Big Omaha & Thinc Iowa, SPN Premier Events

Silicon Prairie News hosts two premier annual events, Big Omaha in May and Thinc Iowa in October. Both events bring together entrepreneurs, innovators, creative individuals, investors and others for a lineup of inspiring speakers, a schedule of unique networking opportunities and a community of support.

To sign-up for alerts regarding Thinc Iowa, which will take place Oct. 10-11 in Des Moines, visit thinciowa.com


Credits: Photo of Huang by Malone & Company/Big Omaha. Headshot of Huang courtesy of Huang. 

About our sponsor, Microsoft BizSpark

Microsoft BizSpark is a global program that helps software startups succeed by giving them access to Microsoft software development tools, connecting them with key industry players, including investors, and providing marketing visibility to help entrepreneurs starting a business. BizSpark will fast-track the success of your startup with software, support an visibility.


We’ll share event highlights, founder profiles and feature stories digging into all things related to Nebraska startups and small businesses. Delivered on Wednesdays.