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Serial Entrepreneur Michael Gruen Details Wild Stories, Eye-Opening Moments

Serial Entrepreneur Michael Gruen Details Wild Stories, Eye-Opening Moments

Michael Gruen, 22, is an American entrepreneur, angel investor, consultant and media personality based in Los Angeles.

Called “one of the most mysterious, obnoxious, interesting humans who ever walked the world,” by Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy, Gruen is heralded for his network of celebrities.

In a conversation with Benzinga, Gruen spoke about his origins, as well as tips for scaling networks to grow brands. The following is part 4 of an exclusive series on Gruen.

Lesson In Resilience: Cold emails, while not offering real-time feedback, helped Gruen build a career and relationships, spawn investments, as well as launch new companies.

For example, Gruen cold-emailed Ron Meyer, founder of CAA and former Chairman of NBC, and received one of the most impactful experiences of his life.

“I sat down with him in his office, and that meeting really shaped my view on entertainment because he gave me some amazing perspectives,” he said in part 2 of this series. “It made me feel like I’m working toward something because I saw him in person, and saw what he built, and kind of where it led him.”

His straightforward and unobtrusive approach to establishing relationships has also eceived pushback in the past. One example was an attempt to establish contact with celebrity William Shatner.

“I remember getting e-yelled at by Shatner,” he said in a discussion on how to guess email addresses. “He basically told me to go away and not email him. He was like ‘It’s wrong that you emailed me personally.’”

That experience provided a strong lesson in resilience, he said.

“There are publicists now that remember me because I used to be in their grill all day,” he said in reference to cold emails he used to send in his early teens. “I would email and continue to follow-up.”

‘It’s Just An Email’: Gruen has a big pet peeve: contacts complaining over the date or time of communication.

“One time, I emailed a publicist on Thanksgiving and she yelled at me. I’m like, ‘it’s just an email,’” he said. “Just ignore the email -- it’s not like I blew up your cell phone.”

According to Gruen, there are more important things to worry about. If someone doesn’t want to respond to an email, they’ll delete it.

“I had a few of those moments growing up. Some people taught me how a lot of people are just crazy, but most taught me how to be an adult.”

Name Dropping: If there’s one experience that forced Gruen to grow up quickly, it’s name-dropping.

“I got humbled really early,” he said. “I remember name-dropping somebody and it got back to that person. They knew me, but didn’t know me super well and called me up .

“They said: ‘Not only did I say I don’t know you, I deliberately shat on you.’”

It was after this moment Gruen became careful with mentions.

“These things taught me early on about what I cannot say. I am young and still mess up but I do try and limit my big mouth’s unforced errors. Ultimately, though, I grew up really early and learned how to use relationships to provide value for others.”

TikTok: People Magazine recently confirmed that the creative collective Sway House has ended as we know it. However, Gruen confirmed to Benzinga that we “haven’t heard the last of Sway,” and that there are a “few big announcements that will have people stunned.”

The group of influencers, known for their presence on social media like TikTok, decided to move on after “shatter[ing] the preconceived notion of what it means to be a social media star,” Gruen told People.

The collective, comprised of Josh Richards, Griffin Johnson, Bryce Hall, Jaden Hossler, Noah Beck, Anthony Reeves, Kio Cyr and Quinton Griggs, was close with Gruen, who co-founded TalentXEntertainment, a talent development company for digital creators.

In a short story on how he met the stars, Gruen said the experience was random but impactful.

“I met Bryce through a random friend that said we should meet. At the time, Bryce was not that big, but he was a cool kid that I could help out," said Gruen.

“One time, I was at his house and Josh was there. I was sitting in the back of the room and this other kid was trying to encourage my friend, who I had a bet with, not to smoke. At some point I got up and was like ‘Just because you’re a loser doesn’t mean everyone else needs to be. Josh was stunned that I called his friend a loser to their face.’”

Thereafter, the statements sparked new conversations and Gruen became close with the collective, even co-founding TalentX with Richards. Going forward, they will further build their personal brands and businesses.

“We’re going to build out our own thing,” Gruen said during a conversation on raising funds and partnerships with other organizations. “We’re centered around a couple of talents, as opposed to being generalists.”

Check out part 1, 2 and 3 of the exclusive series on Gruen’s origins, as well as tips for scaling networks to grow brands.


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