We had the good fortune of connecting with Guy Cusson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Guy, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
The reality of my career is that I would be nowhere without risk. I think calculated risk is the single most important precursor to any human advancement. I am not talking about reckless choices like jumping off a bridge with your friends in high-school outside of Billings Montana although that comes with some stories you will continue to tell in your thirties, but more so not avoiding the difficult path in favor of what is easy and “safe”. Getting out of my comfort zone and staring that uncomfortable unknown in the face has always led to the next big chapters in my book. From leaving my hometown alone 30 days after graduating high school with a couple hundred dollars in my pocket, to realizing that I didn’t need an MFA in graphic design to be successful and leaving school and the social life that comes with it, to dropping out of the mainstream path of starting at the bottom of a major company to start my own thing, I have always grown the most from taking the harder path without realizing it. Now I find myself reading books that echo the same concept of inviting intentional adversity in the logical pursuit of your best life and it pushes me to find ways to continue taking risks. I always tell people, if you are scared shitless it probably means you are making the right choice.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
When I left high school all I knew is that I wanted to be paid to be creative. I took my love for technology along with art and design and decided video game art and design was the career I wanted. After touring the studios and getting to know people in that industry I quickly realized it was not for me. I left that focus in pursuit of graphic design. I have always been fascinated with the marriage between art and technology and today that manifests itself in building applications and platforms. My company just released a social media platform for the Hunter Fitness brand with a focus on privacy and simplicity. I found it so fascinating that the idea of “art” could materialize as the experience a user has on your platform, and the ability to shape behavior and feeling from a computer screen. After all these years I have come to realize that art is just the intangible variable that science and math can’t totally explain and I love it. I went from vector art and logo design, to photo and videography, to web design and now my company is an amalgamation of all those things. We take a company from concept to reality with branding, content, and web presence. I want to tell a story of the struggles and failures that come along with starting your own company but I think the more interesting part is that my love for all things technology and art have organically driven me to where I am today and I guess it echos the old trope of pursuing what you love and not working a day in your life. I think the most important thing I can convey today is to find something that drives you to wake up happy each day. Focus on the pursuit of over-delivering a product that you love and the money will come. Money should be the symptom of your career, not the focus.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Alright, I will pretend this is before the pandy and covid doesn’t exist because right now my answer would be to stay home for now while this all blows over. If someone is coming to Los Angeles for a week I always like to show them the different culture that makes up the city. I like to show what extreme wealth and extreme poverty looks like, I like to get active, eat and have fun so this is what we might do. We would wake up and get breakfast somewhere in Venice and probably walk along the boardwalk. That always freaks people out for the first time. From there we would probably go hike Runyon Canyon since that is a scene, or go frisbee golfing at Chavez Ravine if we want to get away from crowds. After that we would grab Guisados Tacos on Sunset at the original location before taking the subway downtown where we would walk through Grand Central Market with a Golden Road Beer in hand. After walking around downtown we would head up to Perch for a drink overlooking Pershing Square. Always a good time. Once we are done with downtown we would probably cruise up to the Standard on Sunset and relax at a pool party. Once the sun goes down we would catch a set at the Comedy Store and laugh to start the evening. From there we would probably catch some live music on the strip and end our night walking down Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood to the bars and probably catch a drag show. That would be a good first day. I would fill the rest of the week going down to Corona Del Mar to a private beach, then go to Skid Row while stopping by Santee Alley for some hot deals and fun shopping. We would spend a day at the Broad, LACMA, the Hammer and any other cool pop ups in town that week. We would slow down towards the end going to Wi Spa in K-Town and finding other relaxing stuff to do. What a great place to show people around. I love Los Angeles.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are a lot of people I attribute my success to. My foundational support of an incredible extended family to grow up around. My mom raised me as a single mother, but we always had grandparents and aunts and uncles around to help out. My mom showed me by example how to leave the comfortable route when she opened her own salon and started her own business. I didn’t know just how good I had it until I moved out to Southern California and met some crazy families. Every single person in my family gets along and loves each other. It is a tight knit little tribe that has always had each other’s back. Growing up around such loving and accepting people is what gave me my foundation of love for humans, and the ability to put trust in people. After unintentionally putting 1200 miles between me and my family I quickly learned how often we tend to take our family for granted when it really should be cherished. Beyond family, I have met a lot of inspiring people along my path. Through school and life I have come across amazing friends and some have turned into mentors and close business relationships. Right now I have a partnership with a strength and mobility guru Hunter Cook that constantly inspires me to achieve my best self, and he is one of my closest friends. I would be nowhere without him. I also recruited a developer named Ignacio out of Montevideo Uruguay that inspires me every single day. We met on a work website and I immediately fed off of his passion for his craft. He is an incredible developer and I can’t believe how talented, dedicated and professional he is for an early twenty something. He and I will be partners for a very long time. I owe a lot of my success to him. Lastly, I have an incredible girlfriend, Chelsea Thomas, that has been a strong supporter of mine for the last eight years. She challenged me to be my best self since the day I met her and believed in me when my business was just an idea. She is a strong force in her own field and I love and respect her own drive for success. She took the risk of leaving the event industry which she went to school for and was great at, in favor of the medical industry as a plastic surgery practice manager that better fit her preferred lifestyle. She nailed it. We feed off of each other’s progress. I have gotten very lucky with the people that surround me. Never do I take for granted how rare it is to be born into a loving and steady family.
1. The Hunter Fitness Platform Designed by Guy Cusson and Built by Ignacio Montero Shwarz 2. Event Photo From Vertigo Event Venue by Guy Cusson 3. Los Angeles Magazine Ad for Kitchen 12000 by Guy Cusson 4. Frame of a Hunter Fitness Class taught by Hunter Cook and Shot/Edited by Guy Cusson 5. The Vertigo Event Venue Website By Guy Cusson