Simon Tam

Founder and Bassist, The Slants LLC
Portland, OR, United States

About Simon

Bio

Simon Tam is an award-winning musician, best-selling author, entrepreneur, and social justice activist.

Simon is best known as the founder and bassist of The Slants, the world’s first and only all-Asian American dance rock band. His approach to activism through the arts has been highlighted in thousands of media features across 82 countries, including: BBC World News, NPR, TIME Magazine, MTV, CBS, and the Wall Street Journal.

Since 2000, he has been a performer, presenter, and keynote at events and organizations such as TEDx, SXSW, Comic-Con, The Department of Defense, Stanford University, Rotary International, and over 1,200 others across North America, Europe, and Asia.

Simon frequently speaks on topics such as:
- Diversity, Education, and Equity Issues
- Strategic Communications
- Social Media Marketing
- Strategic Partnerships, Sponsorships, and Endorsements
- "Organic" Marketing
- Activism and the Arts
- Intellectual Property Law
- Breaking Into the Music Industry
- Crowdsourcing (Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, etc.)
- Development, Fundraising, and "Friend-raising"
- Building Sustainable Communities

He has won numerous accolades for his music, activism, non-profit leadership, and commitment to fight for underserved communities.

Most recently, Simon has led the strategic communications efforts of two of Oregon's largest higher education institutions, winning him over a dozen awards in traditional and social media marketing while serving over 130,000 students across the Northwest. He also designed one of the first accredited social media certificate programs in the United States.

Currently, he manages over 150 communication channels with a cumulative total of over one million followers and writes for publications with audiences exceeding 50 million readers.

You can find Simon's appearance schedule, writing, and current projects at: www.simontam.biz

Languages

Chinese, English, Spanish

Areas of Expertise

Marketing / Branding, Music, Business Development, Business Management, Entrepeneurship Development and Enablement, Philosophy (of language, person, religion), Religion & Spiritual matters, Logic & Philosophy , Audio / Video Engineering, Social Media (organisational development & learning)

An idea worth spreading

Give racism a chance - in other words, allow it to exist in order for it to be exposed, discussed, and fought against. Don't pretend that it's something from a bygone era - it is a daily reality for people of color and deserves attention.

I'm passionate about

Advocating for the underserved, the arts (especially spoken word and music), cross-cultural studies, philosophy & religion, literature, thought provoking debate, and food!

Talk to me about

Music, marketing, business development, Asian and Asian American issues, LGBTQ rights, and great food.

People don't know I'm good at

Cooking. I grew up with two professional chefs in the family!

My TED story

I first encountered TED, like many people, through watching one of the videos. The inspiration received was addicted! Since then, I've been subscribing and sharing videos, attending TED related events whenever possible, and supporting the speakers buy purchasing their books or looking into their organizations. And now, I've had the honor of speaking a TEDx event!

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

175752
Simon Tam
Posted over 2 years ago
Keith Chen: Could your language affect your ability to save money?
Hi, My original comment was in response to another's comment about this, which has now been posted further below for some reason. They were arguing that language forms culture (see below), in response to my statement that "I think that it may be more complex than just the language, it could also be attributed to the culture built around the language as well." II agree, it's a much more complicated idea that can't be dictated in pieces (i.e, only looking at the role language plays). "Jens Ottese 2 hours ago: A point of the talk is that language forms the culture. Smoking, saving, and all kinds off behaviour is exactly what culture is... So it doesn't make sense to say he hasn't considered that different languages often have different cultures... That is the point of the talk! Different languages is the cause of differetn culture."
175752
Simon Tam
Posted over 2 years ago
Keith Chen: Could your language affect your ability to save money?
Hi, The talk is that language forms the behavior, not culture. Language is one aspect of a culture but it doesn't define it (in fact, language is often dictated by culture). Another thing that isn't considered is how language evolves. While the rules of grammar usually take longer to evolve, words come and go quite quickly. I'd be interested to see the proportion of savings over a historical perspective as well as the present, real data. For example, did Hong Kong's behavior shift when under British control vs. Chinese control? What about the newly established nations vs. older countries that formed new nations? Regards, Simon
175752
Simon Tam
Posted over 2 years ago
Keith Chen: Could your language affect your ability to save money?
Hi Peter, I speak Mandarin. It's true, the tense formation in Mandarin is much different than English so the words depend greatly on context. In Mandarin, you literally would say "yesterday rain" instead of "it rained yesterday." There are no tenses in Mandarin like you see in the suffix of English, Spanish, etc. On your second point, I do agree that the multi-language nations present an interesting problem. I think that it may be more complex than just the language, it could also be attributed to the culture built around the language as well. For example, I think the U.S has a very "futurist" culture" where as I don't experience the same with Chinese culture.
175752
Simon Tam
Posted over 2 years ago
Keith Chen: Could your language affect your ability to save money?
Hi Jay, I think he's just measuring the data flat across the board. China is a rather large country with approx. 1.3 billion people. Visiting any part of China wouldn't really give an entire picture of the entire picture. Another thing to consider: smoking is most popular in the densely populated metro areas (Beijing, Hong Kong, etc.), where English is widely taught and spoken and less so in rural areas, where hey speak primarily a variation of Chinese. II haven't seen the data either way but before jumping to conclusions, it would be good to give the presenter the benefit of the doubt since I am sure he has. Regards, Simon
175752
Simon Tam
Posted almost 3 years ago
Youtube/ User Generated Content on TV
It's an interesting idea, though I don't think Google would be willing to do it. With over 24 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube per minute, that's a lot of content to sort through - not only that, but they don't want to be held responsible for inappropriate content let alone deal with copyright/licensing releases on all of that. Additionally, they'd have to pay for broadcast television rather than simply driving more traffic to their website(s) and apps. However, many newer DVD players and other entertainment hub devices do have a YouTube app that can pull the top rated or highlighted videos of the day direct to the TV...
175752
Simon Tam
Posted almost 3 years ago
want to change the world? consider music.
I think it's also important to remember that not everyone on stage is out there to preach. Many artists just want to create art but get their personal lives, habits. activities, problems, etc. thrown under the limelight. It's one of the costs of fame, sure, but there are those who just want to make a sustainable career and treat it as such, whether they are making good role models or not. The same could be said for anyone in entertainment or the public sphere - actors, athletes, and so on.
175752
Simon Tam
Posted almost 3 years ago
want to change the world? consider music.
The arts have always been a powerful way to create a lasting impact - not just musicians but writers, film makers, painters, dancers, etc. as well. Whether one chooses to use that medium to create change in the system or not is a different story. Currently, I'm using music as a platform to create social change to address social iniquities, racism, etc. Our music isn't "political" in the strict sense but the music career has helped the message spread.