He is able to take the worst performing team into stadium-packing teams based entirely on the idea of doing things differently. He is highly known for his work with the Savannah Bananas and his mantra in life is to think differently and let that make you millions. Any entrepreneur wants to be builder. Jesse is no different. He likes to take on a challenge, and that’s what he did with Savannah Bananas. From a baseball business, he turned it into an entertainment business. He turned baseball games into a circus that have the players do choreographed dances. Jesse shares that with creating attention, you can start creating customers for life.
Doing Things Differently and Making Millions with Jesse Cole
Our guest is no different. He’s the owner of a baseball team. No, not the Yankees, not the Red Sox, The Savannah Bananas. A team that went from the worst team in the entire country to pack stadiums based entirely on the idea of doing things differently, creating an entertainment experience that draws big crowds. My guest says, “Think differently and let that make you millions.” Welcome, Jesse Cole, to the show.
I’m excited to be on the show, Mitch.
Jesse, tell me about The Savannah Bananas. How did all this begin?
The Savannah Bananas are about ten years in the making. Right out of college, I took a job as a general manager of a team right outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. They were called the Gastonia Grizzlies. They were the worst performing team in the country, and I mean literally terrible. They had less than 200 fans coming to the games. There was $268 in the bank account the day I showed up. The team had lost over $150,000 the previous year. I’m straight out of college taking over this team that’s been there for seven years and I found out those real numbers and I was shocked. I called the business community and they were like, “Nobody even knew the team was there.”Two of the phone calls they said, “They’ll never worked with the team,” and one phone call hang up with me and said, “No way.” It was the worst first day I could have ever imagined, but it was then, I was like, “We have an opportunity to do something really special.”I think any entrepreneur wants to be a builder. They don’t want to take on a business when it’s very successful. I said, “What a challenged this is.”Immediately, I started seeking out all the advice I could on marketing, really thinking different than I realized one important question, “What business are we in, but what business are we really in?”
Most people would think that we are in the baseball business, but I realized very quickly we weren’t in the baseball business at all and that set up the framework for everything. We realized we are 100% in the entertainment business and we were going to be crazy. We were going to literally have our players do choreograph dances during the games. We’re going to have grandma beauty pageants. I was going to give them a dunk tank. We’re going to turn into a circus in the baseball game breaks out and that’s what turned everything around. Then eight years later, The Savannah Bananas, we took over that franchise. Actually, I bought an expansion franchise, move down to Savannah, Georgia and that story is crazy on how that term because that went from as bad as it could get. My wife and I having to sell our dream house, empty out our savings account and start with nothing to turn that into success. We learned one important thing there and that’s you got to create attention. Once you create attention, then you can start creating customers for life and that’s what we’ve been fortunate to be able to do.
I can see what you’re saying here and I can imagine coming out of school to take your very first job. Who was crazy enough to hire a kid out of school to be the manager of a team? How did that happen?
I was in an internship while I was in college and I went to this team in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The owner had two teams, one in Spartanburg and one in Gastonia, North Carolina. I went to the Spartanburg team as an intern. First day, they gave me a telephone book and said, “Start calling to sell tickets and sell sponsorship.” There was no training and I literally started cold calling and what I realized was I loved connecting with business owners. I love talking to them. I love trying to solve their problems. I was the only person actually making sales on that team in Spartanburg, not the general manager and not the director of sales and the owner gave me a shot, which was crazy to become the general manager of his team just because of my two months as an unpaid intern.
Did you have any other staff? In fact, the real question is were they even paying you?
Yes. I went that first day and saw that there was less than $300 in their bank account, I realized that there was no money so I couldn’t pay myself. We had a big joke with my roommate at the time. He said, “How many points are you owed right now?” I started turning the money, assuming that it was points like a video game because it kept getting higher and higher. I couldn’t pay myself for a couple months. Fortunately, I was able to save a little bit in college, but it made it such a challenge. It made it so exciting. Can we create this excitement in the community to actually buy in on it? What happened was we created so much attention that everyone started saying, “What are they doing? It’s different. It’s unique. It’s not like baseball.”Then when they came to that first game that year of 2008, they were shocked to see things that people have never seen it at a baseball game and we’ve really started building on that in the years to come.
I want you to help us understand how we as business people can do the same thing. I want to go back to again, those first few years of operating. Here you are, you’re cold calling out of the phone book businesses. What is it that you’re asking them to do? Buy tickets to the game or sponsor events? What was your pitch?
I was trying to get them to buy anything from us whether it was a program ad, a sign, group tickets, season tickets. I was trying just to get them to invest anything. I think obviously for any entrepreneur, once you get someone to get them their credit card for that first time, that’s a great opportunity to build a customer for life. We were selling things. It’s funny when you look back on it now. Sponsorships for us now are in the $10,000, $20,000, $30,000, $40,000, $50,000. I was selling $250 tiny program ads back then. It was anything just because we didn’t have a product that was really sellable at the point. I just wanted them to invest a little bit. Then once they started seeing it and the news started getting out, we offered a former President Bush and internship with us and that created a big buzz. Once, people started seeing all that buzz, they were like, “These guys mean business. They’re going to do something different.” Then the buy in continued.
You said something that I want to key in on. You talked about the product. We really don’t have much to sell if we have an inferior product. Now, you have an inferior product, which was basically your team. Was it your responsibility? Will you also the manager of the team and its performance?
I talked about this in my book, Find Your Yellow Tux. I was trying to do it all and I was not a good recruiter. I was trying to manage and bring in the top players from the country to play for our team. We probably started our first year, 0-7. I realized that I was not good at that. I was trying to do everything. The biggest thing, you talked about product there. What I realized then, it’s not ‘what’, it’s the ‘who’ and you need to focus more on the ‘who’. We started just mapping out and I didn’t realize this at the time, what is the perfect customer experience? This was the key for us. We are talking about the product, but what does a fan want to see when they come to the ballpark? What does that look like? We started creating what it would be a magical experience, very similar to like what Disney would provide. That’s really what started building the business. We started thinking from the customer perspective. I think everyone needs to reverse engineer your customer experience from the first time they see you, the first time they talk to you. When they leave you or they come to your retail space or they come to your website, what does that look like?
I think for you it’s a bit different though. You have entertainment as probably the single greatest draw of what you want people to feel when they come to the stadium. Whereas, I think most of us in business have a product that must perform and must deliver end-results or a transformation is I like to say. What I would do going to a baseball game is hope that I could enjoy two to four hours of fun, probably stuff myself with a couple of hot dogs and a beer and for the most part, just chill out. I would not be expecting dancing bears of a circus experience. When did you get serious about in this case, I’ll go back to the product which is the quality of the team and the team members and winning games?
I didn’t get serious about it, ever. I’m going to be serious. I’m going to talk to you about it. Most people, what they think about is baseball. You got to perform, you got to perform, you got to perform. Again, it’s not the business that you’re in. Again, you think about the major leagues and they’ve got to perform to be successful. I get it, but why do most people go to a major league baseball game? They’re going for the experience. Even like you said, you want to go and sit and have a couple of hotdogs, a beer, or whatever. People are going for that.
What we realized is that we focus solely on the experience and then what happens, our teams just won the last two championships, but do we focus so much on the recruiting and the players where we bring in? I don’t put one ounce of thought into it. Our coach does, but not a ton of effort because we realized, if we have a sold out crowd every single night, they’re on the news. MSNBC is coming to do a national feature on us. We’re being covered all over. The environment that they’re playing will boost the performance. It’s like The Happiness Advantage from Shawn Achor. We focused so much on that, that product takes care of itself.
Ultimately, you’re not that at all concerned with the quality of your team and the way that they play. You’re more concerned about the experience of being entertained when they go to the park. Is that right?
A 100%and that is the biggest difference maker for us. That makes the biggest impact. If we focus on that, that’s what your fans are. We’ll have players that are here just for one summer and then they’re gone. If we focused all that effort on the player, it’s like you’re starting over again. If we focus all in your experience, then you really build a residual effect with your fans and your customers.
Then fans are not coming to experience baseball at all?
No. We’re hoping to make them baseball fans and that’s what’s happening. This is tough. I’m a baseball owner and at the owner’s meetings, everyone thinks I’m crazy. Fortunately, we’re the only team that’s selling out every single game. Everyone thinks it’s about the baseball and again, I come back to this. A lot of people think their business is about a certain thing, but it’s 100% always the customers. You’ve got to start there and I would argue that customers aren’t coming to baseball games and in fact, the average baseball fan is almost 60 years old now. Little League participation is declining dramatically. The average baseball games are three hours long. It’s long, slow and boring, and that’s why the numbers are staggering. People aren’t even going to playoff games at Major League Baseball anymore. They’re not selling out the games. We saw that problem.
I think baseball games basically are boring. Even Red Sox games here at the Green Monster. When we go to the game and we’re sitting there in our $150 seats, eating $7, $8 hot dogs and wondering, how long this is going to take?
Exactly. I talk about this in the book, the “mirror moment”. Every business, whether you’re in sports, baseball, you’ve got understand what frustrates people about your industry and you’ve got to start there. We reversed engineered. I realized that people thought sometimes baseball was too long, slow and boring. We had the facts. No one was coming to the games in Gastonia and then in Savannah Professional baseball was in Savannah for 90 years and they left. The fans weren’t coming to the games. Professional baseball left in 2015 and then we came in as a college summer team, a lower level than professional baseball, but we realized they weren’t coming because it was focused on baseball. We had to focus completely on entertainment.
Let’s get into some of the details about what you do. You mentioned earlier some of the stunts that you pull. Tell me more. I want to learn more about what you do.
Again, what we think about, and this is the framework. What will create attention? Whatever’s normal, do the exact opposite. That is the framework of our business. To give you an idea of things that we do, at our games, we have a senior citizen dance team called the Banana Nanas. They are in their 60s. They danced Justin Timberlake. They danced Bruno Mars. We have a trained hip hop, breakdancing first base coach who literally in the middle of the game, he will be giving signals to our hitter and start doing the moonwalk across the first base side. We have a 30-piece banana pep band. A pep band that you’d see at a football game literally going around the stadium playing songs to pump up the crowd. Our fans wear banana costumes. We think everything different and outrageous.
Before every game, we bring out a banana baby and it’s literally maybe a baby that’s six months old, five months old. The mother comes to home plate and all the players are on their knees with their hands up in the air and the mother holds the baby up and we play the Lion King over the whole stadium. Everyone is just wondering what is going on. We’ve given away portajohns at the games. We’ve given away colon cleansings. We want people to not know what to expect. When they come to the game, you never know what’s going to happen and it creates that excitement that people go home and they’re like, “This was the craziest best experience.” What happens, Mitch, is now they’re talking about it and that’s the best form of marketing. I say this all the time, “Attention beats marketing 1000% of the time.” If you create attention, you can make the marketing work.
Jesse Cole says, “Never let them know what you’re going to do next.” I love it, Jesse. How can I apply that to my boring old coaching consulting business that I have where here I am trying to help people grow their companies in one way or another? I can’t do quite of the same stuff you do. Give me some examples of what other people in business might be able to do that would exploit your way of thinking?
I’ll give you a great example. I was just working with a company called Shoreline Construction and they are a home builder. When you think about a typical home builder, what will you think? You sign up, you pay a lot of money, and it builds your home for you. That’s it. What happens now? They thought of this whole mentality which we call fans first. Just to be clear on that, Fans First Entertainment is the name of our company. Our mission is fans first, entertain always. Everything is fans first. They came up and they said, “We want to do this fans’ first in our business.”
What did they start doing? They thought about what is that perfect experience from the customer all the way through and how can we create some noise and make it a little different? Right when the person decides that they’re going to buy a house from them, they have a huge signing party. Literally, they have a celebration like someone’s signing a letter of intent to go to the biggest college in the country. They throw a party. They send a video of their whole staff celebrating and partying, like them throwing dollar bills around. It’s crazy. Then they get an iPad and they get a Yeti cooler and an iPad and they get all these gifts. Then from there, they continue build this unbelievable experience.
To give you an example, when the framework of their houses built, they actually get a limo and they take people in and they’d give them this experience inside the framework of their house. Their perfect dinner, candlelight, roses. They go all out and then at the end, they have a ribbon cutting with a red carpet and they have a party with champagne. That’s the process that someone buys a house and they do more things. They have gifts and prizes throughout. What happens is, that so different over the top and outlandish? What happens? All these people are talking about. Everyone says, “I want to get my house built by them.” That’s obviously a big company, but you’d take it into sense, what would people talk about Mitch? Obviously, success. You’re creating so much success, but can you think differently of few other things. When they go home, they’re like, “This guy is a little different. This is fun.” People don’t always like to talk about professionalism. Sometimes they talk about the weird things.
I agree with you that people love to talk about the weird things and it’s cool what you did with the guy who builds houses and a company that does that. I think it’s a little bit more challenging when you talk about the more traditional business to business services companies. It used to be around here. We used to have a guy who cleans chimneys in Tuxedos. I don’t know if that turned into a national franchise or not, but that’s the only thing he did differently than every other chimney cleaner in the world. He became very successful by doing things differently in that regard. Help me go deep this.
The experience with you for your client, what is that perfect experience? What happens after they sign up with you? You deliver your results. Then what happens afterwards? I always reverse engineer the customer experience. You reverse and you start from, if you’re a customer, what would wow them? What is a little bit extra over the top? What’s crazy is you can always charge for that. The home builder actually bills in the cost of all the giveaways that they’re giving to them. What does that experience look like? I can’t answer because I don’t know your process, but what I’m saying is are these extra bonuses, these extra value that’s a little more different. It’s not just like, “Here’s an extra free handbook. Here’s an extra free tip here. Here’s an extra free thing.” I just think about these things that wow people. I think about the details like even business cards. Are your business cards the same as everyone else? Is your voicemail the same thing as everyone else? What are these different touches in your life that make people say, “That was pretty cool,” that makes you memorable?
If you start out with the concept of, “I’m going to do everything differently than everybody else,” then you’re bound to end up with some pretty cool, interesting things. You’re inspiring me to think of my own business and the things that I do. I told you that basically my core business is now helping people stay accountable. People come to the site, they log on and it’s like Match.com and they find their perfect accountability partner and it allows them to accomplish so much more in life because they have someone else to share the journey with and I’m thinking, “How would I make that better? Would I send them donuts?”
Even little things like this. This is a CD Baby, the book by Derek Sivers, I think and Anything You Want and we built that into our business. When someone buys a ticket from us, all of a sudden instead of getting a regular confirmation, they get, “Congrats. You’re just made the best decision of your day. Right now, as your ticket order came through, we grabbed your tickets, we ran through the stadium, holding them up in the air. We did Gatorade, showers over each other. We’re celebrating and now your tickets are in maximum security in our vault ready for you to go bananas.”
It’s a little simple confirmation email that can go a long way. People share that. People call us and ask to listen to our hold music because our hold music is playing, “ring, ring, ring, banana phone.” They get this ridiculous banana phone’s song and people love it and they call to be put on hold. It’s those little tiny things that maybe when people go to your website, what happens? Is it a fun thing that pops up? When they buy and they purchase, can it be really written in a fun way? I just look at those and people share that. They want more fun. They don’t want more seriousness. They want more fun in their life.
That’s why I think Facebook is all about. My wife can sit on Facebook watching cat videos. It’s her little way of having fun every day. The other thing about it, is I don’t think our lives have enough fun in them. I think we are so focused on the day-to-day, on feeding the kids and making the car payments and all that stuff that we forget that we’re fun-generating machines. As kids, that’s all we cared about. Talking to you has made me feel like I don’t remember the last time I really focused on having that kind of fun.
I think it’s something that’s easy for us to do in our business, but it correlates with every business. We have a videographer we hire fulltime and my best moments are when we’re coming up with crazy video ideas and filming it. I’d say, if you can’t laugh, bent over Hyena laughing once a day, then you’re not doing the right thing. You’re too busy trying to get work done and put out fires than actually think back, “This is supposed to be fun,” and if it’s not fun, what’s the purpose? I understand profits, but in the end you’re going to look back at the moments that you laughed, Hyena laughing more than you’re going to look at the moments you made another $5,000, $10,000, $100,000.
I’m taking the position of my listeners here. I want my listeners to learn from you how to do it. The more examples that you could provide, the better this experience will be for everyone. I think we can probably have fun with things like retail businesses, but most of the people listening to this show, I believe are either very successful or they’re working their five to nine. They do the 9 to 5, they come home and then they focus on building whatever that might be, a training program, a consulting program, a coaching program, maybe even a franchise or multilevel marketing for all I know. Where can we bring more fun into that process that supports what we’re doing instead of makes us look silly?
I think people need to be able to embrace criticism. To go into certain examples, I’ll be challenged because I’ve seen what we’ve worked for our business and I’ve seen more of the service industry. That’s my sweet spot, Mitch. For me to go into particularly one for a solopreneur or someone’s creating studies, the only thing that I look at is the perfect experience for your customer? How do you make it more enjoyable, more fun and that they can share about? If you’re not getting as little criticism, then people aren’t really talking about you. We’ve got criticized so much with our team. It’s outrageous. When we came out with Dolce and Banana underwear.
We started selling Savannah Banana underwear. We put a giant banana on the crotch on one underwear and that was the big banana and then we put a small banana on the crotch of another one. We did a video called Dolce and Banana and we did this crazy video and it got a lot of traction, thousands of views, yet we got criticized a little bit because that’s not family-friendly. That’s who we are and we’re going to be edgy. I study as far as the service industry, I believe everyone is in that to an extent. I just would challenge, I guess everyone who are just doing different studies, basically what you said, they’re doing like handbooks. Give me some more examples of what they’re doing?
I’m just telling you what I do and what I think a lot of the people I know do. A lot of us are doing stuff where we’re getting on the phone with clients every day and we’re trying to help them. We’re building training programs and coaching programs. We’re going out there and we’re speaking on stage. I know that there’s a lot of opportunity to act silly speaking onstage. I would think that a good section of the people listening to this show are at some level or another in the help industry, helping others be successful industry.
I think for you, Mitch and everyone here, if it’s not, then I’m not telling anybody should wear a yellow tux. I’m probably the only one I know, I’m the only returning customer at BrightColoredTuxedos.com. I own six of these yellow tuxedos. It fits me and in my book Find Your Yellow Tux. I said, obviously you’ve got to understand what the problem is in your industry, what your challenges are, but you also got to understand what you’re the best at, what your strengths are. If someone being outlandish and crazy, that doesn’t differ a lot of people. It’s great for me because it helps me be more successful and helps our business be more successful. To simplify, all I would say for everyone else, it’s just to look at your customer experience, love your customers more than you love your product and focus on that and focus on those little touches that can wow them, that can surprise them and that’ll go a long way and that’s what we’ve seen.
Love your customers more than you love your product. That part I totally resonate with. That is how I built my businesses by loving my customers, by paying attention. I get that you’re doing that too. I really would love to incorporate more of what you do into what I do.
I get it. I understand it with anything. When I speak and when I work with a group, I try to understand everything from what their purpose is, what their business stands for, what they’re trying to accomplish and then understand, not just do a strengths assessment. You can tell from someone what kind of energy they have. You can tell for someone, “Do they have the opportunity to be able to be out there and think different and be crazy.” I go through that and meet with them, but I can’t just say, “Here’s the set model on how to do it.”
I’ve seen what works for us and I seen whatever’s normal, do the exact opposite. I think of ways that will get people talking when they go home at night from their 9 to 5, what are they talking about? They’re not talking about the same old business they always do. They’re talking about something different. I can give numerous examples of what we’re doing with our company, but as far as giving examples specifically to you, I’m sorry. I’m struggling with that too, Mitch.
I think a lot of business owners who are here are going to say to themselves, “It sounds like he’s a funny guy. If I had a baseball team, I would take every word of his advice.” I think we have to transcend that. I think the wisdom in what you’re saying here, Jesse, is around the idea of whatever is normal, do the exact opposite. I think what you’re trying to say here is by getting attention, you’ll end up getting success.
The way to get attention is by being different and doing something that customers don’t quite understand or maybe even quite get. Then there’s that line and you talked about crossing that line of possibly even offending some. Like you mentioned a minute ago with the banana underwear. I could see that somebody might get a little offended in a “family environment.” Putting bananas on a crotch or something, but give me a break, that’s just plain silly. I do see the point and I do love what you’re doing.
I think that’s the biggest key. Attention gets them into our funnel and then once they get in the funnel, we created the fans first experience with thank you calls. Every single person that buys a ticket from us, they get a thank you call, thousands of people. Thank you letters. Literally, when they come to our state, we plan that perfect, perfect experience and they’re greeted by the players. We have people dressed up as penguins that are parking the people. They are the parking penguins. Imagine pulling up to a stadium and see people dressed up as penguins. We’d go through every single thing of the experience.
There’s a great book, The Power Of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath and they talk about the Magic Castle Hotel, which is just like an average hotel, but they create these unbelievable moments and it’s one of the highly highest rated hotels in all of LA because they do things. They have popsicle hotline. Literally, when you go to the pool, you dial a phone and all of a sudden a popsicle gets delivered to you. It’s such simple little thing, but it makes the business standout. That’s why everyone talks about it. We look at, get attention to things that are outlandish, a little different, a little unique. Name the team, Savannah Bananas, come up with all these ideas and then get them into the funnel and create the best possible experience so the word of mouth marketing takes after that.
“Make everything you do an experience,” says Jesse Cole and that’s the part that I feel like now, I can grab get a hold of and apply. I love the example that you gave about that thank you letter. If someone buys a ticket from you or someone signs up for your program, you could say, “Your program will be starting at 3:00 PM on January 17th or you could say, “I’m so thrilled you’re here and it’s great that you bought a seat in my program. By the way it is a requirement that you have a Twinkie by your side. I definitely get it now. It took me a while, Jesse. Maybe I’m too serious, that’s probably why.
You’re on a great point there. I was working with a company in Phoenix and literally, they’re just a regular sales company and they’re selling a service and what they do is after they talk to the person for the first time, they are now sending a thank you letter and that never happens. From that type of business, you would never ever expect to get a thank you letter. It’s those little touches that goes so far and that to me that’s different. Whatever’s normal, do the exact opposite. Not many companies are doing that. Like I said, we call every single person and give them a thank you call afterwards. It’s those touches that make the difference.
The thank you call is a great touch and it’s a great suggestion that I believe can be applied to every single business. Another thing that I also want to say that there’s a point in time where if everybody is doing the same thing when originally what you were doing was different, it’s time to switch out. Would you agree to that?
100%. That’s where it’s like, you watch companies and what they’re doing and they’re always trying to be a little bit better. Better isn’t different, only is different. I think that’s a really important key for. You’re trying to follow everyone.”I’m going to follow you but I’ll do it a little bit better.” No. Go a different route. When they zig, you zag.
Better isn’t different, only is different. Here’s an example. For a while, every time I got on a podcast, I would receive a box in the mail with a chocolate brownie. The first time it came, it was really cute. I don’t eat a Brownie because they’re wheat and I’m a gluten intolerant. I gave it to my wife and she brought it to the office, but then they started coming over and over again. I actually had to say to somebody, “If you’re going to send a brownie, I’m going to save you about $5. Please don’t.”
Everyone’s copying and now everyone’s doing it.
Better isn’t different, only is different. These are really like the ten commandments of finding your yellow tux, which leads me the experience of reading your book. Now, I know your book isn’t out yet, but I want you to tell me a little bit about, first of all, what inspired you to write it and second of all, how are you going to market it differently than other people market their books?
I was inspired and you were talking about the 9 t 5 earlier. The 9 to 5, Mitch, that makes me cringe. The nine-to-five idea, I hate it because I feel like what you’re doing is you’re doing what everyone else is doing. I’ll never forget, I was in Charlotte, North Carolina with our team in Gastonia and day after day, I was driving from Charlotte into Gastonia and there was no traffic, but everybody was driving from Gastonia to Charlotte. The traffic every single day, bumper to bumper. I know you’re in Massachusetts and Boston, you know what I’m talking about. It was bumper to bumper traffic and I was like, “These people are doing this every single day.” They’re the nine-to-five. They’re in traffic and I was like, “I’m driving the other way every day” and I’m having fun creating unique things and we have a business that’s become unbelievably profitable.
I was like, “I found my yellow tux and I wear it all the time, but the one thing that’s made me stand out is the best version of myself and I believe every business has that. The opportunity to create their own path and do things differently. That was the inspiration and over the last ten years, we’ve learned a lot of different things that again, we’re one of the lowest levels of baseball, but we’ve sold out 32 straight games are right now we have a waitlist in the thousands. That’s not happening at the highest levels. It’s because we’ve been able to learn this and embraced this concept. I divide the book in three categories. It’s Yellow Tux Yourself, Yellow Tux Your Business, and then the final one, which is very important, Yellow Tux Your Legacy. When I put those three together, it’s really a framework on how you can find a way to stand out today and yourself and in your business.
That sounds like a great book and I cannot wait to read it. I know sometimes people send me books but I prefer to get them on Kindle but and I am looking for what your book as well. Before, I let you go, Jesse, I got a couple of questions for you and I apologize, these might be serious questions. I’ll see what you do with them. The first one is really about thinking differently in a much larger scope. Here it is. Who, in all of space and time, would you like to have one hour to enjoy a walk in the park, a quick lunch or an intense conversation with?
That’s an easy one for me. I like to break the rule. When usually asked for one person, I like to say like more than one person, but I’ll put it right behind me in my office. I’ve made three custom made posters of P.T. Barnum, Bill Veeck, one of the most famous baseball owners and Walt Disney. If I were to choose between those three, it’s so tough, but I would go with Walt Disney. What Walt did, the vision that he had is unbelievable and I finished a lot of my speeches with, “It’s fun to do the impossible and all of our dreams can come true if we had the courage to pursue them.” Walt did it and I talk about it in this book all the challenges that Walt had and how he went in on so many things in his life and now today, 50 years later, it’s still resonating. Not many companies or founders have done that. If you look at even Steve Jobs, people are questioning now, Apple, but Walt Disney made Disney long-standing and be successful. I would love to actually play catch with Walt on main street and Disney, if I could do that.
Walt Disney had this endearing quality about he was never a complainer. He had the worst failures and he never gave up. He was the most persistent entrepreneur that I can remember reading about. When I read his story, I was so impressed with his ability to keep his spirits high, just keep going. Even in the face when his own cartoonist stole his Prime. Remember the story where he started his Prime character and then went out and started his own company, Walt just came up with a better one and then he added voice and turned it into a talking movie, which back then was revolutionary.
He had unbelievable charisma too. He could sell anybody anything because he had so much passion. He used to literally do the whole scene of a movie. He would do a whole movie in front of his animators just to convey how much passion he had and how successful it could be. You don’t see that today very much in leadership.
You’re absolutely right and it’s a great answer so thanks for that. Here’s the grand finale question, the change the world question. What is it that you’re doing or would like to do that truly has the potential to literally change the world?
It’s such a brilliant and deep question and it makes me think for a while in the sense that right now in my life, I started my book with my eulogy and as crazy as that sounds, but Yellow Tux Your Legacy, I believe you’ve got to start with how do you want to be remembered. What I write in that book is that I want to be someone that inspired millions of people to challenge the status quo, to think differently and to live the life of their dreams and have ultimate fulfillment. Now, that sounds like a very cliché answer because I don’t know how I’m going to do that, but the reality is I know what I love to do is have fun and get people to have fun and fulfillment.
It could be in the realm of maybe dramatically changing the game of baseball in a sense of, “Yes, we’re already doing it with the circuit, but actually changing the game that now young people are back loving it and enjoying it. All over the world, we brought joy back to a game that people can have fun. I don’t know the exact answer, but I know I’m going to continue to challenge the status quo, think different and stand out until I do find that answer.
I’m right there with you and my friend. You let me know if I could help you in any way.
Thank you so much.
Jesse, it’s been a joy chatting with you. Jesse Cole, thank you so much for your time. I really enjoyed it.
Thank you for everything you’re doing for entrepreneurs.
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