Welcome to the Join Up Dots Business Coaching Podcast Interview with Jesse Cole
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Introducing Jesse Cole
Jesse Cole is my guest today, on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview.
This is a man who is bold, crazy, inspired, committed and having the time of his life.
He is the owner of two baseball teams that are quite frankly doing things a bit differently, and the world is taking note – Big Time
Jesse is also the founder of Fans First Entertainment, which operates the Gastonia Grizzlies and the Savannah Bananas.
He is also a keynote speaker, and host of the Business Done Differently Podcast.
Which is a boring way of telling you what he does, to be honest.
What he has done is taken a countries passion for baseball and turned it on its head.
He has created an experience not just about what is happening (or is not happening on the pitch) but what is happening everywhere.
Joining Up The Dots To Today
He joined the industry in 2008 as General Manager of the Gastonia Grizzlies.
It was here that he started providing a circus-like atmosphere at his ballparks. From dancing players, Grandma Beauty Pageants, and Flatulence Fun Nights to porta-john giveaways and garbage can nachos, he has tried it all
The “show” worked and the Grizzlies began breaking attendance records annually.
In 2014, he bought the Grizzlies and started Fans First Entertainment with his then-fiancé and Grizzlies Director of Fun, Emily.
In 2015, the two of them then started a new Coastal Plain League team in Savannah, GA. It was announced on February 25, 2016 that the team would be named the Savannah Bananas.
From there, the team quickly became a hit all over the country, in part thanks to coverage from national media outlets, including ESPN, CNN, and Good Morning America. Merchandise sold to all 50 states and 6 countries.
In the first year, the team sold out 18 of 25 games and broke the attendance record for both Grayson Stadium and the Coastal Plain League.
To top it off, the Bananas won the Coastal Plain League Championship.
As he says he “I am just getting started”.
His teams are continually reinventing as they look to change the baseball industry and the entertainment experience for fans.
So how has he managed to stand firm against a world of conformity and create something new and exciting?
And did he ever have the huge doubts that a new way should not be his way in future?
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Jesse Cole
Jesse Cole Show Highlights
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Jesse Cole such as:
How he managed to break down not only the barriers around him but also the barriers in his own mind, which allowed him to do the unthinkable
What he did to grow his team, and find the right people that bought in his vision of where he wanted to head.
Why Jesse can see clearly that although the timing wasn’t perfect when he joined the Grizzlies, in fact it was in fact the perfect time.
The truth that anyone who starts something can see.
Why he connected with Barack Obama and offered an internship at the Baseball ground, much to the amusement of himself and his team.
How To Connect With Jesse Cole
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Audio Transcription Of Jesse Cole Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. join up dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph
David Ralph [0:24]
Yes, good morning everybody and welcome to join up dance little bit of a clue time this is like a quiz joint quiz but think about this that they’re better little at that that that that
I’ve been think of bom bom bom bom bom bom bom bom bom. I think that’s the music for it. If you combine those two together, what do you get when you get a man who is bold, crazy inspired, committed and having the time of his life. He’s the owner of two baseball teams that quite frankly doing things a bit differently and the world is taking note big time. He’s the founder of fans burst entertainment which operates the Gastonia group.
Good morning, Jesse. How are you?
Jesse Cole [3:03]
Good morning doing great. And thank you for the circus music intro. That’s the first time I’ve heard that and I absolutely loved it. I hate the circus, but I like what you’re doing. The Circus in its concept is one of those things where as parents, you drag your kids around too sometimes. And it’s not good, is it? It’s not good that the clowns aren’t funny. The little dogs don’t do much. Now in the United Kingdom, you don’t get any animals with him. It’s just some badly dressed men that basically you normally would keep away from your kids. Being in front of them. It’s it’s not good, is it? Well, the circus just ended the PT Barnum, you know, hundred and 46 years it ended and it’s because you’re right. They didn’t reinvent themselves. It’s the same type of thing over and over again. So we try to look at the circus a little differently and put it in baseball, but I’ll agree with you on that. But that’s why circus Olay is continuing to be successful because they were looking at it circus in a different route. So he’s the alpha music bom bom bye
David Ralph [4:00]
bom bom bom, bom, bom. It’s not baseball music. And we sat some spoke, but I’ve just got into my head.
Jesse Cole [4:06]
That’s like a charge. That’s an attempt at charge music, I think. But yeah, that is played at sports arenas and ballparks not at our ballparks we try to play the most unusual, ridiculous music. But yes, that is played at most arenas.
David Ralph [4:18]
Well, I reckon you could be my favorite guest of all time, because the biggest compliment and I almost said this to you beforehand, but I’ve held it back is I think your mental, but your mental in the most brilliant way. Because everything you seem to be doing is about doing things differently. And you become the category of one people notice you. And that’s one of the things that I Keep on drumming into people through join up thoughts. But if you can be authentic, if you can be unique. If you can have fun with a format, and do things differently, then it kind of makes it easier somehow, doesn’t it?
Jesse Cole [4:53]
Yeah, you got to be a little crazy. You know, I think so many people would play it safe when they play it safe. And then not no one’s talking about them. So you got to be different. You got to be crazy. And you didn’t mention this in the intro. But right now as we speak, I’m wearing a bright yellow tuxedo with a top hat. I actually own six of those. And I wear them every single day. So I’m a little different and mental is probably appropriate word you used.
David Ralph [5:14]
Yeah, and if you imagine the costume that you would have seen in Dumb and Dumber way to do that kind of thing that Jesse’s wearing. So So how yellow does it go? Do you have yellow underpants? Do you have yellow socks? Do you? Do you finish it all off?
Jesse Cole [5:28]
Yeah, I think most people look at the world in black and white. I look everything in bright yellow. But to answer the question about my underpants, which hasn’t been asked on a podcast, we actually have our own underwear with the Savannah bananas called Dolce and banana. And we have a giant banana on the crotch. So we have two different types of underwear the big banana with the big banana on the crotch and then the small banana on the small banana on the crotch. And I’ll tell you the big banana underwear is outselling the smaller banana dramatically. But it’s been a big seller. And I have worn the Dolce and banana underwear before. So just giving you the heads up there.
David Ralph [6:00]
think I’d have to go for the extra large, I think I would have to move into territory that you haven’t explored yet. Jessie, I really
Jesse Cole [6:07]
charge extra that will do it will drop the double charge on that one.
David Ralph [6:11]
It would be a gift from me to you in a bizarre way, I don’t know how that’s going to occur. So So let’s look at your journey. Because what you’re doing, you’re doing it at its essence, you’re taking something that’s already out there, and you’re putting your own spin on it. And as we see time and time again in entrepreneur lane. A lot of people get bogged down first we’re thinking I’ve got to create something new and exciting. We’re actually a lot of it that’s already got an audience and a fan base is where you should be heading. And secondly, you must have ignored the naysayers and just gone with your your trust your truth, your intuition. Is that how it operated?
Jesse Cole [6:47]
Oh, hundred percent. I mean, I’ve been called crazy. I mean, I haven’t said the owner needs to be thrown out of town, you guys are an embarrassment, what you’re trying to do. But the fact that we were getting some criticism actually took notice and people were paying attention to us. But to go back from the beginning. I mean, literally first started with our team. And guess Sonia, the team was the worst team in all of baseball, literally averaging a couple hundred fans a game losing hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, but only $268 in the bank account, like an ultimate huge, huge failure. And it was that moment that I talked in my book, find your yellow tux and talk when I’m speaking, you got to have a mirror moment. And I realized right then I was like, people don’t like baseball as much as they may say they do. No one’s coming to the games. Most people think it’s long, slow and boring. And at that point, I said, we got to go the complete opposite direction. And I say this all the time, whatever is normal, do the exact opposite. And that’s what we did. Instead of being a baseball team, we became a circus where a baseball game might break out. So when
David Ralph [7:42]
you did the first thing and I agree with you, I went to a baseball game I went to see the Tennessee Smokies from memory. Yeah, and I sat there for Well, I only went and this is a bizarre thing to admit from the United Kingdom. But I only went because I had I love that thing in films, where somebody whistles and they throw a hotdog through the audience and you catch it. And I thought to myself, This is what I want. This is my whole experience. I had become an American. I didn’t get it. No one threw a hot dog to me. I had to go and get them very disappointed. And they did not hit a ball. They did not hit a ball. It was just a white guy getting up swinging missing a black guy getting up swinging, missing. It went on forever. Now the saving grace of it is we have cricket over here that goes on for five days and nothing happens. So baseball was damn sight quicker than that. But
Unknown Speaker [8:33]
yeah, it was it was boring.
David Ralph [8:34]
I’m gonna alienate all the baseball fans out there. But it was boring Jesse.
Jesse Cole [8:40]
And that’s what most people thought. And that’s what most people feel. And they’re used to seeing the same things. Even they get a hit a double a home run. You know, I grew up playing baseball. But I looked from the other perspective from you know what the people that don’t like it, how can they come and have fun and be entertained? And that’s what we get everything to? I mean, right now we actually have a break dancing first base coach, so not games, know, start doing the Michael Jackson moonwalk into the MC Hammer dance while he’s giving signals. And you know, it’s like, we’re entertaining people that don’t necessarily love baseball. But it’s why we’ve sold out 32 straight games because they’re coming for the show. And the funny thing is, I think this can work for any business. How can you create something that’s different and entertain and be different. It’s not just wearing a yellow tuxedo. And we really turned it into our baseball games. And we have fun every single day. And that’s why I want to get you to come across the pond and come to a game and see this. I mean, I don’t think you’ll be bored. And snowing. He’s
David Ralph [9:29]
gotten the extra large waiting for me, I’ll be there. I will be there straight away to impress the wife. So I do I totally agree with it. And we’ve joined up dots. I when I created this, I wanted to do it in a different way from other shows. And I got I got quite a lot of criticism in the early days that people were saying, I’m not taking it seriously. And I kind of went No, I’m not. That’s the point of it. I’m not taking it seriously. You know, I think that with everything nowadays, there’s got to be 50% Entertainment and 50% education. Yeah, if you can mix that together, you’re onto something because people’s their attention span is so small. So when you started this and this, this is the real thing that I want to know about this. You’re standing there and you’re looking at this baseball game and you’re thinking, this is a bit crap. This is boring. This is this really needs a spark. Did you go and say why? I’m gonna go and put a yellow outfit on straight away? Or did you go undercover? Were you just a kind of weird guy about people going? What the hell is he doing? What’s that about?
Jesse Cole [10:33]
You know, I took small bets. And again, I talked about this in the book, find your yellow tux. We tried a lot of things that may not have necessarily worked like you mentioned in the intro flatulence fun night where we actually gave away whoopee cushions and had a farming contest on the field. The fans didn’t love that. Okay. When we gave away a colon cleansing in the middle of the game, we had a nurse come out and attempt to give a colon cleansing. The fans didn’t necessarily love that. But what we did is we made fans expect the unexpected when they come to a game. I mean the first night when they showed up and saw the players doing a choreographed dance and the second inning I mean, I remember watching a woman to our husband was talking to when she said shut up honey, they’re about to dance. And literally people started getting excited about all these unique things. So we tried little things every single year. And then as we started getting further along, the yellow tuxedo came came on it became I became a showman and became all about that circus. And now we continue to push the envelope every year. What are things that we can do that even closer to breaking the rules? My favorite quote from build back a former baseball owner says I don’t break the rules, but I merely test their elasticity. And I think the reality is we are testing the elasticity every single day with the rules but that’s what people come to expect and it’s a lot of fun.
David Ralph [11:44]
He doesn’t say a lot bow about American, a need for excitement. I if you go to the theme parks they do even better than anywhere. If you go I went to see the Miami Dolphins play the Arizona Cardinals and I’ve seen them these games and I’ve hated literally every single one and a half time they said and and ladies and gentlemen, the half time entertainment, LeAnn Rimes, I went really what LeAnn Rimes to properly and lives and they brought out a whole stage, it was like a concert for like, 30 minutes. Now in the United Kingdom, we get somebody doing what we call, keep it up. He’s trying to keep a football off the ground. And that’s it. Or we get you know, it’s boring, really rubbish. So does that mean that you’re going to be having to outdo yourself all the time? So you’ve got excitement going on all the time. You’ve got excitement at halftime? When does it become boring for people? Because you’ve got to keep outdoing yourself?
Jesse Cole [12:38]
Yeah, well, the problem is, baseball is still a long game, it can be a three hours. So literally, you think about it. I mean,
David Ralph [12:46]
Shawnee, Jessie, the one I sat food, it must have been nine hours, honestly.
Jesse Cole [12:52]
That’s how it feels for most people. So here’s the crazy thing. All of our games are selling out. There’s the tickets are selling for three times face value. And yet people still leave sometimes before the game’s over. That’s a problem with baseball. So what I’m trying to figure out is how can we dramatically speed up the game because we can throw all these crazy promotions like our senior citizen dance team called the bananas who are in their 80s you know, dancing to Justin Timberlake during the game, like we will have all these crazy shows and promotions, but people are still ready to leave that shows you the game is too long. So we got work to do. So we make reinvention part of our DNA. So we have what we call idea Palooza is where every couple of weeks we get together and just talk about crazy ideas, things that don’t make any sense. And then sometimes we just throw them in the wall and try them out. And I think every company needs to be constantly thinking, what are crazier ideas they can do? Because currency, ideas are currency. It’s not just bringing in money. If you have great ideas, that’s how you succeed. So we’re all about ideas. And we have to continue to reinvent every single day.
David Ralph [13:48]
I will tell you why. Hi, me, hi, me. This is this is the company that I want to work for. I have spent my life working for companies have just called me a maverick. And you’ve got to be serious. And you know, you are doing it. Yeah. Because I think if you embrace the fun element, you embrace the passion and the employees work harder, because they’re not feeling it’s a job they’re feeling. It’s something more like,
Jesse Cole [14:10]
yeah, hundred percent. I mean, that’s what it is. We have a full time videographer and our staff, and we’re constantly filming videos and skits. And I mean, last year, when in the United States, Obama, President Obama was no longer the president, we filmed a video offering him an internship with our team, literally, he’s no longer the president, we’re like, you’re going to be an intern, we’re going to get you a host family to live with, they’re going to work in our concession stand. And we did a ridiculous video. And we’re constantly thinking of these ridiculous ideas. And the whole staff becomes a part of it. And we just have fun. And then what happens is, that’s our brand just like you you’re not the typical podcast, you’re talking like, you know, it’s crazy that the box, you open the show before saying picture us we’re at a bar talking all right, and having fun, that’s different. And that’s what we try to create in our office
David Ralph [14:52]
as well. So So how do you translate the base, right? This, this is the key part, your story upping your looking around, as I say, and you’re thinking we got to do something different. And with everything, once you get to a certain tipping point a movement creates, and people will start jumping on your bandwagon, and it becomes easier. And there’s a brilliant TED Talk, where a guy shows how to create a movement. And it’s not the first guy that stands up is the second guy that stands up. That’s the one that actually leads to the point where ultimately people are all getting up because I think they’re missing out on something. How did you find your first person who was brave enough and wacky enough to go? Actually Jesse, think you want to something? Yeah.
Jesse Cole [15:39]
You know, two years ago it share the story. But two years ago, before we became the Savannah, bananas, we came into Savannah, and we were just here trying to convince everyone that we were going to be big and successful. But there used to be professional baseball were a lower level than professional baseball. So no one believed us no one. And then we came up with the name the Savannah bananas. And I’ll never forget that day. All of a sudden, the world took notice people started buying merchandise all over. But locally, we were crucified. I mean, literally people were saying the owner should be thrown out of town. You guys are an embarrassment to the city. You’ll never sell a ticket. I mean, every single person in the community was ripping us apart. But then what happened? Everyone was talking about us. And then so we created that attention. So slowly, the people start noticing, you know what, wow, all their tickets are all you can eat includes everything. And it’s only $15. Wait, they’re going to have dancing players. And they started paying attention. So slowly, but surely, one person at a time paid attention. And then they started saying, Wow, they’re selling a lot of tickets. Wow, the merchandise is selling everywhere. And then all of a sudden, it changed. And we did a video of all those mean tweets, those mean messages of all those people ripping us apart. And what was so funny, our Director of tickets said, Jesse, almost all those people who ripped us apart are now season ticket holders. So it’s pretty funny how it’s gone full circle.
David Ralph [16:56]
Well, why why don’t you think by obeying? Because that’s interesting. Why do you think that they actually went from a resentment point of view to an advocate?
Jesse Cole [17:04]
Because once you see everyone else, just like you said that creating a movement I think was Derek ciders who did the the TED Ted TED talk about it. As soon as you see everyone else is a part of it. And the media and the games are selling out. People want to be a part of something, especially something that they can’t even get, what was happening is all the games were selling out, people couldn’t even get tickets. And right now there’s a waitlist in the thousands you want when you can’t have. And so all of a sudden, when they start seeing other people are doing it, you don’t want to you want to feel on the inside and not on the outside. And so now at this point, if you’re not a bananas fan, if you hate the name, it doesn’t make sense. Because what do you mean, they’re selling every game? How can you not hate it? So it took it took time. And I don’t know exactly the exact transition on what happened. I just know people started seeing and believing that you know what this team is fun. You know, it fits their brand. They’re not just like this typical baseball team. And I think everyone to an extent, wants some craziness and fun in their life. They don’t want to just always be the same professional, typical nine to five day, and we go quickly against that. And I think people it was an outlet, it was an escape for people to say, you know what, let’s be a little different. Let’s have fun.
David Ralph [18:06]
So there must have been a tipping point. Again, everything is a tipping point when you stood there and you looked up at the, like all bleachers we call them seats over here, but you look at all the row of seats, and you think to yourself, Oh, actually then a little bit for love. And last week, I think we are getting the right movement going here wasn’t a time when us quietly stood by the side and with satisfaction for Yeah, some
Jesse Cole [18:32]
something’s happening here. I’ll never forget opening night, first year, the first game Savannah bananas, we were ready to rock and roll. We showed up at 530 that morning, the news stations were out covering us. I was like what is happening there was a reporter said I’m following you around the entire day. I’m like good luck. You know, he’s like, You’re not coming into the bathroom with me. I’ll tell you that. And so it was a crazy, crazy day. The game we open the gates at 530 people rushed in and it started pouring. I mean, absolutely raining, just pouring. It poured for three hours. The game didn’t start until nine o’clock. And as I looked up before first pitch, which was a first banana, we don’t throw a baseball for first pitch, we make someone throw a banana, which is even ridiculous. I looked up and not a fan had left. It was packed. And they sat through rain to watch and see what the bananas were going to do. And I looked at that moment, I was like, This is absolutely crazy. And then here was a moment that happened later on. And the name of our company is fans first entertainment. And about the seventh inning. It was 1130 at night now the pans most of the fans have left, a young woman came up to me and said, Hey, can you give me a signed baseball? And I said, I said yeah, I’ll do what I can fans first. You know, I’ll try to do it. And she’s like, it would really mean a lot to me. And I go, all right, it goes. I’m here to support. My fiance who would come to every single opening night at this ballpark since he was a kid. He tragically died just two weeks ago. I’m here with his entire family. If you could get a signed baseball, that would mean the world. I said yes, of course I can. And she said by the way, his name was drew Moody, and you a person on your team named drew moody. And I was like, Wow. So I immediately went over and I got I got the sign baseball from drew moody. He walked up sat next to the family and the fiance for a whole inning. And then I saw him give her a big hug. And he walked down. I said, Wow, that was amazing. He goes fans first, right. And all of a sudden he knew what it was about our players knew what is about. And that just started correlating, everyone started talking and they found this team is fans first, they’re about taking care of the most crazy entertainment. And at that point, it was all over and every single game start selling out.
David Ralph [20:31]
But that that is such a simple concept, isn’t it? It’s so simple. And in many ways, it’s so obvious. But I would argue that a lot of businesses out there, especially the online ones, same shirt, MySpace, they seem to be looking at creating the sales funnels to get the marketing to just make the money and not actually looking at what you’re doing about providing value. You know, you don’t even care as much as suppose of the people that get in as the people wanting to get in.
Jesse Cole [20:59]
Yeah, yeah. And again, it’s that whole experience and, and I says love your customers more than you love your product. So we focus so much on crazy experiences, fun and people and then when you have them, they just spread that word of mouth marketing, unbelievable. So the people I can’t get in, they want to get in because they’re hearing from other people that came in. And it’s just this whole kind of cycle that repeats itself. And that’s our whole business. It’s simple. Its fans first entertainment, the entertainment, the craziness, the fans versus how to create the best experience, and we simplify it. And even an online company can make it fun. When people buy tickets from us. They get an email it says congrats you just made the best decision your day right now is your tickets came in. We ran around the stadium celebrating we throw your tickets in the air, we dumped Gatorade showers over each other. And now your tickets are in maximum security our vault, we’re ready for you to go bananas. It’s just those little fun, crazy touch points that people respond to.
David Ralph [21:47]
Let’s play some words. And then we’re going to delve back in and I’m interested in the director of fun. Emily’s story. He’s Jim Carrey,
Jim Carrey [21:55]
my father could have been a great comedian. But he didn’t believe that that was possible for him, he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [22:22]
I want you to play that because Did you love obviously now you love the passion? You love the enthusiasm? You love the fan first? But of course you have to find that that viewpoint by going through something first of all, so when you went into the Grizzlies, you probably was the normal businessman doing things what was expected. Now you can listen to those words from Jim Carrey and say, Yeah, absolutely. I do what I love every day. But was that always the case? Was there a different Jesse back in the day that wasn’t quite BAM at that moment?
Jesse Cole [22:56]
Yeah, you know, when you come to a team that has $200 in the bank account, immediately, what you’re figuring out is try to how to bring in money, how to bring in revenue, how to succeed, and I went months where I couldn’t pay myself. And so my focus was so much How can I sell stuff? How can I be about sponsorship? How can I bring in more ticket sales? And you know, when that focuses so much on money, it’s not really on the fun things, the impact the purpose, the difference you’re making? So I remember many days, I was like, all right, I gotta set up eight meetings, just try to bring in revenue. And it was more about numbers and money. And it wasn’t about impact. And so the biggest change that we started like, is like, how can you have fun while creating impact? So I’ll remember many days in the beginning, like I said, it was just it was a grind, it was just a grind. Like, we don’t have any money in the bank account. I can’t pay myself, how can I pay the employees? I mean, it got so bad that even a couple years ago, we overdraft at our account, we had no money left, and my wife and I had to sell our dream house and empty out our savings account. And it was that point. It’s like, wow, you know, let’s figure out why we’re doing and the money will take care of itself. And that’s what we started doing. It’s just if you create this crazy ass this fear and fun and focus on impact how many people you need back the money takes care of itself. And that’s been why I love what I do right now every day, because I’m not focused so much on driving revenue, I’m focused on driving impact.
David Ralph [24:10]
So So how, why did you take that job then because it sounds pretty crappy Jesse, that you’re taking a job with a company that’s got $200 in his bank account.
Jesse Cole [24:19]
So very easily, I had the opportunity to coaching and I remember I was coaching, but you know, opportunity coach baseball, I played my whole life, I sat in the dugout as a coach and watch the game and was just like, this is completely boring, I have no impact. I can’t make any difference. I just sit in the dugout and maybe give a few suggestions to the players throughout the game. And then I an opportunity to be a general manager of Yes, one of the most failing teams in the country. But that was a chance to actually make a difference and do something. So I took a job and said, you know, let’s take this from the bottom and bring it up. I think anybody why would you want to go to an unbelievably successful company at the top where you really can’t make an impact. They’re already successful, you know, that I felt like let’s take this from something that’s terrible and make a great event. I have a great story. And it’s turned out to be that in more
David Ralph [25:04]
with hindsight, and it’s it’s, you know, it’s great to hear you savor, but that’s an unusual stance, isn’t it? Cool. Are you an underdog? Do you like doing things differently?
Jesse Cole [25:17]
Oh, yes. I mean, as a kid, literally, I was constantly fight to get attention. I was the one trying to make jokes. I got 26 detentions in seventh grade, all right, for speaking out in class, I was that kid that was just trying to, to prove myself to do something different. So I think as a kid running, I mean, I was 23 years old running that team, I was like, you know, I’m gonna, I’m gonna make a name for myself, I’m gonna make a name for this business, I’m going to do something special. So that is that underdog philosophy. But I think with anything did I think everyone wants to create their own path, no one wants to be told what to do in their job, no one wants to be managed, they want to be part of something different. So I realized that I was fortunate to have that opportunity to young. But for all those people that are stuck in the nine to five, you know, I think they should look at that chance to say, you know what, let’s try to create something, are we living the life that we’re supposed to be? We’re doing the same stuff as everyone else. And I know, it’s easy to look hindsight now. And you’re trying to get me to go back to that point. But I just saw things differently. Back then I was like, I want to start doing my own thing. And I’m going to start at 23 years old, even with the worst team and not getting paid.
David Ralph [26:15]
I started Well, basically, I’ve had that whole mentality all the way through my life. But I didn’t really take the leap until I was 43. I was 43 with five kids and mortgage or why up, you know, I did it at the time that I shouldn’t have done it. But I say to everybody, there’s no good time, and there’s no wrong time. It’s just the time when you’re, you know, it’s it’s your time, as I say, so, do you look at it now and think to yourself, you know, four years down the line would have been wrong. Three years earlier would have been wrong. is the classic join up dots got you to a position when it was right.
Jesse Cole [26:51]
Yeah, I mean, it’s, I think always stop thinking start doing and every time I ponder, not do something for a long time and ends up hurting me. So I’m I don’t know if that’s where you’re going with this. But it sounds like you know, you said it wasn’t the right time for you. But looking back, it was the right time, right?
David Ralph [27:06]
Yeah, there’s always a moment in your life. But even if the stars haven’t lined up, maybe you haven’t got enough money in your bank account. Maybe your partner doesn’t support you. Maybe, maybe, maybe maybe there’s so many excuses. But you know, in your heart of hearts, it’s the right time for you. And that’s what I’m asking with you. The situation might not have been right, the financial situation might not be right. But when you look back on it, you go, yeah, it still was right.
Jesse Cole [27:35]
100% You know, I don’t want to go too much. This is it. We’re picking ourselves at a bar. And I won’t go too much into inspiration. But I believe when you believe in something that you will put more work more energy, more effort, and you’ll make it the right time. And so for me, I believe we could turn around this terrible team because it couldn’t get any worse. And it wasn’t the right it wasn’t the right time for many people. 24 years old, no, go work for a company where you can really learn from the better people. And no, I led to learn for myself and learn failures. So you know, start now, those people that are just sitting there, you know, doing the same thing over and over again, try something on the side, start putting your effort into it. You know, I advise that so much in my book, find your yellow tux. It’s like find that thing that you can do and start putting all your energy into it. And it’s it’s been an unbelievable ride for me. I’ve been doing it for only 11 or 12 years. And I feel like I’m just getting started.
David Ralph [28:21]
I cannot tell you, Mr. Cole, that this is my show. And if I want to start talking about inspiration I can do. You can’t you can’t control the content. It’s my divis.
Jesse Cole [28:32]
Perfect, perfect. Whatever you want to go. It’s your show my man. Well, okay,
David Ralph [28:36]
so where do I want to go? Is with Emily? not physically, obviously, but just in the conversation? How is she but director of fun when you seem to be you know, where Where’s your level? Because you are like, the lunatic of fun? or How is she more fun? Tell me about that.
Jesse Cole [28:54]
Note to self, I will call myself the lunatic from now on. But Emily, Emily met in about seven years ago. And we decided to work together. And obviously we end up at the store, we end up getting married. And so now we are just lunatic a fun in director of fun all together. But Emily came in, she said, I want to come up with my own title, I don’t want to be just a regular sales person or trying to sell tickets. I want to be about fun. I want to bring fun to people’s lives every single day. So she started wearing a hot dog costume to work. I mean, she started calling people and just saying, Hey, this is what we’re going to do sharing all these ideas. And so she became that and it stuck for a while. And now she’s just an owner with me. And we’re actually hiring a full time director of fun. But the reality is Emily has just embraced it. She’s been about that’s our personality. So that’s why we fit well together, we just talked about Will this be fine, it will this be crazy will be different. And her job, you know, especially when she started was solely just to say, I’m gonna get with a group and we’re going to put on a fun show for them and make sure it works. So and now now we’re actually hiring people were getting interviews with Cruise directors and actors and comedians to be our full time director of so it’s been a full circle.
David Ralph [30:02]
When I was a financial trainer for many, many years, I used to do customer service training and different things. And there was a guy, and he had this video called give them the pickle. And he was an old guy. And I can’t even remember what his name was now, but he was he was very engaging, and that the concept was, but if he had a restaurant, and he received a critical letter, and it was, dear Bob, whatever his name is, I’ve been coming to your restaurant for years, I’ve always enjoyed it. But last time I came in, and I asked for extra pickles, I was told you could have them for 50 cents, if that’s how you’re going to run your business, I’m not going to come in there anymore. And he took that whole concept of what if the customer wants it, give it to them, give them the pickle, and created a training business around it, which is spread over to myself in the United Kingdom. And for years I I watched this guy, do presentations around the world and go into organizations, you’ve done the same thing, you found that little element of something that then translates. And so you would have also had that time when you felt this is an income stream that maybe I hadn’t thought about, but I can do it. How did you do that? How did you take your essence of fan first? So just the translated into customers?
Jesse Cole [31:22]
Yeah, so I mean, the biggest thing, this is the starting point, I call it the mirror moment, what frustrates you about an industry, what frustrates you about a business and then do the exact opposite with a focus on your customers. So for instance, it’s like how Uber was created, how Airbnb you know how Netflix was created. All those companies, they looked at the other industry and what was frustrating them for us with baseball, I said was long, slow and boring. But also tell me that when you go to a sporting event, you have to pay for your ticket, a beer, a hotdog, a burger, you get nickel and dimed. And then by the end of the sporting event, I mean, I guess you’re like, wow, I just spent $100 $200, whatever it is. So we went the exact opposite and said alright, what if we just include everything, literally all your hotdogs, your burgers, your chicken sandwiches, your soda, your water, your popcorn, your dessert, everything, and let’s make it $15. And people like you can’t do that. That’s crazy. And I said, let’s do it. So we literally change this model. And to make it all of our tickets, all you can eat, and people were blown away. And what happened is that they started spreading the start talking about it spreading and everyone sharing. And that’s how we used a whole new model to actually create more revenue. So now all of our tickets are all you can eat. And here’s the crazy thing, when they come to the ballpark, they find ways to spend money on other things, whether it’s t shirts, or merchandise or beer, because they felt like they got a free ticket and so much value. So few companies go all in on providing back over the value like providing tons of value. When you do that the customers will reward you 10 times over. So that’s that’s what we’ve seen we go all in and what is that perfect experience for the customer? What does it look like when they first buy from you on your website? What does it look like when they first show up to your you know, retail space or your event? Or your restaurant? Or whatever it is? What is the best possible experience and then all of a sudden, the money just takes care of itself?
David Ralph [33:04]
But how did you take that which is you know, we know that that’s fine, that’s working for you to think to yourself, I can go into a company and I can preach this. I can go into a company and actually present this in my yellow tux with top hat on. How did you bridge that gap?
Jesse Cole [33:22]
It’s easy. Again, it’s a formula and I was doing it last week speaking in Phoenix, you work with a company you map exactly the journey what happens that first time they talk to you a customer? You know, what do you do? Is it the perfect experience? Do you send a thank you note after you talk to them? Do you do something that’s actually stands out? That’s different? What is everyone else doing? They call them? They’re trying to sell, sell? Sell? What about after they buy from you? Are you sending anything else afterward? Or is the sale process over? So we map the customer journey from the first time they interact with you to the last? It’s really simple. Just think what what can wow them. I mean, I’m now working with a talk to a home builder, a home builder, who’s literally providing parties celebration parties, when at the end of when they close on their house, they literally have a ribbon cutting, and they have a red carpet and have champagne parties. They’re giving them gifts like iPads and coolers all throughout the process. And it’s creating the best possible experience. So I think no matter what you do, you can think about it from the beginning to the end. It sounds so simple, but it is that’s what’s crazy about it. And with the Americans
David Ralph [34:21]
and for the Americans listening out here, I come from a UK point of view. We quite like our food in the UK, but in America, my God, you like your food. And I’ve sat in restaurants where literally I want the kids menu because I and I can’t even get through that. So when you were saying to them, you know, all you can eat in anyone can we can be skin here because people can you know they can chow down on a hot dog or two.
Jesse Cole [34:50]
Oh, yeah. If people think that they’re getting the best value ever net, you’re going to lose your shirt on it or lose everything you have on it. That’s a great business model. I mean, people come to us like, are you you’re going to lose on me. I’m like, we probably will. And they start spreading that we’ve had people challenge I’m gonna have six burgers, seven hot dogs. I’m like, good luck. Good luck on that. So I think that’s a great thing. If people can say that the value is so outrageous, then that’s what’s the what’s better marketing than that.
David Ralph [35:17]
Yeah, no, I can see that point of view. But and I suppose financially, not everyone’s going to eat six or seven hotdogs and burgers.
Jesse Cole [35:24]
Correct. And there’s kids that aren’t going to eat that much. And some people buy the tickets aren’t even going to show up. So there are there are secrets to the business model that makes it work. It makes it financial, we ran all the numbers. We know the worst case scenario. And the worst case scenario doesn’t kill us. So that doesn’t kill us then rock and roll. And like that’s like every restaurant should think about that, too. Instead of trying to maximize the amount of dollars they can get out of their people maximize the experience they can give them and then the dollars take care of itself.
David Ralph [35:51]
I’m a member going to a restaurant many years ago it was Planet Hollywood. And it was a big thing in the United Kingdom for a while and I think they had them all over the world. And it was Stallone Swartz nega and Bruce Willis from memory, and you’d go there and there would be merchandise on the wall. And there was a big promotion. So we’d go there. And you realize that other than seeing an item on the wall, there was no nothing to actually extend that experience. There was nothing better than going to, you know, McDonald’s, really, it was a burger, it was fries with a bit of merchandise scattered around. And ultimately, that company went belly up. As we say, in the United Kingdom, he went bankrupt, and they stopped. So what you’re doing is basically you’re looking at everything and the saying, if this is starting to get boring, we need to ramp it up. If this is not what the consumer is wanting anymore, because I’ve got to the level of acceptance. They know what it’s all about. We’ve got to ramp it up.
Jesse Cole [36:52]
Yeah, I understand. You could package it in so you can actually package it all. You’re going to come to a baseball game for us, you’re gonna get baseball, you’re going to get concerts, we have a 30 people pep band at a baseball game, you’re going to get concerts, you’re going to get dancing, you’re going to get giveaways, we throw underwear in the crowds, we throw like I said, we give away porta Johns colon cleanses, and you’re going to get all your food. Theoretically, what we’re doing is we’re charging way too little, we should be charging more. But again, when you package everything, whatever your company is, it that’s where it’s at. It’s don’t just come to get a meal, don’t just come to get this one thing but get so much more. And it sounds crazy. But it’s actually it makes sense. And you can charge a lot more that way as well. Okay, so just before we move you seamlessly to the end of the show.
David Ralph [37:33]
Where’s he going? Now? You’ve got the Grizzlies, you’ve got the anonymous? Yeah, um, first of all two questions. Number one is, are there other people looking at your business model now? And mimicking it? Or are you still out on your own?
Jesse Cole [37:48]
No, I hope more every day, you know, I’ve been fortunate been speaking all over and working with companies. And I’m saying guys, copy everything and make it your own. I hope more are from a sports industry. Yeah, the minor league baseball and some other ones do a good job. But they still have red tape. You know, for us, we’re just trying to look at how can we do even more crazy things without the red tape. So people are copying it. But we want to try to take it even bigger. We want to make it worldwide. We want to travel and bring the show everywhere. We want to start using our media circles to actually get more people to see it. So we’ve got a long way to go. And But to answer your question, I hope more people copy it. That’s the goal of the book. That’s the goal when I’m speaking, because I’ll tell you when people leave the stadium, you know, laughing their asses off. And literally just taking pictures and having the time of their life. That makes a huge, huge impact. And I think every company needs more of that.
David Ralph [38:36]
Okay, my last question is, it doesn’t matter how much you love your job, Jesse. It’s obvious, hopefully to everyone that I love what I’m doing, you love what you’re doing. But there is a time when that passion and that enthusiasm wears you out. You’re on the go over time because you love it. And you fascinated about how you can push the boundaries and move it on. How would you look after yourself how keep yourself fresh, how’d you allow yourself to lay on a beach every now and again reading a paper back and switching off.
Jesse Cole [39:09]
I think it goes into routines. I mean, I start every morning and I focus on my health I run I read I write I do my things to get energy. That helps me every day. But when it’s just constantly a grind, I forced myself to get into a new environment. So like for instance, in two weeks, I’m going to Disney World and literally going to get myself in a new environment and create space. I think so many people there in the business, they’re just going from thing to thing meeting to meeting to call to call at the end of the day, they’re worn out the most successful people I just read from Warren Buffett, he only takes one meeting a day and literally reads and gets out the rest of the day. That’s how you create space. So I challenge everyone you know, when you’re given day, can you go for a short walk in the middle of the day for 30 minutes, can you get out of the beaten path. And that’s worked for me when I can get create space and start thinking just more in a relaxed sense, that makes a big difference.
David Ralph [39:57]
But let’s hear the words now from a guy who really did set the world alive. And he did things in a very different way. This is Steve Jobs.
Unknown Speaker [40:04]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards. 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [40:40]
What are you doing what’s leading you now Jesse? What’s leading you?
Jesse Cole [40:44]
impact everything inspiration and impact. So we could talk about all the Crazy things I do in the fun. But again, I look at my why my purpose, why I’m doing what I’m doing. So every day that’s leading me How can I impact more people inspire more people be in front of more people make more people laugh. So that is what’s leading me and I don’t have a cure. Perfect outcome, a pure destination. But every day I know it’s getting somewhere like you say, connecting the dots. And soon there’ll be a lot of dots together, hopefully connecting and inspiring a lot of people.
David Ralph [41:14]
Now we ask this question to literally everyone you will have heard it if you’ve listened to the shows. But when you look back over your life to this point, most of us will have a big dot, a moment, a conversation, a situation that really spun us on our heels and made us see there was a different way of operating. Do you have a story like that?
Jesse Cole [41:34]
Yes, it was in you probably heard Simon cynic. It was 2011 I was at I was at a conference. And I first saw the start with why the how great leaders inspire action video. And I saw it I sprinted out of the conference, I left the entire conference, I watched that video that TED talk over and over and over again. And I started thinking about all the craziness that we’re doing, why we’re doing it, what’s the impact, and on their a guy wrote Simon, a thank you letter. And about a month later, I’m driving and I get a phone call. And it says, I go Hello. And he goes, Jesse, this is Simon cynic here and I go shut up Who is this? He goes, it’s Simon cynic. And I go, Simon, I’m blown away, you’re real. And he goes, I just want to tell you your letter inspired me so much that I just want to call you and thank you I go. Are you kidding me? You’re inspiring people every day. But what he said is Jesse, I get inspired by people like you. And that’s why I do what I do. So I just wanted to thank you. And so it blew me away from that whole interaction with Simon that he is trying to inspire. And he continues to look at the little things and how to inspire more people. And so that’s changed everything I’ve done and it makes even all these crazy things we do it makes it makes sense. So that’s a moment that I’ll never forget with Simon cynic.
David Ralph [42:44]
He’s a great video it is. I’ve often wondered with Simon, whether he it’s an albatross around his neck now, whether we can actually pre himself on that whether he gets fed up with start with why it’s such a brilliant presentation. It’s great concept. But you kind of think is that a highlights reel, but nobody will allow you to move away from?
Jesse Cole [43:06]
Yes, yeah, yeah. And I think he is moving away from I think he’s looking at leadership, he’s gonna do a new books, leaders eat last and together is better. But I think that was his huge moment and starting point. And I think you’ll always be guided by it. But I know what you’re saying you never want to be stuck to one thing.
David Ralph [43:21]
Well, I’m stuck with one thing, because I’m stuck with playing a sermon on the mic music because this is the part of the short show that we lead up to every time. And when we send you back in time to have a one on one with the younger Jessie. And if you could go back in time and speak to that person. What age would you choose? And what advice would you give? Well, we’re gonna find out because we’re going to play the theme. And when it Phaedra This is the Sermon on the mic.
Jesse Cole [43:55]
Show. Rock and Roll. All right after feeling that now I am ready. I would go back to right as 22 years old graduating college, and I would have said I’m going to surround myself with the best possible people as a favorite quote from Jim Rome, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, I would have sped up my development and gone directly to the source, I would have tried to meet with Vince McMahon in WWE, I would have tried to meet with anybody here from the circus, Olay and circus I would have tried to draw directly to the best influencers, because I think what I did for 11 years was learn everything on my own, which is valuable. But again, go to the source learn from the best. That’s what I would have done immediately back when I was 22 years old. Right advice?
David Ralph [44:50]
So Jesse, for everyone who’s listening today. Number one, can they get a ticket? Or are they on a waiting list until they’re 60?
Jesse Cole [45:00]
I don’t know if it’s the 60. But we’ll see. Yes, we are in a waiting list for all of our tickets are Savannah bananas. But one one advice I would say find your yellow tux how to be successful by standing out that book just came out a couple weeks ago, it’s had a great response. It’s how to stand out in any business, how to stand out in your life. And that’s a great guide and go to my website, find your yellow tux.com. And I think that’s the best way to connect with me.
David Ralph [45:23]
Well, we were going to ask that you’ve already told us that. So all the links will be on the show notes. Jesse, thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining up those dots. Please come back again, when you’ve got more dots open on this to join us as I believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Jessica, thank you so much.
Jesse Cole [45:43]
Thank you, I love what you’re doing on the a great show.
David Ralph [45:48]
So you think you can’t have fun in your life, you think you can’t go to work and shake it up. And just it’s been inspiring and entertaining, and do things a different way. Now Jesse could have sat there and said well be is what baseball is all about. This is what it’s always been about. I can’t mess around with it. But he did. He messed around with it. And he’s created something which is an amazing success. I love the fact that he is passionate impact. First, I think that is how to grow a business. When you can impact as many people as you can, then you’re really doing something amazing, which is what we are trying to do at join adults, we’re trying to impact a million people to start creating our own business, get their own dream life and do things their own way. So if you want to connect with us at our free coaching at dream starters Academy, you can go to the Facebook at join up dots and connect at the link at the top of the page. And I will see you there and we’ll get you into the fold and start seeing how we can change your life as well. A million people we’re aiming for. And it’s just a start. Until next time. Thank you so much for listening, and I’ll be here again,
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how to life is going to be but somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. join up dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK David Ralph