Entrepreneur Tim Staples joined me to talk about his hard-fought wisdom and experience, a reminder to place your bets carefully, and how to always be prepared for change.
I like to think of passion as like a metal detector for where the good stuff is.” – Tim Staples
Tim Staples has carved a space for himself in the marketing and advertising world, first in sports, then in the entertainment industry, and now with major brands like Pepsi, AT&T, MARS, Adobe and The Olympics. He has an “… unprecedented track record of creating some of the biggest hits in digital marketing.”
But it all nearly fell apart when he started out on his own and realized there was more to entrepreneurship than just taking the leap.
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In this episode Michael and Tim talked about:
- How to build emotional storytelling in a digital world
- Why humility and taking risks go hand-in-hand
- Lessons along the path to becoming a “sage of content, ideas, and disruption”
- The best way to learn how to swim
- How to host 40 celebrity events in 60 days
- The origins of Shareability and rise of the YouTube machine
- And more!
Michael Redd: The lesson for me, and this really made me think about it and live it is it's not just about placing the bet and making the jump. And I think for people like me, it's like, what's the right bet? And what's the right jump? Because if you don't have that figured out, all the bravery in the world, isn't going to get you anywhere.
Michael Redd: Hey everybody, this is Michael Redd and welcome to the Betting On Yourself podcast, where I interview successful entrepreneurs, athletes, and other top performers who Rose to the top, took success into their own hands and bet on themselves. On today's episode, I'm talking with Tim Staples, an entrepreneur who knows firsthand how risky and difficult it can be to bet on yourself. He's carved the space for himself in the marketing and advertising world. First in sports, then in the entertainment industry, and now with major brands like Pepsi, AT&T, and Mars, Adobe, and the Olympics, but it all nearly fell apart. When he started out on his own and realized there was more to entrepreneurship and just taking the leap. I got so much out of our conversation and I especially loved his point about how humility and taking risks work together, which I had never heard anyone talk about on the shopping floor. He's the real deal, and I can't wait for you to dive in. Here's my conversation with Tim Staples.
Michael Redd: Tim Staples, My brother.
Tim Staples: How are you doing?
Michael Redd: What's up, man?
Tim Staples: I'm doing good, man. I'm just excited to be here with you.
Michael Redd: As always, man, this will be no different than our typical conversations that we've had throughout the years. In fact, you actually planted the seed for me to even begin this whole podcast world a couple of years back. And for all our listeners, I'm pretty private person and then Tim brought some exposure to me through our partnership. So I appreciate you even planting the seed for me to even do this, man.
Tim Staples: Yeah. It's cool to watch it grow, man. It was just an idea few years ago. And now it's the real deal. You're doing it in a big way, man. Congrats.
Michael Redd: Thank you, buddy. Thank you. May I give you a lot of the credit man? It's good to have you on man and we've been friends for four years, five years, and just so appreciate our relationship and I've learned so much from you in the whole digital internet content world type thing, but the podcast was about betting on yourself. And now I want to talk to you about and ask you, what has it meant to you to bet on yourself?
Tim Staples: Yeah, I was thinking about this last night and I was struggling with it a bit and my brain always circles around it for a while. And then finally I came to a conclusion and it surprised me a little bit and necessarily in a good way. It was a little bit of interesting journey. So I'll tell you the story. As you know, I started my career at a company called the Marketing Arm and so they worked with athletes, marketing athletes and, a lot of big names in the NBA and NFL. We didn't know each other back those days, but worked a lot with a lot of your associates. People like Scotty Pippin and Richard Hamilton and others. And it was a really cool company and I got exposed to a lot of really neat things for a young guy in terms of the sports world and the world of influence and big brands and how those two came together, which has been foundational for me is I've gone on with my career.
Tim Staples: And then we ended up selling the company to a company called Omnicom and I played a small role in that and I was a small partner in the business. And at the end of that, it was just time for me to do what's next. And so I had a lot of thoughts about what I wanted to do. Ultimately, I wanted to move to California and LA and get into the entertainment business. I thought there was an opportunity to do the same thing that the Marketing Arm had done in sports, but doing it in an entertainment. So it was gearing up to this big moment of taking that bet on myself. And at the time I had a couple big job offers where I could have went to New York on a job that was way over my pay grade and I had a big job offer in Dallas and didn't really even think about it. I just thought, hey, I always knew I wanted to do something myself and go out.
Tim Staples: But where it gets interesting, I had an associate of mine at the Marketing Arm and we were like, we were so good together. I always say we were like peanut butter and jelly. Like we just made each other better. And this guy was a brilliant guy and I just knew that him and I together, we could go conquer the world. And so we plotted, starting a company. A company that ended up being my company converge that you know about. And as we started to talk about building that company, it was funny, man. We had all these really deep conversations and we were asking each other, all these questions, but we were asking very different questions. The questions I was asking was like, hey, where are we going to get office space? What's the logo going to look like? When are we going to start? And the questions that this other guy was asking were like, "Hey, what's the business plan? How are we going to drive revenue? What is the financial model look like? And so we were going back and forth and back and forth.
Tim Staples: And I remember there was this one day when he asked me for like the eighth time what the business model was. And I just looked at him and I said... I kind of snapped almost. I said, listen, the business model is we're going to jump and we're going to figure it out. And he looked at me like I was a little bit crazy. And so anyway, as we got into it and then the deadline came, we were like we're going to jump or not jump, and I jumped and he didn't. And so it was like this moment. So I started converge, I moved to Los Angeles. And at the time I was a little bit hurt that he hadn't jumped with me. And I was a little bit like, "Ah, you got to bet on yourself, right?" That's the lesson and why wasn't he willing to do that? And look negatively on him for doing that.
Tim Staples: And then, fast forward three or four months later, I'd started converge. I was sitting in a little but big for me, empty office. Nobody was calling. I was sitting there by myself, looking out the window in Venice, California. I didn't know anyone in the entertainment business. I had no business model whatsoever. I had no clients and I was just sitting there in silence going, wow, he was right. He was absolutely right. And I think for me, I think some people are just wired for taking risks and I think they're wired to go jump and I've always been that way, but I think the lesson for me, and this really made me think about it and live it is, it's not just about placing the bet and making the jump.
Tim Staples: And I think for people like me, it's like, what's the right bet? And what's the right jump? Because if you don't have that figured out, all the bravery in the world isn't going to get you anywhere. And that was something that hit me hard when I was thinking about it last night is, there's a humility to the betting on yourself, right? We always talk about the bravado and we romanticize it, but there's also a humility and a preparation that has to go into it, because if you don't have that piece, you're in for a lot of pain.
Michael Redd: That's such a powerful point. I think the first time I've ever heard that point on this podcast, and you can share about that more like, it's not enough for you to just jump off the grand Canyon and just jump. And there's no glory in that without an actual plan. You articulated that so perfectly, man. Go deeper than that. That's a great point.
Tim Staples: Yeah. I think there's a lot of entrepreneurial porn right now where everybody needs to be this leader and this entrepreneur and you shouldn't be in this boring job and you should go out and start a company and raise venture financing. And I think that's all well and good in the right perspective. And some people need that kind of push, right? Like some people are wired for [inaudible 00:08:47] the same way, but they're really talented and they're really prepared and they just need a little push. But I think there are a lot of other people that might be dangerous advice, right? And it might be people that aren't ready to take that jump. And then when they take that jump, it's not as fun as romantic as maybe they thought.
Tim Staples: And I experienced that firsthand. I was just always a believer. I was always going to start my own thing. It was just something, it was the way I was wired. So that wasn't the problem for me. The problem was, was I ready? And did I have the right plan to go execute against that passion and that vision? And that's where it all kind of comes together. And so as I've gotten a little bit older and maybe a little bit more mature, that's the piece that's really registered for me.
Michael Redd: How important is identity? Like knowing who you are compared to going with the wave of the culture, right? The entrepreneurial culture and the evangelists out there that are promoting what you said as far as taking risk and being cavalier. How important is identity within that? Like knowing who you are.
Tim Staples: I think identity is everything. Coming up in the profession that you came up in, everybody's trying to make you into some other reference of a player that has succeeded before, right? And you get compared. If you get drafted, you're going to get compared to whoever was the superstar of the moment or the role-play of the moment or the sixth man of the moment or whatever that might've been and they try to put you in that box. And I think that causes more pain for more people than anything else. Maybe world is that kind of expectation and putting people in a box. I think for me, everybody always talks about passion and find your passion and got to discover your passion. And I think that's good. And I think that's right.
Tim Staples: I like to think of passion as like a metal detector for where the good stuff is. And it's not just about like, oh, I'm passionate, I'm going to go become a NBA basketball player, or I'm going to start my own company. I think for me, passion is about like, how do you feel in certain situations, right? And how do you think about your energy when you meet certain people or you talk about certain topics, and then how do you tune into that and always try to align yourself with the stuff that gets you excited and elevates your game. But I think you got to find it your way, right? Like if you try to do it the way someone else did it, you're probably going to be half as good and take you twice as long. But if you do it in the way that only you can, now that's when you unlock the whole deal and I got to be curious how you think about that, Mike. Because you are coming up, [inaudible 00:11:38] you were prepared, you're compared to a lot of players when you're coming up and how that impacted how you thought about how you got there.
Michael Redd: You've talked about this. It was an insult for me and my rookie year for somebody to try to compare me to Ray Allen, not that he's not a great player, but like his mechanics, his build, how he shoots. And I was like, "No, I'm who I am." I remember certain coach saying, you need to be like Ray Allen and not as far as what he accomplished, but as far as how he accomplished it and things of that nature. And certainly he was a mentor of mine. I love Ray, but I had to find and be comfortable with who I was. I'm left-handed, I have a Slingshot, I have a jump shot. I'm built differently. And I was comfortable with who I was, and it was insulting to me to have someone try to change who I was to fit into the box of how they thought I should be. And so it worked out that by betting on myself and believing in me and my identity who I was that it would work out. And so if that makes sense.
Tim Staples: 1000%, man. And that that's the power, right? And I think that's ultimately what this podcast is about is, it's about betting on yourself, but it's also about finding that thing within you that you can bet on because that's going to be different for everybody.
Michael Redd: That's right. That's a great comment, man. Me and you are connected obviously as partners, but also with the Milwaukee tie as well. And this mentality that you have, man, was this fostered in your home with your family, as far as the ability to take risk and bet on yourself and be an entrepreneur? Where did that come from?
Tim Staples: Yeah. And first off, Milwaukee, I've worked with a lot of athletes and now celebrities and musicians in my career and a lot of big names and that's cool in its own. But I got to tell you, man, I don't think I was excited to meet anybody is when I heard I was going to meet Mike Redd. I grew up in Milwaukee in the suburbs. I was a Bucks fan from a very early age. Seeing the big three kind of come up, right before you got there and right when you got there. That was like prime time, Milwaukee Bucks. And then when that came apart with Ray and Big Dog and then it was your show man.
Tim Staples: And that was right after I was coming out of college and I was a big fan. I always admired, not just what you did, but the way you did it. And so when I heard that you were investing in tech companies and I remember a good friend, Stewart had talked about you and we were talking about a bunch of people, but I just kept going back. Now, when again are we going to hook up with Mike? So that's been really cool, man. But I grew up in Milwaukee and I think there's something to be said for Midwest roots. You're from Columbus, you spend most of your life in the Midwest. There's just a different type of person, right? And it's not better or worse. It's just different.
Tim Staples: And I think people from the mid West are just wired a certain way. They're fairly grounded, they tend to value their word and they tend to work pretty hard, right? And I've been on the East coast and the West coast now, the West coast for awhile. And there's great people here, there's really talented people here. Some really creative people here, but it's just different. And I've just found, as I've built companies, I've tend to try to find people from the Midwest because you know what you're getting, and there's a very clear line to how they think about the world in a good way for me, at least.
Tim Staples: So growing up there, it was a little bit of that. And then, my dad, Jim Staples, he was always a entrepreneur. Before it was cool to be an entrepreneur. He ran a small ad agency out of Milwaukee. So you can't help, but learn those lessons when you're growing up, right? Like your dad's is not working at some big corporation or he's not a lawyer he's out there, like strapping it out and making things happen and you see the product of his work and you also see the stress of it when he comes home and he's having a rough day or whatever that might be. So that was definitely ingrained in the DNA at an early age.
Michael Redd: Were you always into advertising as a kid? Because I'm going to rattle off your resume and the things that you've been able to accomplish up till now, which has been so impressive with Shareability and converge and let you talk more about that. Were you always in advertising?
Tim Staples: It's funny. After I figured out I wasn't going to be Michael Redd part two, I just always liked ideas. I think if everybody has a superpower, my superpower is just connecting dots. I feel good about like bringing different ideas together and forming a new idea and I think that's what I've always been able to do. And so I knew I wanted to do something in the creative field and then with my dad being in advertising, I think that stuff has a bigger impact than you think. And so growing up, I was looking at like, hey, these guys that were creating these crazy cool commercials for Nike or McDonald's and I just thought that would be a pretty cool life.
Michael Redd: Yeah, it's been a true honor, man, to be in your life and to be a partner with you on the endeavors that we're working on. And I was honored to be a part man, as you were with me. And so I often refer to you as a serge of ideas, content and disruption. And it's so funny because you're so knowledgeable about this stuff. You went to school in Missouri and you were a writer. How did that foundation in journalism help you for today?
Tim Staples: Yeah. The university of Missouri has a really good journalism school. And when I went in the mid '90s, journalism was still like a thing. You know what I mean? They taught hardcore journalism. It's a little different today. And then there was an advertising group there and I got so lucky man. The advertising group was great. But when I became a junior, this guy from Leo Burnett, which is one of the big ad agencies that did all the McDonald's stuff and United and all these big brands, this guy was the global chief creative president. His name was Jack Smith and he retired and he moved back to Columbia, Missouri, this little college town where he went to school and he taught one class in advertising. And I just happened to get lucky to be in that class.
Tim Staples: And that's what opened up my whole world was just like learning from somebody at that level. It's one thing to teach it, it's another thing to be been living it for the last 30 years. And then tactically speaking, he introduced me to his son who was a partner at this sports company out of Dallas called the Marketing Arm. And that's actually how I found my way into the sports business. But the biggest takeaway for me, Mike, going into the sports business, I always think there's an opportunity, everybody, like, oh, I'm creative. I'm going to go to Hollywood. I'm going to be a director or a producer or a writer.
Tim Staples: Well, you go to Hollywood, you're competing against the best producers and writers and directors in the world, right? That's the best basketball player, you got to be the best of the best if you want to make it to the NBA. Well, I found going into the sports business, you are more on the marketing and deal side, it weren't the most creative people, they weren't the best writers. And so if I could take my background as a creative and a writer and apply to a field where they didn't have that skillset, maybe I could get a little further, a little faster.
Michael Redd: Wow. So you fast forward, you leave the sports agency or Omnicom comes in into play and you leave that to do your own thing, to make another big bet on yourself. Talk about that and the genesis of Converge leading into Share-ability.
Tim Staples: Yeah. So with Converge, without the business plan, when I went flying in to that, I think the flip side of that is the best way to teach a young kid to swim is just to throw them in the deep end of the pool. It may not be pretty, and they're going to flail and whatever, but they're going to learn how to get to the side of the pool. And I think that's what it was for me is just like, yeah, listen, there's just no other way to learn it than just to learn it. And so I had this vision for how to build an entertainment company, an entertainment marketing company. What I ended up building was very different than what I thought it was going to be. But I found myself getting into some instinct situations and some of my friends joke, they call me... I don't know if this is a compliment or not, but they call me the poor man's forest gump.
Tim Staples: It means I just find myself by either by luck or skill or happenstance in these really weird and instinct situations often with some instruct people. And so just the early days of Converge and I partnered up with a young guy by the name of Matt Wind. and we just got into some really weird, fun, cool stuff and we figured out this model in Hollywood where like all these celebrities and studios and record labels, they were going through a recession in like mid 2000, like 2007, 2008. And they didn't have a lot of money that they were spending on promotional stuff. So like events and PR. And so I figured out a way to start underwriting that promotion for these celebrities, with big brands and being that connection point.
Tim Staples: And so it was this whole new model that no one had ever really done before. And so if Jamie Fox wanted to throw a party to launch his show on Sirius Satellite Radio, the Sirius Satellite Radio didn't want to pay for that event. So I would bring in brand money to go pay for it. And then Jamie Fox would support that brand in a barter fashion. And so that was the model sounds really simple, and it took us and all this crazy stuff, man. I remember one of the early hits, like the breakthrough moment is we threw a Grammy's party, it was in 2007, I want to say. We threw a Grammys party with Jermaine Dupri and Mariah Carey. And Mariah was up for seven Grammys, and it just ended up being like the hottest party of the Grammys.
Tim Staples: And we had everybody, man, we had to shut it down. We had like 200 celebrities and everybody from Jay Z to Joaquin Phoenix and Paris Hilton and it was just nuts. And that was the credibility chip and then everybody wanted to play. And so we, Matt and I, and some others, we took over a house in Malibu, this big, expensive beach house in Malibu and we hosted 40 celebrity events in 60 days, all underwriting with brand money. Brand called LG. We called it the LG house. And so it was the Kardashians, it was Jamie Fox, it was Sylvester Stallone, it was the cast of the office, it was Miley Cyrus. You name it, man. It was just like 60 days of chaos. And that was the big moment where it was like, all right, well, this thing is really happening for real.
Michael Redd: When did you see sharing content really take off? Was it around that timeframe?
Tim Staples: It was exactly that time, man. So I was sitting in this house. This was 2008 and then we did it again in 2009. And it was right when social media was just starting to go, but it really hadn't hit like critical mass. Normal people weren't on their phones. Because the smartphone was just starting to happen around that time. So all this nexus of crazy technology was just starting to happen. But every day, especially these younger celebrities, when Paris Hilton or the Kardashians or Miley would show up and a lot of it was MySpace at the time, early days of Facebook.
Tim Staples: But they'd be posting online and I would watch, because we'd bring like Access Hollywood or People Magazine and all these big publications to cover these events. And that would be great. And a 500,000 million people might see that. And then Miley put up a post on Myspace and 5 million people would see it. And it didn't involve anything. It was just her talking to her fans. And it was just like this moment, man, which just blew my mind. I was like, wow, this is the future. I'm seeing this every day. It's undeniable. I've got to get in the middle of this because this is going to change everything.
Michael Redd: Wow. And that began your journey for going into the whole digital content and social media play. Talk about that. And was it simultaneously when digital was taken off as well?
Tim Staples: Yeah, so that 2008, 2009, 2010 is when I first jumped in the water and we were able to take that house. We did in Malibu the next year we took it down to Cabo San Lucas, and I was able to sell it as a television show on the Enetwork. So we did eight hour shows with people like 50 Cent and [inaudible 00:25:48] and the Kardashians and others. But that was our first big moment in the content. And it really opened my eyes because up until that point, I thought production, like Hollywood production was like this magical art that nobody could master, unless you lived in Hollywood and been there for 20 years. And I realized from that show, it was like, it's not that hard and I wasn't particularly happy with the way that they executed that show.
Tim Staples: And so it was just a moment for me. A betting on myself moment, I was like, all right, well, I think it's time to build this out ourselves. And it just takes a little bit of a commitment and resources to go do that. So then like 2010, 2011, 2012, those were the weird years where it was like, I was figuring it out. And we were forced camping into all kinds of weird mincing things. We packaged the first original scripted show for Hulu, was Shaquille O'Neal. It was a show that was called Ballerz with a Z. Before Ballerz hit [inaudible 00:26:52] we did the original Ballerz with Shack. And then we did all kinds of crazy stuff and all of it was like this really wild, like really too early moment and a lot of it crashed and burned, like the Shaq show at Hulu, it got sold and then it got hit a roadblock and went up in flames.
Tim Staples: But I was just trying a bunch of stuff and seeing what was working and just really exploring. And then the real breakthrough on that was we met some young guys from Utah that were just killing it on YouTube. This young guy, camera man wearing and a bunch of these guys, these young Mormon guys out of Utah. And they really understood YouTube, which was rare at the time and how it worked and like how the back end of it worked. And so we acquired that company and put that together. So with our packaging and creative and celebrity relationships, and then we put that together with this unbelievable YouTube machine and that was the genesis of Shareability.
Michael Redd: And so Shareability starts in 2014 and working with global brands and studios and digital influencers to create and distribute content that people love to share. Talk about that success and I know you as one of the premier launches of content and videos on the internet. Some of the most viral videos around the world have come through Shareability. So talk about that genesis and that journey since you started it.
Tim Staples: Yeah, when we started Shareability, it was really all about how to make brands go viral on YouTube. It was a very clear, and I learned my lesson by that point. I'm like how to build the business model and how to be very focused. And we had a lot of success. People say you can't go viral or it's like catching lightning in a bottle, but we've had like 60 or 70 viral hits. It was this crazy stat, getting to the front page of YouTube is like this Holy grail. And I think the odds we calculated at one time, it was like one in 2 million on any given day to get to the front page of YouTube. And as a company, I think we've done it like 35 times.
Tim Staples: So, there's definitely some art and some science to all of it. And I think we've just learned what are the dynamics that get people to lean forward? What are the dynamics that get people to engage with content? And then what are the dynamics of the Holy grail is like, get someone to share content, right? That's why we call it Shareability because if you can get people to share your content and your message, that's the goal and especially in this age where people are getting bombarded from a thousand different directions every day, how do you create content and stories that really connect with people and bring them into your world and partner with them, right? Because then they become your partners to go spread that content. And that's where we just had a lot of success. We started working with little brands and made them bigger brands through these methods. And then the big brands started coming calling and we work with the Pepsi's and the Adobes and the AT&Ts of the world, helping them tell stories in a digital world and really connect with people and consumers in a different way.
Michael Redd: Yeah. I think your videos have produced over 5 billion views, is that correct?
Tim Staples: That sounds right.
Michael Redd: That's a lot of views.
Tim Staples: Yeah. And I think the thing that I'm proud of the views, the views are great, and they show a metric where the real success comes from. If you can build emotional connection and you know that your whole career life has been around this, but if you can build emotional connection, it just changes everything. And I just feel like for brands, the last 30, 40 years has really been about products. What are my products? And then I just blare out a message around those products, which is called advertising, right? And I think that's getting harder and harder when people have these smartphones and they have a lot of options that they can avoid those ads or skip those ads or not pay attention to those ads.
Tim Staples: And I just feel like the future is not going to be about product. It's all going to be about story and who can break through the noise of all this madness and tell the stories that get people to lean forward and be a part of it. And that's the super power. That's what we're going all in on is like, how do you tell stories in a digital world? How do you connect story in technology and story in social media in a way where you can build those connections. Because if you can build the connections, man, you can do anything. And you you can build brands but you can also get out really important messages and do your part to create some change in the world. And that's what drives me is, I just really passionate about the idea of story and how that story can be a really powerful agent for good.
Michael Redd: You ought to say and one of the no-nos is you can't build a brand around you and it can't be about you, talk about that for a second.
Tim Staples: Yeah. So in the book that I wrote, a lot of the first chapters are about a concept that called focus on value. And so it's just the default mechanism a lot of people and a lot of brands is to say, "Hey, look at me, I'm great and now I'm going to project that image about me and what are my features that you're going to love?" So if I'm a brand and I'm a beverage brand, I'm going to say, "Hey, I taste really great and I've got low carbs and it's good for you and whatever." And I'm going to sell you that message.
Tim Staples: In 20 years ago, that might've been fine when you're running on friends on NBC with 15 million people watching every Thursday night, but just in the world we live in, people just don't have time for that. So it's just, how do you think about that differently and flip the script and say, okay, I'm not going to focus on me, I'm going to focus on the audience I want to reach. What do they want and what could I give them in my unique voice that they would find valuable? And I think if you can make that flip and flip it from the me, me to them, them and work backwards from there, that's where everything starts to change.
Michael Redd: That's so good because in the book you talk about value and the voice. Figuring out the value and the voice. And the book, by the way, is called Break Through The Noise, the nine rules to capture global attention. What made you jump into being an author?
Tim Staples: I [inaudible 00:33:56] it, man.
Michael Redd: [inaudible 00:34:00].
Tim Staples: It was one of those weird things where my business partner go by the name Nick Reed, he was a big Hollywood agent and came from the Hollywood space and then got burnt out on that world. And one of his clients was a writer, a really talented writer that has written, I think, four or five New York Time bestselling books. And Nick just said, "Hey, you should meet with this guy and see if it goes anywhere.? And I was just like, whatever, I was super busy with building Shareability and it just wasn't that interesting. And I sat down with this guy, we just had a really great conversation. And it took off. And the next thing he was like, "Hey, let's build a treatment together." And he go through this whole process to build a book and I learned a lot because I'd never been through it. And then the next thing you know, we're out with an agent pitching publishers and it just all happened really fast.
Michael Redd: That's amazing. So I'm sure those big two coming out pretty soon.
Tim Staples: Yeah, I'm working on that. I will say by the way. And you know [inaudible 00:34:59] he has written books and the weirdest part about writing a book, you think, oh man, this is going to be cool. I'm writing my book and then it's getting pitched to publishers. Isn't that awesome? And then the rejection started coming in.
Michael Redd: Yeah.
Tim Staples: It was brutal. It was absolutely brutal going through that process. Because most people are going to say no, if you pitched 50 publishers, most of them are going to say, no, you just got to find the one yes. But it can be a pretty humiliating process when you go through it.
Michael Redd: Yeah. You partnered with my wife on her campaign and she had tremendous success from it. One of the most impressive things for me about you and Shareability is your ability to embrace team. You have a phenomenal team that you work with. Talk about how important that is.
Tim Staples: The one constant in our business that's absolute and I think we've always embraced is that, everything changes all the time. And the internet just evolves so quickly and the social media platforms just evolve so quickly. Think about the last five years of how we've gone from YouTube to Facebook, to Instagram, now with Tik Tok and that's just in the last five years in terms of the hot platforms and then the algorithms change and evolve on a daily basis. So you just have to be wired in and constantly evolving. So that's cool for a guy like me, it keeps you young, but the flip side of that is, you can't do it yourself, right? And there's just no way you can stay up on top of that without just a really good team of people and especially people that are of the age and have the mindset to really understand what's going on in that world.
Tim Staples: You can't replicate how a 22 year old thinks right about social media or Tik Tok, you can't do it in a boardroom. And so having that young talent and cultivating that, is everything in my business, but the flip side of that too, is there's all this attention on all these young people and they're doing all these awesome things. You need the flip of it, which is of older people that have been there that have lived it that know how to focus and know how to harness things. And it can really pull things together because it can be a little chaotic when you're dealing with the 22 year old or the 26 year old and you need a little bit of that steadying force. So yeah, the concept of team and a constant evolution is a big piece of how we think about building what we are building.
Michael Redd: And you guys have some really unique exercises among yourselves that I participated in. Talk about the bonding that you guys engage in.
Tim Staples: Yeah. Thanks for bringing that up, man, because it makes me stumer. Yeah, everybody has their journey, man. And for me, when I was going through early entrepreneurship days 10 years ago, I think a lot of people were like, you're just thrown in the deep end of the pool and is stressful. And it creates a lot of stress on you and it creates a lot of stress on your family. And you always talk about the good parts, and I said, the entrepreneurial porn and all the glory, but man, there's a lot of pain along the way. And so I had this place about six, seven years ago where I was just really coming unglued a little bit physically and mentally. Just it was too much and things were happening, but it was just too much and it wasn't good for me and it wasn't good for my family. And so just at that time, man, often happens. I got introduced to this guy. His name is Dr. John.
Michael Redd: Yes.
Tim Staples: And he was just the perfect person at the perfect moment. And we all have that, but he's a, he's a Korean doctor in Southern California. He runs a practice called Renew Me. But he's really like a wellness guru, is how I would explain him. And he's like the Michael Jordan of wellness to me. And there's a lot of people that are out there that have big profiles that are selling the dream out on social media, but this is the guy that's actually doing it and has the magic and just he does acupuncture and meditation. And so without going too long, I was hitting the wall and I found this guy and he just completely changed my life. He changed about how I managed my day to day and how I thought about stress. He changed how I thought about building teams and building unity and what that means and how you have to invest in that.
Tim Staples: And it just had a fundamental change on me and I think the company. And so what you're referring to is every Wednesday, a little different now with COVID, but we would get together in the office, the whole team and Dr. Kim would lead us on a session that is like one part these crazy Korean exercises like that exercise meets, martial art type vibe. And then we would do a group meditation session and just a really bonding session. And he would give us a lesson each week relating to team and bonding. And then on the back of that, we would go into our work and we would celebrate what's going on that week and talk about anything we needed to talk about, but just really elevating the bonding experience in a very unique way with Dr. Kim at the head.
Michael Redd: It's a powerful experience. Trust me listeners, it's a powerful experience. Dr. Kim is the man. Speaking of COVID, how has this been for you dealing with the team, the business with COVID and then obviously to a year where we're seeing a lot with the social unrest. How have you guys been able to handle all of that?
Tim Staples: Yeah. What a wild one. I think on the good side, the good news for us is that everybody's on social media and on the internet pretty much all day, Redd. So I think for brands that we're paying lip service, we got to change our strategy and we got to build out a digital business. I think COVID was like, all right, it's time. They didn't have a choice. So the business side is actually booming for us right now, just because everybody's having to figure out how to tell stories in this digital world. And like, how do you drive E-commerce when people can't go into a physical store. So that's actually, it's worked out well for us being in the right place at the right time.
Tim Staples: The second side of it is like the people side. And we were so connected as a company in doing these weekly sessions and really bonded and like, how do you maintain that when you have real distance and you're not seeing people on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. And so that part's been harder and we've been trying to figure it out and we do our weekly Zoom calls and do a lot of the same things, but it's just not the same. You need that personal connection and that physical connection. So we're still figuring all that out and I think it's been hard for everybody. But I feel really fortunate that we're in a space where the wind is at our back. So that makes things easier.
Tim Staples: But yeah, it's been hard, man. And you and I have talked a lot about the social unrest side of it and I know that that's something that we both feel really deeply and just feel like how can we help? How can we help in a way that's going to be helpful and positive and not feed it into more division. Because there's enough of that. And so that's one thing I've always respected about you, Mike, is just the way you handle yourself and it's always about bringing people together and bringing positivity to the equation. I've said this to you before, but I just feel like that's a super power that's going to become the most needed superpower in the next 20 years. It's like, how do we start to heal some of these wounds and start to bring people together?
Michael Redd: You guys have been incredible as far as being a voice of diversity and tackling social issues and I applaud you on that, man which is why we're connected. Man, Shareability is on fire, you're blowing and going, man. Where do you see the landscape or the internet and platforms in the next five years? You've mentioned already what has happened within the last five years. Where do you see this going in the next five years?
Tim Staples: Yeah, the one thing I've learned is that you can have good predictions, but nobody knows. It changes so fast. And there's so many dynamics in play. Like trying to guess what's going to be the next hot platform or the next hot functionality is a little bit of a fool's errand. I've been wrong from that perspective, but I think the one thing... Two things, number one, as I said, whatever is going to change. So whatever's going on today is not going to be going on tomorrow at some level. So you got to be ready for that and don't get too comfortable. Everybody's like, oh, I made the shift from more broadcast and media to social media and that's good, but now I'm comfortable on Facebook and that's where I'm doing everything, but maybe Facebook is not going to be as relevant two years and thinking about how you evolve that strategy and stay eyes wide open.
Tim Staples: And then the second piece, as I said earlier is just no matter what happens, it's going to get noisier and noisier. So it's going to be all about the people that can tell the stories that break through. So it's just time. We got to all think about ourselves and our companies or where we work as a story. And either you're telling that story well or somebody else is. And I think we're just entering an age where the best story wins and so that's where we're placing our bets.
Michael Redd: The one constant is change. The ability to be portable and adaptable to pivot is so important, especially in your world. If you had to give your 16 year old self some advice, what would you tell yourself?
Tim Staples: Yeah, I think that's a good question, Mike. I know what I said earlier is using your passion like a metal detector, I think as you go into your career, you can get drawn to shiny objects. And in my career, I've been drawn to some shiny objects and I've found that some of the things that sound the biggest or with the biggest names attached can actually be the most challenging and lead to the biggest setbacks. Because a lot of times, you're so drawn to that shiny red ball that you don't like gut-check and listen to your gut for the way you normally would in terms of how you operate in that environment. And so I think I would tell my 16 year old self is, don't worry about the shiny red ball, use the passion like a metal detector and really trust your gut. And let it just all happen. It's a university, it all works itself out. So just let it happen, but just really lean into that things that make you smile, leaning into things and people that give you energy and just go for it.
Michael Redd: I am with this question. It's a great, great answer. I know you mentor young founders, young entrepreneurs, young leaders, what are you telling them and advising them in this time?
Tim Staples: Yeah, I think for me it's about the betting on yourself piece, right? I think a lot of people need to hear that and they need that push. I'm really focused on the guys that don't need to hear that, but need to hear what I learned, which is really put the same amount of passion into the operations and the planning as you put it into the idea and be really thoughtful. Like I said, I was out there just jumping off a ledge without a business plan and that sounds really awesome, but it's not really awesome in real life. And so if you have an idea you're passionate about and you want to make that jump, you'll put the same amount of thoughtfulness, the same amount of planning into how you're going to do it, and really stress test that, and really go deep. Much deeper than you think you need to. And it would just be so much better off. You would just get there faster and with with less pain.
Michael Redd: Tim has been a pleasure my brother. It has been an absolute pleasure and thank you so much for taking the time to be on the cast, man.
Tim Staples: Mike, you're the man, dude. I just want to say, I've worked with a lot of athletes and talent. I just found you, man, to be my favorite guy. And in terms of just like a guy that... The success you've had in the sports world, I think a lot of people when they transfer over in a different world, they just assume that they're on top of that world too and just the humility and the work that you put in on the business side, I've just been so impressed with, man. And I'm just really enthusiastic and excited to be a partner with you and I just really applaud the way you've gone about it. I tell people all the time, this is the guy that's doing it right, man. So I'm blessed to know you and I appreciate you spending the time.
Michael Redd: My brother, and more than poorly than anything, Tim is a fantastic family, man. He loves his wife and kids and that's the real reason why we're so linked and connected. So my man, it's a pleasure and to all our listeners, you are the secret to your success. Thank you for listening. What an incredible conversation with Tim. I feel so lucky that we got to have him on the show in here. I'm sure he's arc bought wisdom and experience is a reminder to make your best carefully and to always be prepared for change really stuck out to me. I hope you take everything he shared the heart. To see more of Tim's work, you can visit his company's website at shareability.com and follow him on Twitter @M-I-C-O-D-A-L-A. Thanks for listening and until next time, I'm Michael Redd. And remember you are the secret to your success.
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