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The Business Of Making Smiles With Jonny Greco | Ep. 17

BDD 17 | Jonny Greco

 

Do you ever wonder what makes WWE a legend in the sports entertainment industry? Jonny Greco, the current Vice President of Live Entertainment for the Seattle Kraken who has had immense experience working with WWE, boils it down to one vital factor: listening. Jonny explains that WWE is very fan-centric; it’s all about the business of making smiles! If you want to succeed in your industry, you have to listen to your people and adjust accordingly. Go out of your way to engage with your fans and make them happy! If you want inspiration on how you can expand your business and create satisfied customers, then this episode is for you. Tune in and learn valuable insights from the one and only Jonny Greco!

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The Business Of Making Smiles With Jonny Greco

We have a legend in the sports and entertainment world on the show as Jonny Greco joins us. Jonny is the VP of Live Entertainment for the Seattle Kraken. He was the former Live Event producer of WWE, the former Director of Video Production for the Cleveland Cavaliers, the VP of Entertainment for the Vegas Golden Knights. He even spent time with Carnival Cruise Lines and Madison Square Garden. A few of the topics we discussed on this show is the role of storytelling, music and narrative with the WWE, his five Es to create a great fan experience. We even hear lessons from working directly with LeBron James and we finished the episode with a fun game of yes, and. This is a great episode with the one and only entertaining, Jonny Greco.

Jonny, it’s great to have you on the show.

Jesse, I am so happy about this. We’ve dodged a few punches to get through this moment, but you and me together, this is something I’ve been looking forward to for a while.

We’re here, two entertainers. I heard of you about a couple of months ago and started diving in. I listened to every podcast. I go deep. I searched every Jonny Greco I could find. I was like, “I need more of this.” I was inspired by your background on how you are. I want to start with WWE because you spent a lot of time there. I want to start with some of the lessons and maybe how that experience happened for you because there’s so much to gain for all businesses and what WWE is doing.

Jesse, first and foremost, congratulations to you and your organization. It’s unbelievable that you guys were named top employer in the sports industry by Front Office Sports, well-deserved. I’ve known about you for a while. Ever since that MSNBC piece that they put together, I was like, “What is going on down there in Savannah? I want in.” I’ve been paying attention. To be on this show with you and share some energy, it’s flattering for me. I’m super geeked up and thank you. When you search Jonny Greco, sometimes you’ll run into Joey Greco, who used to be the host of Cheaters and that takes you down a whole different video.

BDD 17 | Jonny Greco
Find Your Yellow Tux: How to Be Successful by Standing Out

That’s who I thought I was interviewing.

I had nothing to do with Cheaters. I’m a super loyal guy. This is going to take a left turn here. WWE, I’ve been lucky working in sports entertainment. I always made movies with my friends and my family. I had a video camera and I was obsessed with Steven Spielberg, the independent film rush of the ‘90s. I was all in. I went to film school and then got a job in sports. I was like, “I didn’t know I could do both.” I love sports. I was a very average athlete in sports, but it was fun. To be able to combine those two was something my guidance counselor didn’t tell me about. I don’t think it was a very prevalent career choice, but I was super lucky that I got involved and did the sports thing for awhile.

After almost fifteen years of being able to work in a lot of different organizations, teams around the country, I had this calling for the bigger entertainment scope. I’d seen what some of the best sports teams were doing, but you watch what the Super Bowl is about and it’s as much about the game as the halftime show. You start looking at what Cirque du Soleil does and the entertainment involved. WWE had reached out and like most young boys and girls, you’re 7, 8 years old. You find out it’s not real. Your heart is broken. You move on to “real sports.” That’s what I did. I missed the attitude there. I missed The Rock and all those things.

I did some research. I was like, “I remember as a kid, André the Giant, Hulk Hogan, but what is it doing now?” I was like drinking out of a fire hose of like, “Did you know what WWE is doing? Look at this, 100,000 people at this event, the WWE universe around the globe, over 300 live events a year.” Once I did some research, I was lucky to interview there with Triple H. He’s one of the greatest masterminds of creation, character in the ring, out of the ring, etc. His wife, Stephanie McMahon, who’s Vince McMahon’s daughter and she’s a genius. They’re very family centric. They have three daughters. My wife and I worked together all the time and collaborate on things. I jived with them there. My other boss, Duncan, who was my lead boss, who was an incredible guy. I got the job. I got a chance to be a part of WWE. Now what? I don’t understand what’s going on there. I have a lot to learn quickly.

You went sports to WWE. You start with the Marlins and then sports and then WWE. Is this the middle of your journey?

Hopefully, it’s still the beginning. This was a few years ago. I started with WWE. I was several years into sports entertainment. I loved it, but I did want to expand. I wanted to get my creative teeth kicked in. I wanted to see how great is it out there? What else can we be doing differently? I didn’t feel like I could evolve much more where I was. You go to WWE. All of a sudden, everything you thought you knew even if you were pretty good at it, you’re not there. They have this whole different circus. I know you’re a big circus guy, PT Barnum. I don’t want to name drop, but I remember when I first met John Cena. We were in a locker room in Tupelo or something. I’m coming in. You’re introducing everybody. You’re not a wallflower there. When you show up there, you go up and shake everybody’s hand. You introduce yourself.

Whether you’re John Cena or the new kid on the block, like myself, you come in and that’s what you do. I’d introduced myself to him. He’s like, “Welcome to the circus.” That was my first month in there, but little did I know, six years later, how true that was because it is a beautiful, magical fan centric, fans first, which I know you know something about, WWE Universe, it’s all for them. It’s all about the business of making smiles. That was a Vince McMahon line all the time, “Treat every day like it’s your first day on the job and we are in the business of making smiles.” Those were quotes that exude every single employee, performer, character, whether you’re writing or you’re in the ring or a part of production, you’re all part of this family that’s trying to engage fans the best you can.

What I’m fascinated about WWE is you look at most sports teams, they have ups and downs. You had good years, bad years, attendance wise. You have teams like the San Francisco Giants that were selling out of the game. Now they have struggled selling tickets. They have ups and downs, but WWE has endured over many years. They keep growing. What are some of those traits that you’ve seen that for WWE it can work for the sports teams or businesses that you learn from them over six years?

First and foremost, when we’re winning, our jobs are a lot easier. In the WWE model, they’re allowed to create a narrative where their big events, they win. Even if one match doesn’t land over the course of 9, 10, 11, 12 matches, they’re going to hit some home runs, but that also allows them to fail at times and take some big risks. If it doesn’t work, they thoughtfully program the psychology of the fan where you have a match that might only be a short match before the long match. There’s an energy quotient that fans have only so much of. If you burn them out with the three greatest matches of all time, or if Metallica is performing and they play their three biggest songs right off the gate. It’s at the same BPM, your crowd is a little fatigued. You have to nuance the ups and downs and feel sports inherently has that.

If a pitcher is throwing a no-hitter going into the seventh inning, all of a sudden, there’s like this drama that’s building and you feel it. If your team score six runs in the bottom of the first inning, you ride that wave. You may be down at 7-0 after the first period of hockey and you have to cultivate and build the narrative a lot differently in real traditional sports because the sport is leading. WWE has the ability to let their narrative lead. That’s what they do a hell of a job with. They engage globally. They engage and take crazy risks, whether it’s the WWE network, which was like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Before that stuff happened, they took an incredible loss and risk to do that.

It’s one of the most successful streaming platforms there is. It’s genius. The user interface is great. The historic content is great. The new pay-per-view view access is great. The tie in to being able to communicate with the superstars is great. It’s a fascinating leap that they took, but they doubled down on themselves. They knew what mattered. They listened to their fans, which is important. All of a sudden, it’s connected because they listened to their fans. They told story first. They led with their brand and they let their fans be the judges of what they wanted to see.

You were on a previous podcast. I heard you said story about 26 times, Jonny. You kept talking about story. With WWE, people on the outset, people reading, from a business community are like, “How does WWE, fit with us?” I’m intrigued on how storytelling, which is a big part of what you learned in WWE. How could they fit for sports teams and businesses where you can control the story, the narrative, as you say? How would you relate that?

If we go back to stories, in general, they’ve been around a long time. There are plenty of religious books that prove thousands and thousands of years, people have been telling these beautiful stories. You think of like old Western by the fire, how did you entertain yourself? You weren’t connected to an iPhone. You told stories. Maybe you played music, which is a story in its own right. You have lyrics to a song. That’s a story. People love to be scared. People love to be engaged. Even if it’s a history lesson, I wasn’t great when I had to read something out of a history book. It was boring to me.

I watched Saving Private Ryan and I’m like, “World War II, I need to learn way more about it.” It was told in a way with a story, the visuals and the sound. It pulled me in. An effective immersive story works unanimously for people as far as engaging them. If you’re on a sales call and you can engage people with a story, an anecdote, something from your own life, or getting someone else to share a story, everyone’s favorite subject is themselves. Everybody’s favorite word is their own name. If you’re speaking to them and you let them share a story, first off, it’s entertaining and engaging because we all like stories. You’re also letting them be the leader of their own story, the protagonist of their own story. It’s a win-win. It works in business. If you want to call it a manipulation, you can. I don’t think manipulation is always bad. You’re letting people take center stage in their own story. It’s easy to have a relationship.

Tell me a story of maybe you were in a meeting with WWE, whether it was Triple H, Stephanie McMahon or your group, your immediate boss, and you were talking about either building a story. What was something from WWE? You can take us to that place that was like an a-ha moment for you on what we are trying to do. What was your role with the company in building and storytelling?

They had brought me on during a time where, they used to call them house shows, but they transitioned the name to live events. They do over 300 events a year. Not all of them are broadcasts. A lot more now with WWE Network, but they would do Monday Night Raw. It was Tuesday Night SmackDown or Friday Night SmackDown. That’s moved a little bit, but that’s what people think of with WWE. If they do the show on Monday and Tuesday, what they also are doing is Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday night, a live event. That’s all with the main superstars you’re going to see on Monday Night Raw, but they’re all honing in on their skills.

They’re finding the nuances when they speak on a microphone and tell a story and disparage their opponent or the city they’re in, that’s called working on cutting a promo. Show to show, you’d see them make these tweaks, adjustments, reading the audience, listening to the crowd. What I learned about how to win over a crowd was from Arn Anderson. Arn Anderson was part of the faction, The Four Horsemen, who you may not know that group, but you do know Ric Flair. Arn Anderson was in The Four Horsemen with Rick Flair.

Arn Anderson was a talent agent for WWE when I was there. I remember I was a sponge, always trying to sponge up other things, learn things, see where it is. I asked Arn one time during a match. I’m like, “What’s the difference between the good superstars in the ring and the great superstars.” He was talking about Stone Cold Steve Austin and Dean Ambrose at the time. He is now Jon Moxley with AEW. He had talked about how there were similarities. He’s like, “It’s easy.” He simplified it quickly. It’s important in sports and entertainment or in business.

In the middle of a match, there’s a hold going on. The good ones, they hear the crowd. It’s like, “The crowd is getting loud. Do you hear them? Jesse, do you hear how loud they’re getting?” They all hear it. We all hear the crowd. That’s not hard. The great ones, the difference, those inches, they listen to the audience. They listen to the crowd. They are listening to what the crowd is asking for. It’s like a chess game. They’re five steps ahead in how they’re going to separate and channel this energy. They’re not in the moment of what they hear. They are, but the real good ones are already a few steps ahead of how they’re going to manipulate the energy and emotion of the audience. I was like, “Hearing, listening, big difference and I’m always going to understand the difference when that’s going on.”

Keep expanding; listen and learn all the time. Click To Tweet

One of the best lessons I learned from Darren Ross Magic Castle Hotel, the second rated hotel in all of Hollywood. It’s an old hotel. He said, “We teach our people, listen carefully, respond creatively.” The same type of principle. How are you listening? I look five steps ahead. You think about anybody who’s creating a script for their business, their customer experience. Are they five steps ahead in seeing, “If I do this, it will lead to this?” Jonny, I love that. I’m trying to think about how you teach that script building, listening carefully and listening to an audience. How do you teach that with your group? What are you doing?

We’re always expanding. It’s never done. I am nowhere near where I hoped to be, but I’m doing my best every day. You try to surround yourself with other great storytellers and creators. You listen and learn all the time. It is that sponge context. You talk about it a lot in the Find Your Yellow Tux book, constantly listening. Whether it’s to your kids, your spouse, your boss, it doesn’t matter like. That art form of truly listening and interpreting what’s being said, there are many nuances to that. Always being hungry, never, ever settle it for like, “We did a great job there.” You talk about this too.

You’ve got to take risks. WWE talks about it, “You’ve got to take risks,” but I do think there’s the ability to program for failure, where you have your home runs. You have your traditions. Few sports, hockey and baseball, lead up to that as far as how many traditions there are in that game. Where do you bring in the newness? You may not change up the seventh inning stretch. At the Savannah Bananas, you might, but most people in Major League Baseball, they’re not going to change that. No problem. People love that moment. Before that great moment that you know is going to happen, what can you program before that? Let’s wing it. Let’s give it a go. Let’s try it. If it doesn’t work, we know we’ve got our home run moment coming up.

Everyone is going to remember that a lot more than the potential failure. We can tweak and adjust that later. It’s important to know we failed. We can adjust and we move on. What happens if you do hit a home run? That one home run is back-to-back home runs. Program for failure, if that doesn’t work, no problem. If it does work, you’ve hit a home run. We have another guaranteed home run coming up too. That’s a happy audience as well. It’s like a win-win scenario because you’re either going to double down on home runs or you’re going to learn that something didn’t work or it was close to working. Let’s listen, let’s tweak, let’s adjust and let’s go forward again next game or next home stand.

Let’s see if this will work. We’re going to do the second inning stretch. We started doing this summer. We have Richard Simmons’ character come out and start thrusting with the crowd. It’s very weird. The second inning stretch for you, my friend, you may not know this. Here we go. We’re going to do WWE entrance songs. You have to guess who the performer is. This is going back. We’ll see what skills you have.

If you’re going back, I may have some problems.

Some are classic easy. Here we go. First one.

Undertaker, the greatest entrance of all time. It was a live event, so it’s a smaller crowd in Mexico to be a part of that entrance. I still get chills. You see them in this video every time I hear that. I’m thinking about that moment. That is one of the greatest entrances, intros of any movie, song, athlete, team ever.

I started too hot. We’ve got to go for that one. I want to talk about that one too. That’s powerful. Next one, here we go.

Stone Cold Steve Austin.

As soon as you hear the glass, you know something is happening. Here we go.

It is The Rock. I needed to smell it, Jesse.

I would give it away, so I came back to that. Here we go. Last one.

Hulk Hogan.

Four for four. Only Undertaker was still wrestling during your time.

The Rock came back. I didn’t get to work with him, but he came back for a few of the big matches at WrestleMania while I was there. Hulk Hogan, who again, the seven-year-old Jonny Greco from Oneonta, New York like, “I remember Hulk Hogan.” We all do. He’s like Mickey Mouse. You don’t have to like wrestling. You don’t have to know wrestling. You know who Hulk Hogan is. I got to meet this guy and I’ll never forget. I had to go backstage. I’m not going to tell Hulk Hogan anything. I need to say, “Mr. Hogan, I want to introduce myself.” At WWE, you don’t pussyfoot around. You come up. You introduce yourself. Everyone expects it and that’s what you do. If not, it’s like, “What’s this person in the side looking all weird?” You’ve got to present yourself. It’s this behind the veil, behind the curtain. If you’re there, you’ve got to let everybody know. I went up and I introduced myself. He goes, “Hey, Brother.” I blacked out after that, Jesse. I don’t remember anything else from that conversation. I hear I may be the only person he ever said, “Hey, Brother,” to so that was cool.

One of those wrestlers weren’t wrestling when you were in the business, but you know him and you resonate with them. I want to go here because the power of music. I know you spent some time in Vegas. This opened my eyes. I was giving a speech in Vegas. My wife and I were walking down the strip, checking things out, wherever we went, there was different music. There was music. It was an energy booster, the value of music. How do you plan to incorporate that more with the Kraken and the teams that you work in based on what you’ve seen with music?

Music is everything. Music is the heartbeat of an experience. Vegas takes it to a whole different level. Not only do they have the lights that make you feel certain things and you learn this in school, but you also learn it from looking at a red light. You feel passion. You feel anger. Maybe you feel fear. That’s a feeling. You look at a blue light. You immerse yourself in that blue light. You feel cool and crisp. Maybe you get a little chillier. Cirque du Soleil does a hell of a job with this. There are all these senses. Another thing Vegas does that I didn’t know this was real until I was there, but they have what they call mixologist or scentologist. You go into Casino X and they have someone who spent probably a lot of money and a lot of time perfecting the way they want it to smell when you’re there.

They figure out, not only what type of music, but what’s the sequence of the rhythm, the feel, the melody from here to here, song to song. What’s the volume of it because music is great? When I hear Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters, I want it loud. When I hear Kenny G, maybe not so loud, you’ve got to make sure you’re programming it at the right way. We can have the best actor, the best script, the best game, the best mascot, the best music, the best sound system. If you have the milkman driving your NASCAR, it’s not going to do the work you need it to do. You have to work on making sure the right people are in the right places, the story is in place so you know how to make those split-second decisions.

Be open to understand music is as invaluable as it gets. To answer your question, in Seattle with the Kraken, Seattle is a music hotbed. It has been for a long time. Jimi Hendrix makes a lot, the Nirvana, Grunge, you can go back and back. Ray Charles was here before recording one of his best albums ever. The influences of the Seattle sound is important. Music is one of those things where, “Are you going to like every song we play, Jesse? No, no way.” If we did that, we’re placating too much. It’s an impossible goal. We’re going to play 250 to 300 songs at a hockey game that’s going to be moving and shaking.

You may only play two seconds of it. You may play two minutes of a song. It may be under a PA announcement, “Welcome to the game.” The music is a little bit, as a music bed, or it may be the gold song itself, which is going to be a lot more of a concentrated focus and a lot more prevalent in your memory. There’s a lot of music to come from. We want to be regional. We also want to be global. We’re going to have players from Finland, Sweden, Canada. We don’t want to just play Seattle stuff. We want to honor our team. It’s a very local city, but also a transient city. This is this innovative, voyeur, community where the Amazons, Microsofts and Boeing have all been here. We also need to have this pioneering spirit has developed, to show the experience, the Sonic brand, which is still being defined as we go. The beauty of it is here in Seattle, there’s a sound of Seattle, but it’s a wide scope. You can play a lot of stuff and claim it as Seattle because it’s such a phenomenal music hotbed.

Sports seems to think about music, but not as much as they should. Businesses, I don’t think they think about music at all. It should be the start of everything. Marketing, your videos, essentially like, “We’re going to create a video.” What music is laying the foundation of You Can’t Stop the Peeling. We designed the whole script for Can’t Stop the Peeling because of the song, same thing with Old Town Road. I think about sports is like triggers. For the sports teams reading this, the triggers, when a song happens, does your crowd know what to do? How many times in a game? Right before the game, when we play, everyone in the stadium puts their hands up because they know it’s Banana Baby time. As soon as that trigger, how do you plan those? Creating a script, do you plan this? I’m trying to understand how a company can learn from how to put music or a sports team into their entertainment experience.

BDD 17 | Jonny Greco
Jonny Greco: “Treat every day like it’s your first day on the job. In WWE, we are in the business of making smiles.” – Vince McMahon

 

What you want is a Pavlovian response. If I say, “YMCA,” you may not raise your hands, but in your head, you’re thinking about it. That has that response. How do you create a Sonic brand with your brand? Whether you’re a tax attorney or a bank or a Minor League Baseball team, is there an opportunity for a Sonic brand that when people hear, you know what that is. Everybody knows what that is. This Sonic brand doesn’t need to be a seven-minute song. It’s a 2 to 3-second little melodic catchy thing. I’m a massive proponent of when you hear something, it does create a call and response because then you are involving people. Even playing the Lion King theme, that’s making people raise up.

That’s a back and forth. They’re not verbally chanting. If we say, “Let’s go Kraken, go Kraken go.” We’re asking them to be a part of it. That’s one way to do it. Having them physically be a part of it or have some physical response to it, start with your employees if they can have that. It’s going to carry on to your brand in other ways. My kids are 8 and 9. They know the Allstate jingle. They’ll hear something, “That’s the Allstate commercial. That’s Farmers Insurance.” It’s ridiculous to me. I didn’t know what insurance company names were when I was eight years old. It’s because of music, the power of music, it can pull people in that aren’t even your normal demographic as a fan base.

The two crazy entertainers, how does this fit? We’ve talked about how to use music to entertain, how to use storytelling to entertain. We’re looking at all those opportunities to think. I believe that in entertaining, the definition of entertain is to provide enjoyment and provide amusement. Aren’t we all in the entertainment business? If we’re all in the entertainment business, how can you take out this? How are you storytelling, narrative WWE? How are you using music to try to get familiarity call and response triggers? What else, Jonny? As a person who’s been in this entertainment business for so long, what else can we take from the different lessons?

We’re all craving experiences and more than ever in a global pandemic and what’s all happening right now. We’ve never craved the more. Now an experience could be on your phone, playing Candy Crush. An experience can be dancing to Can’t Stop the Peeling. An experience could be getting a high five from a mascot. An experience could be the year in review by Google where you get all the feels going through what 2020 was. There are a million different experiences out there, but it is unanimous. We’ve all been craving this our whole lives. We’ve had since we were children. We have since we’re bigger children.

You got to have fun with all this. We got to have fun as we go. There’s a powerful thing. It’s happened many times, but with the Spanish flu, with the great depression. People couldn’t afford meals for families, but they would say, “On Tuesday night, we’re not going to eat, but we are going to go to the jazz club or we’re going to go see the film.” People crave the suspension of disbelief. The power of lifting the spirit is not quantifiable to my knowledge. It’s a heavy, beautiful lift that’s worthwhile and creates lifelong fans for your brand. There are a million ways. If you’re a banker, you’re like, “What are you talking about telling stories?” We all tell stories. Whether it’s a presentation of yourself because you deserve a raise, tell a story and weave this tale that makes me believe in this spirit and the story where you’re going. I’m going to give you that raise.

If you’re looking to upsell a partner that you’ve had, but you need to re-engage them and let them know, look at the value we brought. What about hope? Hope is an important word. It’s always an important word, but more than ever right now. The hope that we can get people to see a vision that they may not see yet. That’s part of storytelling. People say the word like, “You’re a hippie. You’re a storyteller. You’re this.” We’re all storytellers. You don’t have to label yourself that. It’s all about building up the experience with the sights, the sounds, the tastes, all of that. It’s a beautiful thing, but the first thing is believing that you are that. You don’t say, “I am Steven Spielberg. I’m Jerry Bruckheimer.” They’re world-class storytellers. They made a gazillion dollars, but we all are. When you tell your daughter a bedtime story, she’s going to remember that forever. It’s something that her soul holds onto and that’s a beautiful thing. Remembering that we’re all that and there are different ways to tell stories is important.

I’m going to play with some Es now. I know you’re famous for your five E’s, but if it were at an entertaining, extraordinary experience, that’s what’s I call. You have five Es to do this. It’s valuable. You can share what they are and maybe a little piece on how you develop that.

We talked about listening and expanding always and never stopping. Several years ago, I had noticed a certain trend happening where I was like, “Education is important.” You’ve got to have education. You’ve got to educate your fans. Somebody is coming to their first game ever. I remember going to my first New York Mets game ever with my dad, eleven years old, Howard Johnson hit a home run, lifted his cap to the crowd, which you didn’t see on TV at the time. I was like, “What is that?” The green grass, the big Apple raises at Shea Stadium. It’s like, “Jesse, ask me who won that game?” I have no idea. That was my first time.

There are people coming to a Savannah Bananas game or a Seattle Kraken game. It’s going to be their first time ever. What are we doing to educate them about, “This is the fan you’re going to be. This is what your team is. This is where you get the best sushi. Here’s when we do the Can’t Stop the Peeling dance contest.” All of these things, educating all the time. This is your mascot and why, but you also have people who’ve been tried and true fans for 50 years. They’re coming to their 1,000-baseball game. How do you keep it fresh for them as well while honoring traditions as well? Education is important.

I used to have three, but it’s evolved into five because I was talking to a rodeo group. You can always learn about storytelling. Go to the Calgary Stampede who have some of the coolest, most creative people on earth and that is a circus for Western events like no other. It’s the coolest thing. They use Zac Brown Band playing and Tim McGraw playing, kids riding like mini horses, mini ponies, you have funnel cakes and then you have circus rides. They honor the indigenous people of Calgary area. They’re covering all of these beautiful boxes over this ten-day festival.

When I was there, somebody was like, “You need to add some Es.” The Es are Educate, Engage, Entertain, Enthuse and Evaluate. Educate, we talk about it. Engage, this one is easy. You do it with raising the baby. I’m going to engage my fans. I’m going to have them be a part of this moment. People do with what song do you want to dance to in the third period, text in your vote or send up your Twitter pictures through our videos screen. If you have something like that, you can engage at the games with your usher, your singing vendors. They’re making eye contact with people. They’re high-fiving people. A smile is an engagement. There are many ways that we forget that we are engaging all the time. That’s important, but you want to involve the audience in the experience. It is their experience. The fans first experience is about engaging them in it, letting them help create their stories. You’re a caveat too. You’re the showman, but you don’t do it without your incredible cast around you doing it. You want to entertain. Cat videos are fun, Jesse. I don’t know if you like cats. It doesn’t matter.

Do you show cat videos at your games?

The Kraken haven’t showed any videos on our games yet. This goes back to Cleveland days, there was like a ridiculous screensaver with a pug licking the screen for no reason at all, icing, 20-second whistle, we don’t have any PAs. Let’s play a good song. The game is tied. It’s not an intense moment. Let the fans breathe and talk. There’s a pug licking your video screen, a 20-foot pug with an 8-foot tongue licking the screen. That’s fun, Jesse. Fun matters. Sometimes we get a little complicated and you want to be short no matter where you are on the planet. There are universal rules of like, “What’s a good time?” Physical comedy people generally understand at all ages.

Music people can feel it. You understand the words or not, you can feel it in your bones and making sure that you’re having fun as you roll and not complicating. When we were in Vegas, it was like, “You’re Vegas, entertainment capital the world. You can’t do kiss cam.” I was like, “Why not? It’s fun.” We totally can do kiss cam. We totally can do Y and Z. We can totally do the wave. These are things that are fun all over the place. It’s when you program the fun that matters. That’s the art and the nuance that you make 100,000 mistakes over season. You hope to get a couple of writers. You slowly learn.

That’s the entertainment side. It’s super important. In sports, when you’re winning, all that entertainment stuff is a lot easier. It’s a lot more fun. You do enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is important because with the first three Es, you build and try another E. You build this relationship with your audience, with your fans. When you say, “Season ticket is on sale now.” If they’re enthused about your product, they’re going to be quicker to get first in line, quicker to click on the link. If they’re enthused about the 2 for 1 beer special, they’re going to get in line.

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If they’re enthused about the third Jersey you’re unveiling, bottom of the ninth bases loaded. Your crowd needs to be loud. They’re invested in your brand. They’re going to be more enthusiastic when you say, “Make some noise, get loud. We need you.” You built up that equity with those first three E. Enthusiasm is an important one when channeled properly and not overused can move mountains. Something that people get very confused on the topic of enthusiasm is we all have done this. I’ve done this, “Make noises.” It’s like stop going to that well. You’re not asking them to make noise. You’re asking them for their energy.

They required a ton of energy, resources and time to get there now. They have to park. Maybe they have to pay. Maybe they have to walk long. Maybe it was a rain delay. They’ve exuded a lot of energy already. There are other ways to build up and reciprocate energy. It’s not just asking for more noise. You go to a comedy club, you laugh. You’re hitting your buddy’s arm. You’re like, “This is funny.” You feel energized. You see a good mascot video. You see a military hero come back and surprise their son or daughter on the ice. All of a sudden, you’re in tears. The truth is we haven’t asked you for noise. We’ve refueled you with energy. This is almost a golden rule. After you have one of those moments of energy and fusion, the audience on their own has been lifted that they will now do their own Banana chant, their own Go Knights Go chant, their own Let’s Go Knicks chant. You’ve given them this allowance and you’ve given them this fuel to use organically without telling them what to do.

It’s a nuance art. Be mindful of that as we’re working with our audience. We’re working with them, we’re not telling them what to do. We’re sharing the experience with them. That’s your enthusiasm. The last one, evaluation. We all evaluate. We all talk about, “That was great. That wasn’t great.” There are many different ways. In the moment, when you’re making a thousand split-second decisions, you can evaluate, “That didn’t work.” Move on. We can’t dwell on it, but we’re going to talk about it later, but you’re constantly evaluating how the audience is going. You’re listening to them.

WWE has 300 live events a year at the time when I was there. After every single one, we had to write a report to the top. This report went to Vince McMahon, Hunter, Steph, all of the leaders, because they wanted to understand what was going on. When there was a show going on in Tupelo, Tokyo and Paris, they couldn’t be in all those places, but they wanted to know how the narratives were playing out. They wanted to know how their characters were developing. They wanted to know what the audience’s responses were. After all of these events, we’d have twelve straight shows on a European tour, 3:00 AM on a bus going to Blackpool England.

You’re typing out this report of what worked, what didn’t work. I transferred them into pros and grows. I try to be as optimistic and positive as we can. It was that, “This is what worked well. These were your pros. Let’s double down on them and here’s our grows. These are the things that didn’t work. With a little bit of thoughtful development, we can adjust. We can tweak. They can get better, or this was a catastrophe. Let’s punt and never do it again, but let’s be willing to take those risks.” The evaluation portion in our world now where we work fast, Twitter, Instagram, like, dislike and move on. We don’t breathe ever. Forcing ourselves to carve out time, to evaluate is imperative to make sure we’re listening to our audiences, our teams, our culture, and ourselves. Sometimes we can go crazy. You’re not breathing.

You come alive when you’re talking about these because you’ve developed these and you have passion because you believe in them. It’s about the education and your energy is awesome. I’m like, “I could go on any of these,” but the one that most teams don’t do well is the evaluation. We talk after games, but there’s no real full evaluation. For us, we do a brand-new promotion, 1 or 2 was never done before, ever in front of a live audience every night. Most of them fail, but we don’t write the details of why did it not work. Can you share maybe a little bit more of the format and have you done this? What does it look like after a game? Who’s part of the meeting? Who’s writing the evaluation? What does it look like?

There are a million ways to go about this and I would love to learn how you guys do it and other teams do it. Sponge like sponge. The WWE, you wrote it out paragraph, “Match one, this is what happened,” and you go chronological, sequential.

A sporting event, it could be each promotion, “This promotion, this is what it went for each match.”

We added in Vegas was the first thing that’s important. After the game, everybody, the adrenaline is high or low, or all these other places, it’s a slippery time to over evaluate. You’ve got to talk through things especially important things and things that went wrong or celebrate the wins if they weren’t right. Going too far into it after a fourteen-hour day. It’s hard to be fresh and get proper feedback. What I’ll do generally is write up the report as the game is going on, like on the script. I have them right here. You’ll see green pens, red pens, pros and grows.

The green for the grows like, “Cool, this was good.” I make these notes on the script. That night or the next day, I’ll then write it chronologically. This is what I did take from WWE because it was interesting. It’s like, “What audience did you have? As they came in, what did they feel like? Was it a tired audience on a Thursday night after the stock market went bad on Tuesday? There was a flu outbreak at the school. Is it raining out?” All of these different variables to set the bar a little bit about what’s going on? You could say, “The Seahawks won on Sunday. They won the Super Bowl. We have a game on Monday.” It’s like, “Awesome.” “Seattle City is probably tired because they’ve been partying so long, but how do we ride that wave?” Being aware of what’s going on, on the planet and in your city, helped.

You write this report and the President of the Vegas Golden Knights, Kerry Bubolz, who’s one of my great friends and one of the great leaders I’ve been around. He had a line that I love. It’s, “Visibility creates accountability.” This pros and grows list is not just for three people. This is not like, “We’re only going to share the good news with these people. We’re only going to talk about the bad things.” It’s a very openly shared email or document. Usually, it’s the next day where fresh minds take a look and celebrate the wins. We do this a lot in our evaluations. We look for what’s wrong to fix it. It’s like, “If you want to lift the spirit of everybody, you’ve got to celebrate the hard work that it took to have a game successfully work. Let alone a promotion successfully work.” It’s just for those things to be executed as a win. If they were done well, celebrate all the people who are a part of it and bring the spirits up a little bit. Let me ask you this, good news first or bad news first. What do you like better?

I feed off positivity, so I feed off the positive stuff. We always say praise publicly and give constructive criticism individually.

If it’s harsh individual criticism, I agree with that. I’m the same as you, build me up with positive reinforcement. Hit me the good news and I’ll be able to handle the bad news no matter what, but if you give me the bad news, I start thinking so much.

Positive news is wasted because you’re negative.

Not everybody works that way. It’s interesting to understand. Creatives need to be led in different ways. That’s an important lesson for all of us, but that evaluation process. If there’s something sensitive or delicate, that’s one-on-one stuff. That’s smaller groups. You don’t want to hurt feelings, but it’s okay. I’ll be the first one to say, “I botched this one up. This was my bad. I told you guys this would work. You believed in me. It didn’t go well, my bad.” You’re like, “The boss can make mistakes and it’s fine. What a great allowance for me to also take risks.” Again, they’re not mistakes.

These are grows that we can develop and evolve into. That evaluation process is still something I’m developing and I’m super stoked to listen to how other groups develop this in general, but it’s essential to the evolution. I was hell bent. I’m not evaluating all the time. “The game is over is fine. It was good. We’ll do it again.” I started to see the value of like, “Remember that note, that one person said,” and when you do create that visibility space, a safe space for people to chime in on, anyone can ask because you provided this. I’m sure you’ve read The Pixar book, Creativity, Inc., they talk about the brainstorm sessions. Everyone has a seat at the table. If you’re living and breathing that in every single process or guidelines of your business, everyone feels like they can be a part of it. People over process, no matter what. If you have the right people and then you set them up with the guidelines, they’re going to raise the rest of the ships for everyone. The evaluation process is like every other process.

Many companies are doing it. The company’s business sports teams are not evaluating enough. Jonny, a quotable, “If you can evoke any emotion, that’s a win. The worst thing is indifferent. I’d rather you hate what we tried or love what we tried than not even care or talk about it.” That’s from you, my friend. Two more Es, evoke emotion. Tell me a little bit about that and what you’ve seen, or maybe a story that goes along with it. I know you had some special ones in Vegas as well.

You want that emotional connection to your audience always. It’s not always positive. WWE showed me the power of energy. They call it the good guys’ baby faces. They’re bad guys or heals. They very clearly assign who’s who. The bad guys have a certain look. The good guys have a certain look. Baby faces get a huge pop. They get a ton of heat. These are all like Carney words that these guys will use. A baby face comes out and a huge pop from the audience, big roaring crowd reaction. The bad guy comes out. He also got a massive pop. It was all, “Boos, I hate you, get out of here,” but it still was an energy. Whether they like you, hate you, etc., you’re channeling an energy, and you’re making them care. They’re connected to your brand, the simplest form of this and sports do this all the time.

There are different levels of how well it’s done, but the good guy, bad guy, Savannah Bananas take on this team that comes in now. Most of your audience are Savannah Banana fans, but what makes them even more of a fan that night is if you make the Darth Vader. You make the bad guy, your opponent that night, a worthy adversary. What better hero than the hero who takes down the big behemoth monster, bad guy. If you downplay your opponent and you win, it’s like, “That’s what we’re supposed to do.” There’s not as much an emotional investment in it.

In Vegas, we didn’t know what hockey audience there be. It was a great hockey audience, but assuming maybe they didn’t know it that much, “The Calgary Flames come in. This is their history. They’re entering our fortress.” The Calgary is like, “We showed up to a hockey game.” We built this narrative saying, “They came into our arena.” “They’ve entered our fortress.” “They’re going to play our team.” “They’ve challenged our Knights.” All of a sudden, you’re building a narrative of the bad guy, which makes me dislike them and channel that energy that way, which then fuels back the positive reinforcement for the good guy. Evoking that emotional response, it’s all about energy. We’re all made of energy. Sound is made of energy. It’s making sure that we’re respectfully allocating it at the right times and fueling our fans up so they can be the energy when you need it most in a close game to provide home field, home court, home ice advantage.

There’s not probably done as much as it could be in sports. You don’t want to touch the visiting team as much so you dabble on it. The Undertaker theme song, we used to play that. We had a Grim Reaper that would walk over the visiting dugout during the lineups. It was more tongue-in-cheek. That wasn’t necessarily. Can you get another guy on the team to cut a promo like WWE would do? We do Tug of Wars between the two teams before the game. We got three guys from one team. The perfect scenario is the visiting team to win and start taunting our team. That’s the perfect scenario.

The crowd is booing this guy. They’re hating this guy there. When you win or when the guy who lost the tug of war comes back to hit the game winning, all of a sudden, this guy is heroic as possible. Tom Brady is amazing. It is harder and harder to cheer for the good-looking guy, who has the beautiful wife, beautiful family, wins all the Super Bowls. I’m a Tom Brady fan. I think keeping that level of excellence is unbelievable, but it is harder to pull for him. The year he got his knee hurt, it was like, “Is he going to come back?” All of a sudden, there was this different empathy for him, pulling for him were fans who maybe were like hating on his success before. He comes back. Even a guy like him, you celebrate the adversity because it shows the heroism even greater.

How can you make people create these different polarized stories? I want to be more of it. I’m thinking about before games having two components, the visiting team and the home team have a way off. I have a scale. It’s like the UFC, but he’s taunting and fighting and then going from there. If you can create those moments, then people might care. In college, summer baseball, Jonny, no one cares. You guys, NHL, they care. Playoffs, they care. Playoffs for us, they could care less. They’re here for the show. WWE did a great job doing that.

BDD 17 | Jonny Greco
Jonny Greco: An effective immersive story works unanimously for people as far as engaging them.

 

A good friend of mine, his name is Kynan Vine up in Calgary, worked for the Stampede. He was part of creating this Bulls After Dark. The rodeo is like this 800-pounds behemoth monster animal bull comes out and this 140-pound rodeo cowboy is going to try to ride it for eight seconds. That alone is dramatic. He did this cool WWE meets Bulls and Bronx, meets rodeo, meets rock concert, where he had a band, a DJ and the lights went out and pyrotechnics. He would introduce the writers and they essentially cut promos like WWE, “Jesse, you’re stinking yellow, your suit is yellow and your personality is yellow. You’re a coward.” That guy is doing this. He’s playing a character and then the other guy is playing a character.

I’m naturally siting with somebody. That guy is funny or he’s charming, but I’ve built up a little bit more depth to their personalities. He had pyrotechnics going off at eight seconds when it happened. It was this insanely cool way to take this very traditional, beautiful Western heritage moment, flipped it on its head and put in all these other ingredients that are successful at other places. I was like, “That was fun. What a cool idea?” Anytime you can build up the good guys, the bad guys, characters in general, it’s much fun. Super quick question, did you check out the movie, The Battered Bastards of Baseball, yet?

I’ve watched it like 50 times. That was classic. The villain in that was Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball. That’s our closest villain because of the way they’re traditional, the way they play, the format, take away the fun. He was creating a show. If you haven’t seen Battered Bastards of Baseball, Bing Russell, what a story.

It’s an unbelievable story. It’s all the guys you love, the Walt Disney, the PT Barnum’s, the Bill Kovacs. That was a story that didn’t get as much love. I saw it. People shouting this from mountaintops who are starting businesses or sports, Minor League or Major League or anything. If you are in humanity, check it out. It’s a neat story about how a culture and great people can do extraordinary things. It’s always fun to stick it to the man, whoever the man is. It’s this neat story. It’s very well done.

Who’s your man? Who are you fighting against? David Burkus is a former guest. Who are you fighting against? How to bring a cast of characters together, all different realms? That’s what’s good that we’re doing both. We bring people outside of the industry. I’m fascinated by WWE, Carnival, some of these other teams, because you learn to do things that other sports teams didn’t do. I want to finish a few things. I know you’ve learned some great lessons from other sports you were at. LeBron James, I’ve heard a little bit about this. Tell me how you work directly with LeBron James and what you learned from him.

These guys like the LeBron James, the John Cena’s, they’re like alien-esque people. They have human DNA. Is he a great basketball player? Of course. One of the best ever? Of course. Does he win? Yes. He’s also donating millions of dollars back to the University of Akron and paying for underprivileged youth back in his hometown. It’s stuff he doesn’t get nearly enough credit for. He’s telling these important stories. I’m a fan of him as a human being. He’s next level. When I was at the Cavs, he was young. It was his second year. It was my first year there with them, but he was into the arts, entertainment and music.

He was very much into the video open in basketball, different than hockey. The teams are out there when that happens. Hockey, the whole show open and all that. It’s a little bit more for the fans than the athletes themselves because they don’t see it. They’re in the dressing room. Basketball, they’re on the court. It’s very intimate. There are no helmets. They’re looking right at the screen. He was into that. He was into how it mattered and I didn’t get it. I was like, “I get to talk to LeBron. This is cool.” I didn’t understand why it mattered to him. It was psychology.

He explained how, “We’re not going to win games based on this video, but it is going to get us in the right mindset, like the right music. It puts us in the right mindset.” He thought it was fascinating. He was into it. He was incredibly artistic and thoughtful then. Once a year before the season, I get to meet with him, one-on-one. It was one of the coolest. If I get to have grandkids, I want to tell them about it. I got to meet with this guy and talk to him and share ideas and learn from him. He was so astute and studious about all things. It wasn’t X’s and O’s in basketball. He’s a savant there. We know that. He’s like a John Cena.

These guys are paying attention to merchandise sales. What’s the attendance in Liverpool, England three shows from now is going to be? They’re very aware of brand, of market, of experience and being a part of that and working with him and doing some cool videos. It was out of this world. I doubt if he’ll remember me now. It was this cool trust and working together where you take care of each other. The lines are like, “We’re not going to make you look stupid. We’re getting paid by the same people. Our job is to all do a great job.” There was a trust that was built there and being able to work with him was unbelievable. He’s a world-class human being and did some neat things.

You referenced last time we talked the book, Yes, And. What’s the biggest thing from that? Why is that a must read?

It’s all about building up. You can no, but or you can yes, and. Any scenario in any business, if we’re cohost, it’s easy to apply that book. You say something and I say, “Yes, and Jesse, so on and so forth.” If you’re again, selling tickets or selling sponsorship, if somebody comes at you with a, “No, but so on and so forth.” It’s deflating. It pulls things down. You’re forgetting about lifting the spirit when you yes, and. Storytelling, creatively take what someone else says and build on it. You can steer the narrative back to where you need it to be, but you’re in this expansion space where you can say no by yes and-ing. People don’t think that. Like chess, it’s a few more moves ahead than you might want it to be.

It’s not as direct, but you’re constantly building things. When you’re yes and-ing, and you don’t allow no, by the way, the man to me is people who say no or I can’t. It’s like, “I can’t do that. We can’t do that. No, it’s not possible.” That’s the man to me. It’s always possible if you have imagination. If you yes, and, and you use an imagination, you can always be building on the smallest of ideas. I wouldn’t even label it this, but the worst of ideas that become this beautiful swan. It’s an ugly duckling in the start. It’s going to turn into something beautiful if you yes, and it. If you say something, “I’m going to jump on it and take the ball further down the field each time.” If you have a spirit of two people or 200 people with that methodology, the sky’s the limit. The world is your oyster. Use any cliché you want, but you’re going to come up with this beautiful collaborative thing, whatever you want that thing to be, a sale, a promotion, a teammate, and it’s going to be extravagant.

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We’re going to play a baseball game where the players play with no jerseys on.

No jerseys allow them to wear flip-flops because it’s going to be a beach vibe and everybody loves beaches.

Yes, and because they’re wearing flip flops, we can also have a whole beach theme and have special Bananaritas that we’re selling in our Banana Beach Club and make it a whole beach night.

I love beaches and Bananaritas. There would be a great sponsorship opportunity. We could tie in a sunblock sponsor for the night because you’ve got to be protected if you’re not wearing shirts. You’ve got to have sunblock and we’ll protect people. That’ll be great.

Yes, and it’s a no-brainer. We’ll go to banana boat because they already do that stuff. We’ll get a banana boat, which we already have, and have the players enter the game on a giant banana boat raft as they take the field.

Yes, and when is this game, Jesse? I want to be there. It sounds fun. That’s it. That’s a practice that Tina Fey’s and Stephen Colbert’s, all these people that came through Second City did this. We can do this in the office. It’s team building stuff. Some people are like, “That’s so fufu.” For me, I’m like, “No, it’s not.” You’re galvanizing and strengthening your foundation of who you are, how you are, why you are. It becomes a very natural thing where no one is saying no to anybody. That sounds a little kumbaya, but it can be successful in the creative process.

Duncan Wardle, Head of Innovation at Disney for many years, he talks about this. What the greatest thing about yes, and, ideas don’t get smaller, they get bigger. If you want to achieve things, how do you make your ideas bigger? This whole theme talking now, it started with three E’s then it became five E’s. It was storytelling. We kept evolving and getting bigger. The evaluation started as this. It became pros and grows. We kept going. It’s how you grow in this whole thing. It’s like thinking of that yes and what’s next. Not thinking of, “This didn’t work, but what is going to happen because of learning that lesson?”

It constantly expansive, constantly leading with yes. I always think of ourselves as a service to the fans too. Whether you’re the production department with cameras or you’re the host at an NHL game, we’re a service to the fans. A friend of mine from Vegas, she had a boss who said this line, “Yes is the answer. What is the question?” In the service mindset, it doesn’t matter what you’re coming at me with. I’m going to yes, and you. Before you even hear what you say, that’s my mindset. It’s a philosophy going in. If you think of that, we are a service to help you get what you want, fans first. It’s a powerful sentiment.

I want to go to the last few things here. What’s something that you’re planning that you think is going to be a dramatically different part of the Kraken experience?

As a showman, Jesse, you know that you can’t reveal all your secrets. There’s a lot we haven’t developed yet. We’re proud that we’re going to have a zero-carbon emission arena, the only one on the planet. We’re doing some things with sustainability using the rain from Seattle and repurposing it for the ice surface. There are some things that we’re going to be doing that people aren’t doing that we’re excited about. It’s not going to be the Vegas model of like, “Look at that show girls and all this.” That was for Vegas, know your audience. It’s not going to be the WWE models. It’s not going to be the Cleveland model. It is going to be a model that celebrates the region, the fans, the awesome badass work that the Seahawks do, the Mariners do, the Thunderbirds do.

There are all of these great teams here already who do it so well for these fans. It’s a different mindset. We’re going to have some things that people haven’t had. I won’t show you my cards yet, but we’ll talk about it later for sure. We’ve got to build our team, people first. Our creative team is not built yet and Lamont Buford’s, he’s my guy on the team right now. We’re like, “We need to expand our own people.” We develop this creation. None of us want to do it exclusively without anybody else. It’s way more fun to yes, and with more people. Let’s get these people. Let’s yes, and. Let’s create something that is emotionally connected, different to be different. I don’t care. Different to connect with people, different to transform the world and the emotions and lift spirits and provide hope, yeah, let’s do it.

One thing you did say about being the only, which I like, “We might be the only.” That is one way to differentiate yourself. What are you doing that’s you’re the only one? One last thing, you’ve mentioned about the power of getting weird. I always talk about going bananas. What is getting weird or going bananas mean to you?

The guys like you and me, I’m looking at you, getting weird isn’t a thing for us. We roll with how we roll because our parents loved us and made us feel like we could be that way. Who knows? We can get to the psychology of that, but getting weird is almost like an assignment that we can offer others to give them an allowance, to have fun, to get weird. Know that you’re in this safe space. No one’s going to poop on your bad idea because there aren’t bad ideas. There are only ideas that haven’t been furbished out yet. There are only ideas that we haven’t yes, and enough, but there are not bad ideas when you come to the table. When that’s the spirit, it’s unbelievable. Some of the genius I’ve been around that started with like, “What did you say?”

People could be like, “That was stupid” and then it’s over. Instead, I’m in these rooms with these great people who are like, “Say that again.” All of a sudden, it takes this crazy left turn. By the way, you have the sparkly beautiful genius diamond that was created because you got weird if you want to call it that. Breaking traditions but not always doing it to do it, but doing it for a reason. That emotional connection with your audience is helpful. If things are done a certain way, doing them different, yeah, absolutely. You guys don’t do it just to do it. You’re doing it because it’s going to connect with an audience.

It’s going to stand out differently. It’s going to have people be like, “You see what they’re doing over there? I want a piece of that. I either want to work there.” I know people are banging your doors down to join your team. You’ve provided this creative inertia and this philosophy and this culture that people talk about and that’s inspiring. I love those things. Are you getting weird? Sure. Are you being you? Are you being authentic, which we all know is important? Absolutely, you are. That’s powerful because you’re keeping it real. You’re owning your dopiness.

Jonny, that’s good. People can leave this episode, give your team permission to think a little differently, to get weird, to entertain in different ways to challenge the rules, the industry, to think of music differently, to storytelling. There are many things that you can get. I’m inspired by you because I think many people in the business world can learn from people in the sports world that are doing it not by the book, “I play this song. I tell you to get loud because I’m telling you to get loud,” all that. You’ve done that. Is there anything you want to finish and share with the audience?

I look at this thing that’s on my desk right now and it’s a Chinese proverb. This was on my dad’s desk a longtime ago. It’s this thing that I always keep with me and says, “Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt the person doing it.” I don’t like to should on people very often ever, but I love this phrase. Part of owning your dopiness and creating and being who you are is like, are you yes and-ing me or not? If you’re not, Thank You, Next. Ariana Grande’s slide over. Let’s keep going. Let’s keep moving forward.

I wish everyone happy creating your experience makers. We’re not sports guys. We’re sports entertainment maybe, but we’re all experienced cravers, givers, getters, think of ourselves as that build up these emotional connections with our audience, with our own teammates. Yes, and the hell out of each other and lift one another up like you do the Baby Bananas, and greatness will follow whatever your definition of that is. I know I’ve heard this a lot from you and other books is success for significance. Let’s be significant. Let’s do some powerful things out there that move the world, lift spirits, create smiles. There’s a lot of great honor in that.

Jonny, I appreciate you, my friend.

I appreciate you, Brother Jesse. Thank you. Take care of yourself.

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About Jonny Greco

BDD 17 | Jonny GrecoJonny Greco has worked in sports entertainment for over 20 years. His list of employers includes the WWE, Florida Marlins, Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Vegas Golden Knights, New York Rangers as well as Olympic production teams in Salt Lake City (2002) and Vancouver (2010).

 

 

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