Ep. 21: Sports, Innovation & Performance with Brandon Steiner
In each episode of The GameDay Playbook presented by FanFood, Rob Cressy discusses how leaders are transforming the sports and live entertainment industry by leveraging technology to enhance the fan experience and operate gameday more efficiently.
Brandon Steiner, Founder & CEO of The Collectible Exchange, joins Rob Cressy to talk about a combination of sports, innovation, and performance. Why is the first 90 seconds of your day so critical? Why do you need to get comfortable being uncomfortable? How do you prioritize what’s most important? What does his mindset look like that has allowed him to continually innovate in the sports world? Brandon also shares insight into the launch of his new company, The Collectible Exchange, and how it’ll bring fans closer to the game and players.
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Rob Cressy: (00:04)
Welcome to the GameDay Playbook presented by FanFood, a discussion around how leaders are transforming the sports and live entertainment industry by leveraging technology to enhance the fan experience and operate game day more efficiently. I'm your host Rob Cressy. And joining me today is Brandon Steiner, founder and CEO of The Collectible Exchange. Brandon, great to have you on the show.
Brandon Steiner: (00:29)
Well thank you. It's nice to be here and you know it's the first day in my new company, most people know me from Steiner Sports and obviously I left there in May and I have a whole brand new platform that I thinks going to be great for players and great for the customers and great for collectors.
Rob Cressy: (00:44)
So give us a little inside scoop what's going on with this. Tell us a little bit more about it.
Brandon Steiner: (00:49)
I mean, basically, in a short version of it, we've created a StubHub for collectibles. You know, anybody could put their stuff up. The difference is that when you sell your stuff, it goes to our hub here in New York and we're able to verify and authenticate it. So anybody who has stuff, they can easily put it up and sell it on collectibleexchange.com we will authenticate it, we'll verify it. If you've got stuff and you want to know what it's worth. There's a service we provide now on our website where you can just send in a picture. We can at least tell you the value of it. We've all been left things and find things. We've given things and we're trying to help people sort out what they have. I think it's a resale market, not a retail market. I think people love trading and trading up and getting more extraordinary and definitely unusual items you can get on an exchange like this. We're finding that people just love the exchanges and why not do it one with collectibles where you can buy stuff. And by the way, you can buy stuff directly from players. So players are on the site, they're verified to be able to buy something directly from Mariano Rivera or Eli Manning or Mark Messier or Brett Farve and you know you're buying something from that player, which is pretty cool too.
Rob Cressy: (02:01)
And you know, what I love about that is it speaks to the core of fandom as someone who both love sports memorabilia behind me right now our baseball card wallpaper of all my common cards as a kid. I think about my days of when I would look into the back and see what a Frank Thomas rookie card is worth and how that can be moved now to the digital era because there's something about the memory in the relationship you have with a piece of memorabilia, whether you have it currently or as you said, with the player's side of things where you can get something from a player and how that speaks to you as your fandom.
Brandon Steiner: (02:37)
Well, people want memories. They don't want to buy things. They want to buy memories and why not keep some of the more positive memories around, which is kind of my whole theory with all the collected companies and different things I've done, which is remember the moments and getting my fans closer to the game, getting closer to the players, getting the experienced stuff that you normally do on a regular basis. That's always been my goal and I think I've had some great experiences with getting fans to that level where besides meeting players and getting in the dugouts and the clubhouses, the bullpens and on the fields and getting stuff that the players have worn and used, which we know is hard to get. That's my game and I love doing it. I love seeing the reaction of fans when they able to get some of this stuff from their favorite players and some of the other idols growing up. It's, it's cool.
Brandon Steiner: (03:29)
And what I liked that you're doing is, you mentioned hard to get, but what you're bringing is a level of accessibility where something that is perceived hard to get you say, listen, if this is something you're interested in, we're going to help facilitate that relationship for you.
Brandon Steiner: (03:44)
We gotta make it easy and this day and age, you know, you see what the Amazons and some of these platforms are doing is they made it easy for people. And I think from a collectability standpoint, I don't know if as a hobby, certainly industry, I played played a large role in, I don't know if I've done a good job making it as easy for customers and fans to get some of this stuff, to be able to meet their players. My goal for my site in this next endeavor is to make it easy and really get the fans closer to the game. Also I think there's a lot of players that get forgotten, you know, they get pushed aside and to get them back into the game so that they are also accessible. Because maybe not the biggest name players, but if you've made it to the major league, you've got a fan base and why not be able to keep in touch with it?
Brandon Steiner: (04:32)
Whoa. And you're preaching to the choir right here because what I'm a collector of is random and obscure champion jerseys for the NBA. So we played this game called hashtag random athletes and because we're such sports fans, it's cool you can get a Michael Jordan Jersey, but guess what? Everybody has a Michael Jordan Jersey. But how many people are rocking around with a BJ Armstrong Jersey or a Dale Ellis Jersey or, and then you continually go down the list of more and more obscure. With that there's even fewer of these jerseys around. So some of the jerseys that we have are ones of one because they don't make the jerseys anymore And what some people thought of was, here's this random garbage we see as a collector's item saying, Holy smokes, there's nobody else in the world who has this and a lot of people don't realize the value in it.
Brandon Steiner: (05:31)
I love that idea and I agree with you 100% just drives home the point I was just making that there is a lot of people that are a lot of fans of not only the big big names, although those big names are always gonna have the biggest fan bases. But the reality is is plenty of players that have fan bases that are fourth and fifth man on the bench and sometimes even the backups. Why can't we wear their stuff? Why can't we get their autographs?
Rob Cressy: (05:54)
I want that cause I'm going to be more unique that way. I want to look like everybody else. I want my sports fandom to shine. So I saw you speak about one year ago and immediately I knew I was going to love your brand because of sports memorabilia, sports cards, everything that you do. But more importantly, I loved your mindset and I've done even more digging into your content. And one thing that I want to talk about is the first 90 seconds of your day and how critical it is and for me, in my journey as an entrepreneur, I really had to focus on the start of the day because it's a huge challenge for most people. I'm not a morning person. I don't like to get out what I'm going to do. So can you explain a little bit more about your philosophy around the first 90 seconds of your day and the importance of it?
Brandon Steiner: (06:45)
Well, I like the idea of the F word and that focus, you know, I always say, what the focus are you doing? And at the end, I think it's probably the most critical characteristic that I wish they would teach more in school, which is time management. I think the most, most important thing is when I ask most people why they're doing what they're doing, it's because my family, I do it for my kids, I do with my wife, my husband, and yet most of the time as entrepreneurs, we go to sleep thinking about all this stuff we didn't get to. We wake up in the morning knowing there's no way possibly to do all the things we're supposed to do and that that negative mindset becomes problematic. So what I like to do is the first 90 seconds of the most important, absolutely part of your day, more important than the other 23 hours, 58 minutes, 30 seconds.
Brandon Steiner: (07:30)
You must take the first 90 seconds extremely seriously and I mean, before you put your foot on the floor, go to the bathroom, anything, the 90 seconds has to be the complete focus and the organization and strategy of your day. And if those 90 seconds go, well, you're probably going to have a good day. You wake up and go, Oh man, I gotta do this pod with this guy, Rob. You know, I got all this other stuff to do. You're going to have a bad day. You're not going to enjoy the pod would Rob, you know, you're not going to be right. So first thing when I wake up in the morning, the first thing I'm thinking about is my MVP list, my most valuable priorities. And you've got to realize who's important, Rob, what's important.
Brandon Steiner: (08:13)
And you gotta make sure you understand what you need to do for who's important and what's important. So you do what's important for who's important and you get that priority set up. The next thing I want to do is I want to make sure if somebody at work is going through something, somebody is sick in the hospital, you have a client that you know is really stressing. You want to make sure you don't let the whole day go by and remember all of a sudden why I didn't call the client. If your wife's going for a mammogram at 11 o'clock, you want to call it 11:01 see how that went? Cause it's a big deal there. If your kids has a test, you want to text your kid at 3:05 if school's over, how'd your test go? So you've got to know who's important and what's important.
Brandon Steiner: (08:50)
You've got to do whats important for is important every day. So the first thing is my MVP list. Your most valuable, your second thing is you're not to do list. These are the people that suck you dry, that take everything out of you because they're miserable and they're all discombobulated and not functioning themselves. And what are you going to do? Is it going to take you out of your group? So you want to sprint away from those people. So most people have to do lists, my not to do list is more important than my to do list because when you get you not to do lists straightened out, it would give you a to do list a lot more room to work and air out and be able to facilitate. I tell people all the time, like when you get your priorities straight and you get your MVP list, you forgot who's important and you really understand some of the people that are draining you, that not to do list. So you know how to fend them off and delegate them out. Sometimes you've got to fire a few people. You'd be surprised how much stronger you're going to be when you can focus on what's important and you're not going to get to the end of the day and realize you miss the fact that your kid took a big test or you missed if their kid was doing an audition or trying out for a baseball team or your wife went to the doctor or something. You know, that's what you're living for. You're living for those things and you want to be a person who is in the moment. You want to take care of your most important clients and people, but when you don't do those little things it's hard to be authentic and hard to get on the same page with them. It's really a road that will take you to mediocracy. Well, you don't get your first 90 seconds, right?
Rob Cressy: (10:21)
Yeah and this is something that I've really focused on and, and I've got sort of a unique yet similar routine for myself and for me, the very first thing that I think when I wake up is today is going to be a great day. So I'm adding the positivity right out of the gates in a practice that I recently started doing. So I know that I'm going to get up so I've got no snooze button and my phone is across the room so that I have to get up and walk.
Brandon Steiner: (10:49)
So two things. First of all, if you're in bed more than about three minutes, then you're just prolonging, I mean, why, why would you be in bed with three minutes after you wake up? 90 seconds to get the first 90 seconds together. Another 90 seconds if you just need some extra time. But if you're in bed for more than three minutes, you need to actually check yourself. The second thing is there's no reason to have your phone in the bedroom. It's not sexy, not hot, honey. Guess what? I got my iPhone seven here, baby, but he really wants to see the phone in the bedroom. It's a really immediate, it's an immediate thing for a turnoff really because it means that you've got work, you're bringing your work. Honestly, when you get home and you're parked, your car leave, all that work stuff and that stress and everything in a car in your garage, nobody, your kids are not that interested in all your gobbly goop and all these emails you're looking at. It's really not attractive and I guarantee you will have less sex with your wife and you will have less of a relationship with your kids. The more you bring that phone into the house and around the house and in a bedroom, it's just a formula for really not many good things to, when you think about good things that you want to have happen, which just having fun and joy with your kids and all the cool things you can do with your wife, the phone isn't adding any additional to all that.
Rob Cressy: (12:03)
Amen to that. Amen to that, because you mentioned you're not to do list and the people who suck you dry, you know who's going to suck you dry immediately. Social media, if you wake up and go, boom, let me check social media, here comes all the people trying to suck your attention away. So instead of saying boom, what's focus? What's important to me? You're letting everybody else dictate that for you. So
Brandon Steiner: (12:25)
My social media is like my nails, my manicuring, my hair cut. You know, I don't ignore it. You gotta get your haircut, you got to get your beer trend, you want to get your nails clipped. That's what a good social media. I don't just leave it open to be, you manage that stuff. You stay on top of it, but, but it can't be the one no more priority all day, every day and when it does, it means you say no to the people you love, the clients you need to spend more time with. You've got to balance that out a little bit.
Rob Cressy: (12:51)
So you are known for innovation in the sports landscape and I'm curious about your mindset for how to be forward thinking and innovative in everything that you do.
Brandon Steiner: (13:04)
I mean, that's a good question. I think for me, I think it starts with not about what I'm going to do and it's forward thinking. It's just not accepting what I am doing. You know, I don't accept what I've done up to this point. Like I'm not, you know, stretching my arm out to pat myself on the back feeling all good about it. I'm generally in a more of a modern mindset that things are looking pretty good, but I'm definitely not accepted where I'm at this point. So if you have a mindset that doesn't accept the level of behavior and the level of your thinking, it'll then prompt you to want to think harder, think more, think about what's next. So that's my initial mindset is, is not about, it's not whether you're happy or not. It's like try to avoid being satisfied and try to avoid with the two words if I'm good, stop with that. So the more accepting you are of the (inaudible) is the immediate road to mediocracy. And unfortunately most people like I'm sure your pod's pretty good. You know, you wake up in the morning and go, you know what, my pod just isn't good enough. I've got to figure out a way to make it better. I got to figure out how to get better guests. I've got to figure out how to get on a bigger platform. I got to get more money towards advertising, get it out more. Like you've got to have that kind of mindset not to accept where you're at at this particular moment and the other thing I try to do is I try to insert hostility and rage if you want to be extraordinary as something we are are built to push ourselves. So I see people calling, Oh I'm stressed or I've got all this anxiety. Good! When was the last great thing that ever happened to you that you didn't have some anxiety and stress and were pushing yourself towards you tell me you did something great and didn't have to be pushed by a teacher, by a parent, by a boss, so I tried to insert without needing someone else. That pressure on myself to have to do more. I played the game within the game. I think about the naysayers. I think about people that don't think I could start this new company. I think about the people that didn't give me their spec. They think I wouldn't be able to sell collectibles. I think about my guidance counselor in high school that didn't think I could go to college. All those people that I don't need a why myself. I just think about those people. I'm like, you know something, I'm going to prove you wrong again and again and again and I'm pissed off about the fact you would even doubt that me and the ability I have and therefore I'm not even going to do what I'm doing really well. I'm going to even do it better than what I'm even doing. So you would show even more that you're wrong. And I used that hostility to push myself to a discomfort mode. I'm getting a little hostile right now, but like you know, you got to get yourself into a hostile mode. As humans we all have the ability to do that. Rob, at the end of the day, if you don't do it for yourself, if you don't do it for your company or your family, do it because it's an obligation. That's why we're here. I mean, your dog is going to wake up tomorrow morning. I've fed itself, walked itself and in a corner reading a book, the goldfish is going to be doing backflips and dives. The goldfish is the best its going to be. All the species on this planet are never getting better than what they are. They're just not. We're the only species as the ability to improve and get better. So if you're waking up in the morning, you're not thinking about improving, getting better and what are you doing or why are you even here? So if you're not doing it for yourself, your family, your boss, do it because you have an obligation towards the gift that was given to you to be on this planet, which is only one thing to be better and to push yourself to and to make this world better. That's how I look at it. Like if I can create the best collectible platform that's ever been thought of, like my dog's not going to help me. You know, my bird can help me, my cat can help me. Why? What am I doing? You think God put us on this? We can off and eat fancy dinners. Just hang out, put our feet up around it. I mean, that's why we were placed here? Really? I mean, I'm not going to get over philosophized about the thing, but I have hard time believing that we're were placed there just to chill and not get too stressed. You think the caveman back hundreds of years ago weren't stressed and they tried to figure how to eat and how to make sure that shelter, I mean, we've been living in high levels of stress for thousands of years to protect ourselves and to do better and to figure things out so I wouldn't get too worried. I'd make sure I use action. Don't get caught up in the anxiety. It's action over anxiety, you know? We get crazy about the stress. If you're stressed, you probably in a good direction. There's high levels of stress out there, Rob poo-who! Live it, love it, deal with it and most of the probably learn from it and grow from it because you need that stress to push shit. If not, what are you doing?
Rob Cressy: (17:32)
Amen to that. And it actually goes to one of my mantras in life. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. I seek discomfort. It is why I learned improv, the ability to listen and react and be on stage in front of people and see fear and see that monster right in front of you and you keep walking forward. The thing is, it's never easy to do things that are fearful, but guess what? Moving forward. But you keep moving forward in that and all of a sudden that becomes part of the design of who you are and it builds grit and perseverance. Because for me, I know that my journey is all on me. I'm not making excuses for anything else because it's up to me to get better. And the way that I'm going to get better is I'm going to keep pushing forward and I'm going to do things that I've never,
Brandon Steiner: (18:21)
No, but Rob, stop accepting where you're at. It doesn't mean you want to get better to stop accepting where you're at and beat yesterday. And by the way, you can give it to your discomfort zone. Another way looking at is why didn't your comfort zone make sure your comfort zone is getting wider and wider, but you know, again, back to the beginning was to stop accepting where you're at. Stop accepting that this pod you're doing is good enough, don't accept it. That's a starting point of moving towards figuring out something you probably don't know because I'm sure if you knew how to make your pod better, you probably would have done it. So that means you have to start making some calls, call some people up, asking some questions, do some research. It's a pain in the neck. We want to get better. All right.
Rob Cressy: (19:07)
So related to this, you had a blog post that said, why would you take a 9,999 pound truck over a 10,000 pound bridge? What this was really talking about is how to focus on the most important thing and I read a book that was really, um, good on my mindset about pruning and pruning the things in your business, in your life so that you do focus on the most important things because a rose in order for it to blossom into a beautiful rose has to get rid of the dead pedals that aren't serving it anymore. So tell us a little bit more about the analogy of the truck going over the bridge and focusing on the most important thing because I think it's very relatable to everything that we've just talked about.
Brandon Steiner: (19:52)
Well, the first thing I'd say, by the way, for all the married people out there who may maybe listening is never buy your wife a dozen roses. It makes no sense. Buy her one Rose 12 times and get 12 points. But back to the truck, I think, you know, it goes back to the first 90 seconds in a lot of ways, which is if you're waking up every day, Oh my God, how am I ever going to get done when I need to get done? And you go into bed at night and you're like, I can't believe I need to do this. Do that, do this. More than likely you're living, you're so busy, you have no time to even enjoy the life you've created for yourself. You probably don't remember 90% of what happened in a day because you're rushing to get to the next thing and you're over-scheduled.
Brandon Steiner: (20:31)
By the way, you control your schedule. So it starts with your first 90 seconds. Make sure you got priorities right, but over-scheduling and having too many priorities is dumb. Okay? You might have to just start smoking pot or go to the bar to start drinking shots because it's pretty much stupid, you're going to get the same thing out of it. You're not going to remember anything and your life was just passing you by. So you gotta be careful if you're one of those persons who scheduled every minute of every day, you know, I call you up, let's hang out and tell me we can hang out three months from now. I those that are friends, I'm definitely not interested in habit. Oh wait, can we get together? Like how like March, it's not got an open weekend in March. I was like, I never just call you anymore because it's ridiculous.
Brandon Steiner: (21:13)
But there are a lot of people that are live in these over-scheduled lives. They got too much going on and you've got to stop. You got to pause because scheduling capacity is a state of mind. But also scheduling is an art. And you gotta be extremely diligent about going back on your schedule and realize we wasted time so you don't keep making the same mistake over. I always go with my calendar in the morning of where I've been the last week or so, and I see where I've wasted time or we'll make the same mistake and I go forward a week or two and I see if my schedule is making sense and I see how I could combine some things or maybe some things doesn't make sense right now for me to have those meetings or maybe this makes sense for me to do certain things at a certain time.
Brandon Steiner: (21:53)
And I'm constantly constantly looking at my schedule and not guessing and hoping my schedule works out. Because your time is one of the most valuable assets and it's one of the most limited things we actually all have.
Rob Cressy: (22:05)
Brandon, I absolutely love the fire and knowledge that you bring. Is there anything that I didn't ask you that you would think would be valuable to the audience as we wrap this up?
Brandon Steiner: (22:17)
Well, first of all, thanks for having me. There's always a, there's so many things to talk about. So little time. I'll tell you two little tips. First of all, since we're doing a little bit of, its game day play ball I believe right?
Rob Cressy: (22:27)
Brandon Steiner: (22:27)
Love GameDay Playbook. Love it, love your love, your idea, love this pod. First of all, do not eat ballpark food till the end of the second inning.
Brandon Steiner: (22:39)
I'm not sure the sponsors are going to like this business probably left over from the game before. Just saying. The second thing is is that if you want to be more productive at work, it always starts with making sure you're productive and solid at home. So what I would say to you is if you're working really hard and most entrepreneurs are working out really hard, you're all over the place, you probably not that easy to communicate with. So you know your wife and your kids probably know. It's difficult to really talk to you a lot of times during the week. Leave your cell phone home on date night when you go out with your kids a few hours on the weekends and when you go out with your wife on date night at least twice a weekend on Friday or Saturday night and Saturday, Sunday you go out for lunch.
Brandon Steiner: (23:22)
I never take my phone with me with my wife. So my wife knows about how crazy I am during the week. She knows she has my undivided attention on date night and our lunch when we go out on Saturday and Sunday to go over anything and everything she wants to go over and I'm completely letting her know that I'm not taking my phone cause I want to concentrate on her, what's going on with her and what's going on in our family. So I make sure that can digest that and make sure I'm focusing on it. I can't believe how many guys are working their tails off or women working their tails off for a week and then they are finally out. What do they do? They're on their phone, look at their emails. Just don't take it with you. When you go out with your kids to a park, your kids haven't seen you all week either.
Brandon Steiner: (24:01)
You've got to give them those three or four hours of your undivided attention. So put the damn phone down for those few hours. I'm not saying just don't go online all day, all weekend because you know that's too hard. But for those few hours segments focusing on what's important and don't eat ballpark food before the end of the second inning and don't eat sushi on a Sunday night, it's not a good idea. There was this probably left from, you know, maybe they got in and on a Thursday or Friday, it's like three days old. But I can go over with a lot more of those tips. But those are my three best tips.
Rob Cressy: (24:32)
Loving these tips, Brandon, where can everybody connect with you?
Brandon Steiner: (24:36)
I mean the best thing is to get more information on the new company and get my books and information. If you go to Brandonsteiner.com . On LinkedIn, I'm at the max connections, but you could follow me on LinkedIn. I really read everything If you message with me. Like me on Facebook. Either one is good. I try to read all the messages but go to brandonsteiner.com register for the blog. You'll love it and you get these 22 rules of negotiating for entrepreneurs and sales one-on-one. By the way, you won't be disappointed with the list. I know this because my daughter who hates all my content, of course your kids think you're a bunch of idiots even calling me and says, dad, I got to tell you I love those 22 rules and I handed it out to my sales team and they all loved it, so thank you. I said, did you give me credit for that? She goes, no, half those ideas I gave you, I said, what are you talking about? She said it was a really good list. If you go to Brandonsteiner.com we are giving the blog out for free, if you register for the pod, you get that free. brandonsteiner.com
Rob Cressy: (25:32)
and as always, I would love to hear from you about this episode. What I'm curious about is the first 90 seconds of your day, let me know about it. You can hit up fan food on Twitter @fanfoodondemand, on Instagram @fanfoodapp or on LinkedIn. As always, you can hit me up on all social media platforms at Rob Cressy.