Which entrepreneur do you admire the most and why?
I’ve been really inspired by Marcus and Shawn Milione, the entrepreneurs who founded and run Minted New York. They live at the intersection of running/fitness culture, entrepreneur culture and fashion. I spotted them on TikTok a few years ago and have been loving how they’ve grown their business, how they’ve innovated their product line and everything in between. What drew me to them is that they shared everything—their entire process, from operations to product development to race training and nutrition to the day-in and day-out hustle of being an entrepreneur—all on TikTok. So, when you view their content, you immediately feel like you’re part of their process of building their brand.
What’s currently on your bedside reading list?
I became a new dad this past spring, so you’ll see some parenting books sprinkled in: “Bringing Up Bébé,” by Pamela Druckerman; “Decoded,” by Jay-Z; “Good Inside,” by Becky Kennedy; and “The Alchemist,” by Paulo Coelho.
What is the best career advice you’ve gotten?
One of the best bits of career advice I’ve received came from another guy named Christian, who was a former boss of mine for many years earlier in my career when I was agency-side.
He introduced me to this concept of “pointy elbows.” The idea behind pointy elbows is that in order to become a leader, or at least to start your journey to be a leader, you need to really work at entering every situation with an opinion or a POV or something you know you want to learn or take away from the conversation. Having pointy elbows doesn’t mean being a jerk or dominating a room either. There’s a nuance to it: You need to still come from a place of humbleness and empathy. The process of pointy elbows never ends. It isn’t a personality trait—rather, it’s a practice.
Name one brand, other than the one you work for, that you admire.
One brand that I’ve really loved watching in recent years is New Balance. With cultural juggernauts like Nike out there in their category, I think New Balance has done an amazing job of re-inventing themselves recently. They spent years somewhere at the intersection of great running shoes and the ultimate dad brand—and in many ways, they might still be—but as of late they’ve found super smart ways to reinvigorate themselves, primarily through some incredible collaborations where they act more like a streetwear boutique (see: their collaboration with ALD), and outside of that, really working to infuse the possibility [of] personal style into their line.
It’ll be really interesting to see how they continue the heritage-ness and technology of the core brand while staying super culturally relevant.
What is your secret weapon for business success?
I want to say it’s niche knowledge or some technical skill or the ability to look at big data and tell a story. All of those, of course, are important. But when I think about it, business success comes from a place that’s a little more human than that: empathy. Understanding of others around you is so crucial to building connections and ultimately being successful. Whether it’s connecting with your team, partners across your business, investors and of course your audience, empathy just leads to better ways of working—and better work.