Thursday, January 10, 2013

In Praise Of Converse All*Stars -- In Praise of True Partnerships

Sneaker-Cam -- the view of my All*Stars from my desk at Sorenson Media
Converse All*Stars.  Nothing like 'em.  Comfortable.  Cool.  Iconic.  They are more than "just a shoe." They represent a state of mind.

Case in point -- these shoes were my constant companion on my recent epic adventure with my wife, Luisa, on the inaugural SS Coachella cruise (a full review of which is here.)

So, why am I writing this?

Because I just recently re-connected with Geoff Cottrill, a great and talented guy who is the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for Converse.  Cottrill is a force.  High energy.  Immensely creative.  And, instantly likable.  I took this picture from my desk immediately after I caught up with him and just happened to be wearing my Converse sneaks that very day.  I texted this pic to him.  And, I showcase it here, because it reflects my state of mind -- the "attitude" within which I like to work.  This is the view from my desk where, just beyond my All*Stars, you will see my framed autographed record and picture of U2 (a classic iconic band that fits perfectly with my iconic sneaks).  These sneaks also represent so much more.  Here's why.

How do I know Cottrill?  From my days at Universal Studios and his days at Coca-Cola.  We met when we sat on opposite sides of the table negotiating a mega corporate sponsorship agreement valued at hundreds of millions of dollars -- the deal was so big that it was featured in the Wall Street Journal.

Cottrill and I bonded.  Challenging negotiations.  But, ultimately a great result for all involved.  And, it was constructive during the whole wild ride.  More than constructive.  It flowed.  We hit it off.  We stayed in touch.  And, we did another big and innovative deal when I was President & COO of online music pioneer Musicmatch.  The Musicmatch/Coke deal broke new ground at the time.  Back to the Universal Studios/Coke deal.  I remember finalizing the deal about 2 am in Atlanta and then going to celebrate with him in a greasy-spoon Atlanta diner at about 3 am -- and I remember our shared passion for music and playing "In the Air Tonight" on the diner's juke box.  We were exhausted, but laughing.  Was one of those classic professional moments.

And, that's the power of long professional relationships.  You establish trust.  You explore mutual benefit.  You have fun.  And, ultimately, it may lead to a great result for all involved.  THIS is the power of establishing real partnerships.

At a minimum, you meet great people -- and stay in touch with them.

And, you revel in wearing (and otherwise supporting) the iconic stuff that they are now directly involved in creating.

So, back to the sneaks.  Love 'em.  And love the fact that my buddy Cottrill is leading the charge over there with his charisma, passion and overall love for the game.

He too is iconic in my book.