Episode 18: Tai Morshed, Vice President at ONE Championship, Talks Ringing the Bell, Teaming with Heroes, and How He’s Helping Connect a Continent Through Mixed Martial Arts

When the startup he was working for went public, Tai found himself on the floor of the Stock Exchange and the center of the action. He thought he made it. Turns out, his career was just getting started. After taking a risk that led him to a job with Adobe in Southeast Asia, he found an opportunity at the intersection of his passion and purpose with ONE Championship. Now he’s empowering tens of millions of fans across Asia – and soon the world – to connect with athletes through storytelling and shared experiences.

On this Episode of The Besomebody Podcast:

18:24 When the risk pays off. “I took a risk leaving somewhere else where I was comfortable, and things were easy. I took a risk leaving Austin and going to New York. There were a lot of risks that I took, and that was really gratifying to see us IPO. I was there on the floor – I didn’t ring the bell, but I was a row or two right behind them, waving…It was a gratifying moment to essentially be able to own that space and say, ‘You know what, I deserve this. This is a hard-working team. I took some risks, and this is where it pays off.’” -TM

19:53 Believing AND building.  “It’s important to differentiate and to create that distinction between those who believe, but also want to build. Believing in the vision, mission, and principles is the price of entry – if you don’t believe, I don’t even want you to walk in the door of Besomebody, Inc. or BSB Group International. But believing isn’t enough – because you have to want to build. What does that mean? It means you have to be able to make the sacrifices, put in the work, produce the results necessary for the company to grow.” -KS

36:29 Building heroes at ONE Championship. “It’s not about the fighting. What they’re really trying to do is build heroes. They’re putting heroes in places where people need it the most. They need people who look like them or are like them to give them a sense of hope and inspiration that they can do more and be more in life.” -TM

42:31 The power of connection. “People want to be able to believe and see people and connect with people who look like them, who’ve been through what they’ve been through, who understand their history, values, and culture. I think that’s been one of the most exciting evolutions in marketing and advertising over the last couple years…When you think about now, the necessity for us to come up with – not just a white person, a black person, a brown person – but somebody who came up from your same neighborhood, who speaks your same dialect, who has the same challenges. That ability to connect at a niche and specific level is so powerful.” -KS

44:41 Uncovering the stories. “There’s some culture, there’s some adversity in life, and in all these places there’s these great stories. While we know if we just showed knockouts all day our numbers would be higher, but we’re not building the brand that we believe that can have an impact and that has long term value. That’s why we take the time to make sure these stories are unearthed.” -TM

59:04 Kash’s One Big Thing. “When you think about the ‘microstories’ that are out there that unify us and connect us, it’s way past the old school marketing days of ’45 year old white male’ or ‘single mom’ – it’s way beyond that. And when you can get deeper into those nuances of what makes people different, but also connects them, that’s when you can create that emotional bond with people. When you look at the future of content, the future of marketing, the future of storytelling – that’s where it is. It’s endless the amount of avenues and connection points that we have now on social media and digital. The companies that are going to be able to tell those ‘microstories’ in a personal, authentic, and relevant way, those are going to be the ones that are going to win.” -KS

Episode 16: Riding the Rollercoaster – Rex Jackson, General Manager of LEGOLAND Florida, on Rebuilding the American Theme Park and The Magic of Resilience

Rex Jackson has known action and adventure for two decades, beginning with his early days as a store manager at pre-Netflix Blockbuster Video. Since then, his wild ride has taken him from the most iconic brand at the largest CPG company in the world, to the (dining) table of some of American’s most recognized restaurants, and now, to one of the world’s most visited theme parks. Through it all, his recipe of resilience, belief, and kindness has carried him through the ups and downs.

On this Episode of The Besomebody Podcast:

15:10 Taking a risk for your career. “That was a risk that I took – to go ahead and lean in and take the risk to be at the company I wanted to be at, maybe not in the function, and see if I could earn my way into the brand management track. A year and a half later, I was able to make that transition.” -RJ

22:25 Don’t get left behind. “As business leaders, oftentimes we get those blinders on one or two metrics – whether it’s market share, household penetration, or stock price – that we use as the barometer for success. In your case, it sounds like what people were so focused on, that they didn’t see or weren’t thinking enough about the emerging trends and threats around them.” -KS

29:29 Merlin’s ‘we care’ value in action. “Closing the resort is one thing – that’s the business side of it, but the impact it has on the employees was the toughest decision…We ended up furloughing over 90% of our employees at LEGOLAND Florida. But one of the things I’m proud of is that there’s a Merlin value called, ‘We care.’ We took that value to heart from the very beginning of the process – even before we started talking about who was going to be furloughed and what departments. We outlined a set of principles that we wanted to follow as we went through this process – some of those principles were things like, being transparent. Not withholding information if we didn’t have to. Communicating it in a timely manner, and over-communicating when necessary. When we first furloughed…the CARES Act had not been passed yet, so we didn’t have visibility into what the government was going to do as a benefit for people. To our credit, to Merlin’s credit, we were able to take care of our furloughed employees. Our salaried staff we furloughed at 90% pay and our full-time hourly staff we furloughed at 50% pay.” -RJ

44:42 We’re all connected. “As things have evolved, I’ve seen that people want to rally together and want to support each other. Yes, there’s the fear and anxiety to some extent about going to some of these places, but it’s also like, ‘Yeah! LEGOLAND was the first to open in Florida of all the theme parks. Let’s go support them!’ That whole ecosystem feels more connected than ever.” -KS

45:23 Resilience & recovery. “Ultimately, there is an American spirit that is going to show through over the course of the next 12-18 months as the country recovers from this pandemic and comes back online, so to speak. I think you’ll see that American spirit shine, and the recovery will be a success story. I still think it will be faster than what people think but may not be as full as what people hope for.” -RJ

58:19 Kash’s One Big Thing. “They did something that just a couple months ago people said they could never do. When you think of everything that we’ve learned here on the Besomebody journey, and every time that we’ve been told we can’t do something. And every time every entrepreneur has said, ‘That idea isn’t good enough,’ or ‘That idea isn’t going to make it.’ All those negative things that people tell you about why you can’t do something, why you shouldn’t do something, why you won’t ever win when you try it. Rex Jackson and his team prove a lot of people wrong.” -KS

Episode 7: What is the “New Normal” in Grocery and Marketing – HEB’s Ashwin Nathan on the Impact of COVID-19 and Meeting Challenges with Innovation

Ashwin Nathan leads the marketing & digital efforts for HEB, the largest grocery chain in Texas with over $20B in revenue and more than 120,000 employees. COVID-19 has impacted their marketing, operations and supply chain, and has forced them to innovate faster than ever before in order to serve their community safely today, and in the future.

On this Episode of The Besomebody Podcast:

11:49 The impact of company culture.  “Being at HEB the last three years has been eye-opening in terms of watching a company connect its purpose to what it does every single day from a business standpoint. We exist so we can take care of our community, so that we can take care of our fellow Texans. We’re essentially a public service…It’s humbling to be a part of this with 100,000 other people who are just committed to serving Texas.” -AN

21:52 Marketing amidst COVID-19.  “I think the most immediate thing is to pull a lot of marketing, go dark in a lot of instances. In the sense that the most important thing is to make sure that you are not putting messages out there that can make things worse. For example, when you have marketing for specific products, whether it’s ice cream or paper towels or certain brands in the store, all of that right now is irrelevant. Your job right now is to make sure you’re helping the company with whatever is necessary from a customer messaging standpoint to make sure they understand that we have the supplies, we just need time to put it up.” -AN

23:57 COVID-19’s lasting impact. “All of our screen time is up 50% – we’re on social more, we’re watching the news, we’re waiting for that 5:00pm press conference every night – I really do believe that those types of habits, as well as people’s comfort with e-commerce, delivery, and things like that – will have people venturing into that process that never had to do it before, never wanted to do it before. I think they’re going to become new members of that ecosystem. There’s a lot of habits that are going to stay long after this virus is over.” -KS

25:03 This is the time for content creators. “Overall there’s going to be companies that are born out of this crisis and channels that are discovered out of this crisis. For all the bad and all the struggle, there’s going to be some winners…this is THE time for great content creators. If you’re a content creator – a writer, videographer, photographer – this is your time to create the best content you’ve ever created. Because you have eyeballs – you have opportunity. There’s going to be people that gain awareness during this crisis that will maintain it afterwards.” -KS

29:33 Leadership lessons for the “new normal.” “For me, there are a couple of things in the ‘new normal’ that I really want to do. One, support local businesses as much as I can. That’s something that from a new normal standpoint, the new normal for those guys is a lot worse than folks like me who are in a different situation. All of us have to figure out how do we continue to support local entrepreneurs, local companies, local businesses, our community – I think that is going to be critical and hopefully that brings us together. From a business standpoint, it’s brought more clarity to me in terms of what are the things that are most important that I have to continue to do to drive success with my team and make sure that we operate as a team, and make sure that we are contributing to the growth of the business.” -AN

38:08 Kash’s One Big Thing. “This is the time for great content creators to step up. You’ve never had all this luxury to sit at home and create. We’ve all had day jobs we had to go to, we’ve had stuff to do. Even if you’re working from home you still have more time, no matter what someone tells you. This is when you should be writing, taking photos, making that video, starting that podcast, starting that blog. Whatever it is, now is the time. It’s not just because people want to consume it, it’s because this is when you can refine it and focus on it. If you’re great at it, figure out which channel is best for you and go all in on that one because then that will be a platform for you long after this is over.” -KS