Office Hours: MLB All-Star Shawn Green Talks Entrepreneur Life After Baseball

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Welcome to a new episode of Office Hours: a podcast where Front Office Sports CEO Adam White has a discussion with figures from throughout the sports industry centered around three basic questions. Those questions are “What’s on your mind today?”, “What are you excited about?”, and “Any big ideas or theories you want to share?”

Shawn Green co-founded Greenfly, a social content collaboration and distribution engine, after an impressive 14-year career in Major League Baseball that included two All-Star selections, a Gold Glove Award, and a Silver Slugger Award. Green chats with White in today’s episode about lessons from his playing career, the vision for Greenfly’s future, and working in the “Silicon Beach” region of California.

Edited highlights appear below:

On comparisons between playing in MLB and starting a business (0:18)

Green: “As an athlete you’re starting your career, it’s almost like you’re trying to start a business. You’re trying to make something up like ‘do I belong here?’ ‘Do I know what I’m doing?’ And then you started figuring it out. You get more confidence as you pass the different levels and go from A ball, AA, AAA, all of a sudden you’re in the big leagues and [you think] do I belong? You hopefully perform well enough to belong…And I think it’s very similar as a startup, you throw something out there into the world, especially in our cases, sort of creating a new space. And when you start to get traction with customers, you get that confidence and then you go through the ups and downs just like anything. The more times you pick yourself back up after the tougher times, the more confidence you have and the better you are moving forward.”

On returning to his home state of California to play for the Dodgers (20:41)

Green: “It just felt like I wasn’t supposed to relax. So it was hard. And then you have the a lot of ticket requests. That side of things is hard I think for anyone who goes to play at home for the first time because you merge those worlds. In terms of Hollywood and all that, it was fun seeing and meeting celebrities that came to the games…There was no added pressure or things like that. Once you’re on the field, you’re playing the game and it was a beautiful place to play and it was nice to play in amazing weather. We had, I think, one rainout, which was a surprise to even have one in the five years…I think almost 4 million fans a year would show up at Dodger stadium. So there was no better place to play.”

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On contributing entrepreneurial success to habits learned in his playing career (30:01)

Green: “Baseball, more than any other sport that I know of, especially as a hitter… you get knocked down all the time…I think we’re pretty hardheaded. I’m trying to hit a guy throwing 97 miles an hour, throwing other stuff. Thinking that you can do that consistently is kind of crazy, right? I think you gotta have that mentality to be successful starting a business and people tell you all the time that certain things aren’t gonna work and have to be hardheaded and if you believe in it and you see the vision and you start to see success in the market, then you dive in all the way. “

On how social media would have affected his career had it been in its prime (45:45)

Green: “You know, it’s funny because I think back then it was sort of frowned upon to be active publicly more. I think social media was just starting. So I retired in ’07. Facebook started in ’03, ’04. Twitter was just starting. But the attitude then like with teammates and within the league was that, ‘Oh, this guy’s not focused on what he should be focused on.’ And that’s changed a lot. It’s hard, coming from my era to, for those people to understand how important the social side is. Now being in the business, I would tell guys like, you’re crazy to not build your social footprint, not only for what you’re doing now and your career, but post-career it’s just such a big opportunity. You have to take advantage of it while you have the audience that you have.”

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