Jesse Cole is the founder of Fans First Entertainment and the owner of the Savannah Bananas. He’s fanatic about fandom and launched the Savannah Bananas with one mission: to spark a fan-focused movement. The Bananas have sold out every game since their first season and have a waitlist for tickets in the thousands. They have entertained millions of fans in Savannah and at ballparks all over their country on their Banana Ball Tour.
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- “So many business owners are focused on short-term profits. We are focused on long-term fans.”
- “If you’re not getting criticized, then you’re playing it too safe.” – When is the last time you were criticized for pushing it too far?
- Ideas are about quantity. Jesse writes down ten new ideas in his “idea journal” every morning. Most of them aren’t that good. You have to get through the quantity to get to the quality. It’s a numbers game.
- Send handwritten thank you notes to people. Tell them about the impact they’ve made on you. Jesse has done this for me multiple times and it always makes me feel good.
- Customers are transactional… Create fans for life.
- “Do for one what you wish you could do for many.” Create special moments for people. One at a time.
- Do an energy audit: What activities give you energy? How can you do more of those?
- We learn who we are in practice, not in theory. We learn best through actual trial. Move from idea to execution quickly. If it doesn’t work, move on.
- “I’m not afraid to be embarrassed. My biggest fear is being irrelevant.”
- Jesse focuses a ton of effort on understanding his teammates (both players and everyone else who works for him)
- The love language assessment… He learned that the majority of his employees have “words of affirmation” as their top love language.
- “Recognition drives behavior.”
- The job title for Jesse’s executive assistant is “Executive Rockstar.”
- What Jesse learned from Walt Disney and PT Barnum:
- Master storytellers
- They create attention
- “Without promotion, something terrible happens… Nothing.”
- Watch “The Imagineering Story” on Disney Plus
- “They built Disney Land in less than a year!”
- “Money doesn’t excite me. Ideas excite me.”
- Advice: “Give without asking for anything in return. Give, give, give.”
- 9 Rules To Banana Ball:
- Every Inning Counts – Create walk-off moments
- 2 Hour Time Limit
- 1 on 1 Showdown (if there is a tie). No extra innings.
- Walks are now springs (if you walk, it’s a sprint)
- No Bunting (bunting sucks)
- No Mound Visits (they are boring
- The batter can steal first base (if a pitcher throws a passed ball)
- If a fan catches a foul ball, it’s an out
- No stepping out of the box
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