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Alex Rodriguez and Jimmy DeCicco On Mentorship
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Our Coach Conversations series connects members of our community to create space and spark conversation on meaningful topics. In our first Q&A, our CEO, Jimmy DeCicco, catches up with Super Coffee investor and baseball legend Alex Rodriguez to talk about the value of mentors for January’s Mentor Month.
Jimmy: “Our core values are COACH and it stands for curious, optimistic, ambitious, compassionate, and humble. And today I want to focus on curious and humble because the first time we met you was just over a year ago. We had an introduction and the thing that stood out the most to me was your humility. You know you were asking questions, coffee is an industry that is pretty new to you. And you weren't afraid to say what you don't know. So growing up, I mean, obviously you didn't go to college, you didn't get your MBA. How has that curiosity and that humility played a role in you learning the industries and the games that you didn't always have the answers to?”
Alex: “Yeah, Jimmy, you know, I'm a big believer of keeping things very simple and less is more. And one of the things that I learned as a baseball player, what made me a great player and play for such a long time was the ability to be a student and a teacher. But focusing on the student part, you have to study, you have to know your numbers, you have to get to know people. It is important to know what you know, but as you said, it's more important to know what you don't know and surround yourself with people that are much smarter and that you have a vision and an alignment. That is a win-win.”
Jimmy: “I think for us to hear the questions that you were asking was awesome. It's like you really wanted to make this a partnership, you wanted to know this industry. One other thing that stood out to us when we first met was you always emphasize to us the value of relationships….And without a college degree, you know, our brother, Jordan, he dropped out of school to start Super Coffee. How have you leveraged relationships to get the education that you never really got otherwise?”
Alex: “Yeah, I think as long term, right? I think understanding what your circle of competence is and what your competitive advantages are, and to be able to have relationships where you're bringing even more so than you're taking. I think being a giver early on is so important and I'm a big believer in the 10 touches. So 10 touches before you're allowed to ask any favors or any investments or any partnerships and what this does is practice discipline over time. And then it promotes a long-term relationship. I mean, I've had relationships with over 15 years before on year 16, then we do something together that leads into a partnership and so on and so forth. But I think a lot of the young folks out there that I'm seeing is they want immediate gratification. They want to be a partner day one, and it doesn't all come in the first or second ending. Sometimes it comes in the later innings.”
Jimmy: “That's that's awesome. The 10 touches that really builds a friendship with no other sort of hidden agendas there. That's fantastic. And I think Alex, most of us know you as a baseball player first and we'll get into your business career in a second, but coming up, like you said, you, you got to be a player and a coach who, whether, whether it was a veteran in the league or a coach while you were playing, who had the biggest impact on you as a mentor?”
Alex: “Well, I had some great ones, you know, I had a hall of fame manager in Joe Tori, who taught me to think small and big things will happen. I had the great Lou Piniella teach me that before you steal second base, you got to get on base. I had Warren Buffet teach me that, it's okay to pay a fair price for a great business. Don't focus on paying a great price for a fair business, to think about a company that you want to own forever. And when you do these things, it has a common theme. And that common theme is that the process wins over time. And thinking small on the fundamentals. I always say that home runs fills up your bank account, but pitching defense and situational hitting wins championships.”
Watch The Full Interview
Want to catch the rest? Check out the full conversation on our IGTV for more on Alex’s mentors, his biggest learnings from his business ventures, and how Jennifer Lopez has made him a better entrepreneur.
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