There are endless lessons to be learned from baseball. And I’ve found that many of them are particularly relevant to the business world. Whether it’s the importance of resilience or the value of each persons role, sport and enterprise seem to exist side by side. In fact, one of the reasons I became a motivational speaker in the first place was to help organizations improve their culture and performance by sharing insights I’ve learned from America’s pastime.
Considering the parallels between business and baseball, it should come as no surprise that former pro athletes who become entrepreneurs are oftentimes incredibly successful. They’re focused, disciplined and refuse to quit when the going gets tough. That grit and tenacity is part of what makes it so much fun to interview athletes on my podcast Rounding the Bases, and one recent interview in particular did not disappoint.
I was joined by two former pro athletes who paved the way for better everything. Retired professional pitcher Kevin Moran and professional hockey player Matt Lombardi consider themselves opposites by most accounts. But after each sustained his own career-ending injury, the former classmates found commonality in the thrill of elite competitions. A lifetime of pushing their bodies to the brink had them in need of a safe, effective remedy to their aches and pains. And so their company beam was born.
The all-natural, pharmaceutical grade and 100% THC-free CBD lifestyle products were the answer they had been searching for. It changed their lives. Now the co-founders are on a mission to empower people from all walks to live happier, healthier lives as well.
SINGLE: The Road to Reunion
Before becoming entrepreneurs, Kevin and Matt were just a couple of Boston College undergrads. As students, they forged a friendship over shared passions for business and sports. Matt graduated and went on the play pro hockey. The same year, Kevin was drafted by the White Sox. Different sports and busy schedules caused them to fall out of touch, until a chance encounter a few years later. Bumping into each other outside of an apartment building made for a fun, impromptu reunion. Learning that they both actually lived there catalyzed the second act of their relationship. This time around, it was a bond fueled by shared passions for health, wellness and doing things that are too hard for most.
DOUBLE: Resilient Recoveries
Elite athletes all posses a handful of qualities that earn them a place in the brotherhood of competitors. There’s self-control, determination, and except for a very rare few, there’s injury. But learning to fight back from recovery is also what builds the very specific type of resilience athletes posses that many non-athletes do not.
“Having a lot of different injuries and things to deal with in professional sports is a good analogy for entrepreneurship and startups,” said Kevin. He had Tommy Johns surgery. He blew out a knee. His rotator cuff tore. And then his labrum did too. The cumulative effects of injury ended his career prematurely. But after each injury, he recovered, made changes and got himself back on the pitching mound. Dealing with so many setbacks was undeniably hard. But it also solidified the resilience and mental toughness needed to keep throwing the heat as a pitcher or business owner.
TRIPLE: Action Oriented
Some entrepreneurs allow analysis paralysis to hold back their decision making, but not these two. “We’ve always done a good job of taking massive action and moving really quick,” said Kevin. Another prior guest, Mark LeBlanc, teaches that done is better than perfect. And taking imperfect action is better that perfect inaction, namely because it gets you results. Explained Matt, “We’ll try stuff, we’ll lean into the stuff that’s working … and probably most importantly, we’ll pivot away from the stuff that’s not.” It’s an attitude that embodies what resilience is all about. It’s also what has helped them build a lineup of five successful product categories.
HOME RUN: A Balanced Team
You don’t have to be business partners to be a team, but you do have to be a team to be business partners. In the case of beam, their shared qualities expressed in different ways seem to be the secret to their success. “The good thing is that we generally meet in the middle,” Kevin said, while explaining how his and Matt’s perspectives influence their decision making. Whether it’s their personal intensity levels or the way each reacts to unexpected challenges, the result is just enough healthy contrast to help them grow. There are even times when they don’t see eye-to-eye. But at the end of the day, both just want to achieve the same thing. “It’s never personal,” Matt explained, “it all comes from love.”
Learn More About Resilience From Joel
Book Joel Goldberg for your next corporate event. He draws on over 25 years of experience as a sports broadcaster. In addition, he brings unique perspectives and lessons learned from some of the world’s most successful organizations. Whatever your profession, Joel is the keynote speaker who can help your team achieve a championship state of mind.
Joel Goldberg 0:00
Welcome into Rounding the Bases the podcast about culture and leadership with a baseball twist and quick shout out to my friends at Community American Credit Union. Love the partnership, the sponsorship with them they’re involved in so much here in town. And also a quick shout out to Chief of Staff Kansas City best in the business not just here in Kansas City, but around the country. I love the work that I do with them and some of the consulting and culture work but if you’re looking to hire someone, if you’re looking for a job Chief of Staff, Kansas City ChiefofStaff kc.com. I say this often that I love when I have guests with a sports theme on the show, not everybody has to have that. But when you can when you can combine the sports world in the business world, which is so much of what I speak of. It can be very powerful. There’s so many lessons so today I’m joined by not one but two former professional athletes, who have been connected for a very long time and have really turned into doing some amazing things. Retired professional baseball player Kevin Moran, retired professional hockey player Matt Lombardi consider themselves opposites by most accounts, but after each sustained his own career ending injury, the former classmates found commonality in the thrill of elite competitions. A lifetime of pushing their bodies to the brink had them in need of a safe effective remedy to their aches and pains. And so beam was born. The all natural, pharmaceutical grade, and 100% thc free CBD lifestyle products were the answer they had been searching for. It changed their lives. And now the co-founders are on a mission to empower people from all walks of life, to live happier, healthier lives as well. I’ve had the chance to try a lot of the products. I just told them this before we came on. I wouldn’t say if I didn’t believe it. I need to get more of it actually just really good, clean stuff. It it works. It’s good. It felt kind of groundbreaking to me so I’m happy right now to be joined by former hockey player Matt Lombardi, former baseball player Kevin Moran. Two of my well, not two of, my favorite my two favorite sports I think in part because those are the two sports in my career that I’ve covered the most. Matt’s out West right now, Kevin’s out East. It all works together with this virtual world we live in. Matt, Kevin, how are you guys?
Matt Lombardi 2:34
Good. Thanks for having us.
Kevin Moran 2:35
That was a reat intro. Man.
Joel Goldberg 2:37
I’ve got I’ve got an amazing assistant who sets it all up. And yeah, I have a lot of people that say that I should start having her do these for the publicity for you guys and everybody else but it’s true. I mean, I’m fascinated though because one when business is hard, very much like sports, right? And you guys know this, they’ll probably probably be more sports references in this episode than usual because you too have played on a lot of teams over the course of your career and and it’s hard to build good teams. It’s more of a GM thing a coaching thing, but it’s hard to find the right, Matt, in hockey, we always had the room right? In baseball, Kevin it’s the clubhouse it’s, it’s hard to find a good room that right mix. So let’s start with this before we get into beam. Matt, tell me about the history with with Kevin and kind of when you realize that the two of you are that good. Good. Matt. By the way, my assistant, she wrote in the script bromance, and I don’t know you guys well enough to say that. How did this all start for you guys?
Matt Lombardi 3:47
Yeah. It goes back quite a bit. So we both went to Boston College. I graduated in 2010. Kevin was a year behind me. But that year he got drafted pretty high by the White Sox and left his junior year but it back dates all the way to college. And we’re pretty good friends in school. We were in a few classes in the business school together, we’d see each other every day down in the weight room and the training room. But I went and played in the minors for a bit after school, Kevin’s in the Sox organization and we actually didn’t keep in touch at all. And then I remember bumping into Kevin, we were living the same apartment building things are in 2014-2015, we had both retired due to different injuries and we’re beginning you know life after hockey and baseball and happened just to bump into each other not knowing we were living the same building, reconnected, and you had mentioned Kevin was training for an Ironman at the time but his wife and I think the one thing that’s definitely helped Kevin, I nourish our bromance, if you want to call it that is just our passion for all things health and wellness and right away when I heard what he was doing, you know, training you know, for a marathon, a huge swim, a long bike ride on one race. I don’t really know what an Ironman was. And right away I just wanted to jump in and see if I could hang. See if I had it in me. I did not. I got my butt kicked pretty good by him and his wife and some of the workouts that we’re doing and but that was just like the shared passion for all things wellness pushing our bodies or minds. You know, we’re reading the same books, listening to the same podcasts and just into the same same things. And I think yeah, we just like doing hard things and, but through all of that came a lot of pain to our bodies. And we started hearing and reading a lot about CBD. And probably over the course of three, four years of being reconnected, we started talking about wanting to do something together just because we loved all the same stuff. And it just happened to be that CBD was sort of this emerging market that’s really hot, trendy, supplement at the time. And it was just sort of like a I think a good match and good timing for us where at the time. No one really knew what it was. There’s so much confusion around CBD whether it would get you high like THC, comes from cannabis, that apparently helps to 10,000 different remedies and pain points. And we can kind of dive into the business and more how and why that started. But that was sort of the precipice of how we we reconnected and I started our bromance.
Joel Goldberg 6:07
Yeah. Well, I mean, Kevin, it’s cool, because you sometimes will see former teammates collaborate on something. But it’s rare that you would see two guys that were in different sports, right? I mean, because when you guys are in school, that I think that a lot of the athletes will get to know each other some you maybe see each other in the weight room, or you see in athletic facility, or whatever it is, but I mean, the baseball world and the hockey world, beyond the competition, and you know that the rigor and all that are very different schedules, very different worlds, too. So what was it that kind of wasn’t just these joint interests that brought you guys together? I mean, it’s it’s not too often you see a hockey guy and a baseball guy, maybe hanging out, so I’m right, but but kind of going down this journey together?
Kevin Moran 6:57
Yeah, I think like, I think a lot of good athletes, they share some commonalities there, whether it’s hockey, baseball, track and field, football. You know, discipline, empathy toward your teammates, those types of things. And I think, more so than, than, you know, training for sports or hockey or baseball, I think Matt and I really bonded over a shared passion for doing hard things, like I said, being like disciplined in the pursuit of those hard things and being gritty, and I think that was more of our bond around like maybe the commonalities and our personality as opposed to sports. I mean, frankly, like, we don’t really talk a ton about sports now. It’s more about, you know, we’ve kind of bonded over those things. And those things are more as you know, sustainable and long term in life than in sports anyways, you know?
Joel Goldberg 7:42
Well, for sure. I mean, I love one of one of my broadcast colleagues our color commentator Rex Hudler always says the only thing guaranteed of a ballplayer is they’ll be an ex-ballplayer, and, you know, it just, it’s not sustainable. You can’t do this forever. Occasionally, you know, that you got that one baseball player that somehow makes it into their, you know, early to mid 40s. And you’re like, how are they still doing this? That one hot, crazy hockey player that’s, you know, in the greatest shape, but still doing it at 42,43. But the shelf life, as you guys know, on any professional professional athlete, is is short. Physically, mentally, all the things that need to happen. Isn’t that though, Matt, kind of like entrepreneurship, I mean, that the odds are stacked against you.
Matt Lombardi 8:25
Yeah, I mean, you know, I think we’re just in the process of raising our series B of funding. And statistically, even at this stage, in growth, the company odds are still stacked against us. And, you know, we’re, this is our fourth year. But yeah, statistically speaking, we’re still kind of climbing up a mountain here. And odds aren’t really in our favor.
Kevin Moran 8:46
I would just say, I want to add this to that quickly, Joel. I think also Matt and I bonded over passion. All right, I don’t know if it’s a passion but you know, I having a lot of different injuries and things to deal with. And in professional sports, what I think is also a good analogy for entrepreneurship and startups. You know, I had Tommy John surgery, I blew up my left knee, tore my rotator cuff and my labrum. Matt had knees, concussions, ankles, all sorts of issues. That’s why we stopped playing with it sooner than we thought we would. You know, it’s easy in life, I think, to connect the dots going backwards to figure out why things may have happened. And I think, you know, when you look forwards, it’s kind of like, wow, these things all happen to me at the same time. But I think do that experience in sports. It’s made us a little bit more resilient in the entrepreneurial perspective going through all that at a young age.
Well, first off, my goodness. Like just Tommy John is enough. Tommy John nowadays is like just a normal surgery. Will you start pulling in the labrum that-
Yeah, that was a tough one. It was Tommy, after I had Tommy John I was made a glass man. My knee and my labr- it was like, ever since after that, I just was like, they just kept coming in.
Joel Goldberg 9:50
But I think there’s by the way, I mean, I always hear hockey players kind of, come on. It’s baseball guys. They they, look at how easy this is. And I always laugh at that. Because I do believe that that hockey players may be the toughest because they’re, they’re doing it on skates, which is, which is incredible. But there’s something so unique to the baseball grind that no other athlete does it of every day, I’d say, you know, for the starting pitchers once every five days seems not too bad. However, there is work in between more significantly, you’re doing things with your arm that I don’t believe you are created to do. And that’s why so many guys are, you know, get hurt. It’s just the arm was not built to throw 100 miles an hour, to throw in 95 miles an hour and to throw curveballs like they do. And so it’s my way of saying that athletes have to do things with their body to the extreme. Right? And so there’s a common bond with that. With that said, the bar is set high to make sure that you’re taking care of these athletes, you guys know that. I mean, these professional athletes are not just randomly trying some stuff. They want the absolute best stuff. So I was just curious about that. Matt, how much that has challenged you guys, in terms of coming up with the ultimate product. There’s a lot of crap out there. Right? Everybody’s looking to make a quick buck. I know that’s not the case with you guys. But I’ve got to think that that both of you lived in a world where the margin for error was pretty small, in terms of I’m not saying that you guys are just aiming for the professional athlete. But if that’s the standard that you know, I’ve got to imagine that that’s a that’s quite the challenge.
Matt Lombardi 11:33
Yeah, I mean, you know, when we launched, we were a CBD company. I think we’ve, you know, part of the vision and strategy has been to sort of grow beyond that. But even in the early days, just with CBD in particular, there were, we found there were a lot of people that just seemed like we’re in this for a gold rush and is trying to make a quick buck. And, you know, we chatted with a bunch of our friends that are still playing sports, baseball, and hockey, and even some others. And they were just not interested at all to try these products, because they just couldn’t risk failing a drug test and you know, THC rules and things like that, you know, have evolved even just the last couple of years, but we’re a little bit more strict around 2018. And, you know, one, I guess, hypothesis we had was that people really admire and look up to athletes and trust athletes as sort of a North Star Point of guidance, particularly whether it be around and you know, what products are using, what training methods are doing, how they’re taking care of their bodies. And so we thought if we can build products at the best athletes, professionals in the world, trust in us will really differentiate ourselves specifically in a space that has really low trust and a ton of skepticism in it. And I think that served us really well. One sport we really went big in in the early days was CrossFit which the male and female winners of CrossFit are coined the fittest men and women on earth. So obviously, what better sport to pick to get athletes to be using our products and be advocates of it, where they’re constantly getting drug tested, they’re constantly pushing and challenging the bodies. I mean, their performance is actually working out, where obviously in sports working is part of just training. I mean, so they’re 24/7 just performing and training at the same time. And I haven’t met a group athletes that’s been more dialed into every single thing they’re doing outside the gym, than CrossFit athletes in terms of their sleeping, what they’re eating, what they’re doing with their body. So getting to the point where we could get some of the best performers in the world, using our product was a huge piece of us building the brand that we have today.
Joel Goldberg 13:29
Kevin, how did you guys come up with some of the different ideas too? I mean, from just from a marketing standpoint, there’s a lot of really unique products, I guess, I would say, I mean, just the the certainly the flavors, the way it’s packaged. There’s just my experience from it. A lot of thought that’s gone into this beyond just the type of products that you have. But how did this all come about? Who who’s the ideas guy who’s the you know, how did you guys develop all this?
Kevin Moran 14:01
Man. It’s a loaded question. A lot I always say I always laugh and say a lot of bad conversations to but I think more than anything, like just getting started. We’ve always done a good job of just like taking massive action and just moving really quickly. For us, you know, supplement category, there’s a lot of brands out there that talk about you know, single point ingredients. And for us it was like how can we create products that were focused around four different categories? Or one category as an example to talk about sleep. No one really cares about our theanine, magnesium, reishi mushroom, CBD, melatonin. It was like they were just wanted to figure out how to sleep and how it could create that experience where someone would get a really super deep, efficacious sleep from our products, but also how to taste really good. How would it be an experience for somebody wanting to take it as part of their nightly routine? So we think that there’s a lot of beauty and simplicity. So, you know, being simple is really hard actually. Being complicated is actually easier. I think that was a big quote from Steve Jobs. And you look at Apple versus compared to some other computers in the market and is Apple’s done a really good job being simple. So we’ve kind of always taken that approach from a marketing perspective. How can we do Take these like, really difficult big things like sleep or hydration and figure out how to talk to consumers around those those topics and not talk about point solutions, or ingredients and build our products that way. Kind of a long winded answer, but in between that just a lot of really, you know, we’ve made a lot of mistakes, too. Over the years, we’ve had products that no longer exist as well. So we’ve definitely, I guess I should say, on this podcast had our share of swings and misses.
Joel Goldberg 15:25
We’ll I’ll get to those in a bit. But, you know, there’s, there’s something important about the simplicity, I think, too Matt. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t complicated, right. And then I guess, I guess that’s the the challenge and figuring out how to simplify it all. But everything that Kevin just listed is in those, you know, in a lot of the products, we just as a consumer like it doesn’t, that doesn’t resonate with me, right? I want to know, if it works, what it feels like. And then, because I don’t understand what all whatever, whatever Kevin is listed off, it seems all really fancy to me. But that has to have been just a learning process, I guess, as you’ve gone along.
Matt Lombardi 16:05
Yeah, has been, I think, like Kevin said, I think one thing we’ve done well, since the beginning is we’ll just we’ll try stuff, we’ll get working, we’ll look at the data and the feedback we’re getting, and then we’ll we’ll lean into the stuff that’s working. And probably most importantly, will, will quickly pivot from the stuff that’s not working. And I think sometimes, you know, it’s companies in the early early stages, it’s easier, it’s I think, pivot quickly, just because it’s, you know, just Kevin and I, or, you know, just us on our first you know, three, four employees, but we have about 25 people or so on the team now. And just inherently, the bigger the team gets, the longer you go, the more complicated it does become. And, you know, oftentimes you have, you know, a group of 10 people or so making a decision about something that can take weeks of time that goes into the deliberations and deep discussions and reviews, and then, you know, kicked up to the CEO, or the founders where Kevin, I remain really involved in pretty much every aspect of the business. So I think when you have the founders or we’re co-CEOs, you know, actively participating in all aspects of the business, decisions happen really quickly. And I think that keeps us simple. Even though again, behind the scenes, it’s probably a little bit more complex, and what a consumer saying, but I think being able to make decisions quickly, and then just respond and react in real time has been one thing that’s been Yeah, to get to where we are.
Kevin Moran 17:28
There’s so much about speed, I think, what are some of our company values, creativity, and rapid iteration is one of our company values, but also so is fail fast and expensively. So like, we constantly want to be pushing the envelope in all of those different areas. Because you know, everybody has a different hypothesis. Everybody thinks something’s going to work. It’s how can we test it, find out an answer quickly pivot from there, move faster, and then you know, on emotionally move on from the ones that don’t work.
Joel Goldberg 17:52
I hear so much of the sports world and everything that you’re saying. And again, maybe I’m maybe I’m I don’t think I’m forcing that I think I’m connecting dots there. But when you talk about having to react quickly, that that can be the case, on the mound, in the batter’s box, in the corners, you know, battling for a puck and you got that split second to act quickly. But then the simplicity to like, I don’t know, I mean, I’m thinking about Kevin, I’m thinking about a pitcher. And just the mechanics. And it’s amazing how oftentimes we hear in sports, that guys will get back on track when they just go back to the basics when they simplify things. George Bernard Royal, you know, Hall of Famer, always talks about try easier, which is always easy for me to say, sitting up from my perch in the booth. You know, and you can see guys struggling and it’s right there and they know it and you know, and everybody knows that but you can’t do it. Matt, how much of that that simplicity from the mechanics of sports applies here. I might be I might be reaching.
Matt Lombardi 18:56
Oh, no, no, not at all. I mean, I was really lucky at BC to to play for Coach York. He just retired this after this year. But you know, he left BC the all time most winningest college hockey coach ever. He’s in the Hockey Hall of Fame and obviously just like a huge opportunity to get to play for him. And I mean, the biggest thing was just culture and you know, he did a great job every year recruiting from the top players in the country but I think why we had so much success was more just about the culture and the approach to the game and one thing that was I feel like tattooed in alot of our brains was just keep it simple. And you know, that revolves around systems. How you’re playing to your point like when when you’re struggling, hockey a little bit, either score goal or just, you know, be playing well a lot of the time just the advice just keep it simple. Get back to the basics, like you said, and so if you’re in business, and we don’t, I don’t think we have to try very hard to connect the dots or take what we learned from baseball, hockey to bring into our culture at beam and we both had very different but similar experiences in sports. And one thing I always reflect on too and we definitely use in our leadership styles at BC is just, I was really lucky to play in some some pretty good teams at BC. We won the National Championship a couple years, playing the National Championship and lost in just the final minutes and one year didn’t make the tournament at all. And there’s definitely some common threads and simplicity is one that jumps out a lot. I think in the years we’ve had a bit more success, and maybe not even the most talented roster, but did the best as a team.
Joel Goldberg 20:25
Well, and I think another little interesting connection here, and this will be kind of a pitching question, Kevin, because I was thinking about this knowing I was doing this podcast today, I was walking out of the stadium last night, and I happen to bump into our starting pitcher, young left hander kind of finding his way. And, and I say this often that the stats don’t always tell the full picture. So this kid in his previous start, had thrown five shutout innings. He only had one pitch working that day. It was his changeup, he threw 49 change ups, which, you know, is he’s got a great changeup, he’s crazy. He just, he didn’t have command of his fastball that day, his curveball was, which is the third pitch he’s developing, was fairly non existent. And somehow he threw five shutout innings against the Astros power hitting team. And you can tell he was teetering on the edge the whole time. And he could almost see it and hear it in him afterwards where he’s like, yeah, no, it was good. But you knew he kind of got away with it. Last night, his stuff was significantly better. He went four and a third innings and gave up three runs. And I know he was upset that he didn’t go deeper, but he was better. And so there’s a long way of me saying that sometimes the results don’t always match up. Sometimes the numbers may show you one thing, and we’re so analytics driven and data driven right now. But how do you balance that of having a feel for something knowing this product works? Versus this one isn’t resonating? Or the numbers aren’t showing? How do you balance all that?
Kevin Moran 21:57
You know, kind of some of what you’re saying about I forget who you mentioned before we started the podcast, but just following the process? You know, I don’t know the guy’s name that you just that you just mentioned there?
Joel Goldberg 22:06
Yeah. So this kid’s name is Chris Bubiss, but just a young left hander out of Stanford. The other player I mentioned was Carlos Santana. But yeah, go on.
Kevin Moran 22:12
Yeah, for like for Chris, I guess just like I’m sure in his mind, like, and we’ve done this we’ve had, one thing we always talk about is when we set out with a model at the beginning of the year, one thing we can almost guarantee is that we’re not going to hit the model. It’s either going to be on, we’re not going to do exactly what we think we’re going to do. Because there’s going to be things that happen along the way, right over the course of the year that are good, that are ugly, indifferent, hopefully not catastrophic, and they’re going to change the course of what happens in the year and they’re not going to hit we’re not going to do what we set out to do. But I think throughout that whole process, right? You have 12 individual months. And it’s like, each month, are you doing the things that you think you should be doing to ladder up to the best results. And for me, and I guess I’ll speak from that too. And even myself, when I was when I was still playing, it’s like, you know, am I doing the things that I know I should do to get to set myself up for the most success? So, you know, in baseball, it’s very different than being entrepreneur and you know, running a company. So for us, is it you know, making sure we have the right resources? We have the right people around the team? Does everybody understand what their goals are? Do we have the right products and market? Are we launching the right product at the right time? Do we have the right investors? Are our board meetings tactical and successful? You know, you’re never going to be right. And I think that’s the cool thing about sports and entrepreneurship. And there’s a big correlation there, it’s, you know, you’re never going to get, you’re never going to be 100% right on your process. So it’s a constant constant refinement. And so for me, I look back on my baseball career too. I have no regrets. I mean, it didn’t ultimately work out the way that I wanted to, because I think in part because a lot of these injuries, but I know that I did everything that I should have done to try to be successful. So such as life, and I think that’s how being will work out too. You know, it’s been a crazy four years, and I think we’ve had some success. Are we where we want to be? No, but I think we’re doing everything we can to to get to where we should ultimately end up.
Joel Goldberg 23:52
That’s an interesting, it’s an interesting comparison, too, because you can’t control everything, you can only control how much you can control. You both know that as former athletes, maybe the difference here is that this is something that that if everything goes right we’ll be very sustainable for a very long time. I mentioned before that the athletic career, if you’re lucky, can go for you know, maybe a decade or a little bit longer this thing can go for the rest of your your life hopefully last thing before I get to my baseball themed questions, because I know you guys mentioned culture, it’s that’s so important to me. I really learned that from my time here in Kansas City, watching the small market team who would been a doormat, you know, for years. And that as we’re talking right now they’re in last place they’ve been, you know, the worst team in baseball this year, but they built a culture and I think that they’ll be back sooner because that culture when I got here in ’08 there was no culture. Like you guys are Boston guys. I always say there’s, maybe there wasn’t always, there’s a culture with the Red Sox. There is you know, certainly there’s an aura when you walk into Fenway Park, but there’s the Red Sox way There is in St. Louis the Cardinals way, there as you guys probably don’t like them, but, I don’t, but there’s a Yankees way. And there wasn’t one here until they built one. And so culture to me is fascinating because I think every industry, every company, every walk of life, you need culture, I believe to be successful and to have a good team. Tell me about the beam culture Matt.
Matt Lombardi 25:22
Kevin mentioned a few of our values, I think it the couple of things that just jumped in mind is everybody’s culture can be different. There’s not one specific way you need to form a culture, whether it be a team or a company. But I think the thing that we’ve learned along the way is it more so it was different when it was just Kevin, I think it was different when it was, you know, five of us and eight of us and 10 of us now there’s 25 of us. And I think one thing that’s it’s really important culture is one, just find out what is really important to you and what you want that culture to be. Again, there’s so many variations and versions that that can be based on the goals, the company, the people what you’re trying to do. I think that’s the most important thing, though, is that you always you’re always championing our culture. And obviously, it starts with the leaders to be leading by example, and to be, you know, displaying that and epitomizing that on a daily basis, but it’s really, you know, culture isn’t just a set and forget it type of thing. It constantly has to be nourished and then championed by the leaders in the team. I think that’s probably the most important thing and sometimes to the culture evolves based on you know, our culture certainly carries some of the some of the same values from the start to the hopefully to the end, some things change and evolve. As the team gets bigger, our goals get bigger, we’re doing we have some different strategies, etc. You know, we’re all remote right now versus you know, before the pandemic, we’re just the team is in Boston, but the most important thing is to be championing and all the time and just be aware of that it’s not a set it and forget it type of thing.
Joel Goldberg 26:44
Anything to add to that, in terms of culture, Kevin,
Kevin Moran 26:47
Man, really, or, I always say to like the great product and a great brand in the consumer space, where we’re doing our table stakes to get to product market fit, you know, over a certain amount of revenue. But the the rest is really built this by great people and great team. And it has been my biggest learning over the last four years, it’s just like, you can only do so much together with two people. And you can only be in so many places at once and have so many conversations. So it’s really how strong you can get this group of people to work and be to the same mission. So it’s really, it’s really, once you get to a certain point, it’s a it’s an exercise in team building. And that’s really all it is because like the rest will take care of itself. There’s a lot of smart people in the world. So part of Matt and I’s job as we look to continue to grow. And I think you’ve if you’ve done anything well which, is debatable, it’s, I’d say it’s like hire a group of people that all are very empathetic, have a lot of grit, know what they’re getting into. And I guess I just bring us further together. And it’s people it’s people thing.
Matt Lombardi 27:46
When just to add to that I get to the closing point to what Kevin’s saying is in sports and and consumer to like, there’s no secret channel that we’re trying to find. That no other brand is in or marketing in or, you know, a secret ingredient or something like that. I mean, there’s definitely things you can do that are proprietary. And to make it unique from a product and a brand standpoint, and on a team, everybody, everybody’s now focused on, you know, finding an edge through sleeping better, through things outside the rink, or the field or the weight room. But ultimately, like everything is out there. It’s common knowledge, like what you should be doing to have success, the process, the daily routines, the strategies, to Kevin’s point, that’s why people in team and culture are so important that that’s where the difference happens really is how you execute on those things. Because everybody really has access to all the same knowledge and information and resources. It just what do you do with those and the difference on how people do different things with those who based on leadership and culture and all that stuff?
Joel Goldberg 28:43
I love this discussion. I can do this all day long. Because the culture aspect is such a fascinating one. And you’re right, it’s different for every single company. And there, there are a lot of right answers a lot of wrong answers. And they vary. I think that’s that that is some of the secret sauce, that that makes teams successful. And I think business and sports, coming from a sports standpoint, it’s amazing to me, there’s some really, really talented teams that just have terrible culture. And they may win by the way too, but it’s generally not sustainable. And I think that the organizations that have good culture have an ability to bounce back. I’m simplifying, for sure. But it’s just to me it’s a it’s a fascinating puzzle piece for for everyone to kind of try to put together every day. Um, before we wrap up and move over to YouTube real quick. I want to ask my baseball team questions either one of you could jump in both whatever it is. We can I think I frame this in terms of beam but it can be anything I suppose. Biggest homerun that you guys have hit in terms of in terms of your company.
Kevin Moran 29:47
I guess on the culture theme, I’d say just getting really smart people that come in. Again, it might be a kind of a counterintuitive answer. You might think like oh, we hit this revenue milestone or we launched this product and we got this investor. I think it’s we just got really Smart people to believe in the mission really early on. It’s really hard as a startup, like, all the odds are stacked against you. So it’s like how can you get people to believe in like, your crazy story, and I think we’ve done a good job of that. And hopefully we continue to so just getting good, good people.
Matt Lombardi 30:15
I just say launching our sleep product called Dream, it was kind of it was really just born out of one creative conversation on a Saturday afternoon. It wasn’t on the roadmap, it was just a random discussion. And it wasn’t a homerun by any means when we first launched it. In fact, I think one of the next questions might be one of our biggest misses was the actual launch of it. But over time, and being persistent with it, it’s become our most popular product. And it’s something we’re continuing to really lean into. And it’s kind of funny to think back, like, the biggest part about our business just came out of one kind of ad hoc conversation. And it wasn’t really part of the plan initially,
Joel Goldberg 30:53
That, the sleep product is amazing, by the way, and I got down to I still have some of the powders left, I got down to, I didn’t realize that I got down to one pill left. I thought there were a couple and like my 16 year old daughter came down the other day, and she had to get up really early in the morning for a summer job. And she stressed and can’t sleep. Just go up there and you know, just grab it so she she grabs it. She goes, there’s only one left and I’m saying I think and she’s like, you know, 70 pounds or anything like just just take that you’ll be you’ll be fine. But it’s really I mean, that’s just my I don’t know if that’s an inspiring testimony other than the fact that there was only one left because I’ve gone through them and they work very well. So there’s my quick little endorsement on that. All right, Matt, you just mentioned the swing and the miss. Tell me about it.
Matt Lombardi 31:39
Yeah, it was a problem we had when we were launching dream. And this is back in, I think towards the end of 2019, our first year business and we had a huge event planned, we had just started working with Matt Fraser, who’s the all time winning as CrossFit athlete, huge Nike athlete, really big person in that space and just the broader athletic fitness space and big event in New York City. We’re a couple weeks away, we’re doing a photoshoot, getting stuff ready, assets ready and tasted one of the production lots of of the first run of dream and tasted horrible. We coined it a nightmare powder, we saw the big barrel of it in one of our office spaces. And we had zero usable product just a few weeks away. And you know, for any one who knows anything about manufacturing, all that stuff, it’s not something you can just spin up in a couple of weeks, I think maybe our sports background kicked in and served us we just figured out a way to get it done. But that was one of the more stressful couple of weeks of our, our career so far being was investing that huge launch of this product and having zero product to launch with and needing to figure that out. It was also right before Black Friday, Cyber Monday. Luckily, we figured it out. And then we’re still here.
Joel Goldberg 32:52
Yeah, it’s still here. And you learn from those I guess Kevin, anything that
Kevin Moran 32:56
That was a big one. That was telling me at that point, too, we just closed our first venture round of funding. And we’ve and that to Matt’s point, we invested a lot of money into the launch, the product money that was already spent to launch the product. So that could it that was like a near death experience.
Joel Goldberg 33:13
And you survived. You’re here to talk about it. Final question with these baseball themed questions is small ball. Kevin, you remember that from back in your playing days, we we make a lot to do about the homeruns and big moments. But I learned this with the Royals winning their World Championship in 2015, the bunts the sacrifices, the stolen bases, the defense, shooting your world, pitching the contact, just the things that don’t really show up in the box score. So yeah, that to me is in many ways a culture question to. What, what, what is small ball for beam?
Kevin Moran 33:47
Was funny, too. I also seems baseball to Matt’s point and gotten really into endurance sports, I do a lot of cycling too. And I always talk about I forget the year, but the British Cycling Team is one of the best in the world now. But previously, they used to be one of the worst in the world. And they took the approach of marginal gains as well, I think they may have been the first one to kind of coined that term. And their approach was I forget the guy’s name that was kind of the that spearheaded it, but it was how could create all of these small differences to continually add up over time to you know, make the team grade. And it was as small as during competition. You know, most cyclists are immune system going slow, they didn’t press the elevator buttons, because they didn’t want to get sick. Their pillows were a little bit better. They had an alarm clock, they had a nice noise, it will come up. So it was really, really, really small things over time that added up. So similar to your, it’s no different than small ball right? To your point. But same thing for us. Like we literally talked about that internally. That’s I mean, constantly, it’s everything you can possibly think of the way that our websites displayed a conversation between two people on the team that Matt and I are involved in. Are they being direct with each other to get to the ultimate outcome faster than, you know, me beating around the bush. Does the copy writing on the back of our package make really clear, cohesive sense? Are we spending money in the right places, we’re all direct to consumer brands. So all of our marketing spend is digital and dynamic, are we spending a little bit money a little bit too much money in one place longer than we should? All of those things add up in a really, really, really, really meaningful way over time. If we consider I could just go on and on and on about those, but it’s that same mentality of small ball and marginal gains. We talked about it all the time, internally.
Joel Goldberg 35:23
Matt, final thought on it.
Matt Lombardi 35:25
Yeah, I mean, Kevin said, really well, I think, do it, you just have to have muscle memory with that you have to have people so they were very self aware. And they’re just automatic for them to think about the small things, whether it be even if it’s, you know, don’t just worry about the big, you know, ad spend that we have worry about all the small ones, too, that might add up to bigger results. Or, to Kevin’s point, every little detail on a piece of packaging that goes out, focus on and pay attention to, it’s, I think, expressing that and talking about it, like, you know, in hockey, it’s you know, blocking the shot, it’s chipping the puck out of the zone. It’s just getting the muscle memory, the repetitions that people really buy into that and then just embrace it and actually live on it. That in business, we definitely, you know, we call it marginal gains, but it’s those same things. And then the more repetition you have around talking about and doing it, you just then you get people doing on a daily basis. And Kevin, I don’t need to remind them to be focused on the marginal gains
Kevin Moran 36:21
It’s funny too, as I it’s big mistakes, don’t bother us at all, like, you know, taking huge swings and missing like that doesn’t that’s like cost of doing business. But like, I always say the only time Matt and I get angry is when people don’t do the small things the right way.
Joel Goldberg 36:36
So that’s interesting. That’s really
Matt Lombardi 36:38
You don’t want to see Kevin angry.
Kevin Moran 36:40
It doesn’t happen that often.
Joel Goldberg 36:43
All right, well, I don’t know. I don’t know what you’re like on the mound. But yeah, well, I always feel like my broadcast, my longtime broadcast partner, is the Royals all time saves leader, Jeff Montgomery, he’s got 304 saves, and I’ve now worked with him. It’s my 15th year here. I think it’s been 12 seasons that he’s been sitting next to me. And I think I’ve seen him get mad twice. He pitched from 88 to 99. And I wasn’t around for that. I didn’t see it. But I just know that a switch flipped when he got on the mound. He was a different human being.
Kevin Moran 37:19
He and I would probably get along well.
Joel Goldberg 37:24
Yeah, I’m sensing like, like, people look at him. And he just looks like, Hey, this guy looks like he could be my accountant, always the nicest guy. But I just like the couple of times where I saw somebody wrong him in business. He’s he’s got business too. And I could see it on the phone. And it was like, Oh, he’s in competition right now. And so I’m assuming it’s a little bit like that with you, Kevin, you seem like a nice enough guy come on.
Kevin Moran 37:43
99.9% of time a majority of times, I have tough conversations from a place of love. But
Joel Goldberg 37:50
Fair enough. I know Matt, Matt smiling, knowing that he’s seen a little bit of that 0.1% or whatever it is. I actually talked about a little bit of that with my four final questions on YouTube and get to know you guys a little bit better, but I just want to let everybody know as we wrap up the audio version of this podcast and then please jump over and join us on YouTube the link will be in the show notes to check out the website shopbeam.com And that’ll be in the notes as well beam is B E A M shopbeam.com. Whether it’s sleep products, calm, energy, recovery, I use the hydration a lot too with with working out and thankfully I’m happy to say that there’s probably a lot of people that like to use that hydration for recovering from a night out. I might have been one of those guys in the past but now. Now it’s just the working out and feeling like you’re gonna need to stay hydrated. That’s really nice and clean too. So the products are great shopbeam.com. Matt Lombardi, Kevin Moran will jump over to youtube but guys, thanks so much for joining me on Rounding the Bases.
Matt Lombardi 38:48
Kevin Moran 38:49