Taking the fast break
Andrew Bogut is one of the best basketballers in the world, currently dominating with the NBA’S Golden State Warriors in San Francisco. What most people don’t know, however, is that he is also an astute businessman and champion of Silicon Valley start-ups
When you speak with Andrew Bogut there are two elements to his character that strike a chord: his willingness to communicate and his willingness to help others. As one of the best basketballers in the world, he could be forgiven for being a little detached, but he is far from it. He is generous with his time for the kids who attend his basketball school in the South East suburbs of Melbourne, to the clients involved with sports management company One Management Group and Consulting (OMGC).
No matter whether he is dealing with those clients, or the kids, or whether he is on court for the four or five times a week during the strenuous, often brutal, NBL schedule, taking that time means he is living by his own ethic of delivering one per centers.
“Everything I do, I concentrate on the one per centers. I want things to be perfect. On or off court, life is all about customer service and relationships.” Andrew says.
This attitude informs the way OMGC is run.
“I would rather lose one huge deal to gain ten good deals with great people to work with and form long term relationships with them. If you give people attention and the time of day and build an environment that they can come and enjoy, it makes life easier and people respect that.”
Andrew’s business partner is Bruce Kaider, who looks after OMGC operations while Andrew is playing. Bruce was Andrew’s manager for over seven years and the pair has a mutual belief in the importance of relationship building and giving their clients the best opportunity to succeed. While many sports management companies deal with only the on-field commitments, OMGC take a holistic approach to the growth of the athlete.
“We thought we could build an agency based on values and culture; we wanted to offer clients a genuine service that helped them in planning their life after sport,” Bruce says. “For us it was about looking at life from the athlete’s perspective. There are alarming statistics that show 60% of NBA players are broke three years after retiring from sport. So it’s important to focus on setting a structure of professional people around these athletes. They need to be informed about how to best use their money whether it be in residential or commercial property or shares. We build a network of advisors for athletes that include lawyers and financial planners. We send them to Open Universities. We look after them with tutors. We don’t want them living on savings, we want to create other revenue sources. We want to make sure they have good education. Education is really important and allows them to get a better job.”
Andrew understands the value of education. He is a learner by nature.
“It was daunting when I first came to the US. I didn’t know the first thing about investment – who I should trust or what I should do with my money. So I asked a lot of questions. I hired a financial advisor. I slowly asked more and more questions so that I could become self-sufficient and that’s what we want to provide at OMGC. I have made heaps of mistakes with business and investment, but nothing that has hurt me, because I learnt everything myself. I am an avid listener and had opportunities to listen to people high up in the financial world.”
Part of the success of OMGC is due to the ethics of the company. This was no overnight set-up. There was a five-year plan in place that took nine months to put together, policies and strategies that would set the company apart from competitors.
Bruce had been in import/export and worked with professional sports people. He too had made mistakes along the way, but his business skills learned over a 16-year career, combined with Andrew’s one per center attitude and skills that he’d learnt were the perfect fit.
“For us it was very much about life outside the sport,” Bruce says. “We don’t see anyone as a direct competitor, because we focus on what we believe in and our values. The rest will take care of itself.”
Values are highly important in any organisation and indeed in any sporting team and OMGC will not be
“For Andrew personally, he still has several years on court left of a stellar basketball career, but in the meantime he will continue to learn.”
compromised on what they believe.
“If we have the chance to take an athlete who would be a huge earner, but we don’t feel they fit into our code of conduct, it is unlikely we will take them,” Andrew says. “We don’t want guys doing silly things who will hurt the other athletes. In business that is rare.”
This commitment to the client and to customer service and values has allowed OMGC to grow quite quickly and expand the business offering. Andrew’s positioning also helps. In fact these days, OMGC has Facebook, Google and Twitter on its doorstep.
This has come about due to the expansion of OMGC and its implementation of business tours. It began with the California Dreaming Sports & Business Tour in February 2013, One Management Group & Consulting (OMGC) and has continued this year with recently completed ‘2014 Big Time’ Tour.
The tour connects Australian startups to Silicon Valley experts and angel investors, while also incorporating a little fun with tickets to the basketball and exclusive VIP dinner with Andrew, along with signed merchandise, a behind the scenes tour of the LA Lakers and Golden State Warriors training facility and guided tours of some of the biggest brands in the Silicon Valley.
“You will meet people, have the opportunity to network, and if you have a start up company, this is a great opportunity,” Andrew says. “We had a tech company from Adelaide that was picked up by an angel investor. Anyone who wants to come out here and see how things are started can come. Money can’t buy experience, but the people we have a network through can provide an enormous benefit.”
Diversification has been a boon for the OMGC business and what they can offer.
“We have multiple divisions of the company by design,” Bruce says. “It means that one division is not reliant on any other, however there are crossover and complementary factors. We use our strengths to advantage. Andrew is based in San Francisco, so we use his profile and contacts in that tech and entrepreneur space. There are a lot of Australian companies, looking to raise money and set up business in the US, so we use our network to help them expand. Again, it comes back to building relationships.”
OMGC will continue to focus on building the business. Bruce says they are nowhere near what they want to achieve, although they are ahead of the business plan and looking to expand the range of services as well as the geographic location.
For Andrew personally, he still has several years on court left of a stellar basketball career, but in the meantime he will continue to learn.
“I am continuously learning. The best thing about being in San Francisco is that I can ask questions, follow up with emails and seek advice. You are never smart enough.”
These are great lessons to learn from someone who is a canny sports star and as stated an astute businessman, who can offer a lot in the way of advice and mentorship and who values helping others achieve their best.
A tour of the Warriors’ facilities.
The Silicon Valley start-ups.