2015 started with a big career change for me.
Just before the holidays I resigned my position at NBC Universal. I came into the new year excited to be starting a new role in a very different organization, Sky Zone.
Sky Zone is the original indoor trampoline park. It’s the category leader, with over 95 parks now open in US, Canada, Australia and Mexico.
Job changes, as you already know, are the norm these days and something most people are accustomed to. But for me it was an unusual experience, having worked the past 15 years (two thirds of my adult life!) with Universal Studios.
Coincidentally, my tenure was almost exactly 15 years to the day. It felt a bit surreal to receive a 15-year anniversary pin and leave the company the same week.
But more so, I saw this timing as a sign that I was making the right decision. It felt harmonious. I had completed a circle.
In any event, I went for it….
So where exactly did “it” take me, and why?
First, The ‘Why’
Mainly I was craving newness. A new environment, new industry, new competitors and challenges.
It was like the famous movie title, “The Seven Year Itch.” It just took me twice as long to get there.
Seriously, one reason I’d been able to stay engaged at Universal for such a long time was that there had been considerable internal change. During my tenure Universal was sold numerous times — from Seagram to Vivendi to GE to Comcast — with each parent company influencing the culture, processes and priorities in its own way. Also Universal itself expanded and changed with the growth.
On a more personal level, my job responsibilities shifted over time. Plus the nature of digital marketing changed radically and rapidly along the way, and, therefore, so did jobs such the one I had.
But eventually I felt the need to make a more radical change. I needed to shake the tree.
Luckily, I found an opportunity with an exciting company offering a fun, fitness-oriented product I already enjoyed.
Change is what I wanted, and change is what I got.
Sky Zone Franchise Group is extremely different than Universal, especially in terms of company culture.
Sky Zone is, and has the ethos of, a Millenial-run company. It’s not hierarchical. There’s a strong spirit of transparency. The office space is wide open and dog friendly. I went from having a corner office to having a middle desk (or, as I like to put it, from having an “open door” policy to having no door at all).
Business-wise, there are considerable differences between implementing marketing programs for an ‘owned and operated’ company like Universal and a franchise business. All things franchise-related is a great learning opportunity for me.
Actually, I feel the whole situation is a great opportunity. Sky Zone Franchise Group is a small company filled with incredible talent, and the company is expanding rapidly, both domestically and internationally.
Historically the company did not put a strong emphasis on marketing. It’s growth (and also the emergence of category entrants / competitors) has been fueled by the strength of its concept.
Another full circle
The situation I find myself in at Sky Zone reminds me of my early days at Universal Studios, when almost nothing was being done on the digital marketing front, and thus the potential impact of new programs was considerable. In many cases the fruit isn’t low hanging, it’s on the ground.
It’s exciting for me to think about the potential impact increased marketing can have on the business growth.
I’m invigorated by the need to start fresh, learn about a new industry, adapt to a very different company culture, roll up my sleeves and start the building process again.
Also I’m happy to be marketing a product that promotes active, healthy fun.
Please wish me luck in the new venture, and please stay in touch for updates along the way.