The Sky Zone story and CNN video

Inc. Top 10 Fastest Growing Companies in L.A.

I’ve been meaning to write more about Sky Zone ever since changing jobs in December.

Lucky for me, CNN recently shot a video that provides a great overview of the company, including one of the most interesting parts of the Sky Zone story:  how it started with one idea then pivoted to another, creating a new category of out-of-home entertainment in the process.

 

This entertainment category — indoor trampoline parks — is expanding quickly.

Sky Zone, by far the largest player in the market, was just named to Inc.’s Top 10 Fastest Growing Companies in Los Angeles (and #273 on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the U.S.).

Sky Zone and other competitors are opening parks around the world. E.g., Sky Zone recently announced park openings in Saudi Arabia. A recent Bloomberg article highlights this expansion.

Here are 3 more videos to help introduce the company and what it stands for.

The brand manifesto:

 

Some of the activities inside our parks:

 

Dodgeball is one of the most popular activities. It’s played year-round inside the parks — pick-up games, within events & parties, and some local tournaments. However, the biggest event is our international competition, Ultimate Dodgeball Championship:

 

If you haven’t visited a Sky Zone yet, I hope you have the chance to check it out. Jumping isn’t just a lot of fun, but a great workout, too.  If you do, please let me know your thoughts.

 

Buenos Aires, July 2015

Buenos Aires, July 2015

After half a year without a post, I’m back at the keyboard.

Where was I? Mainly in Los Angeles, adjusting to a new job and also busy at home with my family.

Luckily family time also included a recent trip to Argentina. As mentioned in an older post, we try to go as often as possible to visit family and friends.

After the last trip I posted a handful of photos, including a few examples of Buenos Aires’ colorful street art.

This time I’d like to share more photos — an attempt to capture a tiny glimpse of the aesthetics of the neighborhoods we visited (mainly Belgrano, Palermo and Barrio Norte).

Hope you enjoy them — and please share any comments or feedback, including about your own experiences there.

 

I wish everyone reading this post a great summer (or winter, for my Argentine and other southern hemisphere friends).

More posts to come…. in less than half a year’s time.

Cycle for Survival – Cancer Research

Join The Battle jpeg

Please help me raise funds for the battle against pediatric cancers, leukemia, lymphoma, thyroid, ovarian and other types of cancer.

I’m riding in Cycle for Survival this weekend to raise money to fund lifesaving cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

100% of every dollar you give will go directly to pioneering research within six months of the events.

Thank you for your consideration!

Donate here:  http://bit.ly/1BTKju6

New Year, New Job

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 NBCU 15-Year Pin in boxexperience, 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.

Sky Zone

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.

Wishing you the best

Candy Tree

Parties, family and old friends, festive moods all around…  as the old song says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

I wish you & yours a happy and healthy holiday season. Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and happy end of 2014!

And thank you very much for being a reader of The Contrast Principle. I don’t take anyone’s time or attention lightly, and am very appreciative of every moment you’ve spent with this blog.

Kind regards, and best wishes for a great 2015 ahead,
Josh

Facebook Top 10

Facebook Year In Review 2014

I’m happy to share Universal Studios Hollywood made Facebook’s Year In ReviewMost Checked-Into Places in the US” list for the 3rd straight year. This year the park was #2, up 5 spot’s from #7 in 2013 and #8 in 2012.

Congratulations to the social media marketing team I’m proud to have hired and led, and everyone at Universal Studios Hollywood who helps make the park so much fun (i.e., a place where guests want to tell their friends they are visiting).

Facebook’s Year In review includes other Top 10 category lists, including the Most Talked About Global Topics.

Here’s their overview video if you haven’t seen it yet.

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving week is a perfect time to stop and reconsider the importance of saying “thank you” — in our personal lives for sure, and also at work.

It’s also a perfect time to think about how expressing gratitude should be a year-round focus, voiced whenever it’s deserved.

With this in mind, I was thinking about a post I previously wrote (Our Moms Were Right).

It was inspired by a Wall St Journal article about research indicating “The workplace ranks dead last among the places people express gratitude…”

The article was written two years ago, but it’s very unlikely the volume of workplace thank-you’s has increased much.

Here’s the link to my older post. It highlights reasons why managers should be more generous in expressing gratitude, both for the recipients’ benefit as well as their own.

Have a very happy and restful Thanksgiving!