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.

Hiring Alert – Digital Analyst

The Universal Studios Hollywood digital marketing team is growing.

New job posting:  we’re looking for an experienced Manager of Digital Analytics. Strong Omniture background is a key requirement.

Please kindly share this link with anyone you feel is qualified and may be interested.

Thank you!

We’re hiring

We’re looking for a a smart, curious and hard-working digital marketer to join the Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal CityWalk Hollywood team in a newly created position:  Associate Manager, Social Media and Digital Marketing.

This could be a great role for someone with a few years of experience, a lot passion for digital marketing, and an interest in helping expand a growing program. The position is based in Los Angeles.

See job description and online application

(As noted in my bio, I work at NBCUniversal / Universal Studios Hollywood. The Associate Manager role will report to a team member who reports to me)

Reframe to See the Gain

Sun is Coming Out from Behind by images ®

Last month I visited the town where I grew up for the first time in years and found myself remembering helpful words of wisdom I’d recently read.

My visit had put me in reflective mood, particularly in regards to my career path and related decisions I’d made.

One trigger was the sight of numerous “Congratulations Class of 2013” signs around town for the new graduates of the high school I’d attended years ago. These signs made me wonder what I would choose to study in college if I were graduating high school now – with the advantage of my current knowledge about myself and the world.

I began to imagine different fields of study and different careers thereafter. Inevitably I compared those fantasies to my actual career and wondered if I’d have been happier had I’d taken one of those alternative paths.

That’s when I remembered the sage advice that I’d read weeks earlier.

It had come from Harvard psychiatrist George Vaillant who recently published a book about the famous Grant Study, which he directed for many years. This study has followed the lives of hundreds of men from the Boston area since 1938 with the goal of determining what leads to long and happy lives.

In response to interview questions about lessons learned from the men who had achieved contentment, Vaillant shared the following about looking back at choices one has made (and the resulting tradeoff caused when one chooses to pursue X instead of Y or Z):

For anyone dealing with disappointment about lost opportunities, I would ask them to reframe the question and focus on what they gained by taking the paths they chose.

I tried doing this – and learned that such “reframing” took a concerted effort. My mind didn’t easily let go of the ideas it’d previously been entertaining.

However, I was able to change my focus when I realized and accepted the inherent unfairness of comparing idealized outcomes (one fantasizes about best-case scenarios not potential failures) with actual occurrences.

I thought about unique things I’d experienced, interesting people I’d met, and friends I’d made at each of my jobs. I also thought about how my career had unexpectedly taken me to a new city, where I met my wife and where we started a family.

Once truly focused on this thought process, my inner voice was calmed by the “reframed” perspective and the acknowledgement that I enjoy the type of work I do.

Curious to learn more about the Grant Study and Dr. Vaillant’s findings I found and read a few more articles. All included insightful points. If interested, here are a couple of the shorter ones:

I’m considering reading Dr. Vaillant’s new book, Triumphs of Experience.

As always, I’d love to hear opinions about these topics, whether in the comments section below or via email using the ‘contact’ form.