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Billionaire tech and sports mogul on the key to success: Avoid meetings

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Ted Leonsis thought he’d won. He was in his mid-20s and had already sold his first company for tens of millions of dollars. 

Then he got on a plane with mechanical issues and, while preparing for a crash landing, realized how little he’d really accomplished to that point.

“I had at a young age a reckoning,” Leonsis, the billionaire owner of the Washington Wizards and a former AOL exec, recalled in a Facebook Live interview with Mashable on Wednesday, which you can watch below. “My reckoning was I started praying … I tried to cut a business deal. The best line I could come up with was, ‘Let me get through this and I’ll leave more than I take.'”

He survived — and then began wondering how to make good on that deal. His first step: Make a list of 101 things he wanted to achieve in his life. 

Now 59 and a self-declared “Internet old guy,” Leonsis says he has checked off 82 items on that list. There are some simple and humble goals including falling in love and taking care of his parents.

And then there are bigger goals, like becoming a billionaire, buying a sports team, winning an Emmy and giving back to charity — all now crossed off. Leonsis owns numerous Washington D.C. sports teams, including the NBA’s Wizards, NHL’s Capitals, WNBA’s Mystics and a new Arena Football League franchise.

Meanwhile, he remains an active businessman, sitting on the board of numerous companies and serving as a partner in Revolution Growth, a venture capital firm he co-founded.

Part of the secret, he says, was just making the list. “If you don’t metric it, you can’t measure it,” he says, echoing the technology world he comes from. 

More than that, though, Leonsis also has become a very careful steward of his own time. 

Leonsis wakes up by 5am each morning, works for a “couple hours real fast” then exercises on the treadmill and resumes his work day. 

Maximizing his time also means avoiding frivolous activities — most notably meetings. 

“I’ve learned not to have a lot of meetings,” he says. “I think that meetings are the biggest productivity killer imaginable. I hate decks, I hate PowerPoints. I want to be involved with outcomes, I don’t want a lot of discussion around process.”

In the wide-ranging interview, Leonsis also talks about why so many wealthy techies are buying sports teams, the challenges involved in running digital media companies today and the problem with the rise of billion-dollar startup “unicorns.”

“I’ve lived through a lot of these cycles and the thing that always amazed me when I first heard the term ‘unicorn’ was it’s mythical and they die when it gets too cold. Why do we want to say they’re unicorns?” he said. “They all played into the hands of sharky venture capitalists.”

Source : http://mashable.com/