Athlete-Turned Entrepreneur Randy Osei is Winning Off the Court
Randy Osei, founder of Athlete Technology Summit, transitioned from sports marketing to entrepreneurship. Here, he tells us what it takes to succeed no matter the game you’re playing, and recommends some books that have inspired him.
A former varsity basketball player, Randy Osei traded in his jersey for sports marketing to pursue his passion for entrepreneurship. In 2015, that road led him to launch his creative marketing and branding agency, Rozaay Management. His latest venture, Athlete Technology Summit, looks to fill a gap in the market by connecting professional athletes with investment opportunities in the tech industry. Here, Osei sheds light on leadership, how he works, and builds relationships.
How do you go about networking and building relationships?
I think you should always try to find a common denominator and learn about the other person’s point of view. The best way to build relationships is to listen to what people are passionate about within their jobs and projects. Once you’ve learned what that looks like, find ways to support it. I find a lot of people network and look to build relationships by thinking about them first, which, in my opinion, is the wrong approach.
Define the entrepreneurial athlete
The modern athlete entrepreneur is a current athlete who is thinking about their future by exploring opportunities around their interests they are most passionate about. Making money can be a passion, too! The modern athlete entrepreneur spends as much time on the court as they do off of it at being the best they can be, understanding that their leverage may be at an all-time high.
What does social entrepreneurship mean to you?
Social entrepreneurship is simply matching purpose with profit. It is important that we all find a way to have a positive impact in our communities and it doesn’t take much to do so. We see a lot of big corporations dumping a lot of money into CSR and community initiatives, and that’s because today’s consumer has changed. People are no longer just purchasing what they need, they’re getting behind brands that impact their communities and support matters that mean the most to them.
As an entrepreneur, how do you stay agile and ahead of the game?
In university, I was majoring in sociology and minoring in psychology but was unable to graduate because I left early to work as a player manager back in 2013. I have always been a self-learner and you have to be that way as an entrepreneur. Everything about your company falls on you—marketing, accounting, business development, branding, and many more things fall on your shoulders. Paying attention to trends and reading about what other governments and entrepreneurs are doing outside of my jurisdiction show that there are always people doing things better than me. Understanding that pushes me to do better, myself. One of my favourite things I used to do was go on Eventbrite and look up free workshops, networking events, and seminars. I attended them with an open mind and connected with different people in the room.
What does it mean to be a leader in business and life?
A leader in business is similar to sports in my opinion: gathering a group of people and motivating them towards a specific goal. A leader in life is someone who is always evolving and growing. That same leader is someone who can identify opportunities and help the person next to them grow and evolve.
What does success mean to you?
Success is being able to put another person in a position to win. When it is all said and done, I want to share my experiences, lessons, and success with youth to inspire them to chase after whatever it is that wakes them up without an alarm.
What is the most valuable lesson that you have learned from the athletes that you have worked with?
You’ve got to work hard every day. Nothing is promised. My favourite thing about athletes is their ability to focus and adapt to change constantly. Athletes need to perform regardless of what is going on in their personal lives. Isaiah Thomas lost his sister to a car accident the day before a critical playoff game. There were images of him crying before the game and his teammates supporting him through that difficult time. He was able to lock in, focus, and help his team win by contributing 33 points, six assists, and five rebounds. To me that mirrors the life of an entrepreneur—executing while dealing with adversity.
How do you stay focused?
Staying focused can be difficult at times but I combat it by trying to get one small win at a time. Another way I like to stay focused is by doing things that make me feel good. Going to the gym, yoga, travelling, hanging out with friends, and having a life is important. Your brain needs time to relax and engage in different ways so it can lock in and produce when it’s time to do so.
Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Christopher Voss and Tahl Raz
“An amazing read by an ex-FBI interrogator who breaks down strategy when it comes to negotiation tactics and getting the answers you want.”
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
“A book that explores consistency and perseverance. It follows the notion that the harder you work, the closer you are to success.”
The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through The Madness Industry by Jon Ronson
“The Psychopath Test takes a deep dive into the minds of extremely successful people and their almost psychopathic obsession with certain things that make them successful.”