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Success Story Podcast

Jonathan Perelman, President of ICM Stellar Sports | How to Grow Your Digital Footprint

By December 9, 2021February 28th, 2022No Comments

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About The Guest

Jonathan Perelman is the President of ICM Stellar Sports. ICM Partners is one of the world’s leading talent agencies, dedicated to the representation of artists, content creators, broadcasters, authors, journalists and artisans, and in 2020 Perelman helped to oversee ICM Partners’ acquisition of the powerhouse London agency Stellar Group, which represents over 800 athletes.

Before orchestrating the ICM Stellar Sports deal, Perelman served as ICM’s Head of Digital Ventures, and he previously spent time at Buzzfeed and Google. Perelman also serves as a board member for several sports and entertainment start-ups.

Talking Points

  • 09:28 – Why Jon left google.
  • 20:28 – What does ‘digital transformation’ mean?
  • 29:12 – Growing your brand.
  • 36:08 – How to scale your business with the right talent.
  • 42:39 – How do you find the right mentors?
  • 50:04 – Managing high performance people.

Show Links


Podcast & Newsletter Sponsors

1. Netsuite — Get Insight Into Your Business

2. Playbook — Grow Your Wealth

3. Hubspot Podcast Network podcastnetwork

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What is the Success Story Podcast?

On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups and entrepreneurship.

The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.

Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas and insights.

He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their story to help pass those lessons onto others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.








Machine Generated Transcript


people, business, athletes, playbook, digital, icm, career, buzzfeed, netsuite, sports, important, google, find, questions, brand, grow, agency, spoke, mindset, world


Scott D Clary, Jonathan Perelman


Scott D Clary  00:00

Welcome to success story, the most useful podcast in the world. I’m your host, Scott D. Clary. That success story podcast is part of the HubSpot Podcast Network. The HubSpot Podcast Network has incredible podcasts for you to check out like remarkable people hosted by Guy Kawasaki, of course, brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network. The remarkable people podcast with Guy Kawasaki helps you better understand the changing world with interviews from thought leaders, legends, and iconoclast. If you are interested in business leadership, entrepreneurship, he interviews the best of the best leveraging connections that he’s built over his career. Here’s some of the episodes and interviews that he’s done. He’s spoken to Seth Godin, marketing God blogger author, he’s spoken to Pat Flynn, entrepreneur power podcaster and popular YouTuber he’s spoken to Jen Lim, happiness evangelist and author of beyond happiness you spoken to Steve Blank, author, entrepreneur, and startup whisper if you want to listen to incredibly intelligent conversations with some of the most remarkable people on the planet. Listen to remarkable people podcast by Guy Kawasaki, wherever you get your podcasts. Today, my guest is Jonathan Perelman and the president of ICM stellar sports now ICM partners is one of the world’s leading talent agencies dedicated to the representation of artists, content creators, broadcasters, authors, journalists and artisans. 2020 Perlman helped oversee ICM partners acquisition of the powerhouse London agency stellar group, they represent over 800 athletes before orchestrating the ICM stellar sports deal. Perlman served as ICM head of digital ventures. He previously spent time at both BuzzFeed and Google as well. He was an early employee at both of those companies right now. He of course heads up ICM stellar sports and serves as a board member for several sports and entertainment startups. So we spoke about ProMods career, how he went from Google and tech to BuzzFeed and media and then eventually to ICM partners and ICM stellar sports. He was an early employee at both Google and Buzzfeed and he saw their growth in the ground offset some great lessons there. We also spoke about what is digital How can companies go digital how some companies are doing it right? Some companies aren’t doing it right how to grow your digital footprint as a brand. But then we also spoke about how to grow your digital footprint as a personal brand some lessons that he’s learned from managing athletes with huge social media followings, what to do to help grow their brand, their community, monetize their audience, all the things that you can test at scale, when you’re managing an athlete with millions of followers. So some great business lessons, some great personal brand influencer marketing lessons, let’s jump right into it. This is Jonathan Perlman, president of ICM stellar sports.


Jonathan Perelman  02:52

I’ll start at the beginning. I’m a Pisces, I enjoy. I am in fact a Pisces, I grew up in Connecticut, went to probably most relevant to start in college where even before college I was sort of active in a number of things, especially politically, those were the conversations around the dinner table. And when I went to college, I studied political science. I got an opportunity. First to intern over the summer for a local city councilman in Newark, New Jersey. I was in college in Philadelphia and work for the city councilman who my then girlfriend now wife introduced me to and super impressive guy. He said he was running for he was gonna run for mayor of Newark, and what I like to join his campaign and I said, Well, I College in Philadelphia, it’s not a far train ride, I could maybe do my classes during the week and condense my schedule to what she said no, I mean, actually take a leave of absence from from college and come work on my campaign and I had interned for a Member of Parliament previously in the UK and and I love the idea, but I said, I don’t think you can do that. I don’t think you can take a leave of absence from college. He’s like, No, you can you go to the registrar and just say you want to leave. Okay. And so I did so I I moved to Newark, New Jersey, with half a college education and worked for a guy who was a city councilman ran for mayor. Someone named Cory Booker, who’s now a US senator. So all’s well that ends well, but we lost that election. We lost that campaign for mayor and I believe in instances when you lose, you often learn more than when you win. And it was an incredible experience for me to Be involved at such a level at such a young age, I think we really tried and wanted to have a big impact on the people of the city. And it was not where I’m from. I’m from Connecticut. I was in New Jersey, but I, I felt this connection and loved the process. And it was a really, really meaningful time. I’ll say in my career as a, as a young person to get that experience and I treasure it. We’re still close to this day. But the things I learned on that campaign I’ve taken with me and every, every step along the way, I promised my and I should say there was a Academy Award nominated documentary that followed that campaign called Street Fighter so I do their work. It’s a great, it’s great. It’s a great watch. It’s I allowed myself once a year to watch it, it’s it’s a tear jerker. For me, it brings back all these emotions. But Marshall curry directed it, it’s an unbelievable film, and really insight into urban politics in America that year, almost that I spent half a year working on the campaign. So that was incredibly meaningful experience that I had and went back to college, I promised my parents I would go back to college and get my degree, which I did. I then went into financial services for a couple of years, and great experience, but I realized I wanted something more entrepreneurial. So I had actually, in the interim, gotten married, and met somebody joke, I met someone on our on my honeymoon. And he was is still is a unbelievable guide, a very, very big job at Google at the time. And we talked about careers, we talked about what I was doing he, you know, a little bit older than I am had more experience had had children. I did not at the time, but we talked about careers in the advancement. And I went to him for advice, which is something I like to do a lot. I like to go to people seek their advice, ask a lot of questions. And I said to him, I’m looking to make a move, what do you suggest? And he said, Well, why don’t you come look at Google, I said, not something I considered. This was 2005 2006. And lo and behold, I went to Google, I took a job at Google. And it was, again, one of those really transformational experiences. Starting at Google. I was in New York. It was I started the was a, you know, not tiny, but a smallish office in midtown Manhattan. A couple 100 people in New York felt like I knew not all of them, but most of them, you see people around six, seven years later, when I, when I left having done a number, a couple of different jobs, there were 1000s of people in the office, you wouldn’t go to lunch, you wouldn’t recognize anyone. So it was a fun time to be there to experience the growth. I went from the very internally facing role to an externally facing role, which I felt suited my skill sets very well. Google was, I assume still is still some friends there, which I think is indicative of how great of a place to work it is and how much you learn. But for me, I had a little bit of an entrepreneurial itch that I wanted to scratch, I used to joke at Google that if I was gone for six months, if I just didn’t come into the office, people might wonder where I was because I’m a little bit loud and boisterous. But it wouldn’t really matter to the business at all. And that that was certainly an indication of the work I was doing maybe the level I was at, but I wanted to have more of an impact. And I went again, to seek advice from somebody quite worked with at at Google who was at BuzzFeed at the time, and just got coffee, just to say, hey, it’s been six, seven years, I’m looking for something different. What do you suggest what do you know and I left with a job offer for to go to but it was not my after one, one coffee after one coffee. He’s very persuasive guy. It was not my intention. But it seemed like a great opportunity. And there were about you know, 100 115 employees. It was still pretty young and new. And I took the jump and took a leap it was it was quite a thing to try and explain to people leaving Google where everybody had heard of Google. They knew what a great place it was to work to go to the bus what to feed what Is it you know, people just didn’t know what it was. And I’m not I certainly believed in the business. That’s why I, I did it. But I, I realized I wanted to stay as much ahead of the curve as I possibly could. And what I realized was that Google was this amazing platform, I called them the tracks that they had laid that carried the content of the internet, the trains on it, and I thought I wanted to be on the train, I wanted to be the content and see how that works. And went to BuzzFeed, which was really, I mean, it wasn’t entrepreneurial in the sense that we weren’t two guys in a garage tinkering, but it was 100 people in a, you know, in a six storey not not a walkout, but in an office that was cramped trying to figure out how content worked on the internet. And that was fun. And we, we tried a lot. On the business side, we convinced advertisers and partners to come on board into something that they didn’t know about and had a lot of questions. It was some time into that experience that they asked if I would move to Los Angeles from New York to help open what was called at the time BuzzFeed motion pictures after raising money from venture capital wanted to really do this very early, pivot to video that that was at the time. And I had a young family from the East Coast, love, loved and still love New York, but was ready for a different challenge. And so we packed up the wagon and headed out west, and had to learn a ton in that experience about how to manage groups of people how to get how to start something, and how not to be afraid to just make decisions, because I wouldn’t say we all knew what we were doing at the time, we just had to analyze something and make a decision. And we did and built it into something I think we could all be proud of I was interested in transitioning that into other elements of the entertainment business. And that’s when I went around town went around Hollywood, to start asking lots of questions of people from agents, managers, lawyers, studios, really how does the business operate? And I it became clear, I’m now trying to go back this was probably 2015 1415 16, something like that, that digital was still new in Hollywood, it was a thing. It wasn’t at one point. It was new media. Now it was called Digital, whatever it was, but there was still a lot unknown. And that’s what I what I liked about it is that there was no answer, there was nothing easy. There was nothing specific, there was not an element of plug and play, there was a lot of experimentation. And and I liked that. And so I had been connected to somebody to the CEO, the guy who ran ICM partners at the time, and we got together a bunch and talked about what digital looked like within the confines the the the entity of a Hollywood agency. And it, I was interested in the opportunity and the challenge of going inside an agency, which are pretty traditional places. They can be very entrepreneurial, if done well. But to do something like digital, and the people had done it before me. So my friends today, but there was not a clear path. That was not an easy transition. But I made a deal with the company and I said here’s the thing, I don’t think in agency should have a digital department. I think every department should be digital doesn’t make sense to think about it differently. It should be just part of what every group does at the agency. So I said give me a couple years to try and integrate this and if I’m successful, you’ll have to find me another job either within the company or within within Hollywood and if I’m unsuccessful, you’ll have to find me another job within the agency or within Hollywood I said this is a this is not a forever project. This is a finite we are going to integrate this into the rest of the business. Yeah, you need subject matter expertise and you need to have the right contacts and sure you need all of that but everybody should know this digital talent never liked the nomenclature because it it connotes something different. Well, it wasn’t different. It was just a new way of having a product. If it’s film, if it’s TV, some sort of entertainment come across. So we, I did this, it didn’t take me three years to probably fail at the job. But I realized along the way that there were other aspects that I thought the company should be, should be doing. One was a speaker’s bureau, we talked a little bit earlier about when I went on the, on the speaking tour. And I thought that’s something that the agency should be doing more of. And, to his credit, the CEO said, okay, great idea, go, go make it happen. What do you want to do, and that’s, I love that about him and about the environment that I was in, which is if you have a good idea, and you can prove the thesis, you have the ability to go make it happen. And so I bought a small agency. And as I joke for my sins, I then he then said, Well, now you have to go run it. So I ran that, and I think one of the most important elements of what I’ve been able to do is find people far better than I to go to hire to go run certain things. And so I found an amazing person who to this day still runs that business, who’s who’s phenomenal, just, I think, a great leader of the business and an even greater person. And so transition from there to do corporate development type of stuff and raised a bunch of money from private equity, and ultimately, fun that with into getting into the sports business, after raising money from private equity, identified an asset in sports based in the UK that we were able to acquire and, and again, as a thank you, I got to run it and run it. Yeah. Which I’m which I’m doing now. And I absolutely love it. And sort of to cap this off, I’ll say in the businesses that that certainly I’m in now but that I’ve been in recently, it’s it’s a people business, right, you’re, you know, professional services. And it’s really just about the people and I have been so incredibly lucky to work with and four really great people and have great partners along the way that make the work that can be difficult and challenging, fun and exciting. So it’s really about it’s been about for me finding myself, within around really great people. And I’ve been been really lucky to have that.


Scott D Clary  17:52

I just want to take a second and thank the sponsor of today’s episode NetSuite. Picture this this is it the putt to win the tournament, if you sink it, the championship is yours. But on your backswing, your hat falls over your eyes? Is this how you’re running your business poor visibility into what’s actually happening? Because you’re relying on spreadsheets and outdated finance software to see the full picture. You need to upgrade to NetSuite. by Oracle. If you are a business owner, you need visibility into what’s happening in your business. NetSuite gives you that visibility, it gives you visibility over your financials, your inventory, HR, planning, budgeting, and more. NetSuite is everything you need to have visibility, to have control, and most importantly, to grow all in one place. With NetSuite. You can automate your process and close your books in no time while staying well ahead of your competition. 93% of surveyed businesses increase both their visibility into what was going on as well as their control after they switched and upgraded to NetSuite. Remember NetSuite is rated the number one cloud financial system to power your growth and over 27,000 businesses already use NetSuite and right now through to the end of the year, NetSuite is offering a one of a kind financing program to those ready to upgrade at D. Clary, so if you want to take advantage head to NetSuite comm slash Scott Clary for a special end of the year financing on the number one financial system for growing businesses. That is D. Clary amazing that’s, that’s I love that I love the progression and I and I I’m glad you unpacked it. Because when when I was first looking at who you are as a person and and what you’ve done, I wanted to walk through that career because you’ve gone into different industries per se, but there’s sort of a thread that follows you between all of them. And I think that is probably I want to unpack what you do at at at stellar sports that with with sporting teams and and athletes and professionals. But you focus on you focus on this overarching theme of turning the business and making an entire business digital and making an entire discipline describe what that is because that was something that you were discussing at BuzzFeed that you carried over into ICM does digital mean media company? What is digital? What is the definition of digital for a company?


Jonathan Perelman  20:28

Well, Scott, I think that’s the issue is that digital can mean different things to different people to different companies to different entities. I, I, I really think I mean, there, there are super tactical approaches to what to what it means we are speaking on digital platforms right now. Right, people are listening to us on a on a digital platform. But you take some of the giant streaming services of today. Is that is that digital or is that television? Well, yes, both? I mean, I don’t know. It’s, it comes in both once the boat Yeah, exactly. It comes through one pipe or another? What difference does it make? And I think that’s been one of the misnomers about digital is that people want to put it into some box and say it’s something else. It’s not, I don’t know, I that’s why i That’s why I was very intentional with this idea of doesn’t make sense to have a digital department, every department should be digital. Now. There’s a maturation of that you don’t start one day and say, okay, everything’s digital, let’s, let’s retool everything. But today, it must be part of whatever you do, whatever. If you sell a product, if you make a product, if you service, a product, whatever. Understanding how people communicate, understand how people understanding how people buy, how people sell how people interact and transact, it’s so important. And it could be very old fashioned, very new, whether it’s digital or, or terrestrial. I don’t think it matters. I really think about digital almost as a mindset, this nimbleness, this idea that there is so much change happening so quickly, how do you stay in front of it, and be nimble to adapt to whatever comes next. That’s not a product necessarily. That’s a mindset. And that’s how we think about digital. Awesome.


Scott D Clary  22:28

Amazing, so Okay, so this is this is something that, and I completely agree that digital has to be a mindset. I guess other other buzzwords that you probably would have heard would be like digital transformation, or, and you’re right, it’s not just one thing. It’s not one aspect of the business. It’s quite literally everything that you do. I love how you actually I don’t want to read describe it, the way you described was perfect. So So with ICM, stellar sports, first, let’s tee up what you’re actually doing there. And then let’s speak about some of the high level lessons that you implemented across your career that you’re implementing at ICM and some things that people can think of as they try and sort of modernize or, or digitally transform their business. So they keep up with marketing habits, sales habits, what their customers care about how their like you said how their customers communicate. I think those are very important things. And I think that’s why you’ve been so successful in what would look like without talking to you or speaking to you first, a whole bunch of different industries and different types of jobs. Because you’ve gone Google you, you know, that’s, that’s Fang, that’s tech, and you’ve done BuzzFeed. That’s media. True, like just Gertrude like digital media company. Now you’re, you’re at a sports talent agency, right? But you’ve done similar things across all of them. So yes, let’s let’s go into it. So seller sports, what do you do there?


Jonathan Perelman  23:49

Yeah, well, let me first pick up on one thing before I get into that is, you know, this podcast has success in the title, we think about success. I was talking to a very close friend of mine who’s in the sports business. And we often talk about the success. I don’t, I guess, objectively, sure, I am successful on some level. But I think part of the reason that I don’t know that I’m successful, I always struggle with that, and always work harder to become successful. But it feels elusive, to me, what success is, and so it motivates and drives me every day to find that thing. I don’t think I have found it. I don’t know that it is something that will be found, but having the desire and the motivation and the purpose to look for that thing that is success is kind of what drives me.


Scott D Clary  24:44

What do I do? One thing, one thing on that point, though, if that mindset you just described, is the exact mindset that a business has to have when they think about how do we stay up to date, how do we future proof? How do we digitally transform? It’s the it’s the it’s the mindset But you will never you will never achieve the you know, you will never perfect your organization, you will never be the most relevant. But the mindset of always trying to do that is the quite literally what what you said on a personal level. That’s how businesses have to think.


Jonathan Perelman  25:16

That’s right. I don’t know. Today, I’ll say that there’s no end game, right? You don’t get to a point where you say I have conquered at all. I’m done. What’s What do you do? You close up shop? No, you got to, you got to keep going. So that’s right. I think about that from a personal perspective, but also from a business perspective. How are we always striving to be better at what we do, but it’s never done? Right in the minute? Yeah. I think Do you think that you are there’s a belief that you are your competitors have


Scott D Clary  25:52

written right about that? So that’s what Yeah, that’s a start start a start have started the slow death. Like that’s when you start. That’s the we’ll look at like the, you know, I use this analogy so much, but like the, the blockbusters or the taxi or cab industry or the hotel industry to the RV, like, you know, that’s,


Jonathan Perelman  26:10

that’s, I, you know, like Innovators Dilemma, I’ve read, you know, like a lot like they’re all these books, these management books that I love to read and it’s all kind of a play on the same thing. It’s like, when you think you got it, that’s when you got to put the pedal down. And and always, I’ve tried to see around corners to really hard to do but, but you’ve got to continue to evolve all the time. Even when you think you’ve nailed something because there’s someone else there’s something else that will that will come around the corner. So So ICM stellar sports, what do I do, I’m the president of ICM stellar sports. That means I just help an absolutely first class best in class team of agents, and scouts and executives. Look after represent the best sporting talent in the world, the majority of our business is football was all of our businesses football, that is both both sides of the pond, European soccer, football and NFL American football, where we look after the careers of the best athletes in the world. And so means slightly different things if we talk about NFL as opposed to European soccer, but ultimately, it’s the same thing, right? We we work with amazing talent, get them and find them. The right deals both on the pitch and off the pitch, to ensure that they’re in the best possible place for their career for longevity in the game, as well as helping them build brands and monetize that off the field. So it’s my job specifically, is to help run the business of the business, I have very strong opinions on who should be transferred, where you know what kind of offense our quarterback should be running. But that’s not why they pay me they pay me to help to help think about how you know how to run the business as operationally, best we can, as well as really thinking about growth and where the opportunities are and how we can grow the business that we have into something even bigger than, and that’s the fun part. I’m incredibly lucky to work with just the best people in the business, which is, which makes it a lot of fun. And I think, frankly, it just makes me look good from time to time. And we’re in a business that people that people like I mean, there’s literally Monday morning quarterbacking is talking about the business that that I’m in, which means there’s a lot of scrutiny it there’s a lot of pressure. But I I like that and and if I can do my little bit to help make us the best in the business. That’s, that’s what I do.


Scott D Clary  29:12

So let’s talk about let’s talk about some of the things that you do that you’ve implemented that stellar sports. Now do you want to do it, we could do one of two things, we can talk about strategies that maybe you use for athletes, terms of how to grow their brand. Or we could talk about some strategies that maybe you’ve picked up from BuzzFeed that you’ve used to grow the digital footprint of stellar. So I don’t know which way you want to take it. It’s up to you. I just want to take a second and thank the sponsor of today’s episode HubSpot. And with the holidays in full swing, we’re that much closer to a new year, which means new year’s resolution and we often focus on what we feel we fail that health relationship finances but what if we tried something new this New Year and instead of acknowledging what we failed that let’s acknowledge what we did right the thing We want to continue doing more of the relationships we want to show appreciation for and what if we did that. For our businesses, HubSpot is challenging businesses to focus on how to grow better starting with our customer because the HubSpot CRM platform is dedicated to making the connection between you and your customers better than ever how well new tools like native payment links, and recurring payments that directly embed in hub spots quoting tools and emails means seamless delivery, and payment collection and custom surveys easily capture feedback unique to your business, share insights with your teams and help you understand what makes your customers tick. Learn more about how HubSpot CRM platform can help build, maintain and grow your customer


Jonathan Perelman  30:41

Well, I think they kind of combined because what I’ll say is, well, first of all, the digital brand of though we’re not a we’re not a public facing company, we are a course b2b company, not a b2c company. But we have people that help our clients on social and digital platforms. These people that do the work are amazing. I mean, they do stuff I could never, I never even dream of from a content perspective and help really grow the brands of our clients and they’ve got strategies, they know how to do it, they know how to capture moments, they know this plan spontaneity of when something’s going to happen, they just do really incredible work and all credit to them. I don’t, I would never in a million years trying to teach them a thing or two about how to make it work. We do it philosophical conversations about social media, the web content, the good side of it, which there’s plenty of good and the bad side of it, which there is plenty of bad and and especially some of our clients in in European football, there’s there’s been a lot of stuff that’s been done on social media. That’s I mean, by any objective member measure not okay. I mean, this the, the, the racism and other aspects is, is a pourraient. And, and, you know, I can’t, can’t be condemned strongly enough. But there’s also done the other coin a lot, right? You can, you can tell your stories in new ways. And athletes have the ability to build brands today that they’ve really never had never had before. And so our first job first and foremost, is always to look after them with contracts and what’s happening on the field to make sure that they are set up in the best possible position for success. And then we help build their brands and do some deals off off the field, which is important for them to continue to grow and be seen almost as influencers and that’s another term another use as a verb, I guess that that I question, you know, an influencer? Sure, there are professional influencers. And then there is the person, your friend, or your parent or your colleague, who can also be an influencer in the decisions that you make professional athletes hold a very special place for that influence because they are, they are icons, and people look up to them. And I think there is a, there’s a measure of that, that we need to be cognizant of when doing commercial deals or things that they say, from a social, political sort of world moment that that really matter because it resonates because athletes are are seeing and held in a slightly different light for for better or worse, you know, whether or not people think they are role models that people do look up to them and and they are influential in decisions that that people make. And then Scott, if I could, I think what I have learned from a very short career in politics to, to tech to digital media is it’s, it’s not one thing in particular, but it’s this idea of adaptation of agility of not standing still, right? Those are industries that are constantly evolving and constantly changing, and you’ve got to keep up with what’s happening. And that’s how I’ve approached what I’m doing now is let’s look for best practices, but let’s never rest on on what we have and how do we ensure we’ve got the best people doing the best work possible it’s it’s a people business at the end of the day and we’ve got to find and retain and keep happy. The best people that’s that’s hard that takes A lot of time, but is probably the most important thing that we could do. Because without the people we don’t we don’t have a business, right? We don’t. We don’t we don’t make a product.


Scott D Clary  35:12

No, I appreciate that. And it’s then you are dealing with. Okay, so you’re you’ve always been working in organizations and been successful at, like you said, staying ahead of the curve. So how do you find people that are on that same wavelength, because every business in the world would want to find people that can keep up with trends. You know, at ICM, you’re dealing with athletes, and they’re massively exposed, even at previous role, like, you know, at BuzzFeed, you’re putting out content all the time trying to find what’s relevant. There’s always things that are in the public eye, which makes it even harder to find, you know, anything you screw up every everybody sees as well, even even more so in politics, that you’ve never worked in a in a low exposure industry where the stuff that you’re putting out into the world isn’t scrutinized. You like so. So tell me, how do you how do you find people that can keep up with that pace that can like at ICM, what’s your what even your hiring your strategy? What do you look for in people that you bring on?


Jonathan Perelman  36:08

Oh, I can’t tell you that. Scott. That’s That’s a secret. No, I’m just kidding. I never thought about the the high exposure. I don’t think there’s a it’s the, it’s the right question to ask. And I talked to people about this all the time. I don’t have a great answer for it. It’s, you’ve got to, you got to dig and find the right people I’m a believer in, it’s about the people or the person, not necessarily the experience. So someone could come with the perfect resume. But if I don’t think it’s a cultural fit, if I think they’re going to come in and be a bull in a china shop, and mess up what we have, if, if I think yeah, they’re great, but they’re not going to speak up when they see something that they don’t think is right. It’s not going to work. And so do we, it’s about the right. It’s people more than product people that didn’t experience. And listen, I’m this is me personally, and I think this is makes for great people that you work with, and and for great environment. But I always say I’m an expert, not and this is a this is a famous quote, but an expert, nothing but passionately curious about everything. I, you could have someone that is the best at this one thing, but I want well rounded people, I want to have a well rounded team, I want to work with people that have interests, you know, outside of the stuff that they do every day that can be their main interest. I, I’m in sports, I love sports, the business of sports is what I read is what I want to do, I happy to work seven days a week. My family doesn’t always love that. But I I’m, I’m passionate about it I’m passionate about I’m passionate about but there are other things that I do that


Jonathan Perelman  38:02

that are outside. And I think finding those kinds of people that are are well rounded. And you know, there used to be all these sayings. And was that at Google at Google about finding Googlers right? Do they pass some sort of test would you want to sit next to them on a cross country flight with that work, all that kind of you mean, it might be silly and, and not scientific, but I think it’s really, really important at the end of the day. That’s how you find the best people that’s how you get the best deliver the best output is by having a good honest debate and you know, not having people that always agree with you, but coming up and in that madness in that chaos in that in that debate is where I think you create the best, the best product the best outcome and so it’s an imperfect science, but one that is really important that it’s in my business, it’s about the people.


Scott D Clary  39:06

You know, you you have even gotten all of your career advancements next jobs you’re not going on you’re not going on indeed and LinkedIn and applying for these things. This is entirely who you know. That’s interesting as well. Yeah, that’s also you know,


Jonathan Perelman  39:25

well I That’s true Scott that also worries me right because if there could be a great person who is for the best job to work and help us grow the business but if they don’t know the right person, are we going to miss them? I get concerned about that. That is in fact your right how I’ve gotten to the point not sure success but I’m it’s elusive but I’m looking for that success by you.


Scott D Clary  39:55

Still, you still done you’d still done well by any any standard throughout your Your career and it’s all been handshakes with the right people. That’s not a that’s not a bad thing, by any means, by the way, it’s just it’s a it’s a point that you’re right, you could be missing out on good people. But it’s also another point to people that aren’t getting into the right rooms or talking to the right people or networking. Maybe you do more than


Jonathan Perelman  40:19

here’s what I’ll say is good. I think that’s right. The challenge is that can only take you so far, though. You could they could say, oh, well, you’re great, come on into this to our organization and do this stuff. But if you can’t perform, if you can’t give something back, that is good, you’re not going to last very long. And so I totally agree, it is important to put yourself out there. I don’t know how people necessarily network in a COVID world in a just post kind of ish, COVID world, maybe not quite yet. We talked earlier about travel that we’re that we’ve done and starting to do more and how out of practice we were. But yeah, you know, it’s important to put yourself out there, it’s important to, to, you know, meet people and I get a lot of young people asking me for advice in their, in their careers. And that’s one of the biggest things I say is, you know, go go meet somebody and go talk to them. And just as you’re doing as, as your podcasts do, right, people are always pretty much happy to talk about themselves and their career and what they’ve done. And when you find someone that you connect with, maintain that relationship, follow up, keep going back, ask them questions, I think the idea of mentors and mentees are, that’s one of the things that I think people talk about, but we don’t do enough of, and it’s really important when when people look to make moves in and grow their career, but also I don’t have the answers to everything. And there are times I just want to call somebody and ask them for advice. And I do that with, with peers, I do that increasingly with people. younger than I am not necessarily just an age thing, but the people that are maybe at slightly different levels, because I want to know how they’re thinking about things. And I’ll, I’ll ask people that have been out of business for years, how they dealt with some of these challenges, or some of these questions. And for me, that’s what how I’ve always learned and grown and develop is by it’s really important to be a very good listener, you got to know the right questions to ask, but when you do, listen to what the answers are.


Scott D Clary  42:39

How do you how do you find people to ask questions are how do you find your mentors rather?


Jonathan Perelman  42:46

High? I mean, there’s no, I don’t have a playbook for it. It’s people that I come into contact with, through business through life. And, you know, I have to respect the work that they’ve done, how they’ve done it, and ask them questions. And you know, these things kind of build organically, I think a lot of this stuff can’t be forced. And if you do force it, it never really never really works out. But I’ve got, I mean, I’ve got 10s Dozens of rabbis that I go to for different things, different people for different things to, to ask questions and and seek advice. And I, you know, I think when you when you think you have all the answers, that’s a sign that you definitely don’t


Scott D Clary  43:37

you know, you mentioned something before, and and you just said you don’t you don’t have the playbook for it. But you mentioned like, before we even started recording, you said, you know, what’s, what’s common sense to you may not be common sense to everyone else. And what I wanted to drive home there is regardless of what the you know, what, what you’re looking for, to learn from in your life. Have a mentor for different parts of your life. But also, again, I think it comes back to the relationship thing you’re not, for example, looking at a mentor as a transactional thing. This is not like a, you know, send an email, get a piece of advice. You’re building the relationships far probably far before you actually need that advice. So when you do have a question about something you have that network to reach into, and to and to access and to tap into, and I think that people look at mentorship the wrong way. And they think about it like okay, so I am going to reach out to somebody and I’m going to say Hey, can you be my mentor? And I’m going to ask them for one hour every single week. And that’s that’s how I do mentorship. And I don’t think that’s right. And I think that that is I think that that’s unfortunately the way that people look at mentors that has to be some transactional relationship. But it can be he said, Rabbi, friends, family, peers, anyone, and just and just ask, just ask for Help. And that’s that’s mentorship. I just want to take a second and thank the sponsor of today’s episode playbook. Now what is playbook playbook is an app that gets to know your unique financial situation and helps you get the most out of every dollar you save the best part. You don’t have to do any crazy budgeting or change a single thing about your lifestyle. If you’re just making money, but you’re not sure what to do with it playbook is the app for you for the average user playbook helps boost their net worth by over $1.3 million playbook tells you which tax advantaged accounts that you need, how much money to put into each one of them and automate all these investment processes for you. It’s rare that you find a finance app that thinks about your finances as a whole. This includes your taxes, your savings and your life goals. It was super simple to set up, I just set up all my accounts. And then I set my preferences as to where I want to put my money, and then it’s on autopilot. So I can be investing in my Roth IRA, and my travel fund or my new car fund or my wedding fund, or my kids education fund, all in one spot. And on top of that, because it can forecast where I’m going to be in 1020 30 years, I know exactly how much money I’m going to have when I do want to retire or when I’m going to actually hit those milestones in my life financially, because I’ve set up these automatic contributions. So if you want to get on the road to financial freedom, go to Hello playbook comm slash Scott, you can immediately predict when you can finally stop working, you don’t even have to sign up for the service yet you get a free playbook impact is going to predict your net worth if you follow the guidelines that they set out for you. So remember, go to Hello playbook comm slash Scott, that’s your special link for a free assessment and basically roadmap for your future net worth sign up for playbook today. So you can enjoy financial freedom and beyond.


Jonathan Perelman  46:50

Yeah, I got a I got a I got a call. I got a call this earlier this week from somebody who I used to work with. I haven’t spoken to her in probably three years. And the reason I know that is because I didn’t know she had a baby. But she said I think Wait a minute, it’s been a minute, she said I’m thinking of making a move a career move, you’ve always been helpful in helping me think through this stuff. Can I pick your brain about I mean, it had been years. With COVID? My, my timeframe has just it’s all sorts of messed up. But it had been years. And yeah, I think, you know, if we had had a solely transactional relationship over that time I it would have failed, it would just not have been something but she could easily pick up the phone and text or call and say, Hey, can I just pick your brain? On this move I’m thinking of making and how would you think about it, and then a really nice chat, and we might not talk for another two or three years. And and that’s okay. You know, she’s wonderful. And I wish her all sorts of success. But I think we think about it, too. You articulate this? Well, but we think about it as such a transactional thing about when are we meeting? How are we doing this? And sure, maybe you have some of those, but you should have lots of different kinds of relationships with people who can be who can be helpful. I mean, I remember a time when I was at Google, where I sought advice from somebody about careers. And that was a, I assume still is but was very often things that were talked about at Google about what what move you’re going to make, where are you going to go how’s it going to work. And so I encourage those, I think those conversations are very healthy to have all the time it’s a it’s a sign of strength, not weakness, if you’re talking to people that you work with about how you’re going to grow and evolve. And this person said to me, the way that they think about it is they write a resume, what they want their resume to look like five years from now, and sort of back into how they’re going to get there. And I thought that was a really innovative approach. I’ve not heard that. And I told that to somebody else at Google, who said, Well, that’s crazy. You don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. So if you’re so set on making this plan happen, you’re gonna lose opportunities, because you’re just not you’re gonna have your blinders on and not think about it. And I said, Well, that’s a really great piece of advice. I hadn’t thought of that. And so it’s, it’s doing those two things kind of at once this this mashup of, you should have a plan for yourself, you should have a plan for your business, you should have a plan for what you want to do. And you also have to be looking at the thing that could be right next to you that is outside of that plan, because that could end up in turn out being a lot better for you. And if you’re so focused on one or the other, you’re gonna miss the opposite.


Scott D Clary  49:52

Very good advice. I love that advice, because everybody gives you advice to have that, you know, 135 10 year plan, but that’s also important. That’s awesome. important to keep your head up?


Jonathan Perelman  50:01

Yeah, exactly.


Scott D Clary  50:04

Okay, one thing that I did want to I didn’t want to get your insight on is the people that you manage. Now, I think that’s also interesting, managing really ultra high performance individuals. Walk me through, walk me through what it’s like. And I know and I know that you are managed people who probably do this while you manage agents that manage a lot of these relationships, but you still probably have a pretty good idea of what it’s like to manage some of these athletes. So what’s what’s that, like? Walk me through that?


Jonathan Perelman  50:38

Well, managing people that manage high performance athletes, or high performance artists, whatever it is, these are high performing people. So yeah, it’s, it’s my sort of style is pretty loose, I think if you’re, if you’re managing micromanaging people down to certain details, you don’t trust them, you don’t have the right people back to the one of the earlier parts of our conversation, and it’s just not going to work, it’s not gonna work for you, as a manager, it’s not going to work for them working, I think really what’s most, you got to give people leeway in the ability to do it their way you can’t implement your way upon them. And again, have the trust and have the faith that you have the best people that will do the best work, and they shouldn’t do it in the in the shadow of how you want it done. They should do it their way understanding what it is and how the business works and, and where they should be spending time. But I don’t think you can dictate exactly how they do what they do. Now, as far as managing athletes or artists today, I really think you have to stay ahead of the curve, you’ve got to know what’s going on. In the business. Yes, some parts of being a football agent, which technically I am not so easy for me to say. But some parts have never changed. You’ve got to look after the athlete, you’ve got to make sure they’ve got the right contract, you’ve got to you are their advisor you are you are you are together with them, you are on the same team, do the best deal for them, make sure they are protected, make sure they’re happy, you need to do all that that that hasn’t changed. That will not change. That’s really huge part of the business. But you’ve got to be understanding of what new things are happening and opportunities. I think about this with NF T’s. And a year ago. I think whatever the timeframe was, if you had said to agents, you know, what’s your NFT strategy, it was an NF who, right. But that’s that that’s not in the lexicon, that’s not what they do. Today, you need to be able to talk to as an agent, you need to be able to talk to your clients, answer questions from them, bring them opportunities in the NFT space, maybe it’s not right for them for any number of reasons. But for those that are, you need to be on top of it. And that’s a very new development. So staying on top of and abreast of the latest trends and how things happen. I don’t have to tell you, or most likely the listeners about how quickly things change today, that’s to me, you need to have this sense of how to represent somebody how to look after them how to ensure that they are giving their faith in you to to help them with their career. That’s a massive responsibility, and you need to take that responsibility. And, and do your best with it. It doesn’t mean it will be perfect every time. But that’s a huge amount of pressure for an agent to have to look after somebody’s career. But that’s not it. You also need to be and will get say again, look around corners, understand what’s coming up and what’s coming new and where opportunities are that didn’t weren’t available weren’t a thing some time ago, but you need to at least be open to learning about what those new things are. You don’t have to be an expert in it. You can you can take someone with subject matter expertise to help get there. But you really do need to understand that things are changing, things are evolving. The pace at which we all live our lives is just maddening. So being on top of that stuff is really important to help bring the best opportunities to your clients.


Scott D Clary  54:50

And what what do you see? It’s the future of managing personal brands.



Scott D Clary  55:01

Where do you see People getting the highest ROI on certain activities when it comes to putting out social going on tours, maybe setting up different lines of business and increasing revenue that way, what do you see these, like these athletes were really focusing on or what’s I guess I’m just wondering like, and what I’m trying to pull out of you here. So I’ll explain what I’m trying to think through. So if somebody wants to start a personal brand, the way that I see it is an athlete is the epitome of what a personal brand could eventually be. So if we follow the trends that athletes are focused on, then perhaps somebody who wants to start their own personal brand at a much smaller scale, will know where to spend their energy and time. And that’s what I’m trying to understand and pull out from what you’re seeing with some athletes.


Jonathan Perelman  55:49

I wish I had a very concise answer, but I that’s a that’s a complicated in good question to it. Here’s what I’ll say. I think it’s important for athletes and non athletes, celebrities, talent, entrepreneurs, individuals, people, you know, started their careers wherever, one of the, one of the agents that I work with who I have a tremendous amount of respect for, and he’s, he’s an amazing guy, he, he, he always says, You got to be known for something. Right? And, and, you know, his approach to that is, you know, maybe you, you wear colorful ties, or you’re very outspoken about this thing, whatever it is, you know, he says, You really should be known for something I do think in in the world today. You know, being outspoken is important, right? We, it’s how important is your Twitter account and your Instagram account? Well, I mean, important, but that’s not it, right? I think you stand for something you stand for a cause you stand for a belief you stand for whatever it is, that is important. The the idea that an athlete is seen once a week on television. And that’s their face to the world is old fashioned, right? I mean, their, their face to the world is whatever, whatever they want to tweet, whatever they want to say, I think it’s important that they if they want to, because they not every athlete wants to do this, some athletes are very happy being the best that they can be in their particular sport. But if you do want to build your brand, it’s having the right message on social standing for certain causes that you believe in writing a book, to helping to create a television show, there were some athletes that have done this exceptionally well. Not only is he a great basketball player, and I think a great human being but LeBron James as the ate a lot of different businesses going on. And he’s built this unbelievable brand for himself, he’s put himself out there, I think there are lessons we can take from everybody can, can take for that. And you can’t necessarily as a person working in a big corporation, you go start your own TV show, but you can, you know, have your you know, if you feel passionately about something within the confines of whatever the organization allows, you should be you should talk about that you should, you should build that. You should build that into your brand. And I think it’s it’s important for athletes, and it’s important for entrepreneurs, and it’s important for you know, people starting out and people in mid career and later in career you should, you should, there shouldn’t be things that identify you there should be, again, I’ll go back to that expert and nothing passionately curious about everything, you should be well rounded, you should not be. You know, so focused on one thing, that thing that you do, if you’re a professional athlete, and you say I just want to focus on being an athlete, that is great, because your career is short, frankly, and there’s gonna be a lot of stuff that you might want to focus on later. If you’re, if you’re an employee at a large company, think about the other things you can take advantage of that are part of your interest. I know, you know, join groups, whatever it might be, I think be interested in things is really, really important to building your brand.


Scott D Clary  59:39

I do like the the thing that you said that one of your agents says about having a taking a stand on something, because I feel like when people put out content, they miss the point of of social which is to put your personality out there and they Turn it into like a business, like a just a constant constant stream of business content or, or if you’re an athlete, you know, content about that one thing you do, but what what resonates with people is personality, it’s with getting to know the person not just knowing that they’re an athlete that, you know, okay, they play for that team, or a business owner that does this one thing, or sells this one product, all the most successful people in the world that have personal brands, their raw on camera, but what they believe in, and they’re very, they’re, I would say some to a fault. But like, but, but still, they build a tribe around their convictions and their passions, and you’re not gonna you’re not gonna make everyone happy. But you are going to find that tribe of people that believes in what you believe in what you do, and, and that, to me is better than just being vanilla to everybody.


Jonathan Perelman  1:00:58

Totally agree. The only thing I will say, though, is for some people, it’s absolutely right. For others, it’s not. And if that’s not your thing, and you’re forcing it, it’s not authentic, it’s not going to work. And so, you know, maybe the best answer to it is, you know, be yourself, whatever that brand is, whatever it is really be yourself and you’ll find the tribe, or the tribe will find you maybe equally as importantly, but if you feel like you’re forcing it, then if you feel like your voice, isn’t it, other people will most likely read through that. And it won’t work. So if it’s something you want to do, be authentic about it. Don’t force it.


Scott D Clary  1:01:43

Very good. Okay. Okay, so I want to I want to ask some rapid fire and tee this up. I want to, before I go into the rapid fire, was there anything else we spoke about brand, we spoke about, you know, focusing on always having the mindset of growth and digital transformation. So we covered a few good topics, some thoughts on some really important things for, you know, for our listeners, for entrepreneurs, for people that do want to either stay ahead of the curve for their business or for themselves. Was there anything else that you wanted to dive into that we didn’t touch on?


Jonathan Perelman  1:02:21

I don’t think so. I think we covered a


Scott D Clary  1:02:23

lot of ground that a lot. Yeah, we did cover a lot of ground.

Jonathan Perelman  1:02:27

A lot of different places there. Yeah. No, I that I get nothing specifically that I had.


Scott D Clary  1:02:31

Good, good. No, I just give you the floor just in case because I I know that you were there was a lot of stuff that we could have gone into. So I want to make sure that I remember to touch on everything. Okay, so before I pivot into some rapid fire, people that want to connect with you, where would they go? What’s the best social email website you can drop all that sweet? Check? Yeah.


Jonathan Perelman  1:02:54

Yeah, I I’m not as active on social anymore. Because frankly, I’ve been so focused on my on my day job. And so that’s where I’ve that’s where I’ve had the focus. If people have questions or want to reach out, Jonathan dot Perlman at ICM, JLN a th a n dot P E, R E, L ma n at ICM


Scott D Clary  1:03:30

Okay, perfect. Okay, let’s go into some rapid fire career questions. Biggest challenge you’ve had in your career? What was it? How did you overcome it?


Jonathan Perelman  1:03:41

I mean, it’s so many challenges. I think the biggest challenge I’ll say, I think the biggest shock faces every day when, when you don’t have when the answer is not 100% Clear. Having faith in your conviction to to make the best decision that you can given all the data and information that you have on hand and your experience. You just got it. Sometimes you just have to make decisions, even with a imperfect set of data set and you just got to you just got to do it. You just got to make the decision. That’s That’s leadership.


Scott D Clary  1:04:20

Good. One person that has been there’s probably been several but one person that’s been very impactful in your life. Who was it? What did they teach you?


Jonathan Perelman  1:04:31

Been a lot of people as I mentioned, I’ve got a lot of a lot of mentors and a lot of rabbis. I will say I think the most impactful is probably been my wife who’s just, you know, supportive and there to always listen doesn’t always have the context to give an answer but will always listen and sort of keep me true to to who I am. And so she probably helps me even not understanding all the intricacies and aspects of the business but but to sort of find the right decision on things that might be struggling but amazing.


Scott D Clary  1:05:09

Your favorite source to learn or grow could be a book podcast audible, something you’d recommend people go check out.


Jonathan Perelman  1:05:16

I’m gonna punt on this one too and say, I don’t think that’s a single source. I don’t think it’s a single thing. I read a lot, I read stuff about the industry that I’m in, I read a lot of management books, I read history books, foreign policy is the thing that I’m really passionate about. So I read and listen to podcasts about all that stuff. I think it’s, it’s really about consuming as much information about as much stuff as possible. That makes you super well rounded.


Scott D Clary  1:05:48

Very good. Okay. And yes, agreed smart. If you could tell your 20 year old self one thing what would it be?


Jonathan Perelman  1:05:55

Trust the process and it’s not the business whatever you’re doing is not linear. It’s not a straight path. There will be there will be ups and downs and bumps in the road but but trust the process, because you’ll get there.


Scott D Clary  1:06:12

And last question, what does success mean to you?


Jonathan Perelman  1:06:16

Success is elusive. I don’t I I thought about that. I didn’t know you would ask this question. But I thought about that. You know, I guess Success to me is every moment of every day striving to to be the best that you can be in whatever it is that you do. And it’s something that’s truly elusive. It is not I don’t know that you ever find it and reach it. I promise that to have me on when I finally reach success. And


Scott D Clary  1:06:53

when you finally reach success.


Jonathan Perelman  1:06:55

When I get there, we’ll we’ll do that big. But But I think it’s you know, constantly evolving and working and trying all as hard as you can to to to be the best that you can be and do as well for yourself and others. That’s what really successes. Awesome. That’s all I got. Cool, beautiful.


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