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NBA star Kobe Bryant discusses day with Apple's Jony Ive set up by simple cold call

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Future basketball hall-of-famer Kobe Bryant is planning for life beyond the court, and takes it upon himself to cold-call some of the smartest minds in business for advice. Among those he's spoken with is Apple's famed chief designer Jony Ive.


Kobe Bryant in 2012. Photo via Christopher Johnson.


Bryant sat down with Bloomberg and spoke about his day with Ive and what he learned from Apple. The National Basketball Association player admitted that he's not afraid to ask "simple" and maybe even "stupid" questions to people like Ive as he looks to gain some of their expertise.

"I went up to Apple, spent the day there talking with Jony and just kind of picking his brain about products and things like that," the L.A. Lakers shooting guard said. "What makes them who they are and why. Very, very curious about that and understanding that."

Ive said he has also spoken with Oprah Winfrey, Nike Chief Executive Mark Parker, and political pundit Arianna Huffington, all known for their own considerable successes in business.



Bryant has invested millions in the sports drink BodyArmor, and is looking to make further investments. At 35 years old and with a series of injuries that held him to just six games last season, the five-time NBA champion is looking to establish himself for his next moves when he inevitably retires.

From talking with Ive, Bryant said there are a number of similarities in what he does on the court and what Apple does in creating new products. He noted that Ive may have an end goal when he is designing a new product, but he must think sequentially in order to achieve that goal.

"It's no different than building a basketball game," he said. "You start with where you want your game to be, what would make your game most unstoppable or hard to deal with, and now you work backwards from there and you start building it one piece at a time, one move at a time, one counter at a time."

Bryant revealed that Ive also took interest in his basketball mind when the two spent a day together. According to Bryant, Ive was curious how the longtime Laker prepares, studies and views the game.
post #2 of 31
My first advice would have been not to cold call these people but that clearly has worked out in spades.

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post #3 of 31
I'd cold call. What's the worst that could happen?

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #4 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

My first advice would have been not to cold call these people but that clearly has worked out in spades.

You recall the story of Steve Jobs as a teenager cold calling an exec from HP to talk about electronics?

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #5 of 31
So is Bryant testing a wearables device for Apple or is this the reason he was spotted on the Apple campus?
post #6 of 31
Minor difference between a celebrity "cold call" and a Joe Shmoe cold call.
In the first case they jump on it for the PR value, in the second case you land on the blocked numbers nuisance list.
post #7 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

I'd cold call. What's the worst that could happen?

Agreed.  If you're a household name, why not take advantage of it?  I wouldn't, but that's only because I'm an introvert who doesn't relish conversations with strangers.

post #8 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

My first advice would have been not to cold call these people but that clearly has worked out in spades.


I doubt he could just "cold call" Jony.  Surely, he must have had some kind of relationship with him.  If that were the case, I'm just gonna walk right up to Jony at my gym and discuss my next steps in life. :/

post #9 of 31
If I knew becoming an amazing MVP basketball champion and olympian would open the opportunity to spend a day with Jony Ive at Apple, I might have spent my life doing that instead of design 1smile.gif
post #10 of 31

I wonder if the reason for his success is that he received daily massages with beer.

post #11 of 31
Let me see... If you tell your wife she can't hang with black basketball players you get banned from the court for life.

If you rape a girl and offer her enough money to drop the charges you get to be an Apple spokesperson.

Hmm... go figure.
post #12 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcfa View Post

Minor difference between a celebrity "cold call" and a Joe Shmoe cold call.
In the first case they jump on it for the PR value, in the second case you land on the blocked numbers nuisance list.

 

It's not celebrity (as such). Exceptional people (Like Jony) are typically very busy, but they will typically take a (cold) call form someone they consider exceptional because they don't see it as a waste of time. 

 

I'm not sure he would have even taken a call from a "Housewives of" or Jersey Shore  star, no matter how great his or her celebrity (much less mentor for a day.) But on the other hand I would bet he would take a call from Meryl Streep or Robert De Niro (or Shaun White, Tarantino, Scorsese or... ). Some celebrities are such because of their exceptionalism, others just by chance.

 

Convince someone you are exceptional and you (normally) will have little trouble getting them to talk to you. (as Steve did when he cold called Bill Hewlett)

post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcfa View Post

Minor difference between a celebrity "cold call" and a Joe Shmoe cold call.
In the first case they jump on it for the PR value, in the second case you land on the blocked numbers nuisance list.

Neither Kobe nor Jony needs "PR value" from the other.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyFX View Post
 

 

It's not celebrity (as such). Exceptional people (Like Jony) are typically very busy, but they will typically take a (cold) call form someone they consider exceptional because they don't see it as a waste of time. 

 

I'm not sure he would have even taken a call from a "Housewives of" or Jersey Shore  star, no matter how great his or her celebrity (much less mentor for a day.) But on the other hand I would bet he would take a call from Meryl Streep or Robert De Niro (or Shaun White, Tarantino, Scorsese or... ). Some celebrities are such because of their exceptionalism, others just by chance.

 

Convince someone you are exceptional and you (normally) will have little trouble getting them to talk to you. (as Steve did when he cold called Bill Hewlett)

EXACTLY!

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post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordJohnWhorfin View Post
 

I wonder if the reason for his success is that he received daily massages with beer.

Very nicely done :)

post #16 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Future basketball hall-of-famer Kobe Bryant is planning for life beyond the court, and takes it upon himself to cold-call some of the smartest minds in business for advice. 

He might consider getting a college degree like Shaq.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

My first advice would have been not to cold call these people but that clearly has worked out in spades.

One of the most terrible things in this world is to be on (either end of) a cold call. Unless, of course the mere fact that you are who you are is enough to make the person receiving the call excited. I pretty certain this was not your average cold call. It probably went something like this:

 

KB to agent: I'd love to speak to Jony Ive

KB's agent to Apple: This is KB's agent. He'd love to speak to JI.

JI's secretary to JI: KB wants to speak to you.

JI: Cool! Tell him to call.

JI's secretary to KB's agent: Tell him to call.

KB's Agent to KB: Call him.

KB: Cool!

etc

post #18 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by justamacguy View Post

Let me see... If you tell your wife she can't hang with black basketball players you get banned from the court for life.

If you rape a girl and offer her enough money to drop the charges you get to be an Apple spokesperson.

Hmm... go figure.
WTF?
post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by justamacguy View Post

Let me see... If you tell your wife she can't hang with black basketball players you get banned from the court for life.

If you rape a girl and offer her enough money to drop the charges you get to be an Apple spokesperson.

Hmm... go figure.

Go look up "spokesperson" for starters.

 

Bryant mentioning a conversation with an Apple employee in an interview doesn't come close to qualifying. Now the paid shills for Samsung doing the selfies they post at various events for money? Spokesperson. Or do you see Bryant as an Oprah Spokesperson as well? 

post #20 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfc1138 View Post
 

Go look up "spokesperson" for starters.

 

Bryant mentioning a conversation with an Apple employee in an interview doesn't come close to qualifying. Now the paid shills for Samsung doing the selfies they post at various events for money? Spokesperson. Or do you see Bryant as an Oprah Spokesperson as well? 

I'm not sure you grasped the real point of what he was saying.

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post #21 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

One of the most terrible things in this world is to be on (either end of) a cold call. Unless, of course the mere fact that you are who you are is enough to make the person receiving the call excited. I pretty certain this was not your average cold call. It probably went something like this:

KB to agent: I'd love to speak to Jony Ive
KB's agent to Apple: This is KB's agent. He'd love to speak to JI.
JI's secretary to JI: KB wants to speak to you.
JI: Cool! Tell him to call.
JI's secretary to KB's agent: Tell him to call.
KB's Agent to KB: Call him.
KB: Cool!
etc

Seems reasonable. But it does make me think of the story of Jobs wanting a glass screen for the original iphone at the last minute. He called the main switchboard at Corning and asked to speak to X (I don't remember the name but it was a high up or maybe the CEO of Corning). The operator didn't believe it was Jobs and said she'd take his number and have her boss call. Guy at Corning decides to return the call by calling Apples main switchboard (instead of the number Steve left) and asking to be put through to Steve Jobs please. Apparently they both got a kick out of that tit for tat.

Story is from memory so if I get some details wrong someone please berate me for it 1tongue.gif
post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

He might consider getting a college degree like Shaq.


I don't follow Basketball, but I was surprised to discover that Kobe never went to college.  He obviously did very well in the NBA, but if he wants to get into some serious post-NBA business dealings, he should at least take some time off and get serious about honing his business-skills.

A college-degree does not guarantee prevent one from being stupid.  History has shown many high-earners with college degrees getting swindled by their financial advisers because they just didn't have a clue what they were doing.  I think folks like Kobe though that is obviously thinking with a different mindset should get schooled in the basics so he could have some control of his business destiny.

post #23 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

My first advice would have been not to cold call these people but that clearly has worked out in spades.

 

When I was fresh out of school and without fear ...;)... I cold-called one of my personal heroes in the field of my interest (at that time) and he graciously gave me 1 1/2 hours of his time to discuss anything and everything in person, even though he was very busy. I will be forever grateful for his generosity.

 

My advice is to be persistent but friendly. A person has nothing to lose by trying and everything to gain.

 

In Kobe Bryant's case, the odds that he would be turned down for a meeting are pretty slim.

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post #24 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by justamacguy View Post

Let me see... If you tell your wife she can't hang with black basketball players you get banned from the court for life.

If you rape a girl and offer her enough money to drop the charges you get to be an Apple spokesperson.

Hmm... go figure.

 

He's not an Apple spokesman, but point taken.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post
 
In Kobe Bryant's case, the odds that he would be turned down for a meeting are pretty slim.

Except perhaps with his mom.

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post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post
 

I'm not sure you grasped the real point of what he was saying.

"If you rape a girl and offer her enough money to drop the charges you get to be an Apple spokesperson."

 

'you get to be an Apple spokesperson" does or does not refer to Kobe Bryant, the subject of the piece? Bryant's had numerous girl troubles, one where he famously bought his wife one ginormous rock IIRC.(a Colorado hotel incident?*).

 

* Yes, Colorado:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobe_Bryant_sexual_assault_case

 

and this sure looks like what the poster was alluding to re payoff: "Bryant did, however, issue the following statement through his attorney, as part of an agreement with the accuser to dismiss the sexual assault charge:".

post #27 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by justamacguy View Post

Let me see... If you tell your wife she can't hang with black basketball players you get banned from the court for life.

If you rape a girl and offer her enough money to drop the charges you get to be an Apple spokesperson.

Hmm... go figure.

 

I think that's an unfair statement.    I'm no defender of men who assault women and I'm not even a basketball fan, so I'm not favorably biased in Bryant's favor and I also think that athletes and actors get too many passes for bad behavior, but If you read the details of the case, there are many questions about whether it was consensual or rape and whether the woman had mental problems.    Beginning with, "what was she doing in his room in the first place?"    And according to the Wiki article about the case, in the public statement that Bryant made, which seemed to be part of the settlement with the woman, Bryant claims she received no money.    

post #28 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

He might consider getting a college degree like Shaq.
Or like Steve Jobs¡
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post #29 of 31
Sooo ... if I cold called Jony Ive and asked for advice, do you think I'd get through? Much less get to spend a day with him? Guess I'd better go practice my free throws.
post #30 of 31
Or Bill Gates?

I think the idea that Kobe needs to get a degree to learn how to be a businessman is laughable. He can learn more by talking to Oprah or the CEO of Nike than from a whole semester of business classes.
post #31 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kemo-de-Kino View Post

Sooo ... if I cold called Jony Ive and asked for advice, do you think I'd get through? Much less get to spend a day with him? Guess I'd better go practice my free throws.

 

You might if you were a friend of a friend or a friend of the family.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

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