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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    My first advice would have been not to cold call these people but that clearly has worked out in spades.
  • Reply 2 of 30
    I'd cold call. What's the worst that could happen?
  • Reply 3 of 30
    solipsismx wrote: »
    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?
  • Reply 4 of 30
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    So is Bryant testing a wearables device for Apple or is this the reason he was spotted on the Apple campus?
  • Reply 5 of 30
    rcfarcfa Posts: 747member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 30
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    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.

  • Reply 7 of 30
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,401member
    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. :/

  • Reply 8 of 30
    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 :)
  • Reply 9 of 30

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

  • Reply 10 of 30
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 30
    indyfxindyfx Posts: 319member
    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)

  • Reply 12 of 30
    rcfa wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 30
    technotechno Posts: 687member
    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!

  • Reply 14 of 30
    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 :)

  • Reply 15 of 30
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    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.

  • Reply 16 of 30
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,589member
    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

  • Reply 17 of 30
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    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?
  • Reply 18 of 30
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    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? 

  • Reply 19 of 30
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,663member
    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.

  • Reply 20 of 30
    drdaviddrdavid Posts: 39member
    paxman wrote: »
    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 :p
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