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Volume 25 No. 66
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Minding My Business With Ad Agency Orbital Socket Managing Dir Greg Johnson

Name: Greg Johnson

Position: Orbital Socket Managing Dir

Age: 48

Where I'm from: Rocky Mount, N.C.

Where I call home: Charlotte

Focusing on right now: The big thing for us right now is trying to help brands leverage technology effectively in the sports space to tell better stories.

Best advice: General life advice is, if you're on a road and you don't like where it's taking you, and you don't want to go back from where you came from, you have to create a new path. There are always possibilities for new paths, but people have to create them for themselves. Don't take no for an answer.

A must for a new hire: Does it look like they're enjoying being alive? Do they laugh? Are they imaginative? I want super-skilled people who are going to be smarter than me. They're going to help push me. I can teach and train and help people get built up in the skill areas, but some of those raw ingredients are hard to train.

Exec I admire: CHRIS ZIMMERMAN, who runs the Blues, he got me into the business and still is a friend and mentor of mine. HOWARD WHITE who is the VP for Brand Jordan, he helped nurture and develop me professionally and personally. FRED WHITFIELD from the Hornets, we started at Nike around the same time. Probably the one that stands out the most is MICHAEL JORDAN. I'm a fan of him as an athlete but equally as an executive, because I've seen the clarity and the effectiveness with which he brings people in and works through challenges to get results. 

Best book I've read: There's one called "Converge: Transforming Business at the Intersection of Marketing and Technology," by BOB LORD and RAY VELEZ. It talks to what we do in a lot of ways, which is help companies navigate this very diverse and very difficult marketing world. I try to encourage my team to read it because it helps make sense of it all.

First thing in the morning: The first thing I do is pray. I'm a man of faith and I try to seek spiritual guidance for my day. Once I do that, I try and figure out five things I'll do that day that are going to be impactful for me. Just for my business and my personal life. I want to move my life and business forward.

Talking tech: Virtual reality is going to transform the way we consume sports, but I don't think it's an immediate thing. NASCAR and the NBA are doing some things with VR that are powerful, but it's probably still 5 or 10 years down the road. 

Must-have music: I have a very eclectic taste. I listen to everything from MICHAEL JACKSON to THE EAGLES. There's a new Christian artist, WILLIAM MCDOWELL. The thing I've known about for a while but only recently acted on was this app called Mix Cloud. And it is a site where DJs upload mixes, you can get any genre of mix. You can push play and listen to a DJ mix 70s hits for an hour and a half.

Food for thought: There's a new place in Davidson called Kindred that is pretty amazing. At home, I enjoy cooking and cook a few things well. But I don't have a ton of time. I'm usually preparing something on the grill. I try to do some different things on chicken and beef and fish.

How I unwind: I go to the YMCA and work out. I'm on the board there so I'm a big supporter. Not just for the working out but for the community. I do a lot of reading and listening to music. My 15-year-old son BENJAMIN also is a racecar driver, so I've been spending a lot of time at the track. Even though I didn't grow up a racing fan, I've found myself completely immersed in that world and I love it.

Day in the life: There's a lot going on with e-sports. It's the most intriguing thing that's happening in sports right now, I'm learning a lot about it and figuring out what the opportunities are -- how we can help the companies and brands emerging from that to better connect with people.