Minding My Business: ISE Baseball CEO Mark Pieper
Name: Mark Pieper
Title: ISE Baseball CEO
Where I’m from: Chicago Heights, Ill.
Where I call home: Highland Park, Ill.
Focusing on right now: Within baseball itself, we are really focused on arbitration. As soon as the regular season ends, we start our analysis, our writing and our strategizing about the arbitration season coming up. From a company perspective, I would say growth and expansion, looking for smart, efficient, strategic partners to add to the successful businesses that we already have.
Best advice: I’m from a blue-collar family and my dad worked really hard his whole life. He wasn’t giving me CEO-type advice, he was giving me blue-collar, hardworking, simple advice. Two things really stuck with me. One is if you’re getting paid to work on something, take the time to do it right the first time. That’s something I’ve really lived by. The second thing is be on time. Very simple advice, but I’ve followed those through most of my life.
Must have for a new hire: Our business is a unique combination of intellect, confidence and humility. This is the kind of business that if you get too big for your britches and you stop doing those little things that really matter, you start losing clients.
Exec I admire: Late MLBPA Exec Dir MICHAEL WEINER was someone I always looked up to, and it was a huge loss when he passed away. He was extremely bright, but he was also very down to earth, very accessible and was true to who he was as a person. That’s what made him such an effective leader.
Book shelf: I can’t get enough of the MALCOLM GLADWELL books. The other book I really enjoy is “FREAKONOMICS” by STEVEN LEVITT and STEPHEN DUBNER. For me, those are the kinds of books I keep reading because they are very thought-provoking and they make you look at the world or a certain aspect of the world in a different way.
Talking tech: The obvious one is anything related to social media. I’m always looking to see what the next trends are. It has become such a critical part of player representation. When we started it was never brought up, but now you can’t do a marketing deal for anyone without a social media component. The first question that’s asked is what’s their following on social media or if they have a social media presence. If they don’t, the player doesn’t get the deal. Luckily we have a bright team here at ISE that helps them navigate this landscape and we’ve actually picked up social media influencers, people outside the three traditional sports we’re in as clients of our firm, just for the social media aspect and focus our marketing on that.
Must-have music: I take pride in being completely all over the map when it comes to music. I’ll listen to BILLY JOEL to ZAC BROWN BAND to ED SHEERAN to ‘80s and ‘90s rap. I was just on a road trip and I listened to a lot of JJ GREY & MOFRO, so it just really depends on what I’m feeling.
Food for thought: If you had asked me two months ago, I would have said Mexican and tacos, in particular. I’ve now been vegan for two months, so right now I would say maybe a nice Italian dish that doesn’t have dairy. We’ll see how long this lasts, but that’s what I’ve been doing lately.
First thing in the morning: Every day it’s some form of exercise. Whether I’m at home or on the road, I get up and I’ll do something. Some days are better than others in terms of the workout I get in, but that’s a ritual for me.
How I unwind: I have 12-year-old triplets at home, so unwinding has been a challenge. My time where I just completely lose myself and not think about work is hanging out with my wife and watching my kids do something. I have one daughter who is really into ballet, another daughter who is into acting, singing and dancing and a son who is into baseball and basketball. Every weekend there’s an activity going on and that’s really my zen time to relax and turn everything else off.
Day in the life: During the season I’ll get up early, get to the airport, get to a city where I have a client and set up time to have lunch with them. We’ll go over some business over lunch, I’ll go back to my hotel to get some work done, go to the game, meet with a different client after the game, try to get a few hours of sleep and then just rinse and repeat all again the next day.