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Volume 20 No. 42
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Dan Mannix, founder, president, CEO, LeadDog Marketing


What I Like …


An influential person in my career: Bill Campbell, former chairman of Visa, someone who has had great success in his career but you would never know it from how humble he is (unless you Google him and see his accomplishments). Having him on the LeadDog board has helped us focus and build based on a strategic blueprint.

An out-of-the-box idea: How what Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are doing is changing the face of philanthropy; it will be interesting to see how it manifests itself within the sports industry.

Founder, president, CEO
LeadDog Marketing

What I do: Different every day. That is what makes it fun and challenging. Could put into 3 main buckets — People … Partners … Priorities. But it is the 6 buckets a day that weren’t on the schedule that make work and life interesting.

Where I'm from: Originally from Long Island. Now in Brooklyn with wife Michelle, son Jackson and cat Pretzel. (I guess I should have a dog, given our company name!)

Where I Went to School: B.A. in history/sociology from University of Richmond (Go, Spiders).

My First Job: Administrative assistant at the Houston Sports Association (owned the Houston Astros and managed the Astrodome as well as owned hotel properties). Great first job because I was able to wear a lot of hats, and I was lucky to have a number of amazing mentors. Drove my stick-shift Nissan across the country to the job — with the only challenge being I didn’t know how to drive stick.

A timeless idea: Meeting face-to-face vs. via conference call or other technology. In person is always a better idea.

A business deal: Guggenheim Partners’ purchase of the Dodgers.

A sports facility: Madison Square Garden, from memories of Bernard King’s Knicks games to current work with them.

A sports event: Wimbledon — incredible history and aura.

A strategy: Get the right people on the bus and then make sure they are in the right seats (roles) on the bus to unleash their potential.

A hire: Donna Providenti, our COO. It was our version of adding LeBron to the Heat.

A brand: The New York Times. Quality content and compelling stories every day.

A trend: Rare athletes cut from the mold of Magic, Grant Hill, Peyton Manning; localizing the food/culinary experience at sports venues.

An innovation: Micro-financing and how it is impacting communities and causes, and its potential future impact on the sports business.

Madison Square Garden
A pro league or team business initiative: Any initiative such as NFL Play 60 that encourages kids to be active and healthy.

An idea or invention I wish I had thought of: The rollup of numerous marathons that became Competitor Group’s Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon series; Toms Shoes — buy a pair and a pair gets donated. The best ideas are the simplest.

A fantasy job: Shooting guard of the Knicks — with Red Holzman as coach and Clyde as

point guard. Workwise, bringing the Olympics to New York.

What I Like about …

My job: The people. I am lucky to work with honest, passionate people who care a lot about what they do.

Sports: The psychology and chapters within the story over the course of a game.

Sports media: The deep knowledge of the announcers and studio hosts enhances the viewing experience. (Quirky answer: Their love of Beethoven and the arts.)

Sports technology: Balancing the amazing new tools and technologies while not taking away from the storytelling that unfolds in great games.

Competing: The feeling of giving it your absolute all is a good feeling to have.

What I Would Like To …

Change: The color of the sports business. We need more colors in the rainbow represented — there is too much white in the picture.

Change in what I do: Listen carefully before offering solutions.

See more of in sports: More athletes who make an average play not celebrating like they won a championship.

See less of in sports: High school athletes holding press conferences.

See less of in sports business: Alumni getting involved with college recruiting.

See different: The Knicks — from next to Spike Lee vs. our current seats.


What I Like …

Above: The T-shirt that launched a company name
Below: Mannix with son Jackson
That would surprise those who know me: That someday I want to live in Sydney, Australia, or anywhere on the South Island of New Zealand.

Heroes: Jackie Robinson, Jennifer Goodman Linn, my grandmother.

Players: Magic Johnson, Walter Payton, Mookie Wilson.

Possession: The “LeadDog” T-shirt that my wife found in the attic and had framed, with the quote “Unless you’re the lead dog, the scenery never changes.” That was the initial spark for the name of the company.

Memento: My grandfather’s old desk.

Time of year: Summer. I have been going to the North Fork of Long Island since I was born — barbecue, beach and unplugging — and eternal optimism around the Mets.

Books: All of Jim Collins’ books (“Good to Great,” “Built to Last,” etc.), Howard Schultz’s two books, “John Adams.”

Magazines: Fast Company, Harvard Business Review.

Gadget: Sonos.

IPad app: Words with Friends.

Chore: The dishes after dinner.

Trip: Backpacking around the world for 10 months after spending seven years at the NBA.

Movie: “Remember the Titans.”

Concert: Springsteen tribute concert with my wife, Michelle, at Carnegie Hall.

Artists: Picasso; my son, Jackson.

Food: Anything from Ted & Honey in Brooklyn (full disclosure: my wife is Honey).

Singer: My son Jackson’s renditions of Fun’s “Some Nights.”

Quote: “Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Miscellaneous: Carpe Diem, have fun, love what you do, help others get into the industry every chance you get.