Photo: Aimee Groth / Business Insider
At today’s Business Insider Social Commerce Summit 2012, we sat down next to New England Patriots safety Bret Lockett. We were surprised to see him, especially since the event was held in New York City two days after the Super Bowl. We found out that he’s an entrepreneur and in the midst of launching a few different companies this year — something he’s had more time for since he’s been injured since the pre-season. During one of the breaks we asked him about Sunday’s loss to the New York Giants, what he’s learned as an entrepreneur and what really happened with Kim Kardashian. Here’s what he had to say:
First let’s talk about Sunday — what was the most painful thing to watch?
I haven’t played the whole season. I had hoped that our guys would have played better. There were moments when we still had a chance. We weren’t able to capitalise on them. It was a bunch of missed opportunities.
Why are you here today?
I’m an entrepreneur. I love football, but I also have a passion for music and business. I go to Business Insider to see what’s trending. You can’t make moves in business before you know what’s going to happen next. This world is transitioning to social media. Shopping, everything is done online.
The average career for a professional football player is 3.5 years. You figure that after three to four years, you’ll have to get a new job. And you won’t get paid close to what you get paid now.
Tom Brady is a brand. I’m a brand as well – entertainment is your brand. Athletes concentrate too much on football, and they don’t concentrate enough on the branding aspect of themselves. The way I see it is that all press is good press. People will boo you, but at the end of the day you flip it around and win.
Tell me about your company.
It’s called Ground Flights. There are maybe one or two flights that go from Miami to Orlando and vice versa. We figure all these people do business in Florida, but they need transportation. It would sometimes take a connecting flight through Chicago to get to Miami. So we decided to create “ground flights.” It’s essentially a jet on wheels for business executives. They don’t have to worry about going through baggage and security. There’s a convenience factor. It’s like Warren Buffett’s NetJets for the ground.
I met CEO Thomas Duffy on a whim. He used to work as a pilot for United Airlines. I was flying from Providence to New York and he was working the gate and upgraded my ticket. I gave him two tickets to a Patriots game the next weekend. I saw the potential in what he was doing. I helped him elaborate on the concept, and I brought creativity and the marketing side of it.
What’s your business model? And what makes you any different from a luxury car company?
There are daily packages. You pay $110/hour for the 25-hour package, $100/hour for 50 hours, $90/hour for 75 hours, $80/hour for 100 hours. There’s WiFi and phone conferencing in the car. You’re able to do business easily. What we’re trying to do is limit the factor of lost time.
When did you launch?
We started working on this in April 2010 and launched in September 2011.
Do you plan to move into other markets?
It depends on how well this does in Florida. I’m from California – there’s not as much demand there because there are flights going around the state all day long.
How do you market your business?
We’re on social media, but word of mouth is another really strong source of marketing. We all have friends, we all have family – it’s hard to keep secrets; if we like something we’re going to tell people. It’s about getting the brand and product into the right place.
Brian Lee, founder of ShoeDazzle.com [who spoke earlier today at the conference] was talking about the celebrity factor: how do you get a celebrity to support your brand? There are lots of people who approach me and want me to do things. In order to get my attention, you have to be down to earth. It’s easier to manoeuvre through the B.S. if you’re straight forward.
We’ve never met. We talked on the phone and texted.
Ok – going back to branding – what sorts of companies have you attached your name to?
No independent brands. Nike, all those sports apparel companies, are going to come if you’re in the NFL. I’ve promoted some workout videos, clothing products. But unless it’s extraordinary, I’m not going to benefit from attaching my name to it. I will do my own thing.
Which is why you launched your own businesses.
Yeah. During my 2nd year in NFL I got hurt within the first two days of training camp. I had a very good first year, and I was just distraught and thought, “What am I going to do?”
I’ve always had a passion for music, so I thought, why not create a label and do it myself? So I launched Inception Entertainment. We’ve teamed up with a record called Blaque Roze. I have a CD coming out later this spring CD called Inception. It’s rap and R&B.
Do you have any other businesses in the works?
I’ve got three that are in the works for 2012. Inception International, a company that facilitates product transactions around that world; Inception Enterprise, a commercial real estate and commodities company; and Inception Capital Ventures, which will build up funds for different businesses – ideally the next Twitter or Facebook.
What are some things you’ve learned on the field?
There are always obstacles to overcome. In the NFL there are seven rounds, and I didn’t get drafted, so I had to try out. I have always been the underdog. I always have to prove myself and strive for more. It’s to prove myself to myself. That “never die” attitude has helped me see the bigger picture.
Do your teammates know you’re here?
I don’t think so. My team members probably don’t know this about me. We talk about football, what we did last night.
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