Episode 10

Hitting Clutch Shots

Hosted by Okta's Frederic Kerrest and Epic Magazine's Joshua Davis
You have one chance to make your shot. Every eye in the room is on you, there’s no room for self-doubt, and failure is not an option. As your company grows, you’ll go up against the buzzer and face your competition time after time. In order to consistently nail the game-changing shots, you have to learn to enjoy them. In this episode, 2015 NBA Finals MVP and Golden State Warriors shooting guard Andre Iguodala — someone very familiar with hitting clutch shots — teaches a master class on performing under pressure. Medallia's Amy Pressman comes in with the assist, sharing how even the best players in the game can improve.

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This is it. The moment you’ve been waiting for. How nervous is everyone? Why IPO? Why now? In this episode, we talk with successful entrepreneurs about the highs and lows of taking their companies public — and everything it took to get there. You'll hear from Josh James, Fred Luddy, Julia Hartz, Ben Horowitz, Aneel Bhusri, and our very own Frederic Kerrest about the day itself and how it propels your company into an entirely new chapter.

Guest List

Andre Iguodala

Professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors

Amy Pressman

Cofounder and board member of Medallia

Transcript

Frederic K.
Before we get to today’s show, we have some exciting news to share. Season 1 of Zero to IPO has been a great success thanks to you our listeners.
Joshua Davis.
But
Frederic K.
No, but! There’s no but! Here comes Season 2! Yeah!
Joshua Davis.
We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from people who have specific problems that they’re facing at each stage of their own journey.
Frederic K.
I prefer to call them opportunities.
Joshua Davis.
Well, opportunities, challenges, problems, whatever you want to call them, there are listeners out there who want help solving specific problems. And so we have decided that Season 2 is going to be about you, our listeners.
Joshua Davis.
How are you going to scale your company, the culture problem, you’re having problems with your founders, go to market, going to engineering, raising capital!
Joshua Davis.
So, consider emailing us your concerns, your issues, your challenges, and in Season 2 we’ll dive into those specific problems that you’re having.
Frederic K.
Email us, ZeroToIPO@okta.com. That’s Z-E-R-O-T-O-I-P-O at O-K-T-A dot com.
Joshua Davis.
And with that, here’s the show.
Andre Iguodala
Whatever it is that you do, there are no secrets. It's just putting in that work.
Amy Pressman
I think that the job gets harder as things get larger. So I feel like I haven't plateaued, but there's still so much to learn.
Joshua Davis
Welcome back to Zero to IPO, the show where we talk about what it takes step-by-step to get a company from idea to massive success. I'm Joshua Davis, co-founder of Epic Magazine and a contributing editor at Wired.
Frederic K.
And I'm Frederic Kerrest, the co-founder of Okta. Today on the podcast, we're talking about hitting clutch shots, that time when it's all coming around, when you've gotta step up to the plate, you gotta take that big shot, and not only take it, you gotta hit it. Whether it's a big interview, you really have to land that new executive you need at your company; it's a big prospect meeting, you need that landmark customer to push the business forward; it's a huge partnership deal, you gotta land the partner. You need it for go to market! It might be a new investor deal, you need that round of financing to accelerate your business into the future. Whatever it is, it's time to hit the big shot. You've gotta pick it up, step it up, and hit it, baby!
Joshua Davis
Jesus. What did you have for breakfast? Freddie's going to hit the clutch shot that is this episode.
Frederic K.
I know! To be honest with you, I really enjoy those moments.
Joshua Davis
I mean, they happen to everybody.
Frederic K.
They happen to everybody and they happen to everybody a lot.
Joshua Davis
Yeah.
Frederic K.
You might not realize them or you might to see them coming. I think one of the things of building a company is you just have to be prepared. In fact, I really have found that I enjoy approaching, and ideally hitting, those clutch shots more the more prepared I am. The calmer I get, the more I can enjoy it. When I know the material, I know what's going to happen, I've seen it, I've looked at every angle, then I can just get up there and shoot.
Joshua Davis
Today on the podcast, we have Andre Iguodala, we've got Amy Pressman of Medallia, and Andre Iguodala again. Let's just kick it right off, Freddie, with our conversation with Andre.
Frederic K.
Andrew Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors, a NBA team, National Basketball Association. He was the MVP, the Most Valuable Player, of the 2015 NBA Finals. We sat down with Andre because not only is he an amazing athlete, but by the way, he's pretty involved in technology and business as well, and he was able to give us an amazing outlook on what he does to prepare himself to take those major shots. You're talking about national audience on television, millions of people watching, a NBA Championship on the line, 20,000 people going crazy in the stadium. I mean, I cannot think of a bigger stage to start with.
Joshua Davis
When you're talking about hitting the clutch shots, we couldn't really think about a better person to talk to than Andre Iguodala.
Joshua Davis
Can you talk to us a little bit about what happens off the court? What does it take to get ready for game night? You may say to us you just walk out onto the court and you're ready to go and you don't have to do anything.
Andre Iguodala
There's a lot of work people do not see, which is crazy. The hardest thing is finding your calling and then putting that work in for it. The earlier you find it, the better, obviously. The later you find it, the more catching up you have to do. As you get older, you don't have to kill yourself as much. So it may look easy now, but all that ... I started playing basketball when I was five. What people don't understand is that we've built our lives around the game too. They don't see I'm having a discussion with my wife about the bedroom, I take the TV out. The TV's been gone out the bedroom for seven years now. The sheets, we're constantly like, "Is there a new sheet out?" Gotta keep the coolness on the body. I just got a new mattress last year. I thought I had a great mattress. Okay, there's a better mattress. There's this little crack in the blinds at our house right now and it kills me.
Andre Iguodala
So like, "Okay, that's the next step." You gotta perfect your surroundings to prepare you or have you as ready as possible for the thing that's put us in the position that we're in, to be the best at what we do, to be compensated the way that we do, and there's a short window. There's constant guys coming in that's more talented than you. It's just like a company; there's always somebody that's trying to disrupt what you disrupted. It's similar. So you try to cross every T and dot every I to make sure you stay at that height for as long as possible. Father time is undefeated. So as you are on the decline, it's not a steep decline; it's just gradual and then you're making your way for whatever's next, which is what I've been trying to do in the tech world.
Joshua Davis
Yeah. And you've also done in your career. Average career in the NBA is what, four years?
Andre Iguodala
Right.
Joshua Davis
Yours is what? 15, 16?
Andre Iguodala
I'm going on 15.
Joshua Davis
Exactly!
Andre Iguodala
Right, right.
Joshua Davis
That doesn't happen by accident. That's about all the preparation you put in around it, it's about making sure that you're ready.
Andre Iguodala
Just having that respect for the game. I always say the reverence for the game and just understanding that. Knowing the history of the game is far more important than a lot of people know. Whatever it is that you do, there are no secrets. It's just putting in that work.
Frederic K.
Putting in the time.
Andre Iguodala
Yeah.
Joshua Davis
We're talking about the parallels between basketball, playing on a team, and business. Are there coaching lessons? Now that you are an entrepreneur, you've been an entrepreneur for a while, are there things that you think about that you've heard from coaches, basketball coaches, throughout your life that you think are relevant to business?
Andre Iguodala
Oh, every day. What I've been hearing a lot talking to different CEOs, they always want to have that conversation with me about coming off the bench and how I sacrificed for the team. They say, "You don't understand how we try to push the message of teamwork and sacrifice and lessening the ego." He says, "In our world, with a lot of engineers, they know it all. They're some of the brightest minds in the world." No one wants to take the back seat on this play. I hear that more than anything. What I've learned from coaches is how to deal with different egos. I play with some of the best players. I play with the best players of all time. I've been on an Olympic team, World Championship team, NBA Championship team. Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, I've play with LeBron, I play with Kobe, they're top ten players, top fifteen arguably of all-time. Everyone has an ego; some is less or more. You just gotta-
Joshua Davis
But those four you just mentioned, it's probably more, as an example.
Andre Iguodala
Yes, but they have different personalities, so you treat each ego differently. You actually have to learn about them, you have to know who you're coaching and the coaches who have a better feel for their players always have better production coming from the court.
Joshua Davis
The overarching theme of this particular episode is hitting the clutch shots. Maybe take us back to, I think it was 2000, in the A ...
Frederic K.
AAU National Championship.
Joshua Davis
AAU National Championship.
Andre Iguodala
Oh, 2001!
Joshua Davis
2001
Frederic K.
2001
Andre Iguodala
Wow, we go way back.
Joshua Davis
The buzzer.
Frederic K.
You hit the game-winning shot.
Andre Iguodala
Right, right.
Joshua Davis
Describe what happened, the championship.
Andre Iguodala
That was like my coming out party. As I said, I was a late, late bloomer, so no one heard of me. I played AAU one year, which is unheard of nowadays. Kids are playing AAU at nine. They start at nine and then there's who's the best nine-year-old in the country? They start ranking young. It's pretty ridiculous. But I had a pretty good summer. I was on the scene and I started making some headlines, but that tournament was the national tournament, so I started making headlines because our team was winning. We were getting further and further, so we were in the semi-finals. That's when I started getting scouted. Teams were like, "Okay, he's the man on the team. We going to send our hounds on him, our dogs on him." I was struggling that game because they were keying in on me. I was like, "Whoa. I got the best players in the world keying in on me? I never thought this moment was coming that fast." It just came that fast.
Joshua Davis
You mean everybody was guarding you?
Andre Iguodala
Right.
Frederic K.
Double-teaming. [crosstal
Andre Iguodala
They had the best players on me, "Get the ball out of his hands. Don't let him make plays." I was like, "Whoa." It was a good experience to go through that and I was struggling that came just trying to find it. I remember that game. My teammates were like, "You're fine, just keep playing." I just got a little frustrated. It was funny. One of the guys on the team was like, "I'm giving you the ball and I'm giving it to you." I was like, "All right, cool." The play wasn't really drawn up like that and-
Joshua Davis
He just made a decision, your teammate.
Andre Iguodala
He got the ball. He did exactly that. He caught the ball and just turned around and just threw it to me.
Joshua Davis
It's all on you.
Andre Iguodala
You live in those moments as a kid and then when it happened, it's almost exactly like I was by myself. I remember catching the ball and turning around and just shooting it. I was far. I wasn't by the three-point line; I was some feet back, just across half-court. I caught it and I don't remember anybody being around, I just remember shooting the ball. A guy kind of hit me. I didn't even see him and I fell backwards.
Joshua Davis
Because the buzzer's ... This is like seconds.
Andre Iguodala
Right. It's like two seconds to go when I caught it. No dribble, just caught it, turned around, and shot it. I shot it and I look at the rim when I shoot, so I shot it and then I got hit, fell back. I looked over and he's looking at the hoop. I didn't even see the ball and then I just saw it go through, "Whew," and then our coach went crazy, and then I went crazy because it was like, "Oh, oh? It went in?" From that point on, it's almost I feel like I shoot better when it really means something because that's when you really lock in. It's like when the shot clock's going down, and it's like three seconds on the shot clock, that's the easiest shot to me. Guys are like, "What?" Because it's this grenade. We call it the grenade. If it's six seconds on the shot clock-
Joshua Davis
It's going to blow up in your hands.
Andre Iguodala
Don't throw it somebody else. That's like the golden rule; don't throw me a grenade. But for me, I don't care. I'm like, "If it's coming, I'm going to make it." We call it the F-U shot. If you have the right approach, you should want adversity, you should want to go through the tough parts of the game. It makes it easier when you do go through them. It's just like wanting to be in that moment and you're laser locked in.
Frederic K.
Do you think one of the reasons that you're locked in and you enjoy that is because you're just confident? You've taken that shot. There's muscle memory. You're not even thinking about.
Andre Iguodala
I think it's the intent you do it as well.
Frederic K.
What do you mean by that?
Andre Iguodala
You learn how to work hard too. As you grow older, you learn how to work hard and you learn how to work hard with better talent, better coaching, obviously, making the most out of your talent. All of that comes into play as well and learning how to practice at a high level.
Frederic K.
But I think that to also hit those shots the way you do and want to take those shots, I'm going to take a guess that you enjoy it. I'm going to take a guess that you got a smile on your face when you're like, "Here we go. Three, two, one." To do that, you have to have a certain amount of confidence. I found in my business, when I'm doing that, it's because I'm excited and I'm excited because I know it all.
Andre Iguodala
Right.
Frederic K.
I'm not nervous because I prepared. If I'm nervous, it's that I haven't quite prepared enough. Is it a similar thing?
Andre Iguodala
It's exactly the same. This goes back to, I say having a reverence for the game. If you really respect what you do and you have a joy for it, you have a passion for it, you're going to put your all into it. When those moments do come, you're confident in those moments. It's like, "Oh, this is nothing. This is what I've actually been working for." You know that moment is going to come. I want to win, I'm playing the right way, I'm working my tail off, so I know I have the right intentions. You have that mindset, you're going to have success. When you do have it, it's like, "Okay, there it is." It's like a high; you want to continue, you want to keep doing it.
Frederic K.
I think it's amazing, Josh, when Andre talks about how he performs better when it really means something. I love that.
Joshua Davis
There's this sense sometimes that you have to turn off and you hear a lot of talk about the flow and how it's almost like, "I don't remember what happened," which okay, fine, it may be, but what we're hearing from Andre is rather than diffuse the moment, you have to infuse the moment. You infuse it with meaning.
Frederic K.
When someone can perform at that level, they're clearly not just waiting for that shot; they're taking all the shots seriously. They're probably the guys in practice being like, "This is what it would be like to be in the NBA finals." You always hear those super successful athletes at the end of their championship runs when they say, "I always dreamed of being the two strikes, two outs, bottom of the 9th base hitter in the World Series." They think about that! They practice that. I think there's a great takeaway there, which is you need to play all these other moments like they are those critical moments.
Joshua Davis
In your own career, as a kid, were you imagining yourself in Nebraska selling enterprise software at like-
Frederic K.
It was Oklahoma.
Joshua Davis
Oklahoma!
Frederic K.
Not in Nebraska, but in Oklahoma, I was. So I tapped into it! No.
Joshua Davis
That was your dream that you were playing through your brain, how to hit the clutch shot in Oklahoma?
Frederic K.
No, my game was Stanley Cup Finals, Game 7, game's on the line.
Joshua Davis
Obviously it didn't work out.
Frederic K.
Game's on the line, taking that massive slap shot from the point, putting it top shelf.
Joshua Davis
So Freddie, here's a question I have. You often have this sense that people who hit the clutch shots are just enormously confident and it's almost their confidence that wins the day as much as their talent. Do you think it's like a 50/50 balance?
Frederic K.
I think this is called the power of AND, Josh. I think it's 100% of both! I think you need to have the talent, I think you need to have the confidence, and you need to put them together. These clutch shots don't happen often, and when they do, you need the preparation, you need the skill, you need the experience, and then you need to hit it.
Joshua Davis
Our next guest knows a lot about this because she has built herself into a consummate saleswoman. I'm talking about Amy Pressman of Medallia. There is this sense that sales is a dirty word.
Amy Pressman
Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Joshua Davis
How do you become a better salesperson? How can people practice this? How can you get better as a salesperson?
Amy Pressman
Yeah. I don't know if I mentioned this to you, but I did go to this entrepreneurship conference that the Stanford Business School put on about 10 years ago. There was this one session, Oversubscribed on Sales, and everybody in there had started a company. They're like, "Why didn't you teach us about sales when we were in business schools?" They said, "Because you wouldn't take the courses! You thought it was for the dumb jocks in high school!" Everybody sort of sat a little bit and said, "Yeah, that's kind of ..." I'm mortified to say that now, but that is kind of how I thought about it.
Frederic K.
Why is that? Because you had the sense that, "Oh, this is like door-to-door sales?" Is that where the connotation came from?
Amy Pressman
I think so. How many people do you know from your undergraduate years who have gone into sales?
Joshua Davis
It's strange because this is one of the core competencies that you need as an entrepreneur, it seems to me, and yet, it's almost like you just have to be born able to do it.
Amy Pressman
Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Amy Pressman
I love selling. I was not in the Girl Scouts, I was not in the Campfire Girls, but I loved selling Campfire candy for my friends, I loved selling the magazines during high school when we had a fundraising drive. I just really liked doing that. I was actually in Junior Achievement in high school, you know that organization? Oh, you sort of start a little company when you're high school. There was something in there always I think. But really, starting the company and honestly, starting a company is a huge sales job. You're selling customers on products you don't yet have when you're getting started, you're selling investors, you're selling people to come work with you. It's just non-stop sales. So I think over time, there's just a real development of appreciation and then as I learned more about specifically enterprise software sales and really started talking to some of the people in the Valley, I just got tremendous respect for how difficult and important that job is, and I think that starting ... My sense is that's percolating and trickling into business schools and things like that. I think there are more sales courses now than there were when I was there, but yeah, that's my thing.
Joshua Davis
Like this class, like this course you were talking about 10 years ago?
Amy Pressman
Yeah. This was just a session at a-
Joshua Davis
Continuing?
Amy Pressman
At a conference, but yeah, that's my sense.
Frederic K.
Still very underrepresented though. I think there's still just a handful of classes. When I was in graduate school, there was a class called Technology Sales and Sales Management. I actually TAed it.
Joshua Davis
You had to put the word technology on it to get people to take it.
Frederic K.
Probably.
Amy Pressman
Right.
Frederic K.
I TA-ed it two times. It taught the very basics of sales, but the basics of sales are, like you said, it's a lot of the things you have to do anyway to start a company, but it's about communication. It's about storytelling. Sales is about storytelling, it's about understanding who the other person is because it's not what you want to sell; it's what someone else wants to buy.
Amy Pressman
Right.
Frederic K.
Right? So you don't want to just sell something and interesting to what you were saying earlier about being able to listen carefully, I always suggest to people that they behave more like a fennec fox than an alligator.
Joshua Davis
What's a fennec fox?
Frederic K.
A fennec fox. Do you know what a fennec fox is?
Amy Pressman
I don't know.
Joshua Davis
I have no idea. What are you talking about?
Frederic K.
Well, you know the attributes of an alligator?
Joshua Davis
They bite.
Frederic K.
Big mouth, small ears.
Amy Pressman
Oh!
Frederic K.
Fennec fox has a very small mouth and very big ears. That's what I always tell people. There's a lot of things in sales, but certainly don't be an alligator salesperson. Big mouth, small ears.
Amy Pressman
Right.
Joshua Davis
Do you feel like you've become a better salesperson over time?
Amy Pressman
I think I have learned and I also think that the job gets harder as things get larger, so I feel like I haven't plateaued, but there's still so much to learn.
Frederic K.
Josh, what I think's really interesting here is certainly non-stop sales is something that Amy talks about and that everyone can identify with, but I think the more interesting this is she says it gets harder as it gets bigger. It's almost like the bigger the stage, the harder it is to hit that clutch shot
Joshua Davis
Did you feel that in your career? As Okta grew, was it harder to land the big client?
Frederic K.
I'm not sure it was. I think that once you get that level of confidence and that level of talent, you built those muscles up, it actually gets more fun.
Joshua Davis
So there's hope?
Frederic K.
There's hope.
Joshua Davis
There's hope.
Frederic K.
There's definitely hope.
Joshua Davis
Freddie, let's go back to Andre Iguodala to end the episode because I think he ties a lot of the things that we've been talking about together.
Frederic K.
We've talked about the confidence versus talent and how it's not an or, you actually need both, and Andre kind of sees that in an NBA basketball game.
Frederic K.
Tough times, happens to everyone.
Joshua Davis
Right.
Frederic K.
It's one of the reasons we're doing this podcast. Entrepreneurs understand that. You went through, let's call them, less easy times in some of those years in Philadelphia. What was your mindset? What was your approach?
Andre Iguodala
The approach is just to keep working knowing that there's light at the end of the tunnel. I think that's what anyone and everyone should do.
Joshua Davis
But could you see that light in Philadelphia? What was the light?
Frederic K.
Or were you just thinking, "I'm going to assume there's light and I'm going to keep going"?
Andre Iguodala
Well, the competitor in you is like, "Even if there's no light, there's no laying down." There's no such thing. It's like what are your motivating factors? Who are some of the people that you looked up to? They've all been in tough situations. That's going back to reverence for the game and having respect for whatever it is that you do, understanding that it's supposed to be hard. I always say to my son, it's like, "Listen, if it's not hard then you're not doing it right and you're not getting anything out of it." You kind of embrace ... You're embracing the hard parts more than you're enjoying the success. Charles Barkley said it. "I hate losing more than I like winning." It's really not healthy, but it actually is-
Frederic K.
It works.
Andre Iguodala
It actually works.
Frederic K.
Yeah, I like to say if it weren't hard, everybody would be doing it.
Andre Iguodala
Exactly.
Frederic K.
In Philadelphia, you talk about how hard it was. Was there ever a point where you thought, "Maybe I could just retire"?
Andre Iguodala
No.
Joshua Davis
Or become a coach?
Andre Iguodala
I would never coach.
Joshua Davis
No?
Andre Iguodala
I say that now, but you know, I say that now. Like I said, it was never lay down. It was like, "We going to get it right." I feel like I am the guy to turn things around and I'll get it right. Putting more pressure on yourself than others is something that we should all do as well. It goes back to accountability, holding yourself accountable, taking ownership, and that message got through. I was like, "Okay, I'm going to take us to where we got to go." Because also, you have to have that confidence. I think confidence is underrated, but people still don't know what confidence really is. Being confident and being cocky are two totally different things. Confidence-
Joshua Davis
What's the difference?
Andre Iguodala
Confidence is knowing the work you put it and just being honest with yourself. If you really have set your whole environment, whether it's within whatever you do or outside of whatever you do, you've taken that whole environment and tailored it to getting the most out of yourself in whatever it is you do, that's confidence. Like, "Okay, I put all the work in I was supposed to in. I've surrounded myself with the people who are going to get the most out of me."
Joshua Davis
And cocky?
Andre Iguodala
Cocky is just-
Joshua Davis
Making shit up?
Andre Iguodala
Cocky is you're just talented. There's a lot of guys who are just talented and there are some who are so talented that they're just going to get by on their talent, but at the end of the day, they're not going to get out of it what they're supposed to and they're going to come up short at some point. You got some people who are billionaires who are in the Hall of Fame who are cocky, but they should have been the greatest there was. I always say you determine success by maximizing your potential. My whole mindset was just keep finding motivating factors, whatever that may be. It may be through music or maybe it be through just watching old basketball tapes, and then sometimes you learn watching yourself play well. It's huge for the confidence. You just go back and-
Frederic K.
You watch game tapes on yourself?
Andre Iguodala
You watch a game tape on yourself playing well. You're like, "Oh man, I almost forgot that existed and that wasn't that long ago. That was like last month," if you had a really good game. And then you just start. That confidence thing is really key.
Joshua Davis
That's an interesting tip if you're in business to, perhaps, reflect back on some successes you've had before you go into a meeting or whatever it is.
Frederic K.
Because in business, it's very much like short-term mind span.
Joshua Davis
Right.
Frederic K.
It's like I can't even remember the success we had last month because I'm so into what's happening today and tomorrow.
Andre Iguodala
Right. Last quarter was last quarter.
Frederic K.
Last quarter! We already shipped that one.
Andre Iguodala
Yes.
Frederic K.
I already patted myself on the back for that last week.
Andre Iguodala
Yes, yes.
Joshua Davis
Yeah.
Andre Iguodala
Steve Kerr says it a lot. "Guys, it's not that bad. We're still number one in the league." We'll lose two games in a row and it's like the world's going to end. He's like-
Joshua Davis
Well you guys, I mean, particularly when you were on your winning streaks.
Andre Iguodala
Right. It's like, "Guys, we just won 10 in a row before we lost two in a row."
Joshua Davis
Let's talk about that in relationship to how businesses have quarters, and Freddie and I were talking about this before you got here, where his mentality at the start of a quarter is come out charging and dominate from the get-go. The Warriors don't always do that in a game. You guys have a habit of starting out behind and then catching up. How do you think about that mentality?
Andre Iguodala
There's something that people may not understand about that scenario that occurs frequently. It's that we're playing against the most talented basketball players in the world. Everyone is good. That's another misconception. "That 14th or 15th guy on the bench, eh, he's all right." No, everybody that is on the NBA roster is good. So when we go up against other teams, there's another factor that we're playing world champions, we're playing the Golden State Warriors, and we're on national TV. Some teams, that's their only national TV game of the year.
Frederic K.
You got the target on your back.
Andre Iguodala
So everyone plays their best-
Frederic K.
Game when you're coming to town.
Andre Iguodala
Game when we play them. Those talented guys that just rely on their talent, they're laser focused that night. Guys that normally don't make that shot, make that shot. Guys that miss free throws are making their free throws. Guys that don't play defense are playing hard on defense. So our thing is look, we're going to use our depth. They might keep it close, but it's 48 minutes for a reason. When we keep our principles, we do the things we're supposed to do, we're the most talented but we're also one of the more efficient and we do it the right way, it looks like we're letting the team get a lead but they're just playing out of their minds. Then we just do what we gotta do and come back and win.
Frederic K.
Right.
Joshua Davis
And then at the end of the third quarter, you're up by 20.
Andre Iguodala
Right. It happens really fast.
Joshua Davis
Let's talk about some moments that perhaps people either didn't recognize that questioned you. For instance, when you turned pro. A lot of people didn't think you had what it took. Dick Vitale, for instance, famously said that they made a mistake. What was the impact of that on you? People questioning you, the media questioning you, how do you deal with that?
Andre Iguodala
At that point, I was too young to really understand. The funny thing is though that I could hear Dick Vitale as I'm getting interviewed after I got drafted. You can hear everything, you can hear the live broadcast. I can hear Dick Vitale saying this. I can hear it.
Joshua Davis
When you heard that, what'd you feel?
Andre Iguodala
I was in the middle of another interview, so I was like, "Whoa." But then I'm just trying to ... You're trying to figure out what's going on in your life because getting drafted is a surreal moment and it's like you freeze and you're like, "What's next?" You kind of don't know what quite to do. You don't know how to feel. I always tell the story. My first workout with Tim Grover, the first drill, the very first drill. This is so simple. This drill, that really helped me for my career. Not even halfway through it, I was like, "I might want to go back to college."
Joshua Davis
You were like, "Maybe I'm not ready for this."
Andre Iguodala
It was that hard. And the drill was so simple. I'm like, "Yo, this is the first thing? I'm not going to make it." I'm like, "Man, if you not ready for this, you should probably go back to school." But I got through the drill and once you get through the first week, you pretty much know where you stand. I was training with these guys every day, so I was like, "Okay, I'm good enough." So just training with him, I knew I was good enough.
Joshua Davis
A lot of our listeners are going to be managers, entrepreneurs, people who have to manage teams-
Frederic K.
Build teams.
Joshua Davis
Build teams, teams hopefully of high performers. You work on a team of high performers. How do you manage that team? How do you get everybody to play together? How do you get the best from everybody? What are some insights that you have?
Andre Iguodala
I think having a good sense of who each individual is. I know who Steph is. I've learned that. Golf rounds with him really help both of us out. It helps me out because I just see how gifted he is and I can just slow down.
Frederic K.
Is he a good golfer?
Andre Iguodala
Great, great.
Frederic K.
Better than you?
Andre Iguodala
Oh, it's not even close. He can probably go pro, but we've had some really good bonding moments on the golf course where we can talk about basketball and it's relaxed and it's not tense. I'm not criticizing him, he's not criticizing me. We're jus tout here playing golf. I can say, "Well man, I think you should of did this," or he can say, "Look man, you gotta have confidence when you do this just like you gotta have confidence when you swinging the club."
Frederic K.
He's giving you golf tips.
Andre Iguodala
Right. But it translated to the basketball courts. He's like, "Look man, you keep passing up these shots. I need you to shoot." So I'm like, "Okay, cool." I can give him some tips as well with what I see like, "Look man, you give me the ball, it's coming right back to you." We're basically saying the same thing to each other. Communicating with Draymond is totally different. If he's yelling at me and I yell back, and then we start arguing, it gets on my nerves but it gets him going. He's like, "Yeah, now you ready to play."
Joshua Davis
So he wants it.
Andre Iguodala
He wants it, that's what he thrives off of.
Joshua Davis
So you gotta adapt and play that way.
Andre Iguodala
Everyone is different. The thing with our team is that we built a culture where everyone holds themselves accountable. We've brought in guys who want to be great. Everybody wants to be great and no one's satisfied. After we win a championship, two days later we're like, "Man, we gotta do this next year. What are we going to do this summer so we can be ready? What went wrong last year?" We've been joking like, "Man, last year wasn't that fun. It wasn't that good. We struggled and this is where we struggled."
Joshua Davis
After winning the championship?
Andre Iguodala
After winning the championship.
Frederic K.
Again.
Andre Iguodala
We were like, "Yo, I can't wait until next year" because we know, we was like, "Man, we didn't get this right. We got it right when we had to, but it was almost too late, so this is what we gotta do. I can't wait until next year." That's what everyone kept saying, "I can't wait until next year."
Frederic K.
You've been spending some time with more and more entrepreneurs. You've become a successful investor, even working in some of these companies. What are some of the similarities and differences? We just talked about a whole bunch; responsibility, accountability, teamwork.
Andre Iguodala
Right. Well, I've heard a lot about team-building. I'm having a lot of those discussions. I had a conversation with the CEO of Zoom yesterday.
Frederic K.
Eric?
Andre Iguodala
Yes, Eric.
Frederic K.
Yuan?
Andre Iguodala
Yes.
Frederic K.
Great guy.
Andre Iguodala
Great guy. He's a huge basketball guy. He broke down my game and he was like, "I wish every one of my employees were just like you, played the right way, don't want any recognition for anything, just go do it, have fun and do it, enjoy it. But everyone wants to be the star." He was like, "That's the hardest part of team-building." I actually hear that a lot and another thing that I hear is, on the flip side, is you can be talented in the tech world but that won't equate to success. You still gotta put the work in. I shouldn't say you don't have to put the work in in basketball, but I've seen a lot of guys who are just amazing talents and they still made hall the fame, they still made the all-star team because they were that good, but they don't quite understand the talent and the potential that they really have. They get comfortable. I think that's something that happens in a lot of sports. When you get comfortable and a lot of our success happens early on. You can be in high school one year, just joking around with the guys, and then two years later, you're in the NBA and you got $15, $20 million dollar contract. It's just human nature, especially after you get your first big contract, you kind of-
Joshua Davis
You're like, "I made it."
Andre Iguodala
You kind of relax because once somebody gives you $100 million, it's like ... It's easy to relax!
Joshua Davis
But similarly, if you're-
Frederic K.
Right, yeah!
Andre Iguodala
That's very easy. But I never thought about it like that because I'm always like, "Man, I don't even play for the money." I just want to keep dominating.
Joshua Davis
But it's similar in a way to startup culture because you get a $15 million check from a VC and you can't relax.
Andre Iguodala
Yes.
Joshua Davis
So similarly, when you're a young player, it's kind of like you're getting a bet placed on you.
Andre Iguodala
Mm-hmm (affirmative). That's how I felt with my contract. You get the contract and it's like there's no relaxing. Now the target's on your back, more so than even being on an NBA Championship team, especially being in Philadelphia. Target's on your back for the team and for the city like, "We gave you all this money, now what are you going to do?"
Frederic K.
One thing that you said I want to go back to. You said, "Now it's not about the money anymore. I'm just doing it because I want to dominate." So some people who are long-term successful serial entrepreneurs, they've been doing it 10, 20, 30, 40 years, and they just do it again and again and again and again. It's the same kind of thing. Talk a little bit about that.
Andre Iguodala
I think everyone wants to have a purpose, everyone wants to do something they enjoy doing and they enjoy working hard at it. Working hard is just a different feeling, I think. If you're really focused on wanting your body to look a certain way and you're working hard at it and you see the results, you become addicted to it. It's the same thing with food. I've set my whole life around it, with the exception of cleaning up after myself, which my wife would say I'm sorely lacking in the department. But in my food, I can cook. I don't cook that much, but I've learned how to cook a vegan meal.
Joshua Davis
Are you vegan?
Andre Iguodala
80% of the time, 85% of the time. I lose weight fast, so I gotta put the protein back on. But I did boxing and I got really good at boxing because I had that, it's just that crazy gene where you try to master any and everything you do. I was cycling in Chicago for a couple of summers and I got the bike, I had the helmet, I had the shoes. I was going for miles and miles every day, just locked in. Then the golf, you want to say it's an addictive gene but I don't think I have it. You don't want to have that, so I just say it's-
Frederic K.
That's a different thing.
Andre Iguodala
Yeah, just say something else. You go about having a purpose with everything that you do and when you do that, I think you get the most out of yourself, you see the results, and it just becomes ... It's like breathing. That's how you go about life. Anything you do, you want to do it at the highest level because you realize you'll get the most out of it with the right intention.
Joshua Davis
This has been Zero to IPO, a show about what it takes to become the 2015 MVP of the NBA finals. Right? No, that's a different show. That's a different show. Special thanks to our guests, of course, Andre Iguodala, and Amy Pressman for taking the time to talk with us. And thanks as always to the Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship for collaborating with Okta to bring this podcast to life.
Frederic K.
If you like what you've heard today and want to know more, check out exclusive in-depth stories from each episode on FastCompany.com. To hear the next step in taking a company from Zero to IPO, make sure to subscribe and give us a good rating on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. I'm Frederic Kerrest.
Joshua Davis
And I am Joshua Davis.
Frederic K.
And we hope that maybe sometime in the future, you'll tune in for our next episode, the one you've been waiting for, IPO.
Julia Hartz
If you have a clear intention, it can be a very positive moment and momentum builder for the company. We came out of it a stronger company, which I don't know if a lot of people feel that way once they go through a process.
If you really respect what you do and you have a joy for it, you have a passion for it, you're going to put your all into it. When those moments do come, you're confident in those moments. It's like, ‘Oh, this is nothing. This is what I've actually been working for.’ You know that moment is going to come. I want to win, I'm playing the right way, I'm working my tail off, so I know I have the right intentions.
Andre Iguodala