6 min read

Pivot #1: The team, the best podcast episode I've ever listened to, breadcrumbs, game notes

Pivot #1: The team, the best podcast episode I've ever listened to, breadcrumbs, game notes

Welcome to the first edition of The Pivot Newsletter. Let me explain. Over the past number of months, I've been working on a concept focused on hockey players post-playing careers. Many of you, who are (unwillingly) subscribed to this very newsletter, helped me flesh out the idea. Born out of all those conversations and iterative ideas is Pivot Group.

Pivot is 1) Consulting Service and 2) Content. The consulting side of the business encompasses anything and everything a hockey player could need to navigate their second act. 1-on-1 strategic planning, interview prep, resume writing, zero-to-one action items, small group consulting, team consulting, or even just objective third party feedback. The content side of the business is The Pivot Newsletter (for now). The newsletter is free, weekly content, aimed at delivering valuable and entertaining insights for hockey players.

I have many ideas on where the concept could go and methods to deliver value to the hockey community, but it's mostly contingent on successfully delivering value to players and growing the community. Need those network effects. I appreciate you joining the team and staying subscribed. Also, if you know of other players that you think would enjoy The Pivot please spread the word. You can start by emailing or texting this newsletter to a teammate.

Photo by Taylor Friehl / Unsplash

1st Period - Why does Pivot need to exist?

Hockey is unique. Whether it's the circuitous route through the junior ranks, the reverence for the locker room, or the comradery established among teammates, there's an amalgamation (good ACT word) of unique characteristics in the sport that make hockey, hockey. It's hard to put my finger on exactly what it is, but hockey players know and others are confused. But for all the reasons that make hockey great and unique, there is another side of the coin: it's challenging to pivot outside the game. Whether the game forces your Irish Exit or you leave on your own, the pivot isn't without strife for a host of reasons: lack of strategic planning, limited world view, loss of identity/self-worth, minimal outside experience, adjusting to a new social life, among others. Pivot aims to identify the challenges and articulate tactics to combat the challenges that come along in the transition.

Let's zoom out and take a 30k foot view of a hockey player's life span. Look at the timeline.

The navy blue region is your youth hockey career, which can last until your mid-to-late teens. If you're good enough you get to experience the dark gold region, your junior and/or college hockey career. Then as you keep ascending the pyramid, you achieve pro hockey, the gray region on the timeline. Most player's professional careers are likely finished by their late-20s, but if you're Nick Lidstrom you can play until you're 40. (In NL5's last season he was 41 years-old and posted 70 GPs, 11Gs, 23As, +21, 23:46 Avg. TOI, 5th in Norris voting. Absurd.)

Think about the amount of resources available to hockey players throughout the colored regions of the timeline. Especially today, the resources are bountiful. Head coaches, assistant coaches, skill coaches, positional coaches, strength coaches, agents, advisors, wealth managers, nutritionists, etc. Then, whenever the player reaches the white region, their post-playing career, also known as the rest of your life, resources precipitously decline. Players are mostly on their own to figure it out. That's where Pivot comes in. Pivot is addressing the value gap. We want to plug the hole. We want to be a resource players can go to, to figure out the white space on the timeline or to seek inspiration for the inevitable. That is why Pivot exists.

2nd Period - The best podcast episode I've ever listened to

The single best podcast I've listened to is episode 204 of Invest Like the Best with Patrick O'Shaughnessy where Patrick interviews Sam Hinkie, former GM of the Philadelphia 76ers, the originator of "The Process", and current venture capitalist. The podcast could (and likely will) take up several newsletters worth of insights, but one concept Hinkie describes is "Breadcrumbs".

Hinkie encourages people to develop breadcrumbs to demonstrate interests, depth of thinking, and how you think. Think of breadcrumbs as a trail of work that people can follow to get a better understanding of you. It's a powerful concept that I've taken to heart myself. To put some meat on the bone, I'll describe my own breadcrumb trail.

As a professional financier/investor/(blowhard), I came to the point where I wanted to transition from public to private markets. I can go into the rationale and my views here another day. Long story short, the private markets (private equity & private debt) have very rigid career tracks and almost incestuous recruiting pools. I did not fit the career track. I was definitely an unconventional job candidate, having no investment banking, management consulting, or prior PE experience. I faced the tall task of 1) getting my foot in the door and 2) convincing someone my skillset is better than the conventional candidate.

Enter the breadcrumbs concept. I put together my own private equity deal. I developed my own investment thesis, supporting research, and identified a target company. I went so far as to call-up the owner of the business to gather actual insight on the industry and company. I cobbled all this together into a PowerPoint slide deck, and now, I had a very influential breadcrumb to show people.

I put together what private equity firms salivate for: original investment ideas and deal flow. I fully admit the exercise was mostly academic and intended to help me land a job, but I fully believe my idea was/is actionable. By putting together the investment deck, I was showing people 1) I'm serious--I'm not wasting time or just kicking tires 2) My skillset is legit--I'm better than the conventional Excel monkeys you typically hire and 3) Creating your own serendipity. By producing the investment deck, I was shrinking the amount of unknowns of myself, as a candidate, and getting people more confident in my ability. People were running out of reasons to tell me 'No'. Ultimately, I made the transition from public to private markets successfully, thanks in part, to the breadcrumbs I created, in order to overcome the hurdles I faced.

Breadcrumbs can come in many forms, depending on the arena you want to play in. A blog, website, Twitter (X?) account, PowerPoint slide deck, summary one-pager, YouTube video, side-business, etc. Anything you can create to show people your work ethic, how you think, and how you operate. I'd encourage players still playing hockey to brainstorm ways they can start creating breadcrumbs now. It will pay dividends later.

3rd Period - Case Studies

Pivot Group endeavors to start profiling hockey players that've pivoted successfully into their post-playing life. Whether it's players from afar we analyze or players we develop a relationship with, we believe it'd be valuable to strip out the successful strategies and tactics players have used on their pursuit for the benefit of everyone's education.

If you know someone we should connect with on this topic or think your own story is compelling, please reach out. Over time, we want to build a diverse archive of career/life paths players have led. The more players we get to share their stories the more valuable the insights and the platform becomes. For example, if you want to be a realtor after your playing days, it'd be useful to have 3-4 case studies or profiles of hockey players that are now successful realtors and the valuable insights associated with each of their stories. How do you build clientele? How do you pick a brokerage? What does the revenue actually look like? Can you build this career while playing? Think how much easier that makes the pivot for the next guy.

Or imagine you are a retired 30-year old hockey player who wants to be a medical doctor. Is that even possible at 30? What does the road ahead look like? Without knowing anything, it sounds like a huge time commitment in the prime years of your life to become a doctor maybe a decade later. But maybe I'm wrong? Let's get a hockey player doctor on here to break it down for us.

Game Notes - Links to interesting things