Day 30: Sunday Adventures with MSBA Founder Ben Sturner and Company

Myles Robinson 2013 Leave a Comment

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“Live each day to the fullest. Get the most from each hour, each day, and each age of your life. Then you can look forward with confidence, and back without regrets…When you are faced with decision, make that decision as wisely as possible…The moment of absolute certainty never arrives.” 

The words above come from SH Payer’s Live Each Day to the Fullest. This summer I have been chasing my dreams and pursuing something adventure. In the words of Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark, I’m a storyteller.

What I thought would be an ordinary Sunday in the Manhattan turned out to be a great journey…a story if you will. Anyone that knows Ben Sturner knows he’s one for impromptu, BIG ideas.

This short story begins with a missed yoga lesson at Luluemon Lincoln Square. Waking up late for the 9:30 session I quickly realized Lulumon was not only 30 blocks away but also on the west side of town. Because I was so excited for yoga class, I put on my Nike Free Runs and ran for 36 minutes toward what I hoped would be a new adventure. Arriving at exactly 9:36 a.m. I was of course pushed away from the already full class. With plans to run back home and begin my day this picture caught my attention.

I must have been looking at it for 10 minutes when Ben walked up. Moments later one of our MSBA coordinators, Athena, arrived as well. Eager to not waste the morning, Ben invited Athena and me to breakfast. This initial plan quickly turned into a new idea to rent bikes and ride around downtown Manhattan. Throughout MSBA we’ve had what we like to call “active networking” sessions. The basic premise is to create a dually beneficial situation of getting to know someone new while engaging in a healthy workout session. Sunday proved to be my favorite networking activity so far. What I thought would be a mindless adventure turned into a five-hour journey through Central Park with Ben and Athena.

After Ben treated us to snow cones and popsicles we noticed a big crowd of people gearing up for what looked like a performance in the middle of the park. The performers, known as the Afrobats, are a renowned group in New York famous for their acrobatic displays in Central Park. Appealing to the emotions and hearts of those watching them perform, the Afrobats put on not only an entertaining show but a marketing strategy for the world to see. I encourage anyone reading this post to check out the AfroBats on YouTube; my description below doesn’t do them justice. Before beginning their finale of flips and tricks the team decided to collect donations, for they knew people would leave if they asked for money at the end. The conversation went something like this:

AfroBats: “Hey, I just got $20 from Australia. Everybody give this woman a hand.” (claps by the audience followed by another AfroBat collecting money in the crowd).

AfroBats: “Hey, I just got $20 from New York. Everybody give this man a hand. New Jersey you ‘gon let New York show you up?” (claps by the audience)

And this continued for at least 10 minutes. In the end people were more willing to give money just to say they were last to give. Whenever it seemed the show would end, someone would raise their hand to give more money.

It was like watching an auctioneer and a chess game all in one. I was blown away by what I was watching. In sales and marketing we’re taught to always ask for the deal. It’s the oldest trick in the book, and the Afrobats clearly were in class for the lesson. The AfroBats must have made an easy $300 in a span of 30 minutes, all while providing value and fulfilling a need. I personally thought the whole ordeal was a genius tactic executed to perfection. It all was done in the spirit of entertainment yet everyone felt special at the end, including the Afrobats. I guess understanding consumer psychology truly does lead to greater returns.

We then ended our afternoon with a stop at a local deli. It was great to wind down and connect with Ben and Athena on a personal level in a relaxed environment. I love days like this past Sunday because they are filled with spontaneous adventures that turn out to be learning lessons. Through MSBA I’m learning the best journeys produce stories we didn’t even think to write.

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