Updated: Aug 5
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"Do you smell what The Rock is cooking?". The famous catch phrase of Dwayne Johnson when he was one of the worlds most famous wrestlers in WWF (now WWE) going by his ring name "The Rock". Turns out Johnson and long time business partner Dany Garcia are cooking something new as they partnered with RedBird Capital to purchase the XFL for $15 million out of bankruptcy.
The XFL which was created by Vince McMahon, the long time owner of the WWE, as an alternative to the NFL, had made its debut earlier in 2020 for the second time (XFL lasted for one season in 2001), only to have its season cut in half due shutdowns involving the COVID19 pandemic, filing for Bankruptcy shortly there after in April 2020.
Johnson has long prided himself on being a hard worker, pushing himself forward from humble beginnings, and as he stated in his Tweet the day of the announcement, "I've built a career with my own two hand and will apply these callouses to our XFL brand." Johnson also mentioned in a statement that "an investment for me that’s rooted deeply in two things — my passion for the game and my desire to always take care of the fans”
Becoming The Rock
Dwayne Johnson was born into wrestling, with is father Rocky Johnson and grandfather both having been wresters, though Dwayne Johnson originally had other aspirations, playing football at the University of Miami with intentions of playing in the NFL. Unlike Spencer Strasmore the character he plays in the HBO series 'Ballers' who is a retired and decorated NFL player turned financial manager, Johnson unfortunately had his football career end quickly, going undrafted and playing a very short stint in the Canadian Football League, being before he could complete his first year.
At this moment, which Dwayne Johnson has shared many times, he was down on himself, broke, and had "$7 bucks" in his pocket (Johnson later named his production company Seven Bucks Productions), when he decided to make a run at professional wrestling, going on to become one of the most famous wrestlers of all time.
“What's the key to success? The key is, there is no key. Be humble, hungry, and the hardest worker in any room."
Dany and Dwayne
Dany Garcia and Dwayne Johnson met while at the University of Miami, and while Dwayne was playing football and later becoming The Rock, Dany graduated from Miami to have an illustrious career in finance at Meryl Lynch. They married in 1997, had their daughter in 2001, divorced in 2007, and in 2008 Dwayne Johnson asked Dany Garcia to be his manager.
In 2008 is when Dwayne Johnson's career began to experience lift off, staring in movie after movie, to now being one of the most highest paid actors in Hollywood. Together, Dany and Dwayne have Co-Founded Seven Bucks Productions, Teremana Tequila, Athleticon, and the Project Rock Collection at Under Armour, as well as many other projects now including the XFL.
Founder and Product Lessons
Entrepreneurism is more popular, desirable, and in fashion than ever before. We constantly see influencers telling us to become our own boss, start our own business, take control of our lives, build our brands, etc.
It takes more than desire to become an entrepreneur. Most will fail, but through failure comes life lessons. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone and this is okay. There is nothing wrong with working for someone else and building a career in that manner, but for those who want to blaze their own trail and run their own business or businesses, it's about climbing the next mountain.
Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia are business moguls continuing to build their empire.
Number 2 is just as important as Number 1
Entrepreneurism is more popular, desirable, and in fashion than ever before. We constantly see influencers telling us to become our own boss, start our own business, take control of our lives, build our brands, etc. Often when people hear this they think of themselves needing to be in charge, be the CEO, be the leader, the boss, but in any good business their typically is someone in the Number 2 supporting Number 1 whether next to or behind the scenes.
Dwayne Johnson's rocket ship rise to stratum directly coincided with Dany Garcia becoming his manager. It's safe to say they both would have been successful with out the other, but also safe to say neither would have found the level of success with out the other.
While Number 2 may not get the most attention, Number 2 is just as critical as Number 1. Scottie Pippen was Michael Jordan's Number 2 and Jordan has said many times that people need to speak Scottie's name when they speak of Jordan's greatness.
Some of the great duos in tech include Gates & Allen of Microsoft, Jobs and Woz of Apple, and Page and Brin of Google,
Value your Business Partner
While it may be easier to take the credit, not recognizing how others have contributed to your success can be detrimental to your own success. Johnson and Garcia have a deep respect for each other and rely on each other to achieve their ambitious goals, with each consistently talking up the value the other one brings.
While headlines might gravitate toward Dwayne Johnson in the XFL purchase, Johnson was quick to praise his partner. Johnson tweeted, "Taking a moment to illuminate this very cool and huge milestone. My XFL partner, Dany Garcia becomes the first woman to OWN an entire sports league independent from a team. She was the architect in this acquisition and now we go to work - for the love of football."
Dany and Dwayne share the dream for big achievements and praise each other in those milestones.
Leverage Personal Brand to Build Products
Johnson and Garcia have been able to leverage Johnson's star power into partnerships with Under Armour, creating a tequila brand, building their Seven Bucks Productions with multiple movies and television shows, and now the XFL. Each business being able to be marketed against based on what was built before it.
Think about the product you wear, support, use, and think if there are alternatives. Why not create your own apparel line for your company or at very least swag. If you are going to represent a brand, it may as well be your own.
Product for Startups Course at TF Labs
TF Labs works with companies, brands, startups, and founders on product strategy, management and execution. Through this process we have learned there are many entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, and early startup employees, who would greatly benefit from learning product through the lens of a startup.
Our first course starts in the Fall. Take a look or email email@example.com with any questions.