The Blog of Jake Kelfer
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It was last fall. I decided to do work at a Starbucks while I waited for my Wi-Fi to be fixed. I had a few speeches coming up and I needed to prepare. Normally, when I go to Starbucks I don’t think too much about my outfit. Other times, I do.
It just so happened that this time I thought about what shirt I was going to wear before I went. Why? Because I was headed into the heart of Brentwood, CA and I had this feeling that I should wear a shirt that could be a conversation starter.
I’m always thinking of ways to meet new people or have new people connect with me and clothes are an easy way to make this happen. If someone is wearing USC, Lakers, or Dodgers gear I will always make a comment to them and say something like “Fight On!” or “Did you see the game last night?” So because of this I thought that if I wear a shirt from one of my previous work experiences and someone knows about it maybe they will say something.
That’s when I made the decision to wear a NBA Summer League polo. It was a simple polo with the logo on the left chest. It wasn’t anything huge or crazy, but it was noticeable enough that if someone knew sports or basketball, they might say something. It wasn’t a common shirt so I knew that if someone was going to say something, they either loved basketball or probably worked in the business. I wanted to give myself a chance to connect with someone new!
I was sitting down with my headphones in and this guy was sitting next to me. After about 30 minutes, I took out my headphones for a quick breather and the person next to me asked about my shirt. He asked if I worked for NBA Summer League and I told him I had in the past.
BOOM! It worked!
It could’ve stopped there… but it didn’t. This led to a great conversation about sports and the work we both do and within 30 minutes of the conversation he was introducing me to his friend who had just showed up.
By the end of the conversation, about an hour later, I had to leave but it wasn’t before we exchanged information and scheduled a time to talk next and grab a bite to eat.
Both of these two guys are now friends and mentors to me. They’ve given me advice and taught me a lot about the journey and the entrepreneurial experience. They have both achieved a lot in their respective businesses and I am excited to see what else I can learn from them and create with them.
Since our initial meeting, we have gone to dinners, they have introduced me to several great people in the basketball world, and we talk every month or so.
I never could have imagined that wearing one shirt would spark two incredible relationships, but it did. I am forever thankful for that crazy idea to wear a NBA Summer League shirt at Starbucks.