As 2019 gets underway, Rocket Camp is nearing the halfway point of our 5th year in business. As is the case with most new business ventures, the ride hasn’t always been a smooth one. We’ve seen highs and lows. We’ve been excited when relationships begin and disappointed when they end. We’ve had big wins and stinging losses. And we’ve tried to learn as much as possible from each experience along the way.
It’s well documented that new business failure rates are high. The financial, professional, and personal risks are intimidating. Being vulnerable on so many fronts can quickly become untenable. And yet, here we are: proud of the work we’re doing, proud of the foundation we’ve been building, and excited for what 2019 has in store. As we sat down to reflect on our year in 2018, we got to thinking about why our is outlook so positive.
And that got me thinking about the Cleveland Browns.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. What would we want to have in common with one of the most inept professional sports franchises in history? The Factory of Sadness? A team with a fanbase so demoralized at the beginning of this year that it braved single-degree temperatures to put on a Perfect Season Parade? Our answer: experience, tenacity, and talent.
I’ll give you a moment to finish laughing and/or scoffing. When you’re done, hear me out.
I have been subjecting myself to Browns fandom for the last decade. My husband (a lifelong diehard) welcomed me into the fold while we were still dating, and I never looked back. As the saying goes, misery loves company. Plus, I’m a sucker for a good underdog. After 10 years of disappointment, this season offered a glimmer of undeniable, indisputable hope that the tide could finally be turning. The reason? The Browns are finally betting on themselves.
That isn’t to say there hasn’t been a lot of other groundwork leading up to this moment over the years. But for the first time since I’ve been paying attention, it seems like the organization is leveraging the assets it has on hand: the experience of John Dorsey, the tenacity of Freddie Kitchens, and the talent of its collective lineup (Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry, Myles Garrett, Nick Chubb, et al.). Fans got a taste of this approach at the end of the year, and 2018 saw the Browns end a season on the highest note since being re-established in 1999. Now, they’re genuinely excited about the team’s potential in 2019 (without looking to the draft to answer all prayers and solve all problems).
I like to think that Rob is to Rocket Camp what John Dorsey has been to the 2018 Cleveland Browns. A guy with a tremendous experience and perspective who can recognize talent without much caring where it’s coming from or how it’s packaged. Sure, Mayfield is a Heisman Trophy winner. But he started his college career as a walk-on before earning a starting position as a (true) freshman. Kitchens’ first coaching job was as a running backs coach at a Division II school in West Virginia. He kept a low profile for 12 years in the league until his promotion to Browns Offensive Coordinator this past October. Dorsey is willing to put his trust (and his team) into the hands of people with the right attitude and work ethic.
Rob began Rocket Camp in July 2014 with a different business partner. They had both worked at the highest levels on some of the biggest brands in the world. Not long after, they brought me in to help with the creative output of the agency. I had much less (though good) experience, a solid portfolio, and a new baby. I was eager to join and excited about building a company. Not long after, the original partnership dissolved and Rob asked me what I wanted to do next. It didn’t take long for us to decide to keep moving forward, together. We bet on ourselves boldly.
Four years later, we’re still growing because we keep drawing on our experience, relying on our tenacity, and building on our talent. There's no denying that it's a winning combination; one that will keep working as long as we stay true to the things that are most important to us and to our clients. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Rocket Camp in 2019, but I have a good feeling that our approach will yield some exciting results. And I think the same will go for the Brownies.
I'm willing to bet on it.