I first met Lee Hackett in our podcast studio in Singapore.
He was passing through Singapore on his way to Australia to invest in a martech startup he had been working with for some time. His demeanour was confident and at-ease. Many studio guests are phased by the bright lights and the “On Air” signs, focusing more on what they’re experiencing rather than connecting with the people inside the studio. Like the first ever public speaking gig, they are relieved to get to the end of the recording in one piece. Lee, however, was in the moment. He was patient both asking and answering questions on air. He was happy to let the conversation roll for over 1 hour.
Here was somebody very much at home interacting with new faces, comfortable with pressure.
Every kid dreams of becoming a professional footballer, few succeed.
From age 5, the competition is intense as selections narrow down potential candidates with every year passing. And if you come from a city like Liverpool, famous for football and The Beatles of course, growing up in the 1970s, the sheer lack of career paths available for a new generation of talent makes competition for those places extreme.
Lee Hackett is an ex-professional footballer who turned his athletic mindset to the world of business.
His business history is impressive. From having zero academic experience in business, he grew and eventually sold 3 businesses. Each business generated $10m+ in annual revenues. At the core of his role to each business story is his ability to sell. In Lee’s own words this talent comes up from growing on the streets of Liverpool, a British city with strong Industrial roots. You have to learn to read people fast, adapt to challenging situations and empathize with strangers.
Once an athlete always an athlete. If there’s one thing Lee loves it’s process and challenge. He recently told me of his goal to run a sub 40 minute 10k. Every project, every client, every deal for Lee like training towards a defined outcome is a process. It’s a process that could take months or even years. One deal Lee told me about had an 18 month lead cycle. Not many CEOs can build funnels with that much patience.