In the latest episode of Unbreakable CEO, Spartan founder and CEO Joe De Sena wrestles with some agonizing decisions as his company faces unthinkable challenges. How does an events business survive … without events?! By pivoting, and transitioning to a content machine.
We have assembled our 13 favorite Joe quotes from episode 3 — some motivating, some hilarious, and some ridiculous, but all entertaining. To watch episodes 1 and 2, and to check out the best quotes from those shows, click here and here.
Click on the timestamps after each quote to watch them in real time, and watch the episode in its entirety above.
“We are a marketing and media company now.” (0:26)
With events being cancelled and the COVID-19 pandemic worsening, Joe had to pivot — and fast — from an events company to a marketing and media company. Thus, Unbreakable TV, and everything that comes with it, was born.
“I could have robbed a bank, maybe.” (1:09)
Joe ponders this option when reflecting on what, if anything, he could have done differently to protect the company — and avoid furloughs — as races continued to get cancelled. Luckily he came to his senses before acting on this drastic measure. You have to admire the drive, though.
WATCH NOW: Unbreakable CEO, Episode 1
“Who would buy a f***ing ticket?” (3:32)
Joe shares this sentiment with a colleague in a dire, painfully honest moment. Who, he wonders, would buy a race ticket with the country in lockdown? It was this realization, and acknowledgement, that helped him strategically adapt and pivot, ensuring the company’s sustained relevance and livelihood.
“It’s great that we’re back here, because we’re basically starting over. Twenty years of work, vanished.” (7:45)
Heartbreaking. Spartan has been in existence for 10 years, but Joe likes to say it’s been 20 years in the making. In an effort to save the company amidst these unprecedented circumstances, Joe returned to Pittsfield, VT — where it all started — for some space and inspiration.
“What was awesome about it was, at least for those first 10 days, every man and woman [was] for themselves. Make your decision. Fail, succeed, doesn’t matter. We don’t have time. FFIO: F***ing figure it out.” (8:41)
In the early days of COVID-19, in those darkest hours, it was chaotic and scary. At the same time, it was oddly liberating and freeing. Employees were entrusted to make decisions, for better or worse, in the interest of time and necessity. F***ing figure it out!
WATCH NOW: Unbreakable CEO, Episode 2
“Somehow, somehow, my marketing team decided that I was gonna do four workouts a day.” (8:57)
Sure, Joe. Blame it on us. It’s not like you’re a nutcase, or anything.
OK, so this isn’t really a quote, and it’s certainly not unique to Joe, but we just love how he says it, exhausted, in the wee hours of the morning. We see Joe’s exclusive a.m. routine, after waking up at an ungodly hour. Turns out he is human, after all. (We didn’t know he gets tired, or even sleeps.)
“My world has fallen apart. I’m closed down in 45 countries, I’ve got to furlough 75 percent of our staff. We are in the social un-distancing business.” (9:40)
Another brutally honest moment from Joe who, despite being an eternal optimist, can’t hide the fact that this situation is devastating for the company, on every level.
“I’m a nutcase.” (9:54)
See, even he admits it.
“I’m waking the kids up, which is … I need a hand grenade.” (10:28)
This is another perfect opportunity to plug Joe’s next book, No Bullsh*t Parenting: The Spartan Guide to Raising Healthy, Resilient, Gritty Kids, which will hit bookstores later this year. He doesn’t really use hand grenades to wake his kids up, we assure you.
Round 2. Unlike the previous one earlier in the episode, this one is more exasperated. Sometimes, you just have to throw your hands in the air and say “f***” … and then move forward.
“A great way to escape reality, the reality of this virus, is to work and have your head down.” (12:22)
Great, practical advice that applies to every situation, in every walk of life, regardless of circumstance. It’s especially fitting right now.
“I have no f***ing idea. I’m taking it one day at a time.” (12:46)
What is his next move, as we strive to return to normalcy? Not even he knows. Stay tuned.
Unbreakable CEO airs Wednesdays at 11 a.m. on Spartan’s YouTube channel.