Making Something From Nothing: Scott Savlov Of The Path Here Podcast On How To Go From Idea To Launch
An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis
Be nice at all times. Despite your desire to be on top or to make your product the best, just be nice to others. Even greet everyone every day with a smile. The hard work and drive will bring lots of companions if you are nice.
As a part of our series called “Making Something From Nothing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Scott Savlov.
Scott Savlov is a legendary figure in the worlds of TV and sports entertainment, having worked as a producer and director of sports programming and television shows. His catalog includes more than 15 shows (hundreds of hours’ worth of TV) including The Ryder Cup, VH1’s Fairway to Heaven, Golf Magazine’s Under Pressure on CBS Sports, and The Omega Masters Celebrity Pro- Am. In 1996, Scott founded his own company, Savlov Consulting, a full-service sports, entertainment, promotion and television production company. Because of his long career in sports and television entertainment, Scott has developed lasting and deep friendships with people all over the industry, which he holds extremely dearly. Throughout his career, Scott heard from friends and family that his conversations were funny, informative, and insightful. In 2021, he decided to act on that feedback and develop a podcast featuring these conversations, and The Path Here was born.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?
I was born in Brooklyn and grew up in East Brunswick, New Jersey. Luckily for me, I had two very loving and inspiring parents, an older sister who is very smart and very patient, and an abundance of friends in the neighborhood. I worked hard in school and like a lot of kids, I loved staying active through sports. I played every sport I could growing up and over time started studying sports until I was able to start covering the NBA for WPST, my local radio station, at age 16. At age 20, I began working as an on-air television sportscaster and weatherman at the CBS affiliate in Phoenix, Arizona.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I started doing sports broadcasting at 16. Some years later, I had a chance to have lunch with one of my childhood heroes, Walter Cronkite. After I described some of my successes and failures in the sports television space, Cronkite said something I’ve never forgotten; “Treat everyone with the same level of integrity you wish you would be treated with.” Since then, in every success or failure along the way, I want people to feel as though I care, and to know that I put everything into each effort with tremendous passion and consideration.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I have several favorite movies. Some I’ve watched too many times and know all the dialogue by this point. I have a propensity to use those lines in different life experiences. Somehow, they always just seem to apply correctly. Leave the Gun, take the cannoli.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. There is no shortage of good ideas out there. Many people have good ideas all the time. But people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. Can you share a few ideas from your experience about how to overcome this challenge?
Over the course of my career, I have witnessed the dot com era and of course the the Silicon Valley entrepreneur era we’re currently living through. In the late 1990s, I was a consultant to Sun Microsystems. One day, I was driving back from a golf retreat with some members of Sun’s senior management. On the way back, I overheard a conversation on the car phone between Steve Jobs and one of Sun’s executives discussing the latest news with their companies and the other areas of their lives. Their friendly banter resonated with me, and showed me that whether talking with competitors, allies, friends or foes, you can always have respect and friendliness toward one another. Believing in the success of your ideas and taking pride in what you’ve built is essential, but it doesn’t have to come at the loss of courtesy. In hindsight, I feel like I was in the presence of the Ford and Edison of that time.
Often when people think of a new idea, they dismiss it saying someone else must have thought of it before. How would you recommend that someone go about researching whether or not their idea has already been created?
It sounds simple, but it is really easy to look things up on Google or other search engines. I’d always start there, but, if you are truly passionate about delving into a space, consume any and all information you can. Attack your new idea with a passion and keep that passion throughout every stage of the building process. If you don’t believe in your idea, why would anyone else?
For the benefit of our readers, can you outline the steps one has to go through, from when they think of the idea, until it finally lands in a customer’s hands? In particular, we’d love to hear about how to file a patent, how to source a good manufacturer, and how to find a retailer to distribute it.
I am not a creator of consumer retail products. That said, I have been involved with many product launches in that space. From the point you have a product, label, naming rights, copyrights, even patent on product, find the distribution channel that will be able to grow your product in multiple stages. First year development, three years in, five years in, and so on. If you are creating a product with sole intention of flipping it in 18–36 months, you have a completely different, more aggressive strategy. If you want your product to be picked up and distributed with a long play, then you need to know what your competitors are doing and create individuality and very competitive pricing. What makes you stand out, and why is your product superior? If you can answer those questions, then distribution will take your call, or better yet, they’ll be calling you.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Started Leading My Company” and why?
It’s funny, when answering the question I think, “if only I knew when starting this project what I know now. Here are five pieces of knowledge I wish I had known in the past:
- Don’t do anything you aren’t passionate about. Too much time gets wasted on going down roads that aren’t worth it in the end.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance. It isn’t an indictment on your intelligence to ask for help.
- Show some humility as you gain success. No one likes a sore winner. The first time you fail, everyone will gladly kick you on your way down.
- Be nice at all times. Despite your desire to be on top or to make your product the best, just be nice to others. Even greet everyone every day with a smile. The hard work and drive will bring lots of companions if you are nice.
- It is ok to recognize other people’s success. Too much time is wasted wanting to be better than someone else or to win. You will still get there if you are good at what you do. When you do win, it’ll be more fun, and even your competitors will want to congratulate you if you were personable along the way.
Let’s imagine that a reader reading this interview has an idea for a product that they would like to invent. What are the first few steps that you would recommend that they take?
Identify what you think people need. Identify why they need it, and how much other things like it cost. Once you identify those points, have fun brainstorming on all the applications and ways your product will succeed. Then, determine what you need to do so you don’t fail. But know that it’s ok to fail! Believe in yourself and your product. You will figure out how to pivot. Be observant to the marketplace. Too much time is spent with tunnel vision on one idea while others are just out of reach. Lastly, take a breath and enjoy what the experience is all about.
There are many invention development consultants. Would you recommend that a person with a new idea hire such a consultant, or should they try to strike out on their own?
I am a consultant, so of course, I believe in the value of consultants. But make no mistake, I take more pride in the work I do for myself. Create your path and direction. Once your limitations become obvious, take some time to look into finding the right consultants who can help take you to another level.
What are your thoughts about bootstrapping vs looking for venture capital? What is the best way to decide if you should do either one?
Always try to take your idea as far as you can go. Investment always has a burn rate that takes a piece of your success away from you. It’s never bad to have someone else’s money backing you but, sometimes their terms and their urgency can stymie your productivity. Here’s a golf analogy: When others are watching you and you feel their presence, you may tighten your grip on the club and make a mistake. When you are relaxed, the swing is easy and effortless, and you have a much better chance at success. Get yourself to that happy zone without undo pressures. Your creativity and your ability to work with others will be dramatically better.
Ok. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
Over the course of my career, I have raised well over $25 million dollars for various charities, and it’s a blessing to know that my efforts to raise that money have affected many people’s lives for the better. But I want to share another, simpler example; Years ago, my family and I were in downtown San Diego, and a homeless man asked me for money for food. I took him to a nearby fast food restaurant and bought him a full meal. My reward was the smile on his face his knowing that someone actually cared. Being nice in every day, interpersonal moments can be just as rewarding as writing big checks.
You are an inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
Smile. Say hello to strangers. When people smile back, you have created a change in their demeanor for a moment. I would rather impact one person by being the guy that said hello, or held the door, or just smiled than be the person that is in their own head and mean to others.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
Well, I created a show called The Celebrity Bucket List, so I kind of have a unique sense of how to answer this. I would like to sit with Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk. I wouldn’t ask them to invest in some business of mine, I would like to know what’s on their bucket list. I’ve found that sometimes for people like that, the answer is less lofty than you’d expect, and more like “Rosebud” in Citizen Kane. It’s not always some really expensive car or plane or boat that they’re waiting to check off their bucket list. I love seeing people get silly and have fun. So, if I had a moment to sit down with either of those two, my private time with them would have to embrace humor and storytelling.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.
Thanks so much for speaking with me.
Making Something From Nothing: Scott Savlov Of The Path Here Podcast On How To Go From Idea To… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.