“Be curious, not critical,” was the advice of Peter Guber at the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission’s recent board room program on eSports. The impressive panel of industry leaders were speaking to an audience filled with impressive Los Angeles business leaders about the rise of eSports (and a brief education on what eSports is), along with how it will impact the various businesses represented.

Be Curious, Not Critical.

This was Guber’s first piece of advice that I found particularly relevant for lawyers when approaching something new, like eSports, or business development, or the idea of blogging/social media, or insert the last thing your marketing professional suggested.

Guber was referring to the judgment we all (yes, including me) carry for something new. In the context of eSports, it could be the criticism that it’s just a bunch of guys sitting in their basement playing video games.

No, eSports is big business, and a business right now with HUGE growth potential. Along with VR, the shared experience is where entertainment is heading. It is reflective of how this generation receives information.

Listening to men well outside the age demographic speak so passionately about what they are learning was inspirational. I’m ready to download Twitch and go on a journey of discovery.

Lawyers are trained from the beginning to be critical, to challenge, to poke holes in any and all arguments. Yet, how much more would you experience if you stepped back and became curious at the new shiny toy in front of you? Going back to Kat Cole’s advice to LMA, why not “just say ‘Yes'”?

The Wild, WILD West

Guber’s second piece of advice that is perfect for lawyers: “You can’t be risk adverse in this business; it’s the wild, WILD West.”

The Internet changed the world. Smart phones changed it further. When you think about the last decade of technological advances versus the decade prior, to the 50 years prior to that, and then compare it to all the technological advances before that … it’s amazing how quickly change is coming at you. No. It is not your imagination. It is coming faster. There’s no time to catch up, it seems. And that’s the point of Guber’s advice.

There is no time to be risk adverse any more, and be successful. Guber wasn’t speaking to a room of lawyers, but to a room of business leaders (here’s a list to LASEC’s board and advisory board. THAT is who was in this room … and me).

The energy was so exciting. To see the whispers and heads nodding around the tables. No one left early. No one was ignoring the panel and obsessively checking and responding to emails. They were engaged and eating it up. You could see them thinking.

My question to you: Are you prepared for your clients who were in that room, or similar rooms, to come back to you for legal advice? Are you ready to say yes?

Yes, it’s your job to make sure your clients work is done within the boundaries of the law, but what they want you to do is push those boundaries to find a way to make their vision happen. Your job is to help them get their products and services to market. The lawyer who can do that faster will win. (Notice, I did not say cheaper.)

Get excited by your clients’ vision. When their passion becomes your passion, YOU will find the way.

It’s okay to not have all the answers.

I was ready to stand up and shout an “Amen!” to this one.

You need to be curious, risk adverse, and know you don’t have all the answers,” advised Guber.

I don’t think he was speaking to the very few lawyers in the room.

And isn’t that the beginning of this all? No one has all the answers. It’s impossible. But we have to move forward, confidently, knowing that while we don’t have the answers, we cannot let that stop us. We get to discover the answers together and along the way.

I binged The Defiant Ones the other week. Watching Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine merge their paths and come together and create was masterful. To see artistry in motion. To see how they found a solution to their eventual challenge (how do you make money in the music business today?) was inspiring. It was energizing.

I know lawyers like this. They are definitely the exception, and not the rule. But they are there. We all know one or two or a dozen. I cannot make them. I can only identify and encourage their passion, and curiosity.

For my legal marketers out there: Identify your curious lawyers. They are rainmakers who don’t always need our assistance, but they will lead us to the next level. We are the Jimmy Iovines while they are the Dr. Dres. We get to collaborate and help them to harness their energy and focus it. THAT is how Beats by Dre came to be.

For my law firm leaders: Be curious as to why your lawyers are curious. No. They are not practicing and looking at the law the same way you are, or the way its always been done. They are looking at it from the perspective of an entrepreneur. Take a deep breath, and take them to lunch. Read what they are reading. Follow them to a meeting. Engage.

We live in a time where the world is changing faster than we can keep up with it. And we don’t have to know everything. I learned more in an hour at the LASEC breakfast than I would have learned in weeks on my own.

I listened to those leading the charge. I allowed their energy to excite me. And now I am curious.

  • Amen, Heather! This is one of the most exciting times we have ever experienced. There is so much going on “out there,” and there is so much to take advantage of that will serve to make our clients’ and our lives better, or more exciting, or stronger, or safer, or more efficient…or so many other words youn and I can think of.

    It is okay to be skeptical and to make sure we are being safe enough to protect that which is important to us, but it’s not okay to sit in judgment of the initiatives and developments others are exhibiting or suggesting and not have a good reason other than you are afraid to do it, or you think it is silly.

    Having the gift of curiosity and being a sponge for learning what is new and different is something for which I am eternally grateful. Having said that, I understand that not everyone comes with those characteristics, which means those that are afraid or skeptical by nature have to really work at these skills. If not, they will watch the world and their clients go by. I’m not sure it’s worth it to hang on to those feelings.

  • Roy Sexton

    Beautifully done. Essential advice.

  • Amen, Heather! This is one of the most exciting times we have ever experienced. There is so much going on “out there,” and there is so much to take advantage of that will serve to make our clients’ and our lives better, or more exciting, or stronger, or safer, or more efficient…or so many other words you and I can think of.

    It is okay to be skeptical and to make sure we are being safe enough to protect that which is important to us, but it’s not okay to sit in judgment of the initiatives and developments others are exhibiting or suggesting and not have a good reason other than you are afraid to do it, or you think it is silly.

    Having the gift of curiosity and being a sponge for learning what is new and different is something for which I am eternally grateful. Having said that, I understand that not everyone comes with those characteristics, which means those that are afraid or skeptical by nature have to really work at these skills. If not, they will watch the world and their clients go by. I’m not sure it’s worth it to hang on to those feelings.