BroTato Ship: Business Development Lessons from Rob Gronkowski’s Booze Cruise Playbook


Imagine that you are hosting the most epic booze cruise ever.  What would it look like?

Lemon drops.  Glowsticks.  Chicks twerking.  Live hip-hop.  Jagermeister shots.  Your parents?

These are my parents “getting down” at an ice cream parlor in Princeton, NJ last Thanksgiving.  They’re CRAAAZY.


By now, I’m sure you’ve all heard about Rob Gronkowski’s over-the-top bro-fest on the high seas.  While most of the media coverage seems to be focused on deconstructing the societal impacts of “the Gronk” or on enjoying the general debauchery vicariously, I’m primarily interested in learning about how the Gronk can make us all better businesspeople.

Lesson One: Be Authentic

In the professional world, there is a lot of pressure to conform.  Some of it is very real and some of it exists in merely the mind of the professional himself.  While most of us certainly can’t act exactly the same at work as we do when on spring break, we should strive to the true to who we are within professional parameters.  One of the reasons why people like Gronk is because he’s unapologetic about who he is.  The guy brought his parents to a raging boat party and wasn’t concerned about his “street cred.”  That’s pretty cool.

Lesson Two: Broadcast Yourself

Your personality is like a parcel of real estate.  There is no other one exactly like it in the world.  Like real estate, your personality should be an asset on your balance sheet and produce value for you.  This works best if people actually know who you are and what you’re about (see Lesson One).  The goal should be not to have everyone like you, even the Gronk isn’t batting 1.000, but rather to allow the people who are genuinely attracted to you and predisposed to doing business with you to surround you, while allowing the people who generally aren’t to stay away.  While the Gronk  went to pretty elaborate means to showcase his personality in this case, there are lots of simple things we can do to broadcast ourselves.  We can join interest groups or organizations or we can host smaller events like lunch n’ learns or happy hours.  We can play golf with our clients or serve on the board of a local nonprofit.  Me personally?  I like to broadcast myself through public speaking and writing inane blog articles.  Is it working?

Lesson Three: Collaborate With Others

If you’ve spent any time networking, you have probably spent some time with a relative stranger talking shop at a Starbucks or a Corner Bakery.  You probably have asked seemingly pointed questions like “Wh0 is your ideal client?” or “How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?”  Of the conversations you’ve had of this variety, how many of them do you actually remember?  Chances are they’ve all bled together into a unremarkable slurry of hazy memories.  The bad news, your counterparts probably feel the same way about you.

So how do we stand out from the crowd?  One effective way I’ve found of doing this is by looking for collaboration opportunities with the professionals I want to build a stronger relationship with.  Just like Gronk recruited performing artists Flo Rida and Waka Flocka Flame to participate in his event, so too can you find opportunities to collaborate. The key here is making sure that all parties will benefit.  In this case, Gronk was able to provide high profile entertainment for his guests while the performers got great publicity and media coverage that they otherwise wouldn’t have gotten.  Similarly, you might try inviting your networking contacts to work on a joint client meeting, co-write an article, or give a presentation together.  It’s easy to put your best foot forward when you’re at Starbucks, but collaborating on such projects really allow the participants to see each other in a different light.  This often requires much more effort but it is a much more memorable experience and the increased social equity that is built is well worth it.


Imagine that you’re back at your boat party, but this time, you own the yacht.  The sun is setting on the Carribean horizon and you raise a glass skyward.  The glasses of your 100 closest friends rise in unison.  “To Gronk” you say, “We couldn’t have done it without the lessons you taught us.”  Jimmy Buffett’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise” starts playing as the sun fades to black.

All you have to do is reach out and make it happen.



About brianychou

Brian Y. Chou is an Associate Attorney at the firm of Barth Calderon LLP and his practice focuses on asset protection, estate planning, and business succession planning. Mr. Chou assists clients in all stages of life, from the young professional couple that is concerned about estate planning for their minor children, to the wealthy real estate investor who wants to insulate himself and his properties from lawsuits, to the successful business owner who is agonizing about how to transition his company to the next generation. Mr. Chou understands that coming to grips with an impending lawsuit and confronting one’s mortality are typically not high on most clients’ list of things to do and his goal is to make the planning as accessible, digestible and (dare we say it?) enjoyable as possible. Mr. Chou seeks to build lifelong relationships with his clients to ensure that as their personal lives and legal situations evolve, their planning continues to accurately reflect their wishes. In addition to working with clients to protect and transition their assets, Mr. Chou actively seeks to be a resource to his clients in all aspects of their lives. He encourages his clients to contact him with all manner of needs, whether it be a plumber to fix a clogged drain, or a qualified accountant to contest an aggressive property tax reassessment or anything in between. An avid public speaker, Mr. Chou has presented to numerous groups all over Southern California, including University of California Irvine, Cal State Long Beach, the Planned Giving Roundtable of Orange County, and the California Society of Tax Consultants. He is also especially proud of passing the California State Bar Certified Specialists Exam for Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law. Mr. Chou has also obtained his Series 7 & Series 63 Securities licenses and is also a licensed life & health insurance agent. For Mr. Chou, establishing a connection with the community is paramount. To this end, he is active in a number of organizations, including the Estate Planning & Trust Council of Long Beach, Provisors, Business Networking International, and Comprehensive Child Development, a non-profit providing early childhood educational programs for low income families in Long Beach. Brian Y. Chou is a native of New Jersey and the son of Chinese immigrants. After high school, he moved out to the west coast to attend the University of California, Los Angeles, where he received a degree in economics. Upon the completion of his degree, Brian earned a JD/MBA degree from Pepperdine University. During his time at Pepperdine, he participated in a number of activities. Notably, Brian was a literary citations editor for the Dispute Resolution Law Journal, the President of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association, the Vice Magister of Phi Delta Phi Honors Fraternity, and a member of the Moot Court Board. He also worked in the Career Development Office at the Pepperdine School of Law and remains involved with the community there. Before establishing his estate planning practice, Brian worked for a law firm in the Inland Empire specializing in insurance defense and construction defect litigation. Prior to that, he clerked at law firms in West Los Angeles where he participated in the practice of Workers Compensation litigation and general corporate law. He is committed to using his broad range of experiences to build relationships and effectively represent his clients in a way that is thoughtful and pleasant for all parties involved. In addition to his professional achievements, Brian can speak Mandarin Chinese and can understand Cantonese. His interests include: surfing, basketball, tennis, jogging, drawing and cooking.
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