How excited would the average candy lover feel if you handed them a regular piece of milk chocolate? I think the level of excitement would be relatively low. What about if you gave them a glob of peanut butter? Not excited for that either, you say?
Yet, by some estimates, the Reeses Peanut Butter Cup is the top Halloween candy in the United States. Separately, Peanut Butter and Chocolate are your run of the mill staple products for your cupboard. But when these two are blended together, it creates a unique product that sells more than $500 million worth of product.
Blending two distinct, quality and separate items is a formula for success.
My nephew Mikey Nania experienced this firsthand. He has had a love for the New York Jets football team since he could remember. Mikey would study every game with intense detail. My cousin Vivian and her husband Mike encouraged his passion but they would acknowledge that they were concerned that his love for the Jets, and sports in general, would distract him from his studies. He excelled in math and his parents didn’t want to see him slip behind in his studies because of his passion for sports. His excess time in his room studying and watching sports was a concern for his parents as they fretted over how to approach this.
But while they were worrying, Mikey was writing. He developed an interest in his early teenage years and a penchant for scribing stories about his favorite team. But they weren’t your typical rah-rah fluff stories. His stories were outside of the norm as they focused on a stats-driven approach that began to make people take notice. As a sophomore in high school, Nania began posting his articles on blogs such as Gang Green Nation and his work started turning the heads of fans as well as other writers. At one point, one of the Jets beat reporters got caught using some of Mikey’s work without giving proper credit.
For Mikey, school was never interesting. He knew what he loved, he was developing his expertise and passion, and he has the stubborn trait that runs in our family. So he graduated high school, tried a year of community college, but never stoped writing and studying every Jets game. And when I say studying, it’s the type of study that would make his history teacher ask why he couldn’t study like this for her class. Hours upon hours of watching footage for specific, detailed analytics? The amount of detail that went into his work would make the professional scouts proud.
But why wouldn’t he do this in school? Simple. He didn’t care about what they were teaching. Those studies didn’t go towards his passions or his skillsets. But combining the Jets and Math? It’s the Reeses Peanut Butter Cup of sports journalism. Robby Sabo had been following the work of Nania for a few years when they decided to team up to create Jets X-Factor- a membership site to blend film study and analytics to bring the Jets fandom an inside look that even the team itself couldn’t provide.
The blending of skills in many aspects is what makes Nania so unique. On a macro level, he learned to combine his love for the Jets and math. But on a micro level, he has managed to go deeper. In the world of sports scouting, you have the stats people and the film people. Because of his love of the study, Nania blends both for a perspective that is unmatched.
And because of his ability to blend, he created his own world where the possibilities are exciting and endless. A uniquely nuanced paid membership geared towards a rabid fan base in the nations biggest city? Can you say potential? If the Jets were smart (lets not assume they are as they almost suffered through a winless season in 2020), they would make an offer for him to bring his unique blend into their staff to give them a viewpoint that is most certainly needed.
But before he reached the age of twenty one, Nania showed that by focusing on the combination of passion and skillset creates a viewpoint that stands alone as well as stands out. And being that both of these topics- the Jets and math- are extreme passions for Mikey, the odds of success are so much greater because not only is he one of the few (if any) equipped for this work but his passion for it is so deep that he created a niche career that already has him far ahead of the curve.
So as we like to do- let’s point it back to you. What are the two (or possibly three) things that you bring together in a unique way that allows you to stand out? And if you aren’t there yet, what do you think are two things you can bring together to create the unique blend like Mikey did.
I’d love for you to hit reply and tell me your answers to this question!