CEO and owner Gary Lee chatted with Markos Papadatos about Dodgers Nation, whose mission is to bring together Dodgers fans from around the globe to learn about and discuss the baseball team.
Dodgers Nation is an LA based small business that covers the Dodgers for over 10 years, and it has been ranked in the Top 50 Baseball websites in the world.
Lee was born and raised in Southern California, and he has developed a passion for helping businesses grow beyond what they thought was possible and achieve their full potential online. What sets his expertise apart from most others is that he doesn’t consult on something he hasn’t already tested and proven himself.
On the concept of Dodgers Nation, he said, “It was basically a combination of experiences I had in email marketing in the poker industry along with the SEO and social media experience I was doing for the Walt Disney Company. I was tasked with holding a bi-weekly training sessions and wanted to show the ripple effect of a social media strategy that mainly benefited SEO efforts in the company. From there, I was able to show some success with the system I created around the Lakers and then eventually, I moved on and replicated the system for the Dodgers.”
He opened up about his job description as CEO of Dodgers Nation. “My main job is to make sure my team doesn’t have an excuse to succeed. Being the only media company actually based in Los Angeles, there’s a level of pride that I have in my team to make sure they show up with the best equipment necessary to cover the Dodgers,” he said.
“I also try to put in place a working environment that encourages creativity, competition and most importantly, learning. I take immense pride in doing my part to shape a new generation of sports journalists that understand how the new world of sports media works. Seeing past team members move on to jobs like the Dodgers, Mets, MLB, ESPN, Spectrum, Bleacher Report and Fox Sports is when I know I’m doing my job right,” he explained.
The digital age
On being a CEO and entrepreneur in the digital age, Lee said, “The truth is that being a business owner in today’s digital world is a challenge every day. Trying to make educated guesses on where to allocate resources is probably the biggest challenge facing any decision maker these days because of all the new technologies popping up. Should I invest time into Snapchat or TikTok or Mastodon.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever be the type of CEO you see on TV, who is kicking his feet up and smoking a cigar. I’m always paranoid that the next technology will be the on to take us out if we don’t stay on top of things,” he added.
On his use of technology in his daily routine, he said, “My daily routine revolves around my family as I try to be as available as possible to my wife and two kids. With that said, I’ve learned to use my phone to help me stay on tasks with reminders and jot notes down when I’m waiting for the kids to finish volleyball practice.”
“As I do less of the video editing and creatives development, I’ve moved from my MacBook Pro to a LTE enabled iPad Pro to help me get through most of the messages on slack, emails on Gmail and strategy notes from analytics. If I had to pick one though, I’d say the one piece of tech that has had the biggest impact on my routine is the new iPad Pro with LTE. It’s given me the freedom to take video calls, catch up on all my emails, and with the recent iOS16, I’m able to multi-app so much more efficiently. It really keeps you focused on the tasks at hand,” he elaborated.
On her future plans with Dodgers Nation, he said, “We’ve had so many ups and downs with Dodgers Nation that I’d just love to experience some consistency for a few years. There’s something to be said about just getting into a routine and polish up the efficiencies in our content work flows. I know it’s a pipe dream though because of all the competition out there, but a entrepreneur can dream, can’t he?”
Regarding his definition of success, he said, “Honestly, I can’t tell you. It’s different for different people. I feel that the inability to understand that definition of success is what drives me to work every day. It’s like chasing a ghost.”
Lee concluded about Dodgers Nation, “I want people to know that there’s no special sauce here that makes Dodgers Nation. It’s been a product of hard work from a diverse staff from mainly the Los Angeles area. There are no series A investments, but instead, this was built out of survival and doubling down on a belief that the son of an immigrant could build a sports media company that covers the rich sports history of Los Angeles culture.”