I thought the Bay Area would be a great spot for me.There are just so many opportunities out here. I've got my mind on tech funds and venture capital funds. That's what I want to get acquainted with. In fact, my financial team has already started laying some of that groundwork.
My boss Joe Lacob is a living example. He told me, "That's how I bought the team, through venture capital." I want to follow in his footsteps.
That's why I'm thinking ahead. The salary you give up by signing in a state with income tax, or in a city that offered you less money, can be recouped later on if you connect with the right people, put in the hours and invest in the right way. There's a billion-dollar company being built every couple of weeks out here.
Love, love, love the neighborhood. Twitter is just down the street. I rolled past Facebook the other day, near Palo Alto. I'm like, That's crazy -- they're right here?! Joe Lacob told me that Silicon Valley execs are always in our locker room.
Athletes like tech guys, just like they like us. They just don't know that I want to do what they do -- at least not yet. Guys like Larry Ellison sit courtside at all our games. Dude, Larry Ellison! I'm his biggest fan.
I look up to Jamal Mashburn too. He first did the franchising thing, which I'm not really into, but then he started a venture capital group. Again, that's one of the reasons I wanted to come to the Bay Area -- people here are doing this kind of thing every day.
I'm putting in the work. During the lockout two years ago, I interned with Bank of America Merrill Lynch. I got to follow a venture capitalist, who took me to three meetings, including one with the NFLPA; they had an app they were testing out. I was amazed -- the guy could listen to a pitch and then break down what worked or what was wrong in a matter of minutes.
And I'm always learning. My home page? WSJ.com. I pick up Forbes when I travel, and just the other day I read about how all the NFL owners got their wealth. The Jags owner is a beast: worked at an auto-parts company, figured out how to make bumpers efficiently, then made bumpers for Ford and Toyota. I tweeted it.
I'm seeing that bird everywhere. A few weeks ago, First Round Capital set up a dinner for me and some execs from Twitter, Facebook, Wanelo, Path and two venture capital groups. They talked about how I can improve with social media and connect more with fans. Athletes are a different product than entertainers. We're monitored more.
A lot more. I was on Twitter early, but I had to get off because it's hard tweeting and playing in Philly. I have a brand consultant who said we should change my handle from @MindofAI9. I don't know what my business manager did to get it, but he gave me @Andre as a gift last Christmas.
Yeah, I'm a techie. I have two phones and I'm really into service apps. I was on Uber a long time ago. I was telling my business manager: Yo, you gotta get into this! It's the perfect thing for athletes because we travel so much.
My favorite stocks? My business manager lets me play with money in an E-Trade account. We killed it one day with Groupon, killed it with LinkedIn, made some money when Nike split, made some money with a Nike competitor. Netflix! They were ahead of the curve when it came to streaming, and the stock just shot up.
My elevator pitch to a Silicon Valley type? I would say: I'm at your level, but I just chose a different arena. I have the work ethic, drive, mental toughness and passion to be successful, even if it's just an ice cream stand on the corner. Now I just have to pick up your lingo.