Marques Colston has been to the top of the mountain. Colston was a seventh-round pick by the the New Orleans Saints in the 2006 NFL Draft (Hofstra University). By the time he took the field for the last time in 2015, he was a Super Bowl champion and the Saints all-time leader in receptions (711), receiving yards (9,759) and receiving touchdowns (72). Since his retirement, he’s transferred the skillset that made him successful on the field to the business world.
The GM’s Perspective spoke with Colston and we had the opportunity learn about his achievements on the field and how he’s helping others off of it.
The GM’s Perspective: What attributes have you taken from the game into the business world?
Marques Colston: A lot of what made me successful as a player has translated over into the business world. Attributes and behaviors like hard work, dedication, and sacrifice are universal in successful individuals. The one attribute that has helped me understand the investment and entrepreneurship space is what I call “irrational confidence.” Certain individuals have a strong belief in self, supplemented by a work ethic and drive that allows them to overcome odds that rationale says they shouldn’t. The ability to recognize those traits as an investor or exhibit those traits as an entrepreneur are important factors in success.
GMs: Recently, with mentor Lance Johnstone—a former NFL Raiders and Vikings linebacker, you co-created an Executive Education program at Columbia University Business School focused on providing current and former professional athletes the skills and abilities to navigate through the business world confidentially and with the background to prove their worth.
What can this class provide athletes that no one else can?
MC: Participants in the program get the value an Ivy league education from a real world perspective. We designed the program to be both informative and interactive, and participants will be able to evaluate live opportunities.
GMs: What other ventures are you involved in?
MC: I currently run Dynasty Digital, a digital marketing solutions company focused on small to mid-sized companies and DSG, a strategy and execution firm focused at the intersection of sports and technology. I’m also a partner at Delta Venture Partners, a venture development firm, and investor and advisor to a handful of companies across sports and technology.
GMs: It’s rare to witnesses an athlete with such success at the highest of levels leave the game and find another passion that they’re so strong about. Did you have an inkling during your playing days that you would be doing something more?
MC: I began to lay the ground work for the next stage while I was still playing at a high level. It allowed me learn as I went along, while maximizing the height of my platform, as opposed to waiting until my career was over.
GMs: Without a doubt you’ve learned a lot about winning, being a leader and role model. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned during your athletic career?
MC: The most important lesson I’ve learned is that the best team wins, but they don’t necessarily have to be the most talented. It has taught me to find the teammates that can reciprocate value and build the best team in any given venture.
GMs: You’ve obviously found an area where athletes may be lacking in knowledge or experience. Do you think the NFL or professional sports does a good enough job of preparing their players for life after the game or at the very least providing them the tools for it?
MC: I believe the leagues and Player Associations have done a good job of providing resources, especially in the last decade. Investing and entrepreneurship from the venture perspective was one area that I experienced a learning curve, and have had conversations with other players that have experienced the same. It’s about supplementing what’s currently available and offering another option.
GMs: You are going to inspire countless people with all the work you’re doing. What’s one message you could leave the high school, collegiate, and/or professional player?
MC: My message would be the same for every group. The opportunity to play this game is fleeting, so enjoy every minute of it. At the same time, arm yourself with information that will help you use the platform you’re working to build to benefit you the rest of your life.