The Art of Being Yellow

Want to stand out? Take a page from Jesse Cole’s book.

Jesse Cole, Savannah’s resident Willy Wonka of baseball, is not someone who recedes easily into the background. As vibrant and colorful as the yellow tuxedo he’s made his trademark, Cole has turned the skeptics into supporters with the Savannah Bananas and their unique one-diamond circus of madness and showmanship. 

As you’d expect from such a flamboyant figure, his new book “Find Your Yellow Tux” isn’t your average work of motivational self-help struggling to be seen on bookstore shelves. Starting with the fact that you won’t find it on bookstore shelves. But you might find it at the mattress shop.

Carolina Mattress out of Columbia, South Carolina, reached out to me asking if they could place a bulk order to give one out to anyone who buys a mattress,” said Cole. “If a mattress company becomes one of my biggest retailers, that will be hilarious. I’d love that.”

The book itself stands out because of its central message: If it’s normal, do the opposite. Cole found his own “yellow tux” by turning baseball on its head, stripping away some of the tradition to make room for everything from baby races to players that perform choreographed dance routines between innings.  

 

"I don’t know how they found the book. I’m not going to sell a million copies; I understand that and I didn’t do it for that."

 

Of course, just because Cole’s yellow tux was a literal yellow tux doesn’t mean everyone else’s has to be. Over the course of the book’s 11 chapters he outlines how companies from Apple to Disney found success by gambling big on their own yellow tux, that ‘X’ factor that made them different from everyone else.

“It’s one of those things that not everyone knows exactly what it means,” said Cole. “What makes you different? What makes you stand out the most?”

And of course woven throughout the business lessons and motivation there’s no shortage of Cole’s personality and character. Like the portion where he recounts some of the meanest tweets that followed the announcement of the Bananas’ name (“The single, most ridiculous, insulting, hideous, embarrassing, outlandish name for a baseball team. You’ll be giving away tickets to keep the morale of the team up!”) the section that you’re supposed to read while blaring Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” or the fact that the whole book opens with Cole’s eulogy.

“I don’t think a lot of people expected that,” Cole laughed. 

Writing a book might seem like a tall order for a guy who’s already running a two-state entertainment empire (in addition to the Bananas, Cole’s company Fans First Entertainment owns the Gastonia Grizzlies) but for Cole it was all part of the process. And it started with a speech.

“I was asked to give a keynote about a year and a half ago in New Jersey at a ProfitCon event… I gave this speech in front of 200 business professionals, mostly accountants and people in finance; people who had nothing to do with baseball. Literally nothing. At the end I was blown away – they gave me a huge standing ovation and people were coming up to me after saying they’d never thought about business that way. This resonated with a group of people I never thought it would – so from that point I was like, ‘This is a story.’”

And the response to his book has been overwhelming for Cole – while he was expecting it to be big among younger entrepreneurs, he’s finding his book resonating with retirees, and people from as far away as Australia and Africa have been snapping up copies of the book on Amazon. 

“I don’t know how they found the book,” he said. “I’m not going to sell a million copies; I understand that and I didn’t do it for that. But I’ve been blown away by the sales and bulk orders and stuff. It’s been a fun process.”

“Find Your Yellow Tux” is available on Amazon, FindYourYellowTux.com, at Savannah Bananas games and of course wherever finer mattresses are sold.

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