Forbes - ... It is easy to identify the truly successful people that have “made it” in these fields. There are thousands of articles written on top athletes and influencers who climbed to the top of their respective industries and monetized their talents, content, and status. However, how many articles are written about the aspiring creators or athletes working their way through the gauntlet of relevancy?
When I think of this never-ending competition, it is interesting (and more relatable) to learn about the people still fighting their way to the top and any advice they might share during their journey. One person that comes to mind is Edward Farrer, better known to the internet as Barstool Eddie. When I first met Eddie, I was struck by how similar he was in person to how he comes across on podcasts: good-natured, thoughtful, and a great conversationalist. He has the kind of off-the-charts emotional intelligence that led me to erroneously conclude that his success was natural and pre-ordained. But after spending some more time together, I quickly realized how difficult it has been for him to fight his way into relevance and, more importantly, to maintain it.
Barstool Eddie’s fight through the gauntlet of relevancy
Long before he was co-hosting shows with one of the dons of digital content, Dave Portnoy, Eddie launched a podcast over a decade ago with a couple guys from his neighborhood. They were young, no-name creators recording out of his parents’ basement with no clear line to success. But one thing that Eddie knew from the start was that the most important thing they could do was to stay relentlessly consistent with their content and distribution.
“I never took too much stock of who was listening, or how many people were listening at that point,” Eddie explains. “To me, it was just about being there, creating something no matter what—week after week. Because we knew it then just as much as I know it today—if you ever stop, if you ever take a break, your audience won’t be back. I needed to remain relevant. And I knew that every time I got behind the mic, I was getting better. Getting better and getting ready for whatever big break would hopefully come my way.”
Eventually, Eddie would get the break he needed. As a newly minted college grad, Eddie had heard that the local Chicago Barstool Sports office was going to be playing in a nearby charity kickball game. After some necessary cajoling from his friends, Eddie made a quick decision that he would do whatever it took to meet them and make a good impression. After an internship with Howard Stern, Eddie spent five years creating free content for Barstool as an unpaid intern, putting in the kind of “sweat equity” he attributes to getting him where he is today.
After paying his dues as an unpaid intern, Eddie leveraged his talent and professional tenacity to become the host of Barstool podcasts such as "The Dave Portnoy Show,” "The Dog Walk," and the co-host of "Red Line Radio." All the while, he helped to formally establish Barstool's Chicago office. As one of the featured talents within a sports and entertainment media company that has catapulted to the forefront of legalized sports betting and other exciting, emerging industries, Eddie is very well-positioned to both remain and thrive in one of the most competitive industries on the planet. Eddie’s story is a great example for all aspiring entertainers out there, which is made even more interesting by the parallels between his career and that of a professional athlete.
Speaking of relevancy, anytime some no-name writes anything defamatory about this company, the losers can't wait to grab their pitchforks and round up the troops.
But when something positive gets printed it's like a tree falling in the woods.
Well that stops today God damn it.
Our guy Eddie; our rock, the heart and soul of Barstool Chicago gets featured in one of the biggest financial publications in the world and the whole world is gonna hear about it as far as I'm concerned.
I don't know who Nick LoMaglio is, he sounds like a nice compagno by the looks of his name, but he couldn't be any more right about Eddie here.
Woody Allen once said that "80 percent of success in life is just showing up". I hate the man, but I love the quote.
99% of people look for any and every excuse to talk themselves out of doing something. Especially if it involves effort and/or risk.
Which is why actually doing it, whatever it may be, even getting if it's as simple as getting out of bed, instantly betters your chances.
When Dave sent Neil out here to launch Barstool Chicago almost 11 years ago, we were a fledgling company. And by fledgling, I mean a metaphorically malnourished stray dog. If Barstool as a whole was a malnourished stray dog, then Barstool Chicago was its abandoned and neglected runt of the litter.
We faced an uphill battle for a while until Dan finally came aboard full time. Once that happened, momentum immediately started to build. The Blackhawks dynasty hit its stride. They played the Bruins in the Stanley Cup which was great for, you guessed it, "relevancy". Jay Cutler jumped aboard and supported the fuck out of us, as did a new Cub named Anthony Rizzo. I was filming Dan do anything and everything on a regular basis (to this day some of the funniest stuff we ever did never saw the light of day which is a travesty), while he wrote 10+ blogs a day, and I lined stuff up for us to do and compiled smokeshows. We eventually became just too swamped.
This kid "Eddie" used to bombard the Barstool Chicago gmail with emails on a weekly basis offering his services. We had zero budget, no office, and nothing for him to really do since Dan was the sole writer and all the content behind Barstool Chicago then, so as great an offer it was, and as great a kid Eddie seemed nothing worked out.
And then Greg Olson's Charity Kickball Game happened.
I'll never forget that weekend for a few reasons.
1- Dave lost a huge bet with Dan. Because the Hawks came back and beat the Bruins in ridiculous fashion to win the cup, Dave was forced to wear full hockey pads and full Blackhawks uniform the entire weekend.
We went to this place American Junkie (r.i.p.) and people kept mistaking him for Marion Hossa.
2- After we closed down this bar Municipal, the night before the tournament, some of the Blackhawks took Feitelberg out and put him in a body bag. He said he woke up in an alley behind 7-11 with a box of cereal. But he was in such shambles that he no-showed at our games the next morning. Well, he didn't exactly "no-show", he strolled in around 1 in the afternoon (in a Canadian tuxedo mind you) when our first game was 10 am. Dave was not very happy and told him he was off the team and (probably) fired.
Luckily, a young stoolie that resembled Thor was there to watch and root us on, so we plucked him from the crowd to play for us in John's place.
Because Dan was such an asshole and held Dave to his bet, we had a guy in full hockey pads and uniform on our team, and because Feitelberg is a horrible selfish teammate, we had some kid nobody knew subbing in.
We actually had a pretty good turnout of supporters, one of which was Eddie. We found out Eddie was there because he came up to Dan and I in between our first and second game and introduced himself. Putting a name with the face finally seemed to make us like him even more. We shot the shit for a while, he told us about how he had discovered Barstool, his future aspirations, and how bad he wanted to work. Dan assured him that as soon as there was a spot for him, it was all his.
Then fate stepped in.
Dave, Kmarko, and I were far and away the best players on our squad and kept our team steamrolling towards the finals. A couple matches away from the championship Greg Olson began to get nervous and shit his pants. He came over to where we were dismantling a team of nice ladies that were there supporting a charitable organization when Greg "reminded" everybody about the "jail rule". Unbeknownst to any of us, the Olson kickball tourney had some outrageous rule that if somebody made a $250 donation to the charity, you could send a player from the other team "to jail" for two (might have been three) innings.
Greg announced that he was paying to send Dave and I to jail in hopes for our team to lose. Dave bitched up a storm but was ultimately overruled and told to hop on a golf cart. The golf cart whisked us away to where they had all the couches, beers, and food tent setup. We had to sit there for a few innings until we were allowed to go back. As you can imagine, Dave did not take this lying down and made sure everybody within earshot heard about it.
When we returned to the game, there was Eddie, standing on the pitcher's mound rolling boulders at the opposing team. Dan told us Eddie was the new pitcher because he had killed it while we were gone.
So from that point on Eddie was on the team. Literally.
We went on to face Greg's team in the championship and were robbed due to an all-time screw job as well as Gaz being struck out multiple times by Greg's incredibly sweet elderly mother.
We lost the tourney, but we had gained a new Barstool Chicago teammate. And his name was Eddie. Or "Intern Eddie" as he lovingly went by on the blog.
Eddie did fucking everything we threw at him. But he did it better than we had done it, or envisioned doing it.
For example, we tasked him with handling posting the smoke shows every day, a tedious and monotonous task. And instead of scrambling to find a girl to ask permission from, then explain what it meant, then compile the blog, Eddie formalized the whole thing. He put together a spreadsheet, which we called "The Chicago Smoke Database" and professionally organized the entire thing. (No bullshit, I think he still has this thing going to this day). He did this with everything he touched, and was constantly throwing ideas at us on how to do things better, as well as pitching new stuff.
I had absolutely zero idea he also had his own show, which he did with equally underappreciated future intern Danny, the entire time. In fact, I didn't know about it until about a year before the Chicago crew went full-time.
He did this, and the Barstool stuff, for free, all while balancing his full-time job.
The first step is the hardest part, and after that, it's all about continuing to show up. Consistency is so important in so many things in life. Mainly because of what Eddie said, "If you stop showing up, (or drop off), people move on".
The fact Eddie grinded out his "Neighborhood Guys" podcast with Danny, day in and day out, for YEARS, without worrying about download numbers, listener engagement, etc. is testament to the kind of work ethic and attitude the guy has.
He didn't just "get here". He wasn't lucky. He clawed and begged for an opportunity. And when there wasn't one, he found a way to make one. That's called ambition and ingenuity.
One of my favorite quotes comes from the Roman philosopher Seneca, and goes-
“Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity".
That's Eddie's kickball moment. And he built upon that chance of getting his foot in the door by working his ass off for years, with no recognition, (or pay), no pat on the back, nothing. But he knew what he wanted, believed in himself, and made it happen.
And I respect the absolute fuck out of him for it.
He is one of the extremely few people I have met in this company that hasn't let Barstool go to his head.
He is legitimately the exact same person today that he was when I met him on the kickball field back in 2014.
He treats everybody, strangers and friends alike, with a smile and politeness.
As the article said, and it couldn't have been more dead-on, "He has the kind of off-the-charts emotional intelligence that led me to erroneously conclude that his success was natural and pre-ordained.". I couldn't be more jealous of a character trait, and couldn't agree more.
Eddie has the innate ability to relate to people from all walks of life. To get them to lower their guard and trust him like they've known him forever. That's something you can't just learn, and something insanely important to somebody that talks to other people for a living.
I've had the privilege of getting to know Eddie's inner circle by playing bocce with them and they all confirm: Eddie is the kind of guy you'd take a bat to somebody's head for without asking a question. Not that I could ever see that happening because I've never heard anybody say a bad word about the guy, or him say a bad word about anybody else.
By now you get the point. Eddie is a rare gem in today's world. It's fitting that his favorite music comes from the doo-wop days of the 1950's and '60's because he seems more from that time, than today.
They don't make them like Eddie anymore.
p.s. - I am as happy as you all are that the author chose to leave any communist innuendo out of this piece. #fairandbalanced
p.p.s. - while you're at it, listen to us discuss this article on Eddie's Dog Walk: Free Swim