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How Success Happened for Hector 'HECZ' Rodriguez, CEO of OpTic Gaming and Founder of Pine Park

In Rodriguez's eyes, success is all about community.

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While "hard work" might be a noble answer when asked the key to his success, for Hector Rector Rodriguez, it was a bit of luck and a lot of instinct that put him in a position to succeed beyond his wildest dreams.

Hector Rodriguez

Rodriguez started from humble beginnings as a bank teller and worked his way up to achieve success in the mortgage industry. But, when the mortgage industry collapsed, Rodriguez faced setbacks that pushed him to regain financial stability. 

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In the early 2000s, the esports industry was gaining popularity mostly due to YouTube. Rodriguez found himself in the mix of the most well-known players, but he realized that it wasn’t winning that made fans flock to these players fans — it was access, relatability and entertainment. 

He capitalized on that moment. Rodriguez was one of the first players to legitimize the league through content and commerce, creating a viable brand through jerseys and merchandise.

Rodriguez uploaded his first video to his YouTube channel in 2008, giving fans access to the life of these champion players. By creating this global community, his channel grew to nearly 1 million subscribers and now has 100 million accumulated views.

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With a community built up over a decade, Rodriguez’s organization, OpTic Gaming, is widely recognized for its extensive impact pioneering this emerging industry, its passionately engaged global fan base — called the Greenwall — and its astounding record of competitive success. The esports, media and entertainment organization has won over 50 championships and has amassed over 20 million fans worldwide. Rodriguez chronicled the journey the following year in a book titled OpTic Gaming: The Making of Esports Champions.

In addition to his success in gaming, Rodriguez was instrumental in the creation of bass fishing brand Googan Squad in 2016 and he partners with golf media and apparel company Good Good Golf.

Rodriguez credits his successful entrepreneurial ventures to always doing what feels most authentic to him and his community. His latest venture is Pine Park, a cannabis and hemp brand committed to the discovery and development of the industry. As someone who has long been a cannabis user (Pine Park is named after a secret spot in Chicago where Rodriguez and his friends would smoke as teens) and a proponent of legalization, he is adamant that the industry be inclusive and have people of color as leaders. 

Rodriguez is now setting out to make a long-term impact through cannabis and hemp, to make products that are accessible to all and to legitimize the connection of cannabis converging with other cultures and interests.  

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