Monthly Archives: January 2013

Positioning Tennis Style

I have never been much of an athlete or paid much attention to athletes. However, recently I was talking with a Tennis professional who made me look at the game of tennis differently. He challenged me to observe how a great tennis player moves around the court always trying to position himself in the best manner possible in relation to the ball and his opponent. What I realized and discovered in this profound conversation was that most people watch a tennis match and the only thing they see is how hard someone hits the tennis ball. They ignore all the things that the player does before the shot is undertaken to best position themselves for success. Next time you watch a tennis match ignore watching the tennis ball and watch how your favorite player glides across the court always seeking to position himself for the best possible opportunity for success.

I learned that newbies to the game of tennis want to hit the ball hard and because of that intense desire they rarely master the fundamentals of the game. In tennis, I learned that position and form are senior to everything else. If you have good positioning and form you can focus on things like placement, spin and eventually power. Bad tennis players ignore positioning and form and their game suffers terribly because of it.

Business is very similar.

I have worked with vendors and distributors for long periods of time before an opportunity presented itself that was exploitable by me. However with every transaction that I was engaged in I was focused on making sure that I was positioning myself and my company with the best probability for success.

An accountant will make you think that business is all about the numbers.
I would argue that there are a ton of things that occur before those numbers start showing up on the cash register.

That is what positioning for success is all about.

Thoughts on Lance Armstrong

Over the last two weeks the media has been obsessed with Lance Armstrong. It is quite confusing to me. After all isn’t Lance Armstrong a creation of the media? Who is more evil, Mr. Armstrong or the media which allowed itself to be duped for at least eight years.

While everyone positions Lance Armstrong as some tragic Greek figure I have to ask the question, when is the media going to start doing their jobs and doing some serious investigative journalism?

Lance Armstrong is a study in propaganda, pure and simple.

On Wall Street, Bernie Madoff was a product of propaganda.

When George W. Bush landed on the USS Lincoln to celebrate the freeing of IRAQ with the famous “Mission Accomplished” banner flying in the background, the ship was actually located 30 miles away from San Diego.
(A beautiful theatrical display of propaganda if there ever was one.)

While the purpose of this post is not to incite partisanship I can think of numerous instances over the last 25 years when political figures have flexed their propaganda muscles to a complicit media.

Will it ever end?

Propaganda is only possible with the complicit use of the media.
It is an issue the media chooses not to address.

The truth matters.
I’d love to think that the media cares about the truth, but my experience is that they do not.

The Lance Armstrong saga could have never occurred if the media was doing its job.

It was the media that made Mr. Armstrong a GOD. They continually inundated the airwaves with the message that he was superhuman and worthy of our adoration. In reality, it turns out he was merely a bicycle rider with a massive ego with evil intentions.

It was the media which forwarded the sound bite discourse, making Mr. Armstrong a masculine version of Mother Teresa because of his troubles with Cancer and helping establish a charitable foundation to assist children with the disease. Propaganda warns us that the collective attention span is virtually nonexistent. So the media used every opportunity to celebritize Mr. Armstrong with imagery that only they could create and promote.

I see the Lance Armstrong saga as an indicator of things to come to anyone who tries to counterfeit authenticity. However, maybe I am being overly optimistic. I’d love to see some political figures skewered ala Mr. Armstrong for playing the same game.

The use of cliches and platitudes is quite effective….if you are targeting the cerebrally challenged.

How many thousands of interviews did Mr. Armstrong give promoting his line of deception?

How many books did he write with the intention of promoting the lie?

How many words were written about him by reporters who refused to do their due diligence?

Where was the drive by media?
The truth matters.
Can I get a witness?

As the media has evolved, so has the ongoing battle for your mind using spin.
“Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?”

I can only hope that with the burial of Lance Armstrongs old image that the media will get the message that they are guilty on all counts of avoiding the truth.

As singer songwriter Paul Simon once wrote, “I don’t believe what I read in the papers. They’re just out to capture my dime.”

The truth matters.

Failure, Failure, Failure, Failure, Success

Business schools are entrusted to teach their students success.

What does it take to be successful in business?

If I try to sum up my experience as an entrepreneur is that you have to be willing to fail before you can really succeed. Most people are not willing to fail. And because of that they become paralyzed with fear that they do not even try.

Our culture is petrified of failure.
Every year people spend millions of dollars on success literature.
Here is the most important question to ponder on your entrepreneurial journey: what did you learn from your experience?

My failures and setbacks have taught me more than my successes.
More importantly, they make me appreciate the experience that much more.
Business for me has become a very passionate adventure of learning to stop doing all the things that people have tried, tested, and found out don’t work.

When you check your ego in at the door and are willing to trust the feedback from the marketplace you are on the right path.
Making the Inc 500 in Two Years

Conventional Wisdom is Worthless When It Comes To Innovation

One of the biggest challenges that most new entrepreneurs have to overcome is recognizing that entrepreneurial wisdom is worthless. Conventional wisdom produces conventional results and who in the world wants that?

In case you’ve been asleep for the last 25 years the world has experienced a technological revolution which is taking no prisoners. People are being more productive as technology makes it easier for us to run faster and jump higher. I can assure you that what is working today in a big, big, way is challenging the conventional wisdom of yesteryear.

Study innovation for any period of time and you have to appreciate the imagination required to do things a different way. Imagination….yeah….that’s the ticket.