Tomorrow, June 4, 2016 marks my 20th year in digital media.
Through this adventure, I’ve had the privilege to meet some extraordinary people, build amazing companies and push myself beyond limits I never thought were possible.
I hope to author a book about my experiences and what I’ve learned through this journey, but Lord-willing I have another 20 years ahead with chapters not yet written.
Every success and every failure has defined me. The imperfections and the screw-ups have been just as valuable as the accomplishments. The cumulative collection of these experiences is why I am most excited about the future.
This morning as I reflect on these past two decades, I’ll share a few thoughts that are on my mind.
- HUMAN CAPITAL: There is no greater resource than human capital. Your success and/or failure will ultimately be determined by the people you surround yourself with – their intelligence, moral compass, loyalty and character are requirements to success. Once you have great people in your organization, it is just as difficult to position them in the right seat on the bus.
- INVESTORS: All investor capital is not created equal. Look for situations where you are spending your time managing down and not up. I believe that 247Sports’ resounding success was 100% attributed to our ability to assemble a great Board and investor group that provided wisdom, supported my strategic plan and adequately funded the company from start to finish. I will forever be indebted to William “Bill” King, Stuart McWhorter, Lee Schear, Bobby Burton and Greg Gough.
- COMPETITION: If you plan to be a business leader and/or entrepreneur you better embrace competition. The greater the stakes — and with each round of success — competition increases. I’ve been around a lot of people over the years that are scared to compete because they are scared of failure. Competition pushes us to be our best and is great for the consumer. For whatever reason, I have always loved to compete, and competition has been my primary draw to this industry.
- DATA: First, managers do not spend enough time collecting and studying crucial operating data. I’ve been guilty of this for years. Even when I made data analysis a high priority, I didn’t set up the processes so that division heads where required to understand their respective analytics with the same scrutiny. This is changing. Second, I’ve been in too many organizations where leaders use data to tell the story their selling. Data analysis can only transform an organization when negative data trends are at the forefront of discussions with the same passion and conversation as the data trends that justify actions and make us feel as though we are on the right path.
- ASSHOLES: Just a friendly remainder that there are a lot of them out there in the world. You aren’t going to change them, and they serve a purpose. Your ability to recognize an asshole early in a business relationship can save you a lot of pain and money down the road. Always be on guard. Conversely, there’s a lot of great people and you should do everything you can to keep them in your organization by empowering them and rewarding them with career growth and financial incentives.
Finally … don’t start or run a business trying to “build a legacy.” When its done it’s done. Your lasting legacy is your family. The balance between the two has always been my greatest struggle and temptation – and probably always will be. At least I know it …
To be continued >>>
photo courtesy Nathan Morgan of Nashville Business Journal.