Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ellis Redding

Morgan Freeman's "Red" from Shawshank was worried.

He was, after all, a man you went to see when you needed things. He knew life outside the prison walls was very, very different. Paraphrasing, he mentioned "people can just open the Yellow Pages and get anything they need".

If you're an entrepreneur or in a pure new business development role, it's hard not to feel like Ellis "Red" Redding sometimes. Even compared to 10 years ago, buyers can make a few phone calls and- by the time they get back from the restroom- have a dozen vendors doing synchronized cartwheels in the lobby.

Your job as the entrepreneur or salesperson becomes to either create unmanifested demand or consistently find that needle in the haystack. And if your on someone's payroll and fail to do either quickly, you'll be off their payroll soon.

I've lived it for 20 years with all the requisite bumps and bruises.

People want results and they want them now.

Turnover in Sales dwarfs any other line of work I'm aware of. Sales happens to be the default career for many. That said, there are many bad salespeople out there and they, rightfully, are typically jettisoned quickly. There are also very talented marketing/sales people out there, with the singular ability to turn NOTHING into SOMETHING who would be much better served answering only to themselves.

Virtually every great entrepreneurial story speaks of the man or woman who were repeatability told by others that they- and everything they believed was right- didn't fit the formula or system.

Friday, February 6, 2009

That would include lots of money

All these years later, I still hold out a sliver of idealism that sours on the perceived corrupting power of money. But many ideals, like this one, can be like a child covering their own eyes, believing nobody can see them.

One thing is certain. Rich or poor, happy or miserable, your life will have its share of heartbreak and disappointment. There's not a person on the planet who is exempt....not even Justin Timberlake (I think).

And when these hiccups come cascading in, not having any money is like chewing on a Dorito with an abscessed tooth. You don't get a mulligan on your financial obligations when your dog dies, your teenage son accidentally drives your car into somebody's living room and your wife thinks the UPS Driver is not only adorable but a great listener.

People would probably like to care more about your problems but they are too busy with a mountain of their own.

You can get much further with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word said, uber mobster Al Capone. Replace "gun" with "money" and you may not be Socrates you'll have fewer wrinkles on your forehead.

This comes from a guy who, when I win Powerball some time later this month, will not swim in luxury. I don't get a charge from it.

I've had enough money and grew up with close friends who shared their opulent surroundings and possessions with me. The only thing thrills and exotic adventures ensures is a metaphorical hangover and a need for more. You say you're shocked when you hear the rich and/or famous either take their own lives or drink and drug themselves to death?

I am envious of those few who LOVE what they do and never have to think about money.

I will encourage my own son to follow his proverbial bliss. But I will not tell him that money is the root of all evil but an elixir that can sometimes help when you need help real bad or allow you to indulge in whatever it is that blows your hair back and requires payment.