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Miscellaneous Thoughts

Is There a “Continuum” of Honor?

CU Buffaloes coach Mel Tucker left after one season to take a huge job coaching Michigan State.  They doubled his salary (from a lot to “set for life”).  The job is way more prestigious and certainly will provide more opportunity for success.  It’s a job most coaches can only dream of.

Mel Tucker took the job AFTER recruiting a great class of new student athletes who bought into HIM, trusted HIM, and based their commitments on HIM.  AND he did this just a few days AFTER he very publicly proclaimed his commitment to CU.

Was Tucker’s move honorable?  I don’t think so.  But, I’m kind of squishy about this conclusion, because it’s a rational decision most of us would probably make if faced with the same scenario.  So, if most of us would do something that can be rationalized, does that make is not DIShonorable?

Camping in public spaces

The battle rages on: those for and those against the right to camp on public grounds in the city.  Today campsites were removed because rats are infesting the area.  I’m opposed to camping of this sort and am pretty sure that even most who advocate FOR public camping are only supportive as a way to apply extreme pressure to dramatically increase services for the homeless.

It’s a complicated problem, and I won’t attempt to weigh in with solutions.  My wife urges me to be positive so here it is:  I’m fortunate that I look at it rather than live in it.

SHOULDN’T I BE DONE MAKING MISTAKES? 

I was speaking with my adult son Matt, sharing that I find it perplexing and disappointing that at this point in my career, and in life, I still make mistakes, sometimes dumb ones.  Honestly, I really did expect that I’d have learned how things work and that most of my mistakes, especially the bad ones, would pretty much have ceased.   

Matt said, “but Dad, the world keeps changing.”   

That comment flipped my emotions 180 degrees with a great feeling of rejuvenation.  The path I’m on, while keeping me vulnerable to mistakes, also keeps me engaged and energized.   

 There are people who do what they can to stabilize: to isolate themselves, their jobs, their lives from change.  Others choose to be open to an environment that is changing constantly. I suppose in that framework my mistakes will continue. 

“Luxury Shopping with Purpose”

I saw this ad and it stopped me cold.  At first glance, I thought it meant that people were luxury shopping AS a fulfilling purpose in life.  “Wow,” I thought, “with the chasm between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ growing larger every day and the societal ramifications of that, this feels wrong.”

Intrigued (and not wanting to be off-base in this blog post), I visited the company’s website and learned that my first impression was mistaken.  The company sells luxury items and then donates 20% of the proceeds to worthwhile organizations that support girls.  The last line of their intro video says, “Your choice of where to shop matters.”  Another video says, “Improve the lives of children around the world by buying what you love.” In the video, the Olivela founder seems sincere, and I’m pretty confident that she is.  Certainly, it’s a much more authentic version of, for example, car dealers who say, “for every (name the brand) sold, we’ll donate $200 to (name the charity).”

But this whole trend of building a business based on the differentiation strategy of donating money – money spent by customers – really gives me pause.

I asked myself, why don’t I like it?

My conclusion is this… it’s the direct tie of donations to sales.

Contrast the above example to a company like Patagonia. Patagonia’s mission-driven approach (supporting environmental causes) is different because Patagonia doesn’t conditionally tie its good work to sales.  While Patagonia can of course conduct environmental efforts because of its customers, this is not its sales strategy.

If you are looking for purchases that improve the world, check out Colorado’s Women’s Bean Project.  And listen to the PROCO360  podcast episode with its CEO, Tamra Ryan.

I am in the Tribe: “Buffaloes”

I was following a car driven by someone who wasn’t particularly focused on moving along.  Clearly, the driver was texting, or in some other way distracted from the business of getting where she was going.

I was miffed.  Then I saw a CU Buffs sticker on her car and I relaxed.  I’m a Buffs football season ticket holder and both my sons, my wife and I have degrees from CU.  I recognized my dismissal of frustration because of the sticker – and thought, “this is weird.”

Maybe not.  Coincidentally at the time this happened I was (really!) re-listening to the book, Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins by Mark Schaefer.  And as I write this, I recall Seth Godin’s book, Tribes, and I’m reminded that as I seek to do business with someone new, it’s so important, and gratifying, to explore how we can authentically connect. Go Buffs!  #GoBuffs  @CUBuffs

 

 

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