Business is Not a Competition

Business is not a competition“Let’s see who wins!”

That’s what I was asked recently. “Sounds great to me,” I answered. “Are we revving up our stock cars at the Brickyard? Are we pedaling up the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire? Are we heading toward Heartbreak Hill while running the Boston Marathon?”

No. We were in a business setting, discussing a PowerPoint template or something like that. We were in a place where competition doesn’t belong.

Did I just say that? There are places where competition doesn’t belong? Yes, I did.

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Who I Am (Really)

I was surfing through my Facebook photos recently, in preparation for the inevitable rainy-day sit-down with my Google+ account (I will never get it done if the weather stays sunny). I was struck by the sheer number of hiking and backpacking photos among the batches of goofy stuff I post. I guess you never know what you really are until you see it all combined in one place.

MyLeftOne (Tom Bishop) at Crawford NotchAt Facebook, I post almost nothing about work or marketing, but I force-feed my small group of Facebook friends a firehose of hiking stuff and kid stuff, usually combined.On YouTube, I am a guy who makes moronic videos that often involve banjo music.On Twitter and LinkedIn, I’m a marketing expert who is hyper-interested in brand strategyand social media, email and text marketing technologies (I work for a company that provides online marketing gadgetry, and therefore must play this role).On this blog, I pretty much do the same, although I sometimes spill my guts in a pathetic self-hating rant. I have no idea why, it just feels cathartic.

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What Preschoolers Can Teach Marketers

I’m kind of a contrarian when it comes to following the rules. Sometimes I just follow my instincts, and sometimes I listen to what my instincts have to say and then do exactly the opposite. Just because. But it has nothing to do with the rules.

The marketing world doesn’t like this. Business punishes those (like me) who fail to follow the rule book.

But I know that the same things that put business success out of reach also make me one blazing hell of a good parent. I take the ‘free range’ approach with my kids. We run and play every single day, rain or shine. I push them to limits that makes most parents turn white. At the playground, my kids are out-jumping and out-climbing kids three times their age. They’re already swimming. By the time they go to kindergarten, they will both have completed a Presidential traverse in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

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