Sunday, March 12, 2006

Live to fight another day...

Sports is about competition. Sports is about winning. Some would say that sports is a great analogy for life. Others would say that sports is a great analogy for business.

I like to compete. I like to win. One thing I have learned over time is that no one wins every battle in life (or in business for that matter). Guess that’s where the expression “learn to pick your battles” comes from. There are some hills worth dying on and others where it’s better to walk away in order to “live to fight another day.”


Launching XXL NATIONAL Sports Daily has been a series of battles.

I knew it would be from day one. Nothing ever worth doing comes easy. One of my mentors taught me long ago that it’s not important to know if something is going to be “easy” or “difficult.” The only appropriate question to be asked should be “will it be worth it?

I have joked with members of the XXL NATIONAL team that when I first came up with the idea for the publication, I naively gave (momentary) thought to undertaking production of XXL by myself. THAT thought lasted about as long as it took for me to assemble one game section by myself.

So I began to share the dream with, who else? People who I knew…and people that I liked. There are a lot of benefits to building a team with people like that. It makes the journey fun. It speeds up the “trust” process.

There are also some downsides to building a team with people who you know. The expression, “a prophet is never welcome in his hometown” comes to mind. So does “familiarity breeds contempt.” Bottom line? When you build a team of “friends” there comes a point in time where a leader has to become downright “unfriendly” and lay down the law.

I am proud of the job that our team has done. We have also had some points of major breakdown. Most members of our production team have had to learn several new programs to contribute to the process. For those members, the “grace period” associated with a learning curve is up.

Our official launch day is three weeks from today: April 2, 2006. On that day, we take the gloves off and begin to promote our publication in earnest. The world will be watching. That’s not to say that I expect everyone on the internet to download XXL NATIONAL on April 2nd, but on that day anyone could. Not only that, but beginning that day, our publication will be archived online so that anyone can go back to look up something.

XXL NATIONAL is light years ahead of where we were when we began our soft launch on January 31st of this year. At the same time, we have light years to go in the next three weeks. Sports gives us a reason to publish. Just as the teams that we cover do, we need to get better each and every day. XXL NATIONAL needs to compete…we need to win.

I EXPECT TO WIN.

I expect our readers to win. I expect our advertisers to win. I expect our investors to win. Competing is fun, but for me, it’s not enough.

As a reader of this blog, I want to invite you to watch us get better. I also want to challenge you to point out where we are not. Feel free to leave those comments here on this blog. Or feel free to email me at ron@xxlnational.com.

I am committed to constant improvement and praising progress. I owe that to our readers, our investors, our advertisers and our staff.

For now, we live to fight another day.

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