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کتاب: از گریوی بپرس / فصل 22

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CHAPTER 20

SPORTS

IN THIS CHAPTER I MAKE A PREDICTION ABOUT THE DALTON DEAL, REVEAL WHAT TEAM I’D BUY IF I CAN’T BUY THE JETS, AND EXPLAIN THE PARALLELS BETWEEN TENNIS AND BUSINESS.

Unlike music, sports are an enormous pillar of my life. It’s my real passion besides business, and factors into all of my ambition and determination to buy the New York Jets. It’s relevant, too, because over the last decade the sports industry has become very interesting to a lot of entrepreneurs, and the landscape around it, from communications to business, has expanded and is evolving rapidly.

This chapter may not have the most teeth in it, but if you want this one man’s 360-degree point of view, we gotta go here. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed answering the questions.

imageWhat do you think of the Dalton deal?

In 2014, quarterback Andy Dalton signed a six-year, $115 million contract with the Cincinnati Bengals. And even though he crapped the bed in the playoffs, I thought it was a good deal. Quarterbacks are tough to come by, especially redheaded quarterbacks. The New York Jets haven’t had a top 15 quarterback in 25 of the last 27 years, and I would rip my arm off for Andy. I have a feeling he will have that playoff run that all the Bengals fans are looking for. We’ll see who was right.

imageWith the NFL in London this week, what do you think about sports franchises moving to other cities or countries?

This question was posed the day after the Jets lost their game, and my answer reflected my mood. At the time I said that some sports franchises should move to faraway places, like as far away as possible. Now that a little time has passed and I’m less disappointed, I still think it’s interesting to think about a world in which teams play in other countries. I am also super-curious to find out what city in the United States will be next to get its first professional team (Oklahoma City?) and in which sport.

imageIf the Jets never come up for sale in your lifetime, and another NFL team does, would you buy that team instead?

I don’t want to answer this question. I’ve gone back and forth with this. In the end I think I would focus on the Knicks, and after that a random other basketball team. I just can’t see myself owning another football team.

imageDo you see parallels between tennis and business?

I’m not as good at tennis as I wish I were, but I enjoy it a lot. The best thing about it is that because the matches are made up of multiple games and sets, even when you’re down, you’re not necessarily out, because you’ve got time to watch your opponent and gauge his or her weaknesses and strengths. Once you figure it out, you can come roaring back. I’ve done it. Nate Scherotter, my former assistant and the CEO of my last book, has never beaten me in a game of tennis, even though twice he has had me down 5-2. How did I win? I reacted to what was happening, took a step back to observe, made the necessary adjustment, and started targeting his weaknesses. I evaluated Nate exactly as I would if I felt threatened by a competitor in business.

It’s like Mike Tyson said: “Everybody’s got a plan until they get punched in the face.” You can strategize and plan ahead all you like, but once you’re on the court, or in the ring, or on the field, you’d better be ready to adjust and improvise. The same goes for business. You created a plan, you set a path toward success, and then suddenly someone copies your product for less. Someone is better than you. Nobody wanted your stupid app. Time to adjust or die.

Entrepreneurs need to have the emotional composure and the intestinal fortitude to make real-time adjustments and come back from the brink. Those qualities don’t hurt in a game of tennis, either.

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