Monday, April 19, 2010

Brag about being small

This is a great commercial by Sam Adam's beer company. They are doing what most businesses are absolutely petrified of doing. They are bragging about how small they are. (You might want to turn up the volume)

In the video, folks are asked how big do you think Sam Adams is. Responses come from people like "huge, 30% of the beer market", "10% of the market?". They come back with the clarification that "no, we are less than 1% of the beer market"!

I'm always taken aback when I see a small company, especially one that just started, decide they need to proclaim they are some kind of Leader of something. They obsess over some kind of dominance over the competition.

Running a business doesn't have to be about being Big or being a Leader or being competitive. It really can just be about making something great.

There's another great example of this I learned when I first started taking Aikido in college. Aikido is like the martial art of peace. There aren't offensive moves. If your "opponent" decides not to fight, there will be no fight. Aikido is about existing peacefully, but if someone attacks you or encroaches upon you, there are ways to remain balanced and redirect the attackers aggression.

One of the most famous Aikido experts is Steven Seagal. And though Steven Seagal is actually an awesome martial artist, sometimes his ego has gotten the best of him. My Aikido teacher had once been part of Steven's school and taken classes from him, and in the process learned of this story he shared with us.

This was when Steven was at the pinnacle of his movie career. He was on top of the world. And he was doing some fight choreography in a movie studio with a guy who was very well versed in Judo. Steven was talking up a storm about how he himself was the greatest martial artist on the planet right now, and he was pretty much untouchable. The Judo guy, a small, 50 year old man, told Steven that he should hold his tongue and be careful with his ego.

Steven didn't take the advice very well, and challenged the Judo guy to a "friendly" fight.

Not much long after that, Steven found himself waking up after going unconscious from a wrestling move the Judo guy put on Steven called the Rubber Ducky.

You don't have to be big to be good.

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