Getting Schooled: 11 Business Lessons I’ve Relearned in the Past 60 Days


No big surprises. Same lessons, different day. Sometimes it just takes a yank on a scab to remind you.

1. “Who you know” really does work. When it does, acknowledge them.

2. It’s really awesome to get acknowledged and an offer to join a big company to do what you’ve gotten really good doing.

3. When an offer comes with very little questioning, qualifying, or seems too easy, be suspect.

4. If it seems too good to be true. It likely is. See #3.

5. When you get a odd first impression about the person sitting on the other side of the table, go with that. Your gut is a great indicator.

6. HR departments and the TSA seem to have a lot in common. Inane RULES contrary to common sense that impedes progress, and not nearly enough HUMAN sense.

7. Corporate people who manage up, and “appear busy” often are annoying and supersede really effective and obvious maneuvers that would actually move a project forward and make shit happen.

8. Sales 101. The longer it takes for the “official” paperwork to come through and close the deal – the higher the likelihood it isn’t going to happen.

9. In the end, the “Who you knew” that got you in can’t necessarily protect you from the corporate bureaucracy, even when they’re a key player in the middle of it.

10. It’s not a deal until it’s signed on the dotted line, the ink is dry, and the money is in your account.

10.25. Relationships and loyalty are only as good as the influence at stake, the available options and price.

10.5. If they don’t have great, creative ideas, they’ll steal yours (with no remorse) from the brainstorming session you allowed them over a 1/2 caf no-foam latte that you had to buy for yourself.

10.75. Everyone thinks they have great ideas. Finding someone to act on them and bring them to fruition is another thing.

11. People lie.

Not bitter. Just business.

Where Thieves and Pimps Run Free

I originally heard this famous quote applied to the radio business back in the 80’s. It seem to fit then, and in many ways fits just as much 30 years later.


“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”

 The phrase that seems to fit just about every business. Feel free (as many have), to apply it to your own profession:

  • TV
  • Radio
  • Advertising
  • Banking
  • Retail
  • Social Media (yeah, I went there…2011 is going to be really interesting I suspect.)


The original quote is most often credited to Hunter S. Thompson, the “Father of Gonzo Journalism”, although sources and opinions vary. 

As we move into 2011, a brand new year full of opportunity, optimism, perhaps a little fear…a chance to hit the reset button or build on the current base (pick an analogy), ask yourself a some questions:

  • Which will you choose to be – thief, pimp, or good man? 
  • Will you stay in the hallway and do battle? 
  • Is the money really worth the stress and scars?
  • How will you survive? 
  • Are you prepared and trained for that? 
  • If so, how will you rise above and be victorious?
  • Is the pain of staying greater than the pain of leaving?

Or, will you find the EXIT sign for a better, less risky and chaotic opportunity for the life or career you want?

No right answer. No wrong one. It’s your journey.

Just curious. Just sayin’.

Happy New Year.