Speaker | Entrepreneur | Author

Sam Davidson's blog

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Posts in Daily Dose
On Ideas

"Ideas aren't inert. They are actively searching for us as much as we are searching for them. They sift through us. How attractive are we to the most provocative and game-changing ideas?"

 - Mark Shivers

Daily DoseSam DavidsonComment
Don't Watch. Do.

It seems like every day, a different study comes out telling us that Facebook is either making us more connected or more depressed.  

Finally, someone dug deeper into all this and concluded:  

2010 study from Carnegie Mellon found that, when people engaged in direct interaction with others—that is, posting on walls, messaging, or “liking” something—their feelings of bonding and general social capital increased, while their sense of loneliness decreased. But when participants simply consumed a lot of content passively, Facebook had the opposite effect, lowering their feelings of connection and increasing their sense of loneliness.

The lesson? You're better off doing something. 

Don't just sit there. Do. 

Leadership does. 

Daily DoseSam DavidsonComment
Can We Do That?

In most cases, the question "Can we do that?" will be answered with "yes." 

The deeper question is "Should we do that?" 

You probably won't answer that question with "yes" as much. 

At least you probably shouldn't. 

Be sure to ask both questions before moving forward. 

Daily DoseSam DavidsonComment
Inside Your Head

There are hypothetical situations and then there are hyperthetical situations. 

It's reasonable to consider that first group, to spend a few moments when prudent to plan for some potential, realistic "what if?" scenarios. 

But ignore that second group. Your mind can run wild escalating scenarios that are absolutely unlikely to occur. Worrying about those situations can take valuable time away from hypotheticals and reality.  

Dream, but don't let dreams distract you. Worry, but don't let worry master you. 

Daily DoseSam DavidsonComment
Do the Tools Matter?

Last week, I tried my best to cook dinner while on vacation. But, the pots and pans at the rental house weren't what I'm used to at home where my cookware is a bit better. And while I'm no master chef and the meal was satisfactory, I knew there was a difference caused by the tools at my disposal. 

On the other hand, here's what happens when a a BMX rider does tricks on a rented communal bike. He's still pretty awesome. 

Great tools can elevate mediocre talent, for sure. Equip someone decent with the best brands or aids and they'll become a lot better.  

But the crucible of talent is what you can produce when you don't have the best gear or resources at your disposal. Let's see what mettle you can muster when the pressure is on because a deadline is looming, people are fleeing for the exits, or the next new thing is screaming for attention.  

Anyone can use great to make more great. But the best leaders and managers turn good into great with whatever is before them. 

Daily DoseSam DavidsonComment
Opportunity and Destiny

Chances are good that if a grocery store is near the beach, in addition to selling milk and eggs, the store will also carry an array of straw hats, water wings, and maybe even tanning lotion. You may not find such a selection in North Dakota come Christmas. 

This is an example of an entity taking advantage of an opportunity instead of controlling its destiny. 

Yes, it's convenient to the shopper to get everything in one place, but being top of mind for last-minute beachwear may cost that store being top of mind for the best cheese selection or for its fantastic cuts of meat. 

Not every opportunity is your destiny. 

But, choose too many of them and you'll make a destiny out of chasing what's next instead of chasing what's best.

This doesn't just apply to what your business does. It applies to your career, who you recruit for your board or fraternity, and the kind of person you want to end up with. 

Choose wisely. Your next pick could be your last. 

Daily DoseSam DavidsonComment
What Awesome Beats

In a world of marketing hype, remember: Awesome always beats... 

  • New
  • Fast
  • Sexy
  • Rare
  • Next
  • Different
  • Weird
  • Expensive
  • Exclusive
  • Loud

Be awesome. Make awesome. Share awesome. It gets attention every time.

Daily DoseSam DavidsonComment
Finishing First and Just Finishing

Here's an interesting post about the idea of finishing and a reminder that the point isn't always to finish first. Many times, simply finishing is an accomplishment in itself.  

As you lead, sometimes you'll need to help your team finish first. And sometimes, it will be monumental to get your team to finish at all.  

Even if no red lanterns are given out, rest assured that what you learn by finishing and what you gain by crossing a finish line - no matter how long it takes - will prove valuable as you continue to travel your leadership journey. 

Completion can be its own reward. 

Daily DoseSam DavidsonComment
Controlling Momentum

The single greatest talent to help your idea or company succeed is the ability to control momentum.  

You usually hear about this idea in sports, that the team who can set the pace of play has an advantage as the game then caters to that team's strengths (and quite possibly, the other team's vulnerabilities). 

But it's true in leadership as well. If we can control the speed at which our team works (which doesn't always just mean faster than at present), we can make sure we hit deadlines and maximize energy and ideas. 

If things are going well at work, we can make the decisions to ramp up production or scale it back to control costs.  

Take a page from the playbook of the orchestra conductor and make sure that not only are the right notes being played, but that they are also being played at the correct speed and in the correct order.  

My Idea for the Boston Marathon

Registration for the Boston Marathon opens tomorrow. 

I've run two marathons (very slowly). And even though I don't train for or run that distance any more, the idea of qualifying for Boston was (and is) always alluring. 

Due to its history and popularity, race organizers base entries on qualifying time. With a few charitable exceptions, one has to be able to run fairly fast to be allowed to run Boston. Of course, this also helps with street closures and other organizational aspects. 

I totally get why the qualifying time is in place. But I also think for one year, it should be abandoned.  

Given last year's terrible events, I could think of no greater show of solidarity, pride, and fearlessness than to allow unlimited entrants into this year's race. Go for 150,000 runners and walkers. Set a world record and send a message.

Sure, it means abandoning tradition for a year. And yes, it'll require a lot more security, coordination, and effort. But I bet you could find well-meaning corporate sponsors to assist financially and logistically. It wouldn't be easy, but it may just be worth it. 

What sort of message would it send at home and abroad that this is the kind of country where people can still freely race, even directly in the face of horrific human actions?  

Maybe this is the year tradition is sacrificed on the altar of community, solidarity, and passion.  

And maybe your organization can break the rules every once in a while so it can send the right message. 

Something isn't important because it's a tradition; something is a tradition because it's important. 


Thanks to my pal Ben for kickstarting this idea. 

Who Wants to Work Slower?

Just this past week I've seen several blog posts, online articles, tweets, and updates about ways to work faster, commute quicker, meet faster, or sell faster.  

The world is in a race with speed.  

Maybe we need more articles about working slower. Walking more slowly. Speaking, eating, and spending time together in a way that is slow and savored.  

A lot of things - even work - can be better enjoyed when slowed down. 

Please ease off the gas this weekend and skip all those treatises on speed. Find a reason to go slow and soak in those moments that you flew by in your quest for quickness. 

Here's to the slow companies.