#1 Problem in India; Goldman Sachs Wages; Job Creation
September 8, 2011
#1 Business Book; Fascinate Customers; 7 Triggers; Business Model Generation
September 20, 2011

9/11 Business; 5 Marketing Tips; 100 Fastest Growing; Ridiculously Transparent

"…keeping you great"


How 9/11 Launched a Business — Robert Herzog narrowly escaped dying that day, the emotion from which he launched a successful company. Meet him and his team in Phoenix at the Fortune Growth Summit. His full story below, but first…

1 Great = 3 Good — yes, there was a serious typo in my last insight about The Container Store. Their philosophy is that 1 Great employee equals 3 Good employees and they have the data to back it up.

5 Marketing Techniques — my latest Growth Guy column for September is available. Entitled Improving Marketing: Five Techniques, it's another "mash-up" – this time of several leading marketing books – a way for you to glean key lessons from five top thought leaders in the 3 minutes it takes you to read the column. The most important first step is establishing a weekly marketing meeting, separate and distinct from the sales meeting. The techniques I highlight then provide you with plenty of questions to drive these marketing meetings.

Your Killer Marketing Ideas — I need your help with my next Fortune "Venture" section column focused on killer marketing techniques (maybe examples of implementing the ideas in my column mentioned above). If you have one, please email me – no need to write it up, just give me a couple sentences about the marketing idea and its impact and we'll call to interview you. My email [email protected]

100 Fastest Growing CompaniesFortune's latest list is out this week and not surprisingly, bracketing the list is a pair of healthcare companies. The winners have been invited to participate in the Fortune Growth Summit, so come meet the leaders of some of the fastest growing companies. Here's a link to the Top 100 — click on the "Full List" tab if you want to just quickly scan the list.

Ridiculously Transparent — once again, Ben Horowitz's blog is right on the mark. Authored by his partner Scott Weiss, CEO of IronPort, he describes how he mined information from all employees to drive the company. Notes Weiss, "The best information rarely sat with the senior executives but with the employees that were closest to the product and closest to the customers. And the best answers would often come from the most unlikely of places. For example, some of our most innovative features came from customer support reps identifying customers trying to use the product in ways it wasn't intended." EXACTLY. This is why "the most brains win" – and a non-negotiable is management talking to employees and customers every week and discussing what they've learned at the weekly meeting!

Robert Herzog's 9/11 Story — Mark Green, Robert's certified Gazelles coach, alerted us of his story. As Robert notes below "after 9/11, I vowed that my life would never be the same and it hasn't."

Dear ZogSports extended family,

With this weekend being the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, my thoughts are with those of you who lost friends and family on that day. I can't imagine how hard this must be for you. As I personally reflect on the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, I am emotional and torn. I think about how my post-9/11 epiphany (ZogSports) has helped bring people together and build community, but I will never forget how close I was to dying that day and how many people and their families were not as lucky as me.

I want to thank those of you who have reached out to me this week. I've been touched by the stories people have shared about the impact ZogSports has had on their lives and encourage you to continue sharing those stories with us. After 9/11, I vowed that my life would never be the same and it hasn't.

Here is My Story

I got a new job as the VP of Operations for Marsh & McLennan's internet group in July 2001. My office was on the 96th Floor of World Trade Center Tower 1 (North Tower). Catching up from my Yosemite Park vacation on the morning of September 11th, there were dozens of little things I did on my way to work that I usually didn't do. In the end, these little decisions saved my life: I hit the snooze button twice, dropped off my laundry, picked up my held mail (stopped to toss the junk mail), took the local (C) train instead of the Express (A), and numerous other small decisions that caused me to arrive at work 5 minutes late.

On September 11th, I got off the subway and came outside at 8:45am in time to hear a loud explosion. I looked up and saw a gaping hole in the side of the building where my office had been. None of the 297 people from Marsh who were already at work survived. I don't know how long I stood there, but after the 2nd plane hit, mass hysteria broke out and I ran. I met up with my girlfriend (now wife) at her office and we walked home desperately trying to make sense of what had happened.

Three Months Later

I'm sitting on the beach with a pina colada in my hand lamenting about how terrible my life was: Before I started at Marsh & McLennan I
closed down the internet company I was helping run, was forced to lay off 30 people who reported to me, and wound up unemployed. Worst of all, I almost got hit by a plane. My glass was half empty, but I decided to view it as half full. I thought about all the good things that had happened that year: I survived 9/11, I met my wife playing co-ed softball, and I was able to enjoy my passion of playing sports.

I reflected on my life and tried to figure out what I wanted to do with myself. I played in numerous sports leagues, and while I loved the sports and camaraderie part, I was disappointed with their lack of organization and disrespectful customer service. I could do better. While thinking about the changes in the NYC community post-9/11, I saw people being selfless and inspired to give back. That was the moment. I decided to combine sports, social and charity and create ZogSports. My goal that day is the same as it is now – to bring people together through sports and incorporate charity into things that people want to do anyway like play team sports, meet new people and hang out with their friends. All of this inspires what we do at ZogSports and how we do it every day.

Thank you for being part of our community.

Best regards,

Robert Herzog

This email was sent by: ZogSports
57 West 38th Street, 12th Floor New York, NY, 10018.

Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish is founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and chaired for fifteen years EO’s premiere CEO program, the “Birthing of Giants” and WEO’s “Advanced Business” executive program both held at MIT. Founder and CEO of Gazelles, a global executive education and coaching company with over 150 coaching partners on six continents, Verne has spent the past three decades helping companies scale-up. The “Growth Guy” syndicated columnist, he’s also the Venture columnist for FORTUNE magazine. He’s the author of Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0); Mastering the Rockefeller Habits; and along with the editors of Fortune, authored The Greatest Business Decisions of All Times," for which Jim Collins wrote the foreword. Verne also chairs FORTUNE Magazine’s annual Leadership and Growth Summits and serves on several boards including chairman of The Riordan Clinic and the newly launched Geoversity. He is an investor in many scale-ups. A father of four, he enjoys piano, tennis, and magic as a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.