A kid who wants to play golf looks up to Tiger Woods and not Derek Jeter. That makes sense but in business we use sports analogies when we should use business analogies.

More importantly, in business we need to see what other people have done to learn from their mistakes and successes.

At Soupgiant we call ourselves Web Producers. We produce the Web. So I try to look for people who have successes in that field. People like Jason Calacanis and Leo Laporte have built success for themselves out of the web.

They could be compared to sporting greats like Tiger Woods and Derek Jeter. They never gave up, they tried to overcome their obstacles and they worked damn hard to become who they are. But there are more differences than similarities.

The difference in business is the risks we take. It can take between five and ten years to know if a business is ever going to be successful. In sport the wins and losses are almost instantaneous by comparison.

In business you have to sit with a decision for years before you see fruit. It could be years in which there is very little income. It’s also years in which you could be earning more money elsewhere.

It’s all about context. There’s no point in trying to be the Ian Healy of the Web. He was a cricketer and there is no comparison.

Everybody who succeeds in their area works hard. The people who succeed in our area work hard doing what we do.

It’s time we started sharing our own stories, our own opinions and our discussions of the risks we take. We can learn from each other in our own areas by making comparisons that actually make sense.

So we have this blog. Jason Calacanis has a mailing list that is worth subscribing to (even if he does make too many sports analogies). Leo Laporte has the TWiT network of Podcasts. 37 Signals has the Signal vs Noise blog and two books. Molly Holzschlag has her (rarely updated) blog and many books. Jeffrey Zeldman has a blog, a video podcast and many books.

Those are some of the people we look to for advice, examples, inspiration and experience. We’d love to hear you share some yours.

About Josh Kinal

Josh makes things on the web easy to use and understand. Sounds simple, but it’s not. His understanding of developing engaging content comes from many years of writing for print and radio. You might have heard him on Boxcutters, his popular weekly podcast about TV or years of appearing on Triple J, Radio National and 3RRR. He also holds a science degree and in 2012 was one of Australia’s few panelists at SXSW Interactive conference in Austin, Texas

One Comment

  1. Tristan says:

    I completely understand your comments here, but i must say i disagree. In many ways starting up a business is much like choosing to begin a sporting career. You mention that there is an instant response to win or loose in the sporting forum, but this only occours once the sporting career is in full swing; when the player is a professional and already could be considered as having suceeded in his carear.

    The sports player makes many of the same sacrifices which are incurred when in setting up a business, devoting time and energy into building an enterprise which may not yield any payoff.

    The biggest difference that i can see between starting a sporting career and starting a business is this: over the course of the businesses life there are many learning opportunities which may applicable to further endeavors in other fields. Whereas many of the skills learned in the failed sporting career are non-transferable into other endeavors.