Sunday, July 08, 2007

Despite Everything...

"The secret of success is constancy to purpose." - Benjamin Disraeli, the only Jewish prime minister of England who brought India and the Suez Canal under rule.

Stage 1 of the Tour de France, Robbie McEwen produced a perfect sprint in the final 100 meters to come out of nowhere, surprising even the commentators in a chaotic finale and a decisive stage win. Robbie'd crashed with about 20km to go in a pileup and regained contact with the peloton with less than 10km to go. On a very narrow road, he had to push his way through a mass nearly two hundred riders, a nearly impossible feat. But, he stayed true to his purpose, appearing in the last frantic dash to the finish line to eclipse everyone else. What a finish!

Today in Stage 4, there were so many crashes, guys riding in shredded shorts, dripping blood. Alexandre Vinokourov went down hard and the huge hole in his shorts revealed a quickly darkening purple-dark red bruise covering his hip. Again, it was a race to try to get back on the back of the peloton to remain in contention. His team members led him out to bridge a huge gap, each gradually dropping off after a huge pull at the front of the team paceline. Again, he prevailed and not only regained the peloton, but made it nearly to the front to lose a little more than a minute. (Considering the smallest margin ever by which the maillot jaune was won after three weeks and nearly 2,500 miles is 8 seconds, a minute plus can be devastating.)

Despite all the conjectures, accusations, and outright guilt surrounding cycling's elite about doping, this sport at this level is awe-inspiring and a source of so many important life and business lessons. Team building, singularity of purpose, strategy, persistence, grace, fortitude, etiquette.

These are all top of mind for me right now as we prepare to launch a new Website to feature our first turnkey business suite, VENNtive, a pre-integrated CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and ESP (Email Solution Provider) suite for small groups with up to five users.

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