I’m just back from the annual entrepreneur’s pilgrimage known as Growco.
Aptly named for “grow your company”, it’s an opportunity to join like-minded business leaders, bestselling authors, and headliners straight out of the pages of Inc. for three days of ideas, inspiration and insights, networking and learning, and proven strategies to help your company grow and thrive.
Each year it’s great fun to descend on a new city and this years festivities brought us to Music City – Nashville, Tennessee.
I have attended for the last few years, and each year brings new relationships, great business opportunities, and lasting memories.
A few years back, I started bringing some of my teammates so they could share in the experience. The 2013 event was in New Orleans with a great line-up of speakers and events and I really thought it would be a tough act to follow up.
The Keynote speaker was Richard Branson, certainly one of the most respected and admired entrepreneurs of our time, and being front and center with him was a chance of a lifetime and we made the most of it.
This year, the On the Ball team included Michelle Esposito, Zack Stein, and our strategic partner,Julia Aquino and the Growco line up promised even more excitement than years passed.
It was headlined by the one and only Mark Cuban and the founders of two of my favorite companies to follow, Jason Fried from BaseCamp and Bert Jacobs from Life is Good.
Who knew we would get caught up in a media firestorm?
Unless you are living under a rock, I am sure you are up to speed on the comments Mark Cuban made during his time on stage.
We were fortunate to be invited to sit front row and, therefore, had a unique perspective on the entire interview.
His first comment, “hope nobody in here is offended by cursing”, let everyone know they were in for an inside look at what makes him tick.
He proceeded to share and be as genuine as if you were sitting and having a beer with him.
Totally cool and totally real.
When the question of Donald Sterling was asked, he replied, “there is no law against stupid”, which clearly showed his position on the subject.
It was his follow up comments where things were taken out of context. He continued to share that he was afraid of being a hypocrite as all of us have are bigots in that we have negative thoughts that run through our minds and that most of us train ourselves not to act out those thoughts.
The entire crowd of 1100 plus were completely engaged. In fact, the comments, which we monitored and shared thru a very cool new event app called Live Cube, http://www.livecube.co, were all very positive.
For the record, during the session there were over 400 posts and those reached over 9million twitter followers.
It was so popular that LiveCube helped Growco and Mark Cuban become the top trending story on Twitter in Nashville.
And all very positive.
Well, we woke up the following morning to stories on ESPN and every other news outlet of outrage and disgust for Mark and his comments.
We clearly felt an obligation to use our social media know how to jump in the mix and defend and we did. We all spent much of Thursday posting and sharing and actually created a hashtag, #CubanWitness, to drive the conversation.
Mark himself actually jumped into the conversation, further showing the power of social media.
In addition, we reached out to our old friend Guy Rawlings, sports anchor at CBS 11 in Dallas, and he and his producer put us on the air(video clip to follow next week).
It was exciting to be part of a national dialogue and clearly presented a learning opportunity for all of us. Interestingly enough, it was NOT the most valuable takeaway from the 3 day conference.The major takeaway, was given in the first mornings address delivered by Bert Jacobs, CO-FOUNDER & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OPTIMIST of Life is good ®.
It was really the most powerful and simple message I have ever heard:
“The media infiltrates our lives showing us what’s wrong in the world.
It’s not reflective of the world.
Bad things happen but good things happen too.
Technology is moving so fast now that by focusing on what’s right with the world, we can fix what’s wrong with the world.”
We should start everyday with “tell me something good”.
Very simply ,we can change the energy in our lives by not focusing on the negative and what is going wrong! Remember, Life is Good!
Thank you Bert, Mark, and the host of others who made us laugh, cry, and learn for the past three days; it was magical and unforgettable.
Can’t wait till next year!
And that’s what Nudelberg says!