Patriots Postmortem: Three things this season and Super Bowl XLII can teach us about start-ups

Posted on February 4, 2008

So, last night was a stunner to say the least. New England is still reeling from the loss and the pundits are all analyzing and re-analyzing the game to death. I am sure they will continue to do so for years (or at least until the Sox take the field in a few months). However, I think it’s interesting to look beyond the surface of the game for a few minutes. Beyond the Patriots offensive line’s massive breakdown. Beyond Ellis Hobbs’ poor defending. Beyond Matt Light’s few false starts.

Once we get passed all that I think there are three things we can pick up from super bowl XLII and from the Patriots season that relate to business and start-ups in specific.

The mighty can, and do, fall:

The Patriots were more or less invincible this season and they have been a force for about seven years now. However, they fell yesterday night to a team that, by all accounts, was not the better team. Clearly anything can happen on any given day and the Giants (specifically the defense) really stepped it up last night and made things happen.

Start-ups know this is true as well which is partly why they take on the challenges they do including competing with large companies that, to any outside observer, they have no business beating.

Underdogs can take more risk:

Last night the Giants took more risks than the Pats and their risks paid off. The Giants were able to take more risks simply because they weren’t expected to win while the Pats played more conservative football. The Giants pressured our offense at the line at the expense of covering our receivers better and while that could have resulted in some big plays for the Pats it didn’t because the defense at the line was so strong Brady never had a shot to throw. Pressuring the offense at the line was a risk that paid off big for the Giants.

Start-ups also have a similar advantage over large companies. Since larger companies are very concerned with keeping their current revenue streams in tact (due to responsibility to shareholders, etc.) and due to the fact that they are larger and slower to move they sometimes don’t take risks they should leaving themselves vulnerable to start-ups who, by all accounts, shouldn’t win.

Heart really makes a difference:

Last night it was obvious that the Giants just wanted it more. They played harder than we did and they deserved to win that game.

You have to have heart (a.k.a. passion) in business as well. It plays a larger role than I think people think it does. Start-ups with heart can win battles that they technically shouldn’t making them a threat to the big guys.

While I am pretty bummed out with regards to the outcome of the super bowl I am glad that some lessons came from the game that I could share here. All I can say now is, go Sox!

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1 Comment so far
  1. Raza Imam February 4, 2008 12:46 pm

    As I read your first 2 points I kept thinking to myself “the Giants just wanted it more” I’m glad you agree…

    It shows that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to build a great business. My uncle keeps reminding me that Google and Southwest didn’t create a new industry. They simply improved an existing one. It takes guts, committment, and audacity, but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist.

    My uncle started a window and siding business in Springfield, IL 25 years ago. As a new Pakistani immigrant he didn’t have a lot going for him. 25 years later he’s known all over Springfield. I asked him how he did it. He said the main differentiator is that he made sales appointments on nights and weekends. Since buying new windows is a pretty big decision, he felt that he should meet both the husband and wife to discuss what they want. Since most men worked 9-5 back then and most women stayed at home, nights and weekends were the best time to meet clients. None of his competitors did this… to their detriment.

    Business is all about believing in yourself and having guts. Last nights game taught us this lesson.

    Raza Imam
    http://BoycottSoftwareSweatshops.com