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My grandmother used to tell me that there’s nothing worse than a know-it-all. As a bright, precocious youngster, it was advice I needed–and advice that stands to this day.

As internet marketers, we’re often faced with companies who aren’t certain what online channels to use or how to best utilize them. That’s perfectly understandable, as it’s a complicated ecosystem in which we’re trying to blaze our trail.

What is inexcusable is being told “You can’t do that, nobody can do that.” The notion that if you don’t understand something then it must be impossible is arrogant and foolish.

As I type this I’m watching my beloved Phoenix Suns play the Miami Heat. My main man Steve Nash is a year older than I (he’s 37) and yet he’s out there playing at an all-star level. He’s able to do this because he outworks, out-thinks, and out-hustles players 15 years his junior. Oh, and in the off-season he found time to direct a documentary film.

So a 6’3″ Canadian soccer player can’t play in the NBA? Nobody can play basketball at nearly 40 years of age? Tell that to Nash, and ask to see his two League MVP trophies while you’re at it.

No matter how long you’ve been around the game–basketball, marketing, or owning a bakery–there is always something new, always someone younger, faster, better. Your agency, brand, or company may have decades of experience on its side, but you’d better be prepared to work harder than ever if you want to remain an all-star.

Ask questions, read the blogs and whitepapers, attend conferences and seminars. Work hard, then work harder. Learn, then learn some more. Don’t purport yourself to be an expert in everything. And don’t tell someone else what they can’t do.

Or you can keep up with that know-it-all attitude, and a younger, faster, brighter kid will take your spot in the starting lineup.

2 Responses

  1. Since you’re working on a basketball metaphor I would also add that one person does not win a championship Steve Nash for example hasn’t. Organizations that assemble teams with the best blend of talent and chemistry are the ones who win.

    He’s had an outstanding career and given his size, and being the only NBA player I can name from South Africa, he’s got a lot to be proud of.

    So if the goal is to be a starter, I think your argument is spot on.

    I’d rather be the Robert Horry of Internet Marketing. Keep on rockin’ Matt.

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