Tag: West Wing

“Never trust a man who doesn’t shine his own shoes.” – Alan Alda from West Wing

This quote has stuck with me for years but it’s meaning has only been revealed through time.

I think it’s about integrity.  It’s about people who make it through their own hard work and leadership rather than attaching their success to the efforts of others.  There are those who create value and the rest who try to leverage that value for rewards not earned.

Borrowing ideas from others to create new value in new markets is part of innovation but using other’s ideas to compete with them is a mere copycat.  Compete by doing something different and better.


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson


“What’s next?” – Martin Sheen fromThe West Wing

President Josiah Bartlett was often heard at the end of an episode to ask “What’s next?”  It would follow routine activities as well as the  resolution of a major crisis.

It always stuck with me because it’s all about  not living in the past, no matter how recent.

Nor is it about spending much time analyzing the future because it cannot be known.

As the current moment passes, the only thing that’s important is the next moment.  It’s a statement of action and of getting things done…

…that is, the right things.

” I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.” – Leo McGarry from The West Wing

“This guy’s walkin’ down a street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, “Hey you! Can you help me out?” The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole, and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, “Father, I’m down in this hole; can you help me out?” The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by. “Hey, Joe, it’s me. Can ya help me out?” And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, “Are ya stupid? Now we’re both down here.” The friend says, “Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out. ”

Find a mentor.  A close advisor.  A coach.  Someone whose been where you are.

Buy them a cup of coffee.

Listen to what they have to say.

“I want to surround myself with smart people who aren’t afraid to disagree with me” – President Josiah Bartlet from The West Wing

There are three fundamental things in a startup; the idea, experience (the team) and capital.  Great ideas don’t get funded without a credible team.

Don’t hire your friends.  They will tell you what you want to hear.

Don’t hire people who are just like you in personality and background.  You need diverse perspectives.

Don’t hire people just because you get along.  It IS about the business.

At the end of the day, the decisions are yours but you need to be challenged to make sure you have seen every angle.  Your team needs permission to speak freely.

And you… don’t know everything.