You Scare Me

IStock_000006730408XSmallUnfortunately I can’t get into specifics, but recently SHIFT has been very lucky on the newbiz front.  We’ve been invited to respond to RFPs that we’d only dreamt about a year ago. And we’ve won a few, against giant & savvy competitors.  All of which still feels unimaginable.

Don’t get me wrong — we’ve been whacked by the recession.  And, more importantly, I am not sharing this cryptic bit of good news in order to brag.  Just the opposite.  I am trying to inspire you.

These victories have made us more bold.  We no longer feel the sense of inferiority that dogged us as a start-up agency.  We now know we’re as good as anyone.  Not necessarily better — but definitely just as good.  We deserve to be in the scrum.

But, so do you.  You see, we are no smarter than thee.  On any given day, we are not more creative, thoughtful, hard-working or more savvy than any other agency.  At meetups, tweetups and on Twitter; in the Comments section of my blog; and of course on other great blogs written by others, I meet folks every day who are brilliant, rigorous thinkers and doers.

They (you!) scare me.  They (you!) can beat me.  If I can win what I’m winning, they (you!) can win what I’m winning.

This applies even if you don’t work in the marcomm industry.  If there’s a competitor out there in your niche who’s having a good run of luck, don’t ascribe it to their size, their people, their practices, etc.  You can win what they win.  Try to scrap in the biggest sandbox you can find.

This is what I’ve learned as an entrepreneur.  Nobody’s better than you.  And you’re no better than anyone.  Just try harder, be nicer, and work your tail off trying to exceed the expectations of prospects and customers.

Go to bed exhausted.  Wake up exhilirated.

See you on the field.

Posted on: June 30, 2009 at 9:22 am By Todd Defren
43 Responses to “You Scare Me”


  • Steve Thomas says:

    As a partner in a start-up working in a new or non-existent niche (big agency thinking for small nonprofits) this made my day. Thanks for the inspiration. Good for you, hope you continue to prosper. Many thanks.

  • MLDina says:

    Congratulations on your successes! Sure, anyone can beat the competition, but the most genuine, innovative, and hard working are usually the ones that survive the long haul. Looks like you have a lot more success to go if that’s the case!

  • Seth Hosko says:

    Fantastic post!

    Makes me think about the biggest drive I have for being in this industry – to be around brilliant thinkers and ideas that scare me.. sharing what I learn comes second.

  • Great post. Just what I needed this morning. Thanks.

  • Knealemann says:


    Congrats. Great news. Swing for the fence or put down your bat.


  • Brilliant. Just when I needed it too. You rock. Thank you.

  • Donna says:

    I knew there was a reason why I liked this blog.
    See you on the field!

  • The key is leaving it all there…and not giving up when you don’t win. (Which will be often).

    The past 6 months of my consultancy have been CRAZY…mainly because of the final acceptance of social as a valid program/income driver.

  • Mary Barber says:

    Thanks Todd for the wonderful inspiration and motivation today. I’m sure public relations pros will enjoy it too. I also couldn’t agree more that sharing what we learn from others is part of what will make our profession overall even strong. Thanks for your blog. It’s always a great read.

  • Todd,

    I recently re-tweeted one of your posts and was asked by another in the industry if I thought it was advisable to be touting a competitor. My response was along the lines “Yes, it’s the right thing to do to share content that you find beneficial. Rising tide and all that. Plus, Todd gives much more to us all than he’s going to get from my pimping him.”

    The attitude behind today’s post – and your willingness to express it publicly – only reinforces that sentiment.

    I know I speak for a lot of us when I say thanks again.

    BTW – I stand by my poll vote from a few weeks ago about wanting to bring about your ultimate demise! ;)

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