Be bold & be right, or...

When Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, took on the job, he was told by Steve Ballmer, the retiring CEO to... "Be bold and be right. If you’re not bold, you’re not going to do much of anything. If you’re not right, you’re not going to be here.”

Not bad advice for all of us, and when I think about that nugget of experience from Ballmer and bring it down into the world of entrepreneurship, it becomes the perfect intersection between management theory and the real world of individuals actually building businesses from conceptual dust to the reality of successfully marketing and selling products.  It's exactly why I tell my students in "The 3 Rules of Jack" to "break some rules"...just not the big ones.   

Steve Ballmer Be Bold

For this Friday and maybe extending into a bit of downtime this weekend, think through how you might bring this phrase into your own reality of your current job whether that's in sales, marketing, engineering or in your position as a senior manager of your company.  

Very simply, there's zero value in standing still!


As usual, on a Friday morning, I'm sitting in my Vermont office with an exciting, fully packed day in front of me.  As was yesterday's rain and ice, today is not the picture-postcard view of winta' in Vermont with sunny skies and impeccably dressed skiers with happy smiling faces sipping cocoa on the outside deck at the lodge.  Today's weatha' is what we euphemistically term as "wintery mix" since we don't want to scare away the flatlanders with the reality of "rain, ice, sleet, snow all together all the time".

Horace Rice DerbyBringing theory into reality in entrepreneurship, I'm also reminded this wintery mix morning of my great-grandfather, Horace, who lived 20 miles up this valley in the town of Poultney.  Seven generations of my family have lived here along the West River, and although he was neither the first nor the last entrepreneur in the family, he certainly was the boldest.  At the age of 17 in 1860, he left rural Vermont to "go West", ending up enlisting in the 1st Volunteer Army of California and then marching to live on the frontier of what is now New Mexico.  Surprising to me is the fact that he returned four years later from the warmth and sunshine of the southwest to Vermont to start a dry goods store with his brother ending his career as the railroad stationmaster in Poultney. 

Guess that it was that special love of Vermont in our family that kept Horace, my grandfather, my father and now me-all of us entrepreneurs-coming and going back and forth and always returning to Vermont!   

I need to prep for an 8:00 Zoom a ton of sales meeting and hopefully squeeze in an hour sometime to begin clearing away "the wintery mix", which right now is the exact combination of rain of icy snow. 

Have a great day selling today!  Just remember to
Be Bold!  



Jack Derby, Professor & Sales Coach AN ANYTIME SOUNDING BOARD IN '22 

If at any time this year, you have a need for a confidential sounding board for your 2022 business or sales planning process, just connect with me!  Text or email me, and I'll quickly set up a call.  I'm a very good listener, and we can get deep into tactics if you want. Obviously, no cost for a call or two; just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.

Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts. 


Tags: Sales Best Practices, sales planning, how to close sales, strategic planning, how to write a sales plan, writing business plans, 2022 business planning, 2022 sales planning