Posted September 17, 2011 1:49 am by with 3 comments

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footballLet me start off today’s COJ with a little disclaimer: A lot of what you read in today’s column might be wrong. Because today I am talking about football! And the truth is, I know crap about football. I mean I understand the basics, but beyond that I am kind of useless. For example, today I learned what a onside kick is, thanks to, Coach Kevin Kelley, from Pulaski Academy in Little Rock Arkansas.

That’s because Coach Kelley used the onside kick as part of an odd strategy to score 29 points before their opponents even touched the ball. Apparently, the team was able to use onside kick’s to push the ball down the field, recover them, and then score. They did this 4 times in a row. Allowing for complete control of the football, touchdown, after touchdown. Granted, on their 5th try they failed, but this was an astounding feat for a team that was ranked nearly last and ended up winning big, 64-34.

Is Kelly the best high school football coach ever? Probably not. Are his players the best players ever? Again probably not. Does Coach Kelly understand the power of thinking outside the box, and developing his own strategy on the fundamentals of the game? You bet he does!

In 1984 Ben & Jerr’ys Ice Cream wanted to raise investment funds to build a new manufacturing plant. At the time they were already on their way to building a strong brand that was shipping across New England. Because of this, venture capitalists were keen to put money into their success. But both Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield had different ideas about building a business.

They wanted to continue to support the economy of Vermont. So, they established a Vermont-only public stock offering. This meant that anyone in the state of Vermont could easily invest in the company. That same year profits grew 120% and Ben & Jerry’s started to become a serious competitor to ice cream heavy weight Häagen-Dazs.

So how do you start thinking outside the box? First, pull yourself out of the box you’re in! If you want to learn more about marketing, stop reading blogs and get back to the fundamentals (story telling, design, and imagination). Want to think outside the box of SEO? Then how about start learning more about the field of Information Retrieval, natural language processing, and heuristic computation.

Writing this post was fun! I am still not an expert on football, but I learned a bit by writing about it. And let’s face it, I wouldn’t have learned anything at all, if I didn’t step out of my box and try something new!

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  • Good Site Iam Brazilian!

  • Great analogy. Who can forget the big onside kick in the Super Bowl a couple of years ago. Just goes to show that sometimes thinking outside the box can give you a great advantage in football and in business.

  • I’d love to see an Internet company do a state-only IPO.