President’s Letter – You’ve Got a Friend in Me

President’s Letter – You’ve Got a Friend in Me

Sometimes it pays to be friendly.

Since I started in the world of business, I never saw a need to make my competitors my enemies. In fact, I felt the opposite.

I always thought it was important to maintain a friendly relationship with my competitors, as we were all facing the same issues.
Over the years, I have maintained good relationships with our competitors. While there is one local golf magazine who has no interest in being friendly, I do have great working relationships with many other publications. Over the years, many golf publications in town have come and gone, and I was fortunate to make friends with many of them.

Locally, I am friendly with Tim Rogers, the editor extraordinaire at D Magazine. Well, in reality, I would like to be friends with Tim. He answers my emails, likes it when I tweet about him, uses the free golf equipment I send him, but always gives me the office number when I ask for his cell. I guess we are acquaintances. Friendly acquaintances.

In the world of radio, I have always made it a point to be friendly with the other golf shows in town. While they didn’t actually compete with us in our time slot, they did compete with us when it came to advertising sales. Their shows are no longer on the air, but I always considered Steven Gribin and Courtney Connell friends (although I wouldn’t give them my cell number).

In the world of e-commerce, I always maintained a good relationship with our competitors. When we started iDealgolfer, the folks at Supreme Golf were directly competing with us. Jonathan Wride is a very successful entrepreneur, and I learned a great deal from him over the years. They left the daily deal business, and are becoming a force in the aggregation business. Think of them as the Kayak.com for golf (at least that is what Jonathan tells me).

About a year after we started iDealgolfer, the folks at GolfNow decided to compete directly with us. It freaked us out. We had a great thing going, but the 800-pound gorilla, which is owned by Comcast and had The Golf Channel as an avenue to market their new venture, scared the hell out of us.

GolfNow’s DealCaddy.com site was something that spanned over 80 markets, and when they launched, it was immediately successful. But, we had a head start on them in this market, and despite their vast resources, we prevailed here.

I have been fortunate to meet the top brass of GolfNow on a number of occasions. While our other businesses do not directly compete, we do have similar clients. For example, when Arcis Golf had their annual awards conference, we were both there. I was there because they advertise in this publication, and Arcis is a prominent user of GolfNow.

I liked the folks at GolfNow. I saw them quite a bit over the years. And, when they invited me to the Golf Channel’s 20th anniversary party during the PGA Show, I started to speak of them well. There isn’t much about the Golf Channel party that I remember. Alcohol was flowing, the band Collective Soul was playing, and there were a lot of people that I didn’t know. But I did feel that I fit in.

In short, we were friendly. I knew the names of the important people, and I think they knew me, the little fly that annoyed the hell out of them in Dallas. And, while I still think that Tim Rogers should give me his cell number, I was not close enough with anyone over at GolfNow that any of us were in each other’s phone books.

Recently, I received a Linkedin email from Greg Palmer, VP of GolfNow and grand poobah of their DealCaddy site (my title for him), wanting to meet. However, I was intrigued. Greg believed that us working together in the e-commerce space made sense, and given our success in Dallas and other markets, it made sense for us to run it.

Starting this month, iDealgolfer, in a joint venture with Deal Caddy, will now be across the country.

As I have told my family, it is like I won the lottery, but I need to figure out how to get to Austin to cash the ticket. There are going to be a lot of road blocks for sure, but, it’s a great opportunity for us, and one that we are all truly excited.

So congratulate us. It’s going to be a fun ride. And if you see Tim Rogers, see if he will give me his cell phone number.