Everyone “Above Average”, Raise Your Hand

One day I found myself in the position to speak to the Thrifty Car Rental franchise owners about our new Thrifty.com rollout. All 600 or so of them. That was a tremendous day and I’m looking forward to doing something like that again!

I was up right after two tough acts: Terry Jones (who was CEO of Travelocity at the time and is now Chairman at Kayak.com) and the New England Patriots cheerleaders. Who the hell is going to pay attention to the Director of Internet Marketing for Thrifty.com!? My boss at the time and that’s about it as it turned out.

But, one of the more interesting things said in that whole morning session came from Terry Jones. Seems he was previously in a position to ask another group how many people in the audience thought they were of “above average intelligence” for THAT room and about 90% of the room raised their hands. Two things were immediately obvious: Some people in that room were clearly wrong due to the mathematical improbability of it all; and there were 10% or so of the room with serious problems of one kind or another. He drew some chuckles and went on to talk about an interesting book at the time about orienting businesses on goals… BIG, STRETCH goals and having a compass to help point the way particularly in tough times. Which is precisely what the travel industry was experiencing at the time (early 2000).

Now, some people have an immediate impact with little things they say. And, Mr. Jones’ words have stuck with me all this time. I’ve been really fortunate throughout my time in the online business world to meet some tremendously cool and talented people. ALL of whom are fantastically smart. It would be fun to get them all in a room together and ask the question, “Who’s smarter than average in this room?”

I’d bet the number of hands would be somewhere near 100% 🙂

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