Jonathan Begley

February 8, 2010

WHAT MAKES YOU BUY?

Filed under: Character,Current Events — jonathanbegley @ 7:58 pm

Yesterday I sat down with a handful of friends to watch the best of the NFL battle it out in the Superbowl. The game did not disappoint. I can’t say the same for the commercials. For much of the country (myself excluded) I believe that the game is secondary to seeing the million dollar ads that organizations and companies produce. It amazes me that at the end of a three hour game I had a hard time remembering even a handful of good, quality commercials despite the astronomical amount of money spent.

 I define a quality commercial as one that not only is clear and memorable, but one that gives America a reason to buy that product over a competitor’s similar product.

When companies like Budweiser or Pizza Hut can shell out millions of dollars for a thirty second spot that is forgotten thirty seconds later, what does that say about their priorities? What does it say about who they are and what they want to represent? Giving away a free pair of pants or a free Grand Slam breakfast doesn’t get me excited about a product or company. Neither do cows and Clydesdales, men without pants, or Punxatony Palamalus (okay that last one was hilarious, but I still cannot recall what the company was).

In the weeks before we all heard countless opinions about the Tim Tebow Pro Life ad. Whether I agree with a woman’s right to choose or not, I know what Focus on the Family stands for and what they believe. I heard several commentators today complain about the sexist commercials that were so prevalent during the game. How offensive a particular commercial was can be debated but it is clear to me that some companies just flat do not deserve my money.

So while some commercials are funny and others full of sex or star power the mark of a good commercial is one that makes you want to act, to choose that product or service over another. In an attempt at name recognition I think that many companies are turning off the very people they are trying to reach. Name recognition is important, but not as important as a company’s character.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Which commercials were great? Which were not? What makes you want to move?

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January 18, 2010

ONE OF THE RARE ONES

Filed under: Character — jonathanbegley @ 8:20 pm

“…but he was one of the rare ones who were genuinely glad to see another man advance.  In some of them there was a hunger for rank – in Jubal Early it was a disease – but Armistead had grown past the hunger, if he ever had it at all.  He was an honest man, open as the sunrise, cut from the same pattern as Lee: old family, Virginia gentleman, man of honor, man of duty.  He was one of the men who would hold ground if it could be held; he would die for a word.  He was a man to depend on, and there was this truth about war: it taught you the men you could depend on.” – (Shaara, The Killer Angels pp. 60-61).

We all know these men and women.  They are found in the most unlikely of places.  How many of us would describe ourselves as loyal or honest or trustworthy or dependable?  How many of us can be sure that others see us in this same light?  It are these qualities that make a man.

How do you recognize a truly honest or trustworthy individual?

January 12, 2010

ONE STEP TOWARDS COOPERSTOWN

Filed under: Character,Current Events — jonathanbegley @ 1:51 pm

Mark McGwire finally comes clean. Obviously many fans are completely surprised that the man took steroids, but the question remains, does he belong in Cooperstown? A few weeks ago many of you know that I would have answered that question with “absolutely not.” Now, I have to admit that my answer is “not yet.”

Although McGwire would like for us all to believe that he took Performance Enhancing Drugs for health reasons only, we all know that this is not exactly true. PEDs obviously make you stronger. If not stronger than how do they “enhance” your performance? Yes, McGwire has God given talent to hit a baseball. No one doubts that. What I doubt is that he could have hit 70 home runs in 1998 without them. Any records that he does still hold should be abolished. We will never know what his careers statistics would look like without PEDs.

Are his career statistics worth a place in the Hall of Fame? Not if he cheated. Roger Maris didn’t cheat and neither did many of the other Hall members. They played with their God given talent and played through injuries whenever possible. When they couldn’t play any longer, they hung up their cleats. What I believe does qualify him to be in the Hall is his contribution to the game. McGwire has made an unmistakable mark on the game, and not just the “I’m not here to talk about the past” remarks. McGwire was the face of America’s pastime during the 80’s and 90’s; teams won pennants and fans cheered.

With his recent admission of steroid use throughout his career, McGwire has shown that he is now ready to address his mistakes. Is he ready to earn the trust and respect of America? He has taken the most difficult step but now he must make a decision. Does he continue on with the Cardinal’s organization like nothing happened? Or does he use his God given position, his talents, and his energy to help repair the damage that was done to the game of baseball?

It is not what he did that will keep him out of the Hall; it is what he will do with his future that might get him in.

January 7, 2010

THE PRICE OF CHARACTER

Filed under: Character — jonathanbegley @ 2:03 pm

Compare my last post about Andrew Carnegie to John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods.  The following is taken from the book The Trust Edge by David Horsager.  

“In the late 1980’s, Whole Foods Company Chairman and CEO, John Mackey, set the pay ceiling for his executives at no more than eight times the pay of an entry-level employee.  The ceiling has been raised a few times since then, but Whole Foods Company is one of the few international companies to have a pay ceiling at all.  Mackey successfully opposed the unionization of his stores, not because of a disrespect for his workers, but because his competitive wages and progressive benefits packages would make unionization counter-productive.” 

Not only did Mackey refuse pay raises for himself because it violated company rules, but Mackey also had a heart for his workers as well.  “Later, Mackey reduced his own salary to $1 per year, donated all his stocks to charity, and set up a $100,000 emergency fund to be used by employees who were facing financial problems.” 

Mackey is not the richest man in the world, like Carnegie was in his time, but to call his methods of doing business fruitless would be an obvious inaccuracy.  Mackey’s employees, colleagues, and “Fortune Magazine” saw not only a great businessman, but a man of great character. Carnegie sought to make money by whatever means necessary, then sought after acceptance and praise from his fellow man through philanthropy.  Character is not something that can be bought.

December 30, 2009

WINNING AT TEXAS TECH IS NOT EVERYTHING

Filed under: Attitude,Character — jonathanbegley @ 12:40 pm

Being a Texas Tech graduate I must respond to recent events in Lubbock regarding the termination of head football coach Mike Leach.  There is no doubt that Leach is a phenomenal football coach and his presence will be sorely missed at Tech.  The “Mad Scientist” was quirky and strange not only in his personal life but on the football field where he led an unorthodox and talented group of players. 

I don’t envy the position that the Texas Tech University administration was in this week.  They have a player alleging that he was locked in a confined space for several hours because he had a concussion and didn’t want to practice.  The player’s father is a nationally recognized sports analyst who was quick to use his position to act on the situation.  And they have a football coach that knows how to win, whom the city loves, and whom fills the seats. 

I like winning as much as anyone and I am afraid to say that the Tech football program has a long road back to their current position.  I also see myself as a man who tries to live with integrity and I hope the same from my alma mater.  

If Leach indeed intentionally punished this player in a manner that put his health and safety at risk then he deserves to lose his job.  I don’t feel sorry for him and I am sure he will receive countless coaching offers from schools across the country willing to pay him far more than Tech.  If the university knows information from their investigation of the incident that led them to their quick and drastic actions, they should let the public know.  If this is all true, then I applaud the university’s actions.  Winning is not everything. 

With that being said, the school should continue to act with integrity and fulfill their obligation to a bonus agreement of $800,000 due tomorrow.  This bonus was for achievements on the field, which Leach accomplished.  It had nothing to do with any disciplinary actions alleged by a player.  

I think that this last fact of the bonus due tomorrow is dangerous to Texas Tech.  The same university who brought in Bob Knight, the chair tossing, student choking, chin popping coach because he wins, is now saying that they do not stand for such behavior.  If the university, or anyone for that matter, wants to be seen as a stand up, man, woman, or organization of integrity, they should act in that manner at all times; in all situations.

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