Jason Grill: 3 Ways Failure Can Help Build a Business and Mistakes to Avoid

110901_grill_arenaGrowing up I always admired the play of Michael Jordan. In my opinion, he is the best basketball player of all-time. However, at the time he was playing professional basketball I never imagined him to ever be a failure or make mistakes. Recently, I came across this quote from Michael Jordan. He said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Air Jordan couldn’t have said it better. Even the greatest fail in some aspects of their career or business along the way.

Echoing MJ’s sentiment here are 3 ways failure can help build a business and some mistakes to avoid.

1.  Always Thinking Growing Big Fast Is Best

Many people believe growing your company with numbers and employees quick is always a great thing and will make you more successful. This isn’t always the case. Many times people learn this the hard way and fail fast with the impression that having a lot of people around you in-house will make you more profitable and successful. They fail financially and have smaller profits because of all the other costs involved. As a small business owner many times it makes much more sense to build strategic partnerships and mutual beneficial relationships. This allows you to keep your overhead costs lower and not have the stress of numerous employees as you begin to grow your profits. You won’t have to worry about everything else. Working with other businesses that might be bigger or offer more backend support allows you to do what you do best, while at the same time utilizing the strengths of the other partner companies. Growing your business with key partners is often times way more profitable then growing fast within.

Read the rest of…
Jason Grill: 3 Ways Failure Can Help Build a Business and Mistakes to Avoid

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Key West

key westKey West, Florida… Forever and always the year ’round spring break city for ages 18 to 88–but a city that really isn’t a city at all and more like a narrow corridor off of an alcove off of some real city (but nobody is sure which one) that just happens to be located somewhere between an ocean beach and the end of the world.

It’s a real place where real characters like Ernest Hemingway once briefly lived but feels more like an imaginary place where imaginary characters like Jack Sparrow would permanently live, if he was real.

The daily rumblings of the town aren’t anything like back home and resemble instead something akin to an outdoor rave–the morning after the actual rave. And the evenings are like the night after a bad hangover after you have been resuscitated with a hair-of-the-dog concoction.

And as shady and delirious (even if you are sober, like me) as all this might sound, it is kind of wonderful and mysterious, too. And even restorative –in a kind of mischievous and decadent way.

Time seems to stand still –or at least move in slow motion– not because nothing is happening but because the locale is so disconnected from anyplace where workaday things are happening you forget the need to keep track of time. Which is such an unusual–and enlivening– sensation to experience in our hustle-bustle nation.

And so glad to have found a place where, for a few days, you can remember what life is like without the push and pressures of ticking clocks in this narrow corridor off of an alcove of some city in this mysterious but wonderful place somewhere between an ocean beach and the end of the world.

Things that can happen in Key West…

While waiting for a Cuban coffee you can overhear an older white-haired Irish-looking man introduce himself to the mail carrier as “Tip O’Neill’s nephew.”

jyb_musingsAnd you can wait for the mailman to leave and introduce yourself and tell the man you overheard him say he was related to Tip O’Neill and wanted to say how much you admired the personalized approach his uncle had to politics and think often of the story of President Ronald Reagan getting shot and the first person to visit him in the hospital was the democratic Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill, and the two men talked and prayed together–and how you wish we could someday get back to those times in American politics.


Things one thinks to oneself while in Key West:
“Do you realize you are 50 years old and have never been to a transvestite show?”
10245415_10154030010180515_1283347388_nDolphin art show

What we did tonight instead of going to the transvestite show–next door

Dolphins are great and all, don’t get me wrong. But they aren’t fabulous!


New thing I learned tonight in Key West….

Even if you are a blissfully happily married 50 year old man, it is still nice to be checked out by a younger woman.

Even after you realize it is actually a younger man who is dressed up as a women.



John Y. Brown, III: Maddie Yates

maddie yatesI didn’t know Maddie Yates or her family but my heart goes out to them tonight.

Maddie is the Louisville high school student who committed suicide yesterday after posting a video explaining her plan to kill herself and why.

The video is no longer on the internet but the transcript is. I just read the transcript and was drawn to this part:

“Remember how bad of a person I really am. I say awful things. Even if I don’t mean them, I say them. You don’t even want to know the things that I think; I am not a good person. I’m doing literally the whole world a favor.”

I was drawn to these words because I wish more adults would say from time to time –and say it so a young person can hear it:

“I say awful things that I don’t mean and later regret saying. I think thoughts that no good person would think. I sometimes wonder to myself how someone like me could ever be a ‘good person.’  But that doesn’t make me a bad person. It makes me about average–and the same can be said for everyone else who has thoughts like this. We just aren’t very good at talking openly about the uncomfortable parts of ourselves… but maybe one day we’ll get better at it.”

And I think if each of us adults would say something like that from time to time –and say it so a young person can hear it–I think we would be doing literally the whole world a favor.

Lauren Mayer: Backwards And In High Heels


Feminism is a complicated, messy topic, and if you ask 3 women about it, you’re likely to get 4 different answers.  Some women don’t want to define themselves as feminist because it sounds anti-male, others disagree about how much sexism and discrimination exists, and you can always count on folks like Rush Limbaugh to disparage ‘feminazis’ as freeloading sluts who want Uncle Sugar to provide unlimited birth control and abortion on demand.   And it’s a tricky issue around my house – my 17-year-old son feels like girls get all the breaks because he’s experienced classic educational bias against boys (everything from early school environments being more conducive to how girls learn, to a cliche-but-real male-hating gym teacher who informed them during the square dance unit that ‘the girls had her permission to slap the boys around if they messed up, because everyone knows boys can’t dance’).   My 20-year-old started dancing at age 4, and he was teased mercilessly about it (until high school, when his classmates saw how cute the girls were in dance class, not to mention the revealing dancewear).

So I know there are ways in which it’s harder to be male.  But I still believe women have not completely caught up – as the old expression goes, like ballroom dancers, we’re doing everything guys do, but backward and in high heels.  (Note to my husband – that expression started as a cartoon about Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and then was popularized by former Texas Governor Ann Richards.  It did NOT originate as a line for Angel in Rent.  But I digress . . . ) And as far as whether or not to use the dreaded ‘f’ word, I love the way writer Caitlin Moran summed it up in her book, How To Be A Woman: “Here is a quick way of working out if you’re a feminist.  Do you have a vagina? And do you want to be in charge of it? If you said ‘yes’ to both, then congratulations, you’re a feminist.”

Sure, we’ve come a long way, baby (and we no longer need ‘our own cigarette’ using that phrase . . . please tell me SOMEONE else remembers those hideous ads for Virginia Slims!)  But we still have a long way to go, whether it’s the pay gap or minor cost differences at dry cleaners.  And many male politicians seem to want to go backwards, whether it’s Todd Akin-type idiocy about pregnancy, Mike Huckabee explaining “Men like to hunt and fish together, and women like to go to the restroom together,” or the Texas legislature permitting concealed firearms in sessions but banning tampons and sanitary pads for fear of them being thrown in protest against an abortion ban (yes, that really happened).

So here’s a musical reminder to these misogynist guys that outdated attitudes towards women just might affect how we vote.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: A Couples App

A smartphone “couples” app I’d like to see.

I’ve got an app to count calories and steps taken in a day.

Other apps help me gauge my business travel and finances and even help me manage dietary choices.

But what I could really use is an app that would help me determine how long I need to pout to equal or “get even” for undeserved slights from my wife Rebecca. For example, if Rebecca says “You never do such and such” when, in fact, I do occasionally do such and such –I just don’t do such and such all of the time– that is worth approximately 5-7 minutes of pouting.

How do I know?

I don’t.

That’s the problem.

jyb_musingsIt’s just a gut feel.

And if I overestimate the necessary pouting length, that can lead to a retaliatory slight from Rebecca to level set things. Which then leads to another pout and another slight and so on.

Hence why an app that could tell me more accurately how long I should pout would be so handy. And like all good apps, it should be cross-functional allowing Rebecca to calibrate the precise counter slight for when I over pout.

Elisabeth Jensen: Kentucky Kynect the Right Remedy at the Right Time

MpHJO.AuSt.79I am passionate about healthcare for the people of Kentucky. That is why I am proud of the leadership Governor Steve Beshear has done with our Kentucky Kynect, which now covers more than 402,000 people in the Commonwealth. Governor Beshear recognized opportunity, and knew the remedy for at just the right time for the people he serves.

And that is why I am disappointed that Representative Andy Barr and Senator Mitch McConnell are still blind to the facts, maintaining even stronger attempts to undermine Kentucky Kynect for people who had no insurance.

I often say Kentucky moms like me get more done by noon than Congress gets done in a week.  So when I learned Congressman Andy Barr has voted 19 times to repeal healthcare reform I was disappointed.

Barr, along with Mitch McConnell, voted to end Kynect and let insurance companies drop coverage, deny care and charge women more.

Barr has been in office as 6th District Congressman since January 2013. Since then, he has voted at least 19 times to repeal healthcare. His latest effort was just last week, when he cast his vote for the disastrous Barr/Ryan Budget, which would also change Medicare as we know it. During his career, he has taken more than $148,000 in contributions from the insurance industry, according to Opensecrets.org.

Overall, Congress has voted about 54 times to repeal the health care law. McConnell has even been criticized nationally for grossly distorting statistics, particularly when Governor Beshear’s office was reporting great success right here in Kentucky.

When I am in Congress, the families of Kentucky’s 6th District won’t have to be afraid of me serving special interests over their interests. And when it comes to their healthcare, I will protect Kentucky Kynect. When it comes to Andy Barr and me that is a big difference.

Elisabeth Jensen, as an executive of a non-profit and with deep experience in the business community, brings the tools and experience needed to get the economy working again. She is running for Congress to seek common sense, bi-partisan solutions to the challenges facing our country. See www.elisabethforkentucky.com for more information.



Erica and Matt Chua: South Korea

South Korea is a testament to human will.  It is one of only a  handful of cultures that can claim 5000 years of continuous  civilization.  Of those 5000 years, the last century was one of the most  difficult; few populations have ever been put through so much, yet it  stands today as one of the world’s richest countries.  Walking through  its streets today it is hard to believe that just 60 years ago it was a  smoldering war zone, having been leveled twice: WWII and the Korean  War.  From a tourist’s point of view the country has few draws as it  seems like any modern country, until you look around and consider  everything you see around you represents a miracle for even existing.   South Korea jumped as many hurdles as any modern country ever has,  making it a worthy stopover en-route to other Asian destinations.


DON’T MISS: Busan.  Insert any positive superlatives about a gorgeous, modern, beachfront city here. MUST SEE: SpaLand (Busan), Beomeosa Temple (Busan), DMZ, War Memorial of Korea, Seoul MUST TASTE: A traditional Korean dinner, Hanjeongsik, composed of an array of small dishes (banchan, directly translates to “side dishes”).


TRIP PLANNING: A whirlwind weekend is enough to see either Seoul or Busan.  Add more time to visit Gyeongju or Jeju Island GETTING AROUND: Public transport is fantastic inside Busan and Seoul, with affordable  taxis everywhere else.  To get between Busan and Seoul, take a bullet  train and travel at 320km/hr (~200Mph).


OUR COST PER DAY (2 ppl): $54.60 COST OF A BEER: $2-3 at a chicken and beer restaurant, make sure to try the fried chicken, South Korean fried chicken is delicious. KEY MONEY-SAVING TIP: Cabs are cheap, but don’t try to cross the city in one as Seoul and  Busan are huge and the fare will sky rocket quickly.  Use public  transport to get as close to your destination as possible and then a cab  if needed.  In both Busan and Seoul you can get a transport card that  makes subway and bus riding hassle free.  Tourist information centers  can help you purchase these cards.


YOU NEED TO KNOW: Many/most of the young people know basic English.  They may not be  confident speaking, but if you need directions most can help you. IF WE KNEW WHAT WE KNOW NOW: We would have spent less time in Seoul as it can be done in just a weekend. HELPFUL LINKS TO LEARN MORE: Top things to do in Busan, Top 10 things to do in Seoul, Wikitravel.  Please send us any sites you found useful and we’ll add them!


WE WERE THERE FOR: 2 weeks OUR HIGHLIGHT: Couchsurfing with an American in Busan.  It was nice to have someone  that understood everything we said after months of broken English  conversations. WHERE WE WENT: Seoul, Gyeongju, Busan WE REGRET MISSING: Jeju-do (Jeju Island).  We’ve heard many great things.



Click to read more about South Korea


South Korea Highlights

Short on time? The highlight reel of our 3 week trip to South Korea including beaches, oceanside temples, fish markets, skyscrapers, fried chicken and more.  Tour South Korea in under 15 photos!

14 Photos


Busan is the largest port city in South Korea and the fifth largest port in the world. The city is located on the southeasternmost tip of the Korean peninsula and is a source of pride for Koreans.  As it should be, the wonderful beaches of Haeundae to the world’s largest department store in downtown this city should be a must-visit in Korea.

28 Photos


Gyeongju was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla (57 BC – 935 AD) which ruled most of the Korean Peninsula between the 7th and 9th centuries. A vast number of archaeological sites and cultural properties from this period remain in the city. Gyeongju is often referred to as “the museum without walls”.

26 Photos


Seoul is the capital and largest city of South Korea. A mega city with a population of over 10 million, it is one of the largest and most densely populated cities in the world.  Historic buildings are tucked in amongst the skyscrapers and apartment buildings are everywhere.  From the indoor markets to the arts district Seoul has many different sides.  While it may not be built for tourists you get a glimpse into the hustle and bustle of living in South Korea.

29 Photos

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Life lessons from the Billy Joel concert

Billy Joel Concert

The author at the Billy Joel concert with some nudnick and two beautiful women

Billy Joel The StrangerThe first two music albums that I fell in love with were Billy Joel’s The Stranger and Steely Dan’s Aja. I was 13 years old. Over time I came to like Aja better but initially The Stranger was my favorite. First favorite albums always have a special place in your heart and which is why I was so excited to attend my first Billy Joel concert at the YUM center last week.

The first thing I noticed was Billy Joel looks a lot different today than he did when I was first introduced to him in 1977. He even joked when introducing himself that he was really Billy Joel’s father. A lot of time has passed since The Stranger was released –37 years to be exact. But as I was treated to a generously long lifetime of songs from the legendary Billy Joel I couldn’t help but notice that –at least in my opinion—almost all of Joel’s greatest songs came from The Stranger (1977) or earlier works.

The 37 years that followed had produced some memorable and even exceptional songs but none that rated, again in my opinion, as classics or truly extraordinary pieces of music.

jyb_musingsWhich made me think to myself that perhaps in music—and other professions—the key is to have a huge creative burst in your late 20s and then you can coast the rest of your life by replaying your greatest hits, so to speak, to sell out crowds. In other words, I asked myself, Was Billy Joel and so many other of our greatest artists their own version of Orson Welles –who stunned the world with his prodigy and prodigiousness in his early career before falling relatively flat during the ensuing decades?

But as I remained entertained and even entranced by Billy Joel I knew something more was at play. Perhaps for some artists they do flame out early and coast for many years after that. But that is not what we were witnessing with Billy Joel. Yes, his greatest music perhaps was written when he was a younger man but we were not watching a man who was past his prime. He had matured from a great song writer to one of the greatest entertainers of our time. Joel may have been at the apex of his creativity in his 20s but now in his 60s Joel was still peaking as a performer and master musician.

So, as we were slowly filing out after the concert, I wondered to myself what this all meant. Perhaps it was that great creativity and breakthrough originality are breathtaking to experience but like all things that take your breath away are hard to sustain. But real passion and dedication that lasts not for months or years –but for decades –and is nurtured while honing your life’s work, may not take your breath away, but does elicit something even greater—an awe and respect as well as a record of sustained excellence that is even rarer and more special than moments of genius.

The author at the Billy Joel Louisville concert with some nudnick and two beautiful women

The author at the Billy Joel Louisville concert with some nudnick and two beautiful women

I learned, I suppose, that the depth of our devotion is more profound than the height of our creativity. In music. And in life. The former can create one of the great albums of a generation. But the latter can establish one of the greatest entertainers of our lifetime. And made me glad that the Billy Joel I finally got to see live wasn’t the brilliant 28 year old at his creative flashpoint, who would have still been very exciting to see, but rather was the 65 year old master of his craft and consummate musical performer, who truly was amazing to behold. And who also taught me an important lesson about life.

The Ugliest Negative Ad of the Political Cycle…Is Against Jonathan Miller?!?!

This shocking negative campaign ad was recently posted on YouTube by a shadowy political campaign finance group, likely funded by billionaires who desperately want The Recovering Politician, Jonathan Miller, to lose Dancing with the Lexington Stars:

If you despise this type of campaigning please vote for Jonathan Miller here to win Dancing with the Lexington Stars. Each vote costs $5 and benefits the extraordinary work of Surgery on Sunday and the Lexington Rotary Club Endowment Fund.

Of course, if you agree with the message of the ad, then please go here and vote for anybody but Jonathan Miller.  Every $5 contribution helps some truly needy and deserving people in our community.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: “Survivor: For Real”

Idea for a new reality TV show

“Survivor: For Real”

Twelve companies that provide online services (e.g. reservations, etc) –and then make it nearly impossible to ever reach a human by phone and, if you do, it is only to talk to a well-trained call center worker who has memorized every conceivable polite way of telling you you will get absolutely no help— will have their CEOs and call center employees transported to a marooned island with no food or shelter or cell phones.

jyb_musingsAlso on the island are the frustrated customers of these 12 companies and they will have much more food and shelter than they need –as well as having cell phones. But this group will be unable to talk live to any of the CEOs or call center workers who are begging for food and shelter because they will be on their cell phones and can’t be bothered. But they will be very polite about explaining why they can’t talk or help right now. And tell them to have a nice day and ask if they would agree to participate in a customer service survey.

The ensuing fun will be something most every viewer will be able to appreciate.

The Recovering Politician Bookstore


The RP on The Daily Show