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The Midnight Special—America's First Start-up is a Thanksgiving Story; Trump and Porsche in Prime Super Bowl Ad Positions; Bet on Bernie, Bloomberg, Loren and Matt


400-year-old entrepreneurial saga: How to gratefully survive.  

Going into its third hard winter in 1623, America's original start-up, Plymouth Colony, finally felt a tingle as it saw some survival daylight; an overnight downpour ended a long drought and, for the first time, the little colony clique had some food stored and cured for the grinding cold days ahead.

The start-up's leader, William Bradford, colony governor, called for an all-hands-on-deck meeting the next day. There, Bradford asked his beleaguered, malnourished group to express "thanksgiving” that they were still standing as a team with their common mission—don't let the person next to you die.

Bradford was a shrewd start-up leader with great PR skills, so he also invited to the meeting 60 to 90 Wampanoag Indians who had shared backwoods survival tactics with the colonists and helped pull them back from the edge of oblivion.

That meeting showed that gratitude is a strong strategy and force to bond human beings together in tough times, as the little colony-that-could scaled to a country called America.

On the other hand, gratitude is distorted and degraded sitting around tables of stuffed turkeys with football games playing on TV in the background, and just as much when leaders give gratitude right after the company goes public or in a speech telling everyone rags-to-riches war stories.

Speaking of wars, Abraham Lincoln in 1863 declared Thanksgiving a national holiday as the Union and Confederate soldiers were battling to the bloody end. The national tide dead set against the President turned so slightly the other way after the holiday. There is something real about gratitude shown when you are struggling instead of after you are successful.

Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy seeing companies succeed as much as I love Thanksgiving Day and pumpkin pie, which is a lot! We just need to be aware of congratulating ourselves and showing true gratitude to others or a higher power about our daily life struggles. We all come up short—show some true gratitude and your people will love you for it.

True gratitude eats "employee happiness" lunch any day of the week—and twice on Sunday. So I don't know why more companies don't use it as a strategy. Of course, happy employees are more productive. What is wrong is how the consultants and management folks tell us how to get there. Put me on the Bradford team—happy to be working with a company and colleagues who care about each other.

When I visit companies, I never have employees say to me, “They don't make me happy.” But last week I was told what I usually hear: “I never heard a word after I worked all weekend to get it done" and "They said nothing when it happened.” By the way, forget the obligatory thank you. Tell the truth—you had to work all weekend and that is on me as a leader who did not invest in the systems to match our growth strategy.

WeWork founder sat down last week to write his employees a farewell thank-you note, but nothing has gone out because he cannot think of anything to say. You think gratitude might have been a root problem?

See, here is the other thing about gratitude—it doesn't cost a dime. So it is not surprising that we find many true successful start-ups full of it, just like the Plymouth Colony that turned into a fairly successful economic engine called American capitalism.

Here is what I ask you to do before you depart Wednesday and enjoy Thanksgiving with family, feast, and football. Who are your W Indians that you can invite to your meeting before you all rush out the door? If you take a moment and show gratitude before you bolt, you see why Thanksgiving is a 400-year-old entrepreneurial story about how to gratefully survive before you thrive. I think the day should be a universal day of thanks for Entrepreneurial companies across the world—so enjoy yours.



Everybody is amused Netflix is now in the movie theater business: It is reopening the 71-year-old Paris Theatre in New York City. Here is the reason why: The megastars see streaming as second tier and will not sign up unless it hits the big screen cinemas first. Paris Theatre is big screen, baby.



In my last report, I said was for sale. Not any longer. Marc Cuban bought it and parked it. Cuban is consistent: Long-range thinker while understanding the urgency of now.



Fox is sold out of Super Bowl ads, with some going as high as $5.6M for a 30-second slot. Last year’s highest was $5.3M. Sports advertising is hot.

Basically the same companies except for two newbies—Porsche will run ad for its new electric Taycan and Trump will kick off reelection campaign, although that is officially being denied. Jared is in trouble; Trump has given him a real job—build his wall.




If the Democrats want to impeach Trump, that is fine. But can you find another issue, like Jared bailing out all his bad loans with Saudi Arabia. When someone calls me and asks for a “personal favor,” it means I am taking one for the team. Or, like when I called Jim Jacoby last week about his new St. Mary’s development and I said, "Do me a favor, save me the tackle shop and one acre facing Cumberland"—I am going to pay him for the land, of course, but not the favor. Democrats simply don’t have the goods. Here is my prediction: Bloomberg and Bernie will fight it out for the right to oppose Trump.



Bernie has one thing in common with Trump: If he shot someone on 5th Ave., his supporters would not leave him. His folks show up. Bloomberg is savvy and knows how to deploy capital across systems to match a strategy. He’s got a shot.

I have received 60 or 70 emails on why "Oxford Morning Report" is now called “21 Hats.” First, when we had it, it was called "Morning Report" and the very name Wayne Lazarus trademarked. I am not privy to the thinking on the change, but I do know that Matt and Loren are very capable and smart. My guess is we will see a lot more to come.