Image vs. Purpose

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I’ve been on a vacation for a month and while a ton of ideas have been swirling around my brain… for the most part I’ve been driving around and having a time of my life. So here is what’s on my mind and how it relates to running a business.

Ducati vs. Harley Davidson


So the obvious answer is Why not just take them both? Unfortunately, in business and in personal life you really can’t have it all any more than you could ride two bikes at the same time.

Harley Davidson V-Rod Nightster is a Porsche-designed 1200+ cc beast that is part cruiser, part leather couch, part rocket. It is by far the most comfortable bike I’ve ever been on and even after a 100 mile field trip I barely felt like I even got out of bed. That, and you look like a badass no matter what you’re doing:


You simply have the sense that those that see you think you’re cool.

Then there is the Ducati. Engineered for the stop watch, designed for the track. It’s actually their tagline. The most award winning GP motorcycle company in the world. From the moment you twist that throttle and dry clutch clunks get closer and closer together, the bike pulls and doesn’t stop pulling. It’s as simple as riding a rocket while having the feeling that the only thing keeping you are your knees. The entire ride is a long pushup, you look like you have a death wish and after an hour you’re ready for a nap – still smiling though!

What you should do…

When it comes to a Harley, do you really care what a bunch of strangers think of you? After all, this is about your happiness. But do you really need one that is built and designed for the track, that will overheat in city traffic no matter the fun?

If you want a comfortable ride, go for the Harley. If you want pure performance and exhilaration, go with the Ducati.

But you really should get both. I did Smile

This is the quagmire that most business owners have. On one hand, you really have only one purpose and everything that gets in a way of it be damned. But you also have to worry about how what you do is being perceived and interpreted – no, people don’t hear the same words that you think are coming out of your mouth.

When you try to “balance” these obviously opposite qualities, folks tend to see right through your fake personality. We all know and hate those folks, who are seemingly your best friend when they are right in front of you but their attitude and message changes depending on who they are talking to. They move forward and up while they dwell in relative anonymity, but plummet once they are exposed.

So how do you balance it? I don’t know, but I’m sure it’s similar to driving two bikes at the same time – face on the pavement and ass on the sidewalk.

The point is that while you might want it all, you have to settle for what makes you happy and what you can be consistent at. Hopefully, over time that builds into a solid track record and respect. No shortcuts. And you can sleep at night. There you go, the secret to a long term sustainable business and leadership model.