Nasal Strips and Other Useless Stuff
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe
When we started this little adventure in January, I told you all that the best thing about running is that all you need are some good shoes, shorts, and a shirt. If you have been paying attention, you will have learned that I own running clothes in every neon color, socks that have right and left indicators, a Garmin sports watch, and a host of other crap that isn’t essential to propelling oneself along on a road or a trail under your own power. To be completely honest, I have also accumulated three pairs of running shoes (4 if you count my trail shoes), a host of hydration options, 3 visors, 2 college hats, and a Road Id in case paramedics need to identify my unconscious form on the side of some road. To be really, really honest, I also have a couple of sticks of Body Glide (runners chafe, especially Long Island lawyers – get over it), some KT Tape with the adhesive spray, and three pair of running sunglasses.
Okay, so much for minimalism.
Recently, my amazing bride of 27 blissful years presented me with a package of some brand-name nasal strips (those little adhesive numbers that go on your nose and prevent snoring). She bought them (with a coupon) because she thought that they might help me breathe better during runs and races.
She also mentioned the snoring.
So, because my Mom didn’t raise an idiot, the next time I went on a training run I was sporting one of these funny little things across the bridge of my nose. It’s bad enough that I know that I’m not exactly poetry in motion when I’m running. Now, in addition to wearing enough neon to guide an F-14 Tomcat onto a pitching carrier deck at night, I’ve got a glorified Band-Aid with springs in it stuck on my face.
So, how did it work?
Everyone’s Dad taught them the old adage – the right tool for the job.
Let’s just say that when humans are chugging along at anything that approaches a serious pace, we don’t breathe through our noses! Serious air sucking can only be accomplished when you are slacked jawed and nearly catatonic.
In business (and in life), there is a tendency to accumulate useless things – buildings, equipment, vehicles, raw materials, inventory, and yes, even people. How often do you truly question those things that are taking up space in your business without producing anything? How often do you evaluate how much space those things actually deserve? In the last few years, items and services that were once cutting edge and indispensable have become obsolete. Don’t believe me?
Okay, when was the last time that you bragged about your new PDA, or complained about your pay email account, your dial-up connection, or long distance charges? When did you last go to get film developed, trotted down to your local video store to rent a movie, or hit the corner record store for the Foo Fighters’ latest album? How many maps do you have in your car? Did you use that map to find a public pay phone so that you could call your Mom on her landline? How many telephone books, dictionaries, or encyclopedias do you have in your home? Faxed anything lately? What about that VCR? Does your telephone even have buttons? Do any electronic devices? Do you even remember that the newspaper has a classified section for job seekers? Do you even subscribe to any publication that is printed on physical paper?
Once upon a time, all of those things were The Bomb (yeah, no one says that any more – point proven)! How many inefficient or unnecessary things clutter your basement or your business or your office? How about scheduling a trash day – a time during the year that you focus on removing or repurposing those things are no longer valid or worthwhile? What are you holding onto personally, professionally, or as a business organization that no longer deserves the space that you have given it?
The Flint Sprint
“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” ― Dean Karnazes, Ultramarathoner
Thursday of last week, my Long Island law firm hosted the first annual Flint Sprint, a 5K race in honor and memory of my late partner, Ed Flint, who died of ALS last year.
When Ed was first diagnosed, he told me that “ALS may kill me, but it won’t beat me.” Then, he told me that he was sorry that he didn’t have any words that would make me feel better. He came into the office every day and fought a war that he knew that he could not win against an opponent that constantly cheated. First he had a cane, then a walker, and then that blasted wheelchair. But, he came in every day.
He never gave up.
And, he always smiled.
Over one hundred friends and supporters ran Ed’s race the other night. All shapes and sizes. Some serious runners, some not so serious, some non-runners, and even a couple of tri-athletes. Ed would have loved to see so many different types of people coming together for a single event. He would have hated that it was about him. For Ed, it was never about him.
Ed lived his life with a grace, a strength, a character that most of us can only hope to achieve. He was so genuine when we spoke – so open – so honest – that I was almost embarrassed to be in his presence. It wasn’t out of sympathy. And, it wasn’t out of pity.
It was – awe.
Ed ran when he could. Walked when he needed. And, crawled when he had to.
But . . . He Never Gave Up.
Some of you might ask – what does this have to do with running? Some of you might also ask – what does this have to do with your business?
If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand.
On May 14, 2015, SilvermanAcampora hosted the first annual Flint Sprint 5K to benefit the ALS Association of Greater New York. The race was in honor of Ed Flint, who was a partner at SilvermanAcampora for 15 years. Ed was much more than a law partner, he was a friend and a mentor to all.
More than 100 friends and supporters gathered to run the 5K road race in Eisenhower Park, which was electronically timed and on an USATF certified course. Together, the participants, sponsors, and donors raised more than $7,000 for ALS research!
Why We Run – Part 2
“Working together in concert more smoothly not only helps us move more quickly; it changes the nature of what we can undertake. When we have the confidence that we can orchestrate the group effort required to realize them, we dare bigger dreams.” – Justin Rosenstein, 32 year old former technical engineer in charge of Facebook’s Pages, “Like” Button, and Beacon for which he was compensated $341 million
So, why do we race when we can’t win, and continue to run when the winner has long left the course?
In his amazing book, Born To Run, author Christopher McDougall offered this explanation.
“The reason we race,” McDougall said, “isn’t so much to beat each other …. but to be with each other.”
Does that sentiment translate into business?
Based on the sheer number of business incubators that have popped up all over the country the answer seems to be “yes”. The notion is simple – combine good ideas with good people and good intentions, and presto, a successful company. But is it that easy?
Many of us believe that great companies are created in garages, in basements, or at kitchen tables. In large measure, incubators can be simply a cluster of unproven talent in a common space without any common business objective. If the goal of every business is to produce something that causes someone else to write a check, then hanging out with people with a different agenda – however so slight – might not be the means to the end. The incubator concept alone doesn’t solve the problem, and certainly doesn’t guarantee success.
So, if the goal of business is to beat the other guy, McDougall’s observation must be flat wrong.
Runners mentor each other. More experienced runners share information, successes, and failures with the newbies. Too many companies with too little mentorship spell failure. Fewer companies in the incubator with more mentorship seems to be the ticket.
As I’ve said before, runners usually have a plan – or several of them. Many incubator companies have no clear funding path after the initial cash infusion during the program. Unfortunately, many start-ups are just ideas; they are not products and certainly are not companies.
More than 90% of start-ups will fail. Just ask my partners who manage that space for our Long Island law firm. Does that mean that business incubation is bad? Absolutely not.
Incubators give people an opportunity to make their dreams come true. And even if most of those ideas fail, they will still create innovations that can be reflected elsewhere. Incubators are cheaper than ever and that lowers investor risk. Lower risk means more investors, which means more mentorship and a better network for the start-up. All of that means that there is a greater chance of success. Incubators are the new business education system.
There’s plenty of room in the race. Just ask any runner.
SilvermanAcampora is pleased to announced that four of its partners, Kenneth P. Silverman, Anthony C. Acampora, Gerard R. Luckman, Adam L. Rosen, and Lon J. Seidman, have been selected as “Super Lawyers” for the year 2015. In addition, Sheryl P. Giugliano, an associate with the Firm, has been named as a “Rising Star.”
Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations, and peer evaluations.
For more information about Super Lawyers, please click here.
On May 14, 2015, at 6:30 p.m., SilvermanAcampora LLP is hosting, together with other sponsors, the Flint Sprint, a 5K road race in Eisenhower Park, to raise money for the ALS Association of Greater New York. The race honors Ed Flint who was a partner at SilvermanAcampora for 15 years. Ed was much more than a law partner, he was a friend and a mentor to all.
In 2011, Ed was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. There is no cure or treatment to combat the physical effects of ALS. For the three years that followed his diagnosis, ALS robbed Ed of his physical abilities and ultimately, in February 2014 his life. During those 3 years, Ed lived by his simple motto – “ALS may kill me … but it won’t beat me.” In ten weeks, the SilvermanAcampora family, and all of its supporters, will run for Ed.
The “Flint Sprint” 5K will raise money and awareness for ALS research, which will help support the 30,000 Americans who, like Ed, live with ALS.
Visit the Flint Sprint website to register for the race!
To participate and join in on the fun, please click here!
If you cannot participate but would like to donate, please click here!
Why We Race
“Runners just do it – they run for the finish line even if someone else has reached it first.” – Unknown
Over the last few weeks, I have participated in two very different races. The first was the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run in Washington, D.C. in mid-April. Ten thousand (yeah you read that right – 10,000) runners started at the Washington Monument, looped over Memorial Bridge, ran through Rock Creek Park, and down the Tidal Basin at the height of cherry blossom season during the DC Cherry Blossom Festival. Pretty amazing.
The other race was Alec’s Run XI. It’s a local 4 mile race held at the high school with about 350 participants. It is run in memory of 16 month old who was accidently killed by his grandfather 11 years ago when he backed over the toddler playing in the driveway. Alec’s family have been tireless advocates to raise awareness of the deadly blind spot zone behind vehicles and have been instrumental in making back-up cameras mandatory for all vehicles. Also, pretty amazing.
As I stood in the parking lot of the high school cheering for my neighbors as they finished red faced and huffing, I thought back to the ten thousand runner extravaganza of a few weeks earlier and to all of the other races that I have participated in over the years.
We all look the same, I thought. Whether you are the guy that ran six minute miles to win or the back-of-the-packer who clocked in at 14 minute miles, your hands are on your hips and you’re trying to catch your breath. It was the same with the Cherry Blossom. Ten thousand people grinning and sweating like idiots. There was one winner, and 9,999 happy “losers” who were smiling, congratulating, high-fiving, and even hugging complete strangers with whom they had shared an hour or two of companionship. It’s the same with Boston and New York.
To the non-runner, races don’t make much sense. As one of my colleagues, who isn’t a runner (but who is a Long Island lawyer), famously observed – “why race if you don’t have any chance to win?”
I am now absolutely certain why runners continue to press on long after someone else has won or when they don’t have a chance in hell of finishing first among 50,000 participants.
And, it’s not why you think.
So, what’s the answer?
I’ll tell you next week.
On April 19, 2015, Newsday published an article regarding SilvermanAcampora’s representation of Structure Tek Construction Inc. in an arbitration against the owner of Smuggler Jack’s restaurant in Massapequa, New York. Structure Tek received an award of $254,735.29 (plus interest) in the arbitration, and had the arbitration award confirmed by the New York State Supreme Court.
When asked about how Structure Tek will enforce the judgment, SilvermanAcampora partner Jay Hellman said “[w]e’re going to start the process of enforcement with the sale of the Smuggler’s property, the sale of the restaurant.”
To read the full article, please click here.