Happy Veterans Day

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Here’s a sneak peak of a short article about my dad and his Vietnam experience.  It will be published in a series of articles about war veterans from his high school, in Evanston, Illinois:

Horace Parker, ETHS ’63, saw my Blog on Ralph Chute ’50, who died in the Korean War.   With that, he wrote to ask me to do a series of articles on ETHS athletes that died in the Vietnam War.   I usually stick to pre-1960 stories but this is an exception.   Horace Parker was All-State quarterback at Evanston in 1962, so he was in that era of young men that were headed for Vietnam and, in fact, participated himself.   He says, “Picture on the left of our great Coach Lazier, providing me with some much needed and very clear advice on my play calling abilities.”  (Game shot:  Parker, 11, vs. Waukegan).

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     He says:   “The other picture has me on the right, in Army Uniform (101st Aireborne), and my best friend Bob Gibson on the left.  ‘Gibby’ was a first team  ETHS All Suburban League End, on defense.   I played with him all four years.   When we went in the service in 1968, I lost track of him for for a while.   My mom wrote, saying he was on a Navy Hospital Ship, The Sanctuary, off the coast of Vietnam in the South China Sea.   I hopped a medevac helicopter from my base camp taking some wounded guys out to the hospital ship, and had Gibby paged over the speaker system.
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     “He couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw me, as it had been a few years.   They fed me a meal in a fancy Navy dining room in my ugly jungle fatigues.   Then he and I went out on deck, got a football from the rec officer, and played catch, the ship’s photographer taking this photo.   Note the football.   What a moment.  I will never forget it.  Gibby passed away from natural causes at age 47, but this picture lives on.  His collegiate career at Dennison University included something like 12 Varsity letters, four each in football, lacrosse and wrestling.   A great, great athlete.”
 
     Those comments and these photos give you an idea of how invested Horace Parker is in ETHS Football and the Vietnam War. Horace, who went to Indiana on a football scholarship himself, told me that 21 Evanston men died in Vietnam and several from Skokie that went to ETHS.  Starting tomorrow, and for the next four days, we’ll talk about four of them that were ETHS athletes.  Their stories are inspirational, to say the least.   Everyone that helped me on the stories mentioned how sports at Evanston were the cornerstone of their lives.   There is nothing I can add to that.
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hummingbird-eating-nectar

What is a Competitive Advantage?

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Recently, I noticed a small dead hummingbird laying on a warm concrete paver outside the window of the building I live in.

Raised by a mother who prefers soil to diamonds, I felt pulled to walk outside, pick up the soft little bird, and nestle his innocent green body in a bush as a proper burial.

Have you ever picked up a hummingbird?  I hope you don’t have to.  If you do, you will be amazed at how light it is.  It’s hard to imagine a hummingbird weighs more than a paperclip (although technically it may).  How did this tiny little creature make it through six billion years of life on this planet?

The same way every single organism, and human, has:  distinct competitive advantage (and a little help from whatever higher power you acknowledge!).

Hummingbirds are meaningless in size.  As a result, they require relatively little heavy calorie consumption and are so fast that scientists still struggle to discern exactly how they flap their wings so quickly.  Can you imagine an eagle, the grandest of physical avian creatures, threatening a hummingbird?  Or a lion?  What about a snake?

None of these can come close to impeding the life of a hummingbird, though, ironically, it might be considered the feeblest of avian creatures.

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A competitive advantage is easily defined.  For any salesperson it answers the question: “Why should your customer choose YOU specifically?”

Let’s be honest — there are a lot of good, skilled, worthy, and moral real estate salespeople.  Having said that, you deserve your piece of pie, your sip of nectar if you were a hummingbird.  You deserve your best life too.

So, why should your customer choose YOU specifically?

What have you done to educate your customers about your competitive advantage?

Karri Flatla (http://karriflatla.com/playbook) sent me a piece of marketing material that, if she used it in my market, would probably get her a call before me (this is just to say it really shows a high level of professionalism).  In all honesty, I can’t specifically recite what she had in there, but, if I were a consumer I would remember holding this example of marketing skill and professionalism.

Competitive advantage in this case = unique, high quality marketing, the likes of which, I had not seen.

We all have, or can develop, competitive advantages.

The eagle?  VISION, STRENGTH, SPEED

The hummingbird?  EFFICIENCY, NIMBLENESS

Mario Jannatpour?  One of his is HONESTY (http://mariojann.com/podcast-2/)

Karri?  One of hers is high quality MARKETING.

All work.  So, it’s not important what yours are, but, that you have them.

(We talked about this in the podcast http://mariojann.com/2015/07/get-more-listings/)