Thursday, January 3, 2013

Charlie Strong and the next big thing

     When Charlie Strong decided to forgo the opportunity to work at Tennessee, a lot of sports bloggers were puzzled and said it was a poor decision.  Today, in the wake of Louisville's 33-23 humbling of Florida in the Sugar Bowl, the decision is looking better and better.
Conventional wisdom said that Strong should have abandoned Louisville for the first opportunity to coach in the SEC that came along.  But conventional wisdom was wrong.  It is hard to see how Strong could have equaled the success he's enjoyed at Louisville in Knoxville, at least in the short-term.  With the Cardinals headed to the ACC, he's in a position to finally guide Louisville to major power status.  At UT, he would have been given the mammoth task of finding breathing room in the already-overwhelming SEC, without a natural recruiting base. 

Now, having beaten one of the SEC's elite programs on a national stage, he has positioned himself to do anything he wants to do. 

The parallel with business is obvious.  Many times, we're tempted to chase after new markets because it's the next big thing.  Witness the media companies that decided to head into daily deals in the wake of the initial success of Groupon, for instance.  Sometimes abandoning the tried and true makes sense.  Kodak might not have been forced into bankruptcy had it embraced digital much earlier.  However, companies sometimes find themselves chasing will o' the wisps.  Figuring how the next big thing is always a difficult call.

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