Small Business Lessons From Tom BradyMarch 3rd, 2017

I have been thinking a lot about Tom Brady leading the Patriots to victory in Superbowl LI a month ago.

Brady’s performance in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl was nothing short of remarkable. You have to be in awe of a nearly 40-year-old bringing his team back from a record deficit to win his fifth Super Bowl and MVP.

Now when you think of Tom Brady, you think of a guy who has it all. You think of Hall of Fame quarterback with a supermodel wife, everything someone could want. But if that’s all you know, you missed out on the truly miraculous part of this story. In Middle school, Tom Brady didn’t start until the starter got hurt. (and they were 0-8 at the time).  In his senior year Brady had to create a highlight tape just to get the attention of colleges.

Tom Brady went to Michigan as a backup quarterback, patiently waiting his turn to start. In fact at one point Brady was 7th on the depth chart. Finally getting his chance as a junior,  Brady had an excellent college career. However he was not highly thought of coming out of college.

Here are the notes concerning Brady at the combine:

Poor build, Skinny, Lacks great physical stature and strength, Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush, Lacks a really strong arm, Can’t drive the ball downfield, Does not throw a really tight spiral, System-type player who can get exposed if forced to ad lib, Gets knocked down easily

He ended up get drafted by the Patriots in the 6th round, the 199th pick. Check this list below, most of the quarterbacks you have never heard of, and the ones you know were marginal at best.

Players above Tom Brady in the draft

This is the lesson small businesses can learn from Brady. No, you may not have the looks and other tools that he has physically. But any one, especially small businesses can have the same drive and put it in the same effort in order to succeed. You can outwork your competition even if they are bigger and perhaps more talented.

I remember hearing about Brady as a rookie, not a cinch to make the team. They give a parking spot to the guy who spends the most time in the weight room. Brady reportedly got this space week after week as nobody worked harder. He badgered Coach Belichick asking for more reps, always asking what are you could do to improve.

But still it looked like he be relegated to a career as a backup.

Then one fateful day Drew Bledsoe the starting quarterback for the new and the patriots got drilled by Mo Lewis of the Jets. He sustained an injury that almost killed him. Brady came in the game and patriots fans groaned that the season was over. In the beginning, the coaches had a very conservative plan with Tom Brady, and they ultimately won the Super Bowl. Still people weren’t hundred percent convinced that Brady was anything more than a product of a great system that the patriots had implemented. As time gone on he got to throw the ball more, and show all the skills we now know and have come to expect from number 12.

To me, as somebody who works for small businesses, I see the same drive to succeed in my customers. No, we won’t all be as famous as Tom Brady, but if we work hard, we can make it to the top of our profession. We can be the best attorney, builder, service company or eCommerce company we can be. No matter what your profession is, it is about putting in the effort, and like the Patriots putting a good team together.

And this is what I strive to do, be a part of those teams that help my clients to succeed. We may not be hoisting Super Bowl trophies, or MVP awards, but I feel pretty sure we can present a professional interface which attracts and keeps business coming our client’s way.

Bottom line: Learn a lesson from Tom Brady: Work as hard as you can, never give up or let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. As Julian Edelman always reminds Brady … “You can prove em right or you can prove em wrong!”



Drive Through Menus & Navigation BarsDecember 5th, 2015

User Experience Design From Fast Food Drive Through Menus? You Bet!

Drive Through Menus & Navigation BarsThe other day I pulled into a Dunkin’ Donuts Drive through lane. There it hit me. Voila, the menu was clear concise and I could immediately could find what I was looking for. I thought about it, and this is very similar to my goal when I build a navigation menu for people’s websites. Think about it, when you go to drive-through window they do a very good job of putting the things they want you to see (and order) front and center. These may be value deals and different things like that. Easy to order, and my guess is profitable for the franchise.

The reason this came into my mind was I had taken over managing the website for a company a while back. They had one of these wacky menus as I like to call them. It spanned the width of the page and had 50 sections. It took me five minutes just to find where their contact page link was! To me this is the exact opposite of what UX design [Definition] is all about. Now I have to admit, it did look pretty cool, you had pictures, different sections, separators and all kinds of cool and funky things. But what a mess from a user experience standpoint. I explained to my client, which I have preached since 1996 is to have a simple clear menu. Everything on your site should be a couple of clicks in, unless you are a big big company with thousands and thousands of webpages.

I look at it like this, the main menu buttons themselves are kind of like fast food restaurants’ value meals. These are the main sections of your website and the most important. These are your bread and butter, these are what you need people to click on to see your most valuable content.  Under those, you can have various subsections of your website. But don’t go crazy. I hate when you mouse over a link and then you see another level of links and then you mouse over that and you see another level. (I am tired just writing about it) To me this gets away from good design practices. I’m not saying it’s never necessary, but my feeling is you should avoid those third and fourth level menus if at all possible.

Mobile Menus:

Now that about 50% of your visitors are looking at your site on mobile, the simplification of menus has taken precedence in our user interface designs. You want to make sure that mobile menus are so simple and you’re not seeing 30 or 40 links.

Bottom Line:

Use the KISS principle when planning menus. Keep It Simple……