TV Commercials – Greatest Marketing Campaigns – WCU ENT610

1984 – Apple Inc.

Company – Apple Inc.

Company website –

              A powerful commercial that only ran one time during the 1984 Super Bowl introducing Apple’s MacIntosh Computer that was being released on January, 24th of that year.  The commercial references George Orwell’s Novel 1984 as the backdrop stage of the story.  The commercial ends on the tag line, “you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like 1984.”  During the commercial men are marched in uniformity into a movie theatre like area where a brainwashing film is shown to them driving a totalitarianism message.  A young athletic woman is running toward the screen with a police squad in chase.  She throws a sledgehammer through the screen, disrupting the message.  An easy interpretation would be that the woman would be MacIntosh and corelating its release as disrupting normalcy and saving mankind from conformity.      

Ad Objectives – Introduction of the MacIntosh computer and to announce it as a conformity breaking product.

Target Market – Mass market.  The Super Bowl brings in a larger and diverse audience than a normal sports game on television. 

Call to Action – This is a branding commercial to announce the new product of the MacIntosh computer. 

Value Proposition –  Purchase the MacIntosh computer and help Apple fight conformity. 

Unlock – Apple Inc.

Company – Apple, Inc

Company website –

              The Apple ad highlights the Face ID feature on the IphoneX with this bright colored and highly active commercial that could attract everyone’s attention and not just their target of the younger generations. The main character in the ad is a high school aged girl that finds out that her IphoneX unlocks everything around her with one look.  Lockers as she walks down the hall, cabinets, cars, everything that is either shut or locked now opens with her look.  Doors fly open with all their contents exploding out all the place.  The female high school central character is shocked and confused at first but quickly begins to find amusement in her newfound power.  She gains confidence as she walks with more confidence and vigor through the school, unlocking everything in her path.  With each step the central character takes she correlates a message to the watcher that the IphoneX will not only unlock by you looking at it, it will unlock all things in your path.    

Ad Objectives – New product launch and awareness for new facial recognition feature of the Iphone. 

Target Market – Existing iPhone users.  Likely Millennial to GEN Z as that market purchases new phones on a quicker timeframe. 

Call to Action – Buy a new smartphone to receive new technology of facial feature. 

Value Proposition –  New unlocking feature unlocks more than just your phone. 

NFL 100 Super Bowl Commercial

Company – The National Football League, Inc.

Company website –

              A fun and chaotic commercial shown during the 2019 Super Bowl which celebrates the upcoming 100th year of the NFL league.  The commercial begins with a Black-tie banquet and quickly becomes fast moving as it depicts many of pro football’s biggest stars throughout its history. The two minutes of chaos is caused by Marshawn Lynch’s effort to sneak a taste of the cake.  The football cake topper falls to the ground and the players football instincts and competitiveness kick in as the commercial takes a fast-moving turn.  Toward the end of the commercial, Sam Gordon, who received internet fame and notoriety with her football skills versus boys gives a great nod to all athletic girls everywhere as she picks up the fumbled football and states, “come and get it,” when challenged by defensive back Richard Sherman.  The ad moves so fast and includes so many stars that even the most knowledgeable sports addict will certainly miss something upon the first viewing. 

Ad Objectives – To celebrate and bring awareness to the 100th year on the NFL and to reinforce the relevance of the sport after 100 years with the inclusion of multigenerational players as well as Samantha Gordon. 

Target Market – Sports enthusiast.  Some extended effort to reach beyond with the showing of a Video Game Champion as well as Sam Gordon.

Call to Action – Watch NFL Football for the 100th year. 

Value Proposition –  If you do not watch the 100th year then you will miss out of something exciting and unexpected live.

He’s Been Through Enough – Ragu

Company – Ragu Pasta Sauce

Company website –

                  The commercial begins with a Middle school aged kid running up the stairs looking for his mom.  It appears he has just arrived from school.  He quickly opens and enters his parents room and exits with a shocked and stunned look on his face and appears to not have the cognitive functions to move his body fast enough as his mind is trying to comprehend and most likely forget what he just saw  Just then a catchy jingle narrates in song how the situation makes it tough to be a kid.  The commercial ends with the kid eating a plate of spaghetti and finishes with a tag line of “a long day of childhood calls for America’s favorite pasta sauce.”  This ad showed and premiered during the 2012 Olympics.   

Ad Objectives – The objective of the ad is to use the unspoken but obvious situation that the kid finds himself in with his parents as opportunity for impression on pasta sauce buyers.      

Target Market – The target market would be parents of children that can either relate or understand the tough days of their children.     

Call to Action – Feed your kid Ragu because it’s tough to be a kid.

Value Proposition – Relating Ragu as a comfort food to expand the ads relevance.    

Like a Girl – Always

Company – Proctor and Gamble – Always Brand

Company website –

              We have all heard the saying, “run like a girl,” “throw like a girl,” or “fight like a girl.”  The statements become a common, most often demeaning statement told to someone to poke fun at the way they may be performing the actions.  The ad begins asking older young adults and children, both male and female to demonstrate what they believe running, throwing, and fighting like a girl means.  Each of them performs a stereotypical version of each task that seemingly mocks how a “girl” may perform each task.  When a young gentleman is asked if he just insulted his sister by his performance his answers teeter between no and yes.  As reality of his action sets in, he settles on he may have insulted girls in general but not his sisters.  Then the ad shifts to asking younger age group of girls to perform the same task “like a girl.”  They carry out the task a little more pronounced as well as with a distinct difference in the reality of how a girl would run, throw, and fight versus the learned stereotype that highlights the phrase “like a girl” as a negative one that is hurtful to young girls as they grow into young women.  The message is a powerful on that gives proof that how a young girls self-image can be changed by this limiting stereotype.  comment “Girl’s confidence plummets during puberty.  But it doesn’t have to” suggest that society has contributed to the limiting confidence of young women for a long time and brings to the watcher in a powerful and emotional way that challenges them to not contribute.      

Ad Objectives – The shine a positive light on the company of Proctor and Gamble and associate support of women and young girls with their brand Always. 

Target Market – Wide audience during Super Bowl to reach a large demographic. 

Call to Action – “but it doesn’t have to”.  The indirect call to action in the commercials comment “Girl’s confidence plummets during puberty.  But it doesn’t have to.” Implying that you, the watcher has an opportunity to help change it.

Value Proposition –  The watchers opportunity to make a societal change and to positively influence young girls.  

“Greatest Marketing Campaigns “ Analysis of 5 Radio Ads – WCU ENT610

Take on Car Hassles – 2017

Ad Link

Company – Nissan Leaf

Company Website

           “Take on Car Hassles,” is a quick hitting and to the point ad that states that if you are tired of going to the gas station then you should drive a Nissan Leaf. 

Ad Objectives – The objective of the ad may seem to an effort to push an indecisive buyer of an electric car over the edge and toward a Nissan Leaf.  However, it seems to me that the given the quick timeframe of the ad it serves nothing much more than a quick impression and effort to interest the listener to tap the banner from the online radio station. 

Target Market – The target market would be any prospective buyer for any vehicle.  With the growing interest and success of electric vehicles Nissan seems to want their Leaf to be included in the buying process of the listener.  The target market would also be the background of the listener of the online radio station and would be influenced by its genre.   In this case the radio station is a Bollywood Hindi Site, the ad includes a native Indian speaker to target the Indian buyer.

Call to Action – At the end of the ad there is a call to click on a banner to learn more.  That would be the call to action. 

Value Proposition – If you are tired of filling up on gas as well as all the hassles that goes along with a gas-powered car then you should look at the Nissan Leaf. Ease of ownership.

Her Man Can Do It


Company – Herrmann Services, Cincinnati, OH.  

Company Website

           The ad grabs the listeners attention from the start with a humorous word play on “Her man” and Herrmann services.  A boisterous narrator drives confusion with fictional character Audrey on the similar sounding words stating that “Her Man” can fix air conditioning, plumbing, heating, or electric issues around the house, when Audrey in fact calls Herrmann Services when such issues arise.

Ad Objectives – The objective of the ad is to create a simple correlation of the ad to the brand.  Her man – Herrmann.  Thus, Corelating a future connection when the listener requires Herrmann’s services.   

Target Market – The ad is a homeowner, particularly female, targeted ad. 

Call to Action – The call to action is for the listener to call Herrmann services when they need their services.   

Value Proposition – Herrmann Services provides multiple services that a homeowner may be in need of and the professionalism and quality of service would be greater than performing FYI>  

Oxymoron – 2019


Company – Exchange Bank, Santa Rosa, CA

Company Website

           This ad utilizes humor to build brand recognition with the listener.  The point would be to characterize their bank as small enough to value your business but large enough to have all the same products and services of a very large bank.  The ad utilizes many oxymoron statements to characterize their point throughout the ad. 

Ad Objectives – Branding ad that informs the listener that Exchange Bank is a small back with all the capabilities of a larger bank.  The objective is to make sure that the listener understands that although Exchange Bank is not a large bank, it still has all the same capabilities. 

Target Market – The writers of this ad most likely had an understanding of the demographics of this geographical region and a deeper view of what message would best convey their point. 

Call to Action – The goal of the ad was to create recognition of the brand and niche understanding of Exchange Bank.  It is interesting there is no call to action through a website, social media, or telephone number. 

Value Proposition – That you will receive a more personalized, value driven experience at exchange bank with all the capabilities or a big bank.

Elk Country – 2019

Ad Link

Company – Progressive Insurance, Mayfield, OH

Company website

           A humorous take on reasons to insure your RV or Recreational vehicle with Progressive insurance.  The ad relates the call of an Elk to a woman going through a stressful issue with her RV.  The listener can use their imagination to place themselves in a position with their RV where insurance would be needed.        

Ad Objectives – Use Humor to gain awareness and convert user obtaining an insurance quote. Make the listener understand that Progressive insurance company can help in cases of loss.   

Target Market – RV Owner and other recreational vehicles.

Call to Action – Obtain an insurance quote on your RV and recreational vehicles from Progressive Insurance through their website.

Value Proposition – Progressive company can provide protection from financial loss of problems with RV’s and recreational vehicles. 

Keep Stories Going – 2016

Ad Link

Company – This American Life, Chicago, Il

Company Website

           The ad is odd as it begins with what takes you a minute to understand is a story.  The story disrupts before the ending with a long pause.  Then a narrator points out that to “keep the story going,” you should donate to This American Life Podcast.  The Ad is written by a student.

Ad Objectives – To solicit and receive donations for the Podcast of This American Life.  The ad uses the abrupt end of a story to make their point that the story would end with no donations.

Target Market – The target market would be the listener of Podcast in the distributing markets with disposable income.

Call to Action – To donate to This American Life. No information where to donate at end of ad. 

Value Proposition – If you donate then This American Life’s story can continue.  Without donations it may not continue and it would leave you without and ending.

WCU – ENT601 – Week 7 Reflection.Extreme Ownership – Being Clear, Simple, and Precise.

“Relax. Look around. Make a call” (Jacko Willink). One of the first lessons in the book and three brief sentences that I have been echoing inside my head since I began reading Extreme Ownership. It all starts there, then prioritization and implantation begin. Willink also warns that trying to accomplish all your task at once will lead to failure. A lot of us have hyperactive minds, a good thing for multitasking but when we need to settle our minds for focused attention a little will must be applied. I have always thought of this as shifting gears in my head, just a like a manual gearshift in a car I must figure out which gear I need to be in for my current situation. So, sometimes for me is more of Relax, Look Around, get in the correct gear.” That goes for the call that we are looking to make as well.

The leader of the team is responsible for making sure that all team members clearly understand the mission and their role.  If there is even the slightest misunderstanding, it could lead to a failure of the mission.  Being in the correct frame of mind is imperative for a leader, their directions MUST be clear, and each member of the team MUST precisely understand what is expected of them individually.  Any miscommunication or inflection of doubt from the leader can be catastrophic to the team.  As a leader you must also explain the “why” and not just tell the subordinate their task.  If you don’t know the “why” then you must ask for yourself.  If your ego is in the way and you know understand the “why” then you may find yourself over “selling” the plan to the team and they will be able to recognize the difference.  When you understand the why as a leader you will have more buy-in and so will your team members.  Understanding the importance of your role will lead you to succeeding more. Willink states regarding a team, “they must believe in the cause for which they are fighting. They must believe in the plan they are asked to execute, and most important, they must believe in and trust the leader they are asked to follow.”

Plans and directions must be simple to both understand and follow.  The simpler the plan the greater it is to understand as well as it is easier to communicate to your team.  The greater the complication of the plan and the more difficult the steps the more likely it is to fail.  It must be easy to follow as the teams are performing the plan.  Plans hardly ever go as planned.  Jacko states “If the plan is simple enough, everyone understands it, which means each person can rapidly adjust and modify what he or she is doing. If the plan is too complex, the team can’t make rapid adjustments to it, because there is no baseline understanding of it.” He also comments that “when something goes wrong (and it eventually does) complex plans add to confusion, which can compound into disaster. Almost no mission ever goes according to plan. There are simply too many variables to deal with.”  I also contend that as the plan may have been too difficult to communicate, the leader may have lost the opportunity for “buy-in” from the teammate and they will call it quits during a botched assignment and not make the effort for a rebound.

We have all heard of the KISS principle or Keep It Simple Stupid.  Ironically, this acronym was coined by the U.S. Navy as well.  It is widely used in business today to remind us that more is typically achieved when we keep it simple.  Willink and Babin continue to take the complications of leadership and simplify it into steps that we can implement in our daily lives. 

“Leadership is simple, but not easy.” (Jacko Willink).

Cover and Move. Extreme Ownership Week 6 Reflection. WCU ENT601

A common assault maneuver within the military is Cover and Move. SEAL teams practice this maneuver as it is understood that a collaborative effort between teams is many times required to achieve each teams’ objective. In many dangerous situations as well as in business, one teams goal can not be achieved without a mutual assistance with another team. Cover and Move happens as one team advances while one team is stationary to “cover” them in that advancement. After the first team’s advancement to a safe and stationary point the initial covering team will advance, resulting in a mutual and collaborative positive achievement. One general important theme is that both teams typically each have a different leader and most often differing goals but an aligned, mutually shared need. If each team advanced alone they would encounter a great and increased risk.

              The basics of Cover and Move is teamwork.  It seems easy but in business its easy for teams to become short sighted on smaller goals and lose sight of the overall goals.  Its easy or smaller silo teams to form that work in their localized best interest and many times without knowing it working against the overall target of the organization.  The smaller silo teams believe they are doing the right thing.  Example would be two sales teams that are in differing locations focusing on their own sales and not acknowledging situations where they may cannibalize the sales of another location.  Or two locations sharing labor resources but one team undermining and secretly sabotaging the efforts of the other.  It takes the leaders of the separate teams to unselfishly help the other achieve their goals along with their own.  Ultimately sharing resources to become a stronger team and not allowing their egos to work against one another.

              Jocko Willick states that “Leaders must always operate with the understanding that they are part of something greater than themselves and their own personal interests.”  Sounds fundamental but with ego, each situation brings emotions and opportunities to trade the overall goal for the personal human desire for success.  Willick goes on to elaborate “They must impart this understanding to their teams down to the tactical-level operators on the ground.”  It takes the leader of each team to understand that the success of the other team ultimately helps their own mission.  They must drive that understanding down through their teams.  They must see the importance of spending their own efforts selfishly to help another team to succeed. 

As always, easier said than done.


Navy SEAL BUDS Training

In Extreme Ownerships chapter 2, Leif Babin examines one of the core fundamentals of Extreme Ownership that a team is only as good as its leader.  The point is driven home, as is the title, there are no bad teams, only bad leaders.  As with many of the fundamental truths with Extreme Ownership, the point seems simple and elementary.  We all may believe it, but when examined and broken down do we believe it.  Also, some of us may have an initial reaction of a little reluctance to fully believe this.  Especially if we are the leader of a team that is underperforming in some area.   

Babin begins the chapter characterizing the Navy Seal BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL School) training during the so called Hell Week for Navy Seal Candidates.  Specifically the boat training exercise where the Candidates would be split by height into 6 man teams with an additional appointed leader.  They could participate in a constant ongoing string of boat races where they would paddle their boat into the ocean and around a marker where they would dump themselves out and carry their boats overhead back to shore.  There was an incentive to win as the winning team would get to sit out the next race and get a few minutes of well wanted rest, especially given they were performing this on just an hour or two of sleep over the previous few days.  

On one occasion Babin describes how a boat team, numbered 6 was consistently winning and number 2 boat team was constantly in last.  Boat Team 2 became more and more frustrated and the leader was certainly struggling as he began to believe he just got the short end of the stick when it came to teams.  The leaders noticing the dysfunctioning dynamic decided to switch the leaders of the boats.  The leader of boat team 6 was disgruntled and felt punished as the leader of boat team 2 felt vindicated.  The results were almost immediate as boat team 2 immediately challenged for the lead and begined to win races shortly after the leader exchange.  The new leader of boat team 2 had an immediate impact on the team’s performance.  He expected each teammate to perform at a high level and each participant began to expect that high level of production from each other.  Team 6 still did well, they still finished toward the top and challenged for the lead but the leadership dynamic was obvious.  

A team is only as good as their leader.  We have all heard that a time or two.  I don’t believe this point argues against the point that the talent level of a team or a team member will affect the results of the mission.  There will always be varying talents in a team and we are always looking for A-Players but sometimes we need a functioning body till that A-Player comes along.  But as a leader we have the obligation to set the expectation.  I have always believed that employees and associates have a keen sixth sense that will easily detect diminished or non-existent leadership qualities.  They may not understand but they can feel when a leader is not fully capable.  

As a leader, we must look for ways to communicate what is expected and what the target is. So first we must understand that ourselves and then be capable of explaining the directive clearly and precisely to the team with very clear targets. Then a leader must understand the dynamics of motivation for the team and influence their efforts to reach the targets.

Good leadership is infectious, so is bad. During my SME interview for last class, James Boyd of Barron Tile and Stone mentioned that if he doesn’t start each day with a positive and engaging outlook then he believes that he loses about 35-40% of the productivity out of his team that day. He quantified it and it is now a daily standard for him. Leader expectation is everything, if you expect yourself to hit the target and communicate that to your team then they expect themselves to hit the target. They also emulate their leaders, and if given the opportunity for ownership of the mission they buy in.

Easier said than done, but we can do it.

Ego in Extreme Ownership. Week 4 Reflection. WCU ENT601.

For the first few years after receiving my bachelor’s degree I worked for American Express Financial Advisors. A leader that I looked up to there once told me a story; If you are driving to the store to get some milk and the car next to you cuts you off and then the driver flips you the bird you will have two choices. You can engage with them, flipping them the bird back and no telling where it will lead, or you can continue your mission to get your milk. If you let your emotions get to you and engage with them then they win…regardless of outcome. You may not accomplish your main goal of getting milk and at the very least, you will lose attention and focus on your mission.

Willink and Babin can probably tell a similar story but I am sure the consequences would be greater. Losing a life greater. Throughout the book they give countless reasonings and examples of how ego can cause interference with their and/or their teams objectives and mission. Willink states that “Ego clouds and disrupts everything: the planning process, the ability to take good advice, and the ability to accept constructive criticism. It can even stifle someone’s sense of self-preservation. Often, the most difficult ego to deal with is your own.” Ego brings in varying degrees of different emotions that keeps our focus from the mission, even when we do not realize it does. Ego can make you mad and angry because someone told you something you didn’t want to hear. Ego can make you embarrassed to ask a question because you are afraid to show you don’t know the answer. Ego can make you want to impress someone. Ego can also cause rampant issues in our self-image and cause insecurities or self-doubt.

Admittedly, I have ego problems and it has been the biggest hold back in my career. I used to think it was an anger issue or over-competitiveness and in a lot of ways I found myself being proud of it. It continues to take a lot of self-realization and honesty that much of it is the fear of being wrong, embarrassment of failing in front of others, and in many cases overconfidence that did not match my skill level. I have missed the opportunity to learn from a lot of smart people because I was not listening; either writing off what they were telling me or looking for ways to make them believe that I was right. Losing the inability to listen and learn is a common theme with those who recognize problems with ego.

John Rampton, VIP Contributor for Entrepreneur magazine tells of how ego “destroyed” his business and he owns it by admitting that it was 100% him. In his article “8 Ways My Ego Killed My Business,” he in-depth goes into the 8 way that he contributes to ego destroying his business. I find them to be very similar to the reasons that Willink and Babin give in Extreme Ownership.

Rampton lists them as… 

1-      “My ego wouldn’t recognize how much I needed to learn.”

2-      “Made me ignore opportunities.”

3-      “I over-estimated my abilities.”

4-      “I micromanaged.”

5-      “My ego wouldn’t let me ask for help.”

6-      “Every decision revolved around me.”

7-      “I couldn’t back down, I had to ‘win.”

8-      “I set impossible goals.”

I think it’s easy for us to discount our ego. It’s a good thing to set very lofty goals, right? If I own my own business, shouldn’t I micromanage if I want? It’s certainly possible for us to know even know its ego holding us back. Once we become better in recognizing ego and how it holds us back, it doesn’t mean that we must be perfect. Well…maybe in the Navy Seal world we should be but in business we are all just trying to become better and stronger each day. We should also recognize that ego is what gives us self-confidence and makes us take risks and venture into owning our own businesses anyway.


Willink, J., & Babin, L. (2017). Extreme ownership: How US Navy SEALs lead and win: St. Martin’s Press.

Rampton, J. (2016, July 12th). 8 Ways My Ego Killed My Business. Retrieved from .

Deeper Look Into Extreme Ownership. – WCU ENT601 – Week 3 Reflection.

This week I want to explore a little deeper look into the definition and what it means to have Extreme Ownership.  As it is the title of the book, the authors no doubt expand on their point into other multiple facets that ultimately make up Extreme Ownership.  I plan to dig into each one of the points separately in future weeks but will touch on here. 

                Willink and Babin define Extreme Ownership straight forward and very clearly.  However, I believe that each of us would define it differently as we read the book and begin to implement in into our own lives and careers.  WIllink states that “Extreme Ownership. Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.”  He expands the definition into owning ALL things that affect your mission, not just the things that you are in control over.  Easily said and already difficult for me to implement.  Even mistakes and career issues that have happened during the time I have begun reading this book, I have had a difficult time not blaming some outside force for the reason.  It’s easy to blame a market condition, a mistake by a co-worker, or a customer for the reason.

                A main foundation and cause for not having Extreme ownership is ego.  It sounds simple but when explored and reflected upon it becomes clear that ego is a main problem.  Ego doesn’t have to be mean egotistical.  It’s as simple as stating, “that was not my fault my shoes were wet, it’s because it is raining outside.”  Willick states that “Ego clouds and disrupts everything: the planning process, the ability to take good advice, and the ability to accept constructive criticism. It can even stifle someone’s sense of self-preservation. Often, the most difficult ego to deal with is your own…”  The authors drive home ego early and often through the book.  It has its own chapter but their points regarding ego is driven throughout.  The main take away for me is that it “clouds…the ability to take good advice.”  Personally, I discard a lot of advice because I may not respect the source.  Regardless if it is good or bad advice, it’s a different viewpoint.  More on ego later.  

                Other defining parts and take-aways of Extreme Ownership are…

                A team is only as good as its leader.   Leaders set examples and expectations.  Each leader brings their own set of dynamics that will affect the team.  The aspects of being a good leader is infectious to a team.  As humans, we have amazing senses in detecting clue to a person’s leadership qualities.  We should not fake it.   

                Relax, look around, make a call.  Prioritize and execute.  It is common for many of us to juggle many tasks at once.  When things are hectic and confusion or anxiety grows, we can lose productivity.

                Simplify the plan and communicate clearly.  The more complicated plans and directions are for a team the more likely they are to fail.  The simpler that plans are the easier the team will be able to adjust if needed to attain the end goal. 

                Lead up and down command.  Don’t blame your team nor your boss.  If your team doesn’t understand or fails at a task, then help them.  If your boss is not supporting you or giving resources, look at what you can do to better communicate or leverage the needs.  Communicate with them by telling them what your actions will be and not by asking. 

                Discipline equals freedom.  We certainly couple being a Navy SEAL with discipline.  This naturally seems to be a trait that we can implement in our business lives.  Being disciplined with task that are small or seem irrelevant will many times lead to results with larger concerns.  Making your bed I the morning may just give you the motivation to accomplish a greater task.  When you are disciplined you will experience greater respect from your boss as well that will result in more autonomy.  

                Willink and Babin do a great job elaborating on all the facets of Extreme Ownership.  As they expand on the interworking’s the complete picture becomes clearer and it is apparent to me that you MUST become excellent in all the areas for extreme ownership to be complete and work. 


Willink, J., & Babin, L. (2017). Extreme ownership: How US Navy SEALs lead and win: St. Martin’s Press.

WCU ENT601 – Entrepreneurial Innovation. Week 2 Reflection.

I have chosen the book Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win as my course book that I will utilize in my “Creativity-Innovation” Book Reflections for my WCU ENT601 class Entrepreneurial Innovation. I am excited as this book was of interest to me given that it was a New York Times Bestseller and the idea of learning and utilizing the leadership and innovative talents of the US Navy SEALS in business certainly will be of value to me.

              The book is co-authored by two Navy Seals Jocko Willink and Leif Babin who after their careers as Navy Seals co-founded a company called Echelon Front and began consulting businesses in all areas on leadership and teambuilding.  Willink and Babin were members of a specialized SEAL group called Task Unit Bruiser where they were deployed in Iraq during Operation Freedom.  Willink was Babins commanding officer and throughout the book they use discuss their experiences together and how the “Laws of Combat” and leadership techniques they teach today helped them succeed in real life battles during their deployments. 

              As the title of the book suggest, the core trait discussed is Extreme Ownership and it is highlighted as the most crucial attribute that an impactful leader can have.  Willink states that “of the many exceptional leaders that they served alongside the consistent attribute that made them great is absolute ownership, extreme ownership.  Not just of those things of which they were responsible, but everything that impacted their mission.”  He goes along to state “these leaders truly led.”  He explains further that Extreme Ownership is making no excuses, casting no blame, leveraging assets to achieve results, and taking responsibility for all results of the team even when its hard.  Ego is explained as an obstacle to a leader and most of the time the reason that extreme ownership is not taken and ultimately the reason a team fails.  A true leader must understand the dangers of ego and take the necessary steps to remove it so they can truly lead. 

              A few of the “Laws of Combat” mentioned early in the book are, 1) Relax, look around, make a call.  Placing yourself in the correct state of mind and emotions to correctly evaluate your environment and to understand what calls you can make.  2) Prioritize and execute.  This sounds easy but I think a log of us find this difficult as we try the juggle and multi-task so much.  Although there may be many competing issues, there are many that must take priority to make our mission a success.   3) Cover and move.  This is easily understood in the military world as providing cover fire so that the other person can move locations.  In business we can relate it to differing departments working together to achieve the greater good for the company.  4) Decentralize command.  Many times, to find success you will have to make real-time, quick decisions.  You and your team must not only be empowered but trained as leaders to make such a call.  The team will need to function with contribution and buy-in at all levels and they will do so with much more magnitude if they have personal input and ownership in the mission.   

              Willink and Babin both use personal battlefield testaments to explain the importance of Extreme Ownership and the “Laws of War”.  WIllink tells of a “blue on blue” or friendly fire incident involving his Seals Team and how when assessing what went wrong and who was to blame, it was the toughest decision for him to place himself at fault and assume absolute ownership for the failure.  Babin examples a situation he found himself in during a mission where he utilizes all of what he describes as the “laws of war” to get out of the situation and overcome an outnumbered enemy with just himself and one other soldier. 

              The book is going to be interested to relate to business and I expect that it tests and will dispel what we believe to be truths in succeeding.  I think we all believe that we have ownership in our daily lives but even during my initial reading I am finding out that we may not have Extreme Ownership.  Me especially. 


Willink, J., & Babin, L. (2017). Extreme ownership: How US Navy SEALs lead and win: St. Martin’s Press.

Investor Dilemmas and the Issues of an Evolving Company. Week 7 Blog – WCU ENT600

We have concluded many times that “Money buys time” and liquidity will give you opportunity to make better, more sound decisions that may contribute more to the long-term health of the start-up.  Time and money keep you from having to take a major risk too early in the company that could jeopardize the start-up itself as well as gives you opportunity to adjust strategies when something doesn’t work.

              So, what do you do when you do not have the liquidity to sustain a basic entry into your business until it reaches a level of profitability?  There will always be a temptation to look for outside funding but weighing the need versus the reward and disadvantages is important.  We have discussed previously how investors may become a necessity but may affect the cohesiveness of the business and will most certainly place the founder in a control versus wealth decision making position.  Wasserman outlines the 3 most common types of outside investors in his figure 9.2 in chapter 10 of “The Founder’s Dilemmas.  His table allows you to weight the differing values and risk of using either Friends and Family, Angel Investors, or Venture Capitalist. 

              Certainly, the most common type of outside funding is Friends and Family funding.  As in my company, most start-ups will not grow to a level that will reach the interest of a venture capitalist.  However, an Angel Investor is common in my business and will most likely affect my company’s cohesiveness and strategies.  Wasserman details well in his book the emotional ties that are brought into the start-up when Friends and Family money is used as well as the most often limiting tools and experience the friends and family can offer versus an angel investor or a venture capitalist.

              Wasserman references an investor that states that “friends and family money is too easy to obtain and encourages people to start marginal businesses”.  I would also argue that having little to no liquidity may also place the founder in a position to make a risky decision they may not be capable of managing.  Both positions bring into question the founders experience and ability to insure the health of the business.  We all fall into the romanticism of the business result that we can imagine but the steps to get there will always challenge us beyond what we can imagine.  The reality of our abilities will need to be honestly assessed and if we are able to detach emotions then we will be in a better position to know when to ask and accept funding from outside sources.   

              The ability, experience, and talent of the founder certainly comes into play throughout the growth of the company.  This is examined again by Wasserman in Chapter 10 of the “Founder’s Dilemmas” as he gives examples of how the changing needs of a successful company will most often lead to leadership changes.  I don’t want to know how it will feel to be fired from my own company.  It seems that issues with Wealth versus Control stays as an ever following issue. 


Wasserman, N. (2012). The Founders Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup. Princeton Univ Press.