What separates a business from a company?

When I finished college, and realized I was done playing football, I immediately turned the focus of my attention towards entrepreneurship.  I’d earned a degree in Business (Managerial Economics, actually) and obviously loved sports enough to devote most of my life to them.  There seemed, then, to be no better path for me to pursue than that of entrepreneurship.  With my passion, desire, and commitment; how could I fail? (That was rhetorical, of course; you’ve probably already got several ways and reasons, but hold your questions for after the program, please.)

I quickly enlisted the help and support of like-minded individuals who I knew shared my thirst for competition and success, no matter the setting.  Not unlike with many a startup, these friends and former college teammates became executives and key cogs to NextLevel, the name we branded the company.

NextLevel was supposed to be the ultimate destination for high school and junior college student-athletes, providing myriad services to help them continue their athletic–and academic–careers.  Based on three tenets, what we coined the 3 E’s, NextLevel addressed the Educational, Exposure, and (Athletic) Efficiency needs of these kids by offering academic assistance and guidance, recruiting exposure to viable opportunities via connection with coaches, and training tools to help maximize athletic potential. Read more of this post

Andrew Luck unleashing some business advice

I was just watching ESPN SportsCenter this morning (while doing some work, of course) and the feature known as (Jon) Gruden’s Camp came on.  In this Exclusive Special ESPN segment, Jon Gruden, the former Super Bowl winning coach, grills college–soon to be professional–quarterbacks.  While footage of the the NFL combine and individual school pro days are meant to showcase athletic ability and skill, this regular segment on ESPN is meant to give fans an idea of the information these quarterbacks are expected to digest and the mental makeup and capacity that is necessary to be successful at the professional level.

This episode’s guest: Andrew Luck, the former Stanford University Quarterback considered by most to be the #1 QB prospect of his generation.  That may be true, but I’m still not convinced I’d pick Luck over Robert Griffin III, who will still probably be selected #2 but is at least now being considered a possibility at the top overall selection.  My thoughts and opinions aside, though, I was very impressed with Luck’s interview with Gruden.  Here were some of my takeaways: Read more of this post

Grow Up and Accept Responsibility!

The Los Angeles Clippers started the season hot, sparking debate about "who's the best team in L.A. But things have changed and if not careful, they'll find themselves with a new coach, victims of the 'the coach lost the team' epidemic.

I was watching ESPN the other day while working out (I can hear all of my bootcampers telling me to ‘Stop Bullshittin’!) and one of the stories was about the Los Angeles Clippers, who after a start to the season that promised (and showed) great potential, have seemingly taken their rightful seat next to Kobe Bryant and the Lakers as the ‘other’ team in Los Angeles.

No one would argue that the loss of newly signed Chauncey Billups, a proven veteran with skins on the wall, was significant in curtailing the team’s ascension to the NBA elite. Still, they have Blake Griffin, one of the league’s brightest young stars whose aerial assaults on the rim are renowned. And they do have DeAndre Jordan, as athletic a center (at 6’11”, 265) as there is in the league. They also added the much-needed outside shooting of Mo Williams, who only a few years ago teamed up with Lebron James in Cleveland to lead what was before and has been since a mostly moribund franchise to the NBA Finals. And for toughness and the dirty work that doesn’t always show up on the stat sheet, I present to you the salty veteran Kenyon Martin. Oh, and by the way, Chris Paul, a perennial All-Star recognized as one of the top handful of point guards in the league, came over this season in one of the year’s few blockbuster trades. A lineup with talent, right? Young talent. Exciting talent. So what’s the problem? The coach! Read more of this post

Data Validation: Part 3 of 3

Make your spreadsheets stand out with Data Validation and Dependent Drop-Down Lists

In part one of this Data Validation series, I showed you how simple it is to add validation to your spreadsheets, increasing the ease and accuracy of data entry. In that post, I showed two ways of limiting the allowed values for any particular cell. The most straightforward method involves entering the values directly into the source box. Alternatively, you can enter the allowed values in a column somewhere else on the spreadsheet and then refer to that range of cells in the validation window. The downside to this method is that you must list the values on the same spreadsheet as the field on which you are applying validation, adding unnecessary clutter. Of course, as I mentioned, you could hide the column or put the values well off of the visible screen (e.g. column ZZ or something like that), but you’d have to unhide the column or scroll over to the far right of the spreadsheet every time you wanted to update the list. That is obviously not ideal.

A better way to accomplish this was discussed in part two of this Data Validation Series, where I showed how using a named range allows for a cleaner worksheet. I showed how listing the values you want to allow for a specific cell (field) on another sheet, then naming this range so that you can refer to it in the Data Validation window is cleaner and more efficient than listing them in the Data Validation window itself or separately in a list, but on the same sheet. Read more of this post

Data Validation: Part 2a of 3

Convert your named Range into a Table for more flexibility

In part 2 of this Data Validation Series, I showed how using a named range when adding data validation to your fields allows for a cleaner worksheet. Listing the values you want to allow for a specific cell (field) on another sheet, then naming this range so that you can refer to it in the Data Validation window, I showed you, is more efficient and cleaner than listing them in the Data Validation window itself or separately in a list, but on the same sheet.

But we can enhance this method even further. Using the named range, you might have discovered, makes adding an item to the list difficult. You either have to change the referenced range area each time you add an item or you have to make the original range large enough to include further inclusions. Unfortunately, creating a range with blank rows leaves spaces in your data validation list.  That’s obviously not ideal or neat.

A great workaround for this is to convert the range of allowable values into a table as follows: Read more of this post