Duck, duck, oops. By now, the Ducky Dynasty controversy sparked by patriarch Phil’s raggedly voiced, Biblical based anti-gay answer to a GQ MAGAZINE interviewer’s question is old news. I wrote this when it was dominating media. A&E pretended they were shocked, despite a record on Phil’s beliefs dating back at least ten years. That same week, a PR person (of all things) 146-charactered a tweet taken as racist by many and stupid by many more when waiting to board a flight, and she was publicly, “loudly” fired before the flight landed. Anybody with any business, brand, career, money or reputation to protect who tweets at all is dumber than a pile of manure.
But these days, people like ‘ol Phil have to be “on guard” at all times or know they put their empires at risk by voicing their opinions. My speaking colleague of 9 years, Zig Ziglar, had exactly the same position on this item as Phil, but never, to my knowledge, pushed it as in-artfully. Nor would he have agreed to be interviewed by GQ. (Reminds of President Jimmy Carter’s asinine agreement to being interviewed in Playboy, where he made a remark that created a firestorm at the time.)
Whatever you think about Phil’s statements, you should know that your opinions or beliefs are every bit as offensive to a whole lot of folks. A society where opinion is dangerous is a dangerous society indeed. Of course, Phil and his family are rich, they have militantly loyal and enthusiastic fans, and this may wind up making them richer, not poorer. He handled it perfectly.
Several people sent me Phil’s book, HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY, as a gift, and in it I found a story, that is absolutely typical and representative of two truths behind most Renegade Millionaires. One, what my friend Glenn W. Turner called “being intelligently ignorant” – too dumb to know something can’t be done, and doing it, often to the shock, dismay, and occasionally, rage of “smarter” folks. Second, living undeterred by being told “No”. So, here’s how Phil “cracked” Wal-Mart for his duck calls…
“So, one day I pulled my old truck in front of the first Walmart I saw, walked in, and said, ‘Hey, how many of these duck calls do you want here?’ The clerk laughed and told me, ‘We don’t buy duck calls. Son, you need to go to Bentonville.’ (Wal-Mart corporate headquarters). I drove down the road and tried the next few Walmart stores.…finally, one of the store managers said, ‘You got an order form?’ ‘Nah, I just figured you could pay me out of petty cash.’ ‘Well, I’ve got a 3-part form I need to fill out,’ he said. ‘I’ll try six of them.’
When that store manager filled out his 3-part form with WALMART at the top and wrote down ‘six duck calls’, I walked out looking at my copy and thought – I’ve got me something here. When I got to the next Walmart, I showed the store manager the form and told him, ‘Walmart’s stocking duck calls. This last store ordered six.’ He said, ‘Give me what you’ve got.’
Eventually, Phil had sold $25,000.00 worth into Wal-Mart stores. Finally, the chief buyer at corporate called and wanted to know how this had happened, and Phil told him. The buyer said, “Let me get this right. You mean to tell me you’ve been driving around in your pick-up truck and convincing our sporting goods departments to buy your duck calls without even conferring with me, who’s supposed to be doing the buying for the whole Wal-Mart chain?”
To his credit, the buyer gave Phil a letter officially authorizing him to keep doing what he’d been doing and okaying store managers’ purchasing. About a year later, Phil finally went to Bentonville. Storewide sales averaged $500,000 a year for 20 years, and opened doors at Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, etc., and went a long way to making Phil and his family rich. How many Phil’s do you think accept the first no?
This mirrors the story of Kenneth Cole, and the way he launched his shoe company – which I’ve told often. Everything else swirling around Phil now is irrelevant. Just focus on this specific aspect of his thinking and behavior: that normal and customary ways of doing things are for other people. This is how big things get done and big money gets made.
Most environments – Wal-Mart included – have a bureaucratic rule book in place, bureaucrat keepers of the rules; a stultifying process that preserves their power and deliberately renders all others supplicants. Most everybody accepts this, most are confounded by it, some fight their way through it like the lone cat of the six stuffed into the same burlap sack tied shut and dumped into the water trough, who claws and bites and fights his way out. (This has long been a common form of population control of cats on farms.)
A few people refuse to accept this. A few ignore it, out of intelligent ignorance, renegade nature, and an instinctive or conscious recognition that being in a tied-shut sack with competitors, submerged in water, and fighting to be the only one to survive is an undesirable game, even for the victor. A whole lot of what I’ve done, do and teach about marketing, selling, entrepreneurship is all about never getting into or being put into the sack with the other cats, submerged in water.
At every turn, the person of accomplishment and wealth was and continues to be told “No”, “You Can’t” and “That’s Not How It’s Done Around Here”. Metaphysical-leaning thought leaders teach that this is how “the Universe” tests the truth and depth of each individual’s desire: a long line ahead of them, in front of a thick, wood door with no bell, through which timid knocking is never heard, and to which a few react: why bother with the damn door at all? Test of character and will or simple fact of life, you can decide. But life is most profoundly and consistently disappointing for those who honor bureaucracy, who accept No.
– By Dan S. Kennedy, serial entrepreneur, from-scratch multi-millionaire, speaker, consultant, coach, author of 13 books including the No B.S. series, and editor of The No B.S. Marketing Letter. FOR A SPECIAL FREE GIFT FROM DAN FOR YOU including newsletters, audio CD’s and more: visit: www.FreeDanKennedyNewsletter.com