Gain Knowledge in Amazing Places

Knowledge. Wow!  Some say, Knowledge is power.  Ever heard that phrase?

Next question, “Do you believe it’s true”?

I do, mostly.  However, just knowing is not enough for me.

And by the way, you can gain knowledge at parties, the Internet, and simply through experience.

Way more important though, is applying the knowledge.  Ya with me?

On July 4th, at a friends party, I spoke with a retired small business owner.   What got us talking was my question, “Do you run”? He certainly didn’t look 65 to me.  Not even close.

Anyway, I got some great small business tips from him:

  1. Number one, most important – be passionate about what you do
  2. Build long-term relationships;  never burn any bridges
  3. Deliver POS – Positively Outrageous Service

I asked another question, “I’ve heard that you either run your business or it runs you.  What do think of that”?

This led to a final, and critical message –Be prepared to work your life around your business.

In my 35 years paying taxes, I’ve worked in organizations where the leader said, “Run it like it’s your own business”. Heck, I used to try to inspire my direct reports with the exact same message.

It sure looks good on paper doesn’t it?  “Run it like it’s yours”. Until I did the math.

Searching the Internet for validation, I found various studies conclude anywhere from 50% to 80% of start-up businesses disappear within five years, with the majority within two years.

I paused.  Reflected on the significance.  And then acted on this knowledge in a dramatically different way than ever before, 18 months ago.

And to my surprise and delight, it’s made me a significantly better professional speaker.

Carpe diem, jungle jeff 🙂

By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.


  1. Jeff,

    I agree – it is all in the manner in which you do your day-to-day, give it 100%, as if it belonged to you.

    I have my thoughts as to why companies don’t grow or don’t grow in a healthy manner (too fast upward with a reciprocol force just as fast downward). They start out with the idea of “knowledge is power.” In and of itself, that view is true, absent of one thing – selfish ambition brought on by insecurity. Then knowledge no longer is the power. The withholding of knowledge becomes the power. And as people jockey for position within the company with those insecurities, they end up tearing each other down instead of the company representing teamwork and outward growth. Like the Roman Empire of old, it didn’t get destroyed from the outside – it was destroyed from within.

    That’s why I am impressed with the Disney Institute. Disney could say, “We are good at what we do, but why share the knowledge? Let the others suffer. I am withholding my knowledge.” But instead, Disney, through mediums such as the Disney Institute, says more like, “Here’s what we learned that works, and here’s how it can work for you.” That’s truly the concept of “knowledge is power.” The one who is in the driver’s seat is not the one who hoards what he has to the detriment of others, but who shares what he has to make the ride enjoyable for everyone.


  2. This reminds me of a song I had to sing in choir in Elementary school, called “Knowledge is Power”. I don’t know anything about business and I am still a college student, but it seems to me that running a good business is like living a full and sharing your experiences on the way; though I could be very wrong.


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