A Black Bear Taught Me Disruptive Problem-Solving

As the first-time founder of a pre-seed, minimum-viable-product stage startup, I’m all too aware of the beautiful chaos that the next six months to ten years has in store for me. With the timing of Labor Day and the Jewish High Holidays (of which I am a participant), between partners, investors, vendors, and contractors, very little was going to get done in the first half of September, frustrating for an impatient fellow like myself. With that in mind, I took a “boys trip” to Montana’s Glacier National Park.

Huckleberries vs Tourists: Which Tastes Better?

During Wednesday morning’s two-miler, four of us happened upon a Black Bear less than 20 feet off the trail uphill of us. He looked as, and us at him. Policy states that running away will encourage it to chase, so you must stand your ground and make as much noise as possible to scare it off. Easy for the Park Rangers to say! I was in the pack-lead on the trail, so it was entrely up to me to make the correct move, or else we would be breakfast for Mr. Bear and his family.

Which Way Western Man?

II took a deep breath, stared him right in the eyes, raised my arms over my head and started shouting, “Hey! Get out of here!!” but this wasn’t quite enough. That bear stood up on it’s hind legs and then lunged one, two, three steps towards us. Our guts froze and our senses heightened. Thankfully, I never stoped shouting, and my friends joined me. It was a bit like Clint Eastwood shouting “get off my lawn”, if I’m honest. Now, Mr. Bear saw us unified in force and decided to fight another day. He turned around and sauntered away.

Stand Up And Solve Problems!

I’ve scarcely, in my three decades on this earth, felt as alive as I did in the moments after that encounter. Honestly, it was AWESOME. But what did it teach me? When there is something worth fighting for, stand up and fight. Whether avoiding getting eaten, or helping sports teams use their athlete data better, shrinking or running don’t work. Big problems need brave teams. Everyone I know agrees that sports teams struggle to turn their positive intentions and big investments into effective athlete outcome. Yes, there is no shortage of resistance, traditionalism, protectiveness, and ego in the way. It is a BEAR of a problem…but those who face up to and overcome bear problems get rewarded, big time. Who wants to stand with me?



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