Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lessons From Legend Steve Sabol

The late Steve Sabol, (October 2, 1942 – September 18, 2012) was one person young entrepreneurs not only know about from watching football their whole lives, but is also an outstanding business man to learn from. His entrepreneurial efforts helped revolutionize the sports broadcasting industry by co-founding NFL Films.

According to an article on there are three lessons from Mr. Sabol's life that can inspire others to start something great:

1. Know how to tell your story. 

Mr. Sabol was known for being an amazing storyteller and every entrepreneur has a story to tell. According to the website, “there are both stories of success and failure, but your story defines who you are, what you do and how you can help others. Telling your startup story in a compelling way can be the difference between someone choosing you over your competitor, so take the time to define your story and let the world know why you are great at what you do.”

2. Assemble a great team. 

“As a team, Sabol and his father meshed perfectly. Ed was seldom short of ideas but what he didn't think of, Steve did. And often, it was Steve who suggested the artistic touches that set NFL Films apart and helped the NFL grow in popularity,” the article said.

This example of teamwork should teach us the importance of understanding both our strengths and weaknesses, but also finding the people that can fill in your gaps.

3. Be willing to take risks. 

The article stated, “back in the 1960's, the concept of reverse angle replays, wiring coaches and players during games and setting highlights to music were unheard of. However, as Steve stated in an interview with the Associated Press, ‘Today, of course, those techniques are so common it's hard to imagine just how radical they once were. Believe me, it wasn't always easy getting people to accept them, but I think it was worth the effort.’”

Successful entrepreneurs are wired in a way that allows them to overcome their fears and take on risks that others are not. Part of that is filtering out negative feedback from people who don't understand what you are doing. If you have a vision, take a risk and see it through.

Learning vicariously can motivate our thoughts into actions. I hope we can take a lesson from Mr. Sabol today and, as entrepreneurs in embryo, change the world. 

Klydi Heywood
Klydi Heywood

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