The March Madness Tournament is one of my favorite sporting events of the year. Not because basketball is really my favorite, but because of all the sporting events in the world, it’s the one event where anything is possible. Upsets. Seeing lower seeds beat the odds and moving on is incredible to watch. Smaller schools not given much of a chance that fight and claw their way to victory over seemingly impossible odds. You just can’t beat it.

I am a hugely competitive person. Not in an unhealthy way by any means, but certainly more so than normal. In all my stops along my career, I’ve never really thought about the underdog analogy too much in business. But in my latest role at SportsArt, it’s come front and center, and I’m loving it very much so far. It can be easier and safer to go with the bigger companies when it comes to your career. Why not? Usually more pay, more benefits, but most importantly, the security that comes with being at the top. However for the first time in my career, I decided to buck that trend, and go with the underdog. And after a few months, it’s been a hell of a lot more fun.

Let me provide some backstory to my point of why that is. SportsArt is a fitness equipment manufacturer with it’s US headquartered in Woodinville, WA and main headquarters based in Taiwan.

SportsArt

Our little neck of the woods – SportsArt

While they’ve been around for 30+ years, their US operations has had it’s ups and downs and currently in the midst of a reawakening after some restructuring and more importantly the hiring of a well known and respected industry veteran, Scott Sechrest. In the past 18 months things have really started to heat up.

In the industry, Precor is a much more well known name and rightfully so. The rise and success of the elliptical machine is their doing and took them from obscurity into a household name. They are one of the big dogs and ironically, are also based out of Woodinville, WA. I drive by their massive building everyday to our much smaller facility right down the street.

The Evil Empire - Precor

The Evil Empire – Precor

A few months ago, both companies were looking for marketing help and I stumbled across both job descriptions. The Precor job listing was your typical business speak laden description. It felt like you’d be walking right into an existing machine of monotony and I shuddered at the thought. The SportsArt listing actually read like a real person wrote it and it wasn’t just regurgitated from a previous listing. So for the first time in my career, I focused my efforts on the smaller company. At the time I didn’t think as much about it as I do now, but I really wanted to build something, not maintain it. And I felt SportsArt was a place that could happen. A few months later and I can definitely say the right choice was made.

We’ve got a ton of work to do, but being in an environment where we’re allowed to take risks, make mistakes, learn from them, etc. is an incredible environment to work in. For years I’ve worked at companies with too many layers of management, too many levels of process, that got in their own way of making progress and innovating. I love the challenge of chasing the big dogs, and I know that as we grow and I get to be a part of that, the incredible feeling of accomplishment and achievement will be unmatched.

And let’s be honest…chasing is more fun then being chased don’t you think?