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  • Greg Collier 6:37 pm on October 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Remembering Al Davis: More than an owner; More like a legend 

    I’m an Oakland Raiders fan – have been since I was a young kid growing up in Northern California. In recent years, people have been surprised to hear me declare my loyalty as the team was sacked, blocked and otherwise beaten down one game after the next. But I’m proud to say that I never gave up on the organization – from the players all the way up to Mr. Davis.

    You see, unlike a lot of my Silver-and-Black brethren, I was also a big fan of Al Davis, the man at the top of the Raiders organization. As we know, Mr. Davis passed away days before the Raiders faced the Houston Texans in what turned out to be a thrilling game. I even loved some of the commentary after the final play of the game, with the thought of divine intervention by Al Davis to make sure that the boys would “Just Win, Baby.” 

    You see, Al Davis was the Raiders. He turned them into the organization that they are – the team that gets a bad rap, the team that everyone else loves to hate, the team that may not make it to the playoffs but will ruin it for a rival by winning a final week game that everyone had already written off. And when they’re in their glory, well… there’s no living with a Raiders fan at that point. 

    That’s why I could never understand how anyone could say they love the Raiders but hate Al Davis. It just doesn’t work that way. 

    Personally, I had a deep respect for Mr. Davis. He wasn’t afraid to zig left when everybody else zagged right. That shows great vision, character, strength and just plain guts – doing the right thing when it’s not popular. Without regard to public opinion, including his own Raider fan base at times, he did whatever he thought was best for his team. To the end, his “Just Win, Baby” mantra guided his life, his team and the way he conducted business. 

    In some ways, he was also a business hero of mine, someone who inspired me to zig left in business while my counterparts zagged right. A CNN reporter once called me “crazy” for trying to challenge the mighty Craigslist over their site content.  But it doesn’t bother me one bit – because I know that conforming to the ways of others isn’t how you measure success and failure. 

    The Raiders are off to a strong start this season – and I’m right there with them, a former season ticket holder (my name is on a plaque at the Coliseum) who has since landed in the Washington DC area but maintains his loyalty from afar via Directv’s NFL Sunday Ticket. 

    I’ll fly out west for a game later in the season, just as I do every year. But I can’t help but wonder if it will feel different there in the Coliseum, somehow, without Mr. Davis behind the glass in his suite, overlooking as the Nation cheers on the Silver and Black.

     Rest in Peace, Al Davis. You created a legacy. We’ll help you keep it alive.

    • Vernon Broussard 4:13 pm on October 15, 2011 Permalink

      Nice article Greg. He definitely was the game changer. He created something that made us proud to be from NorCal when we were growing up. Thanks for sharing that. And I think I remember seeing your name at the coliseum…in the mens bathroom…bur I don’t wanna repeat what it said. Lol. 😀

  • Greg Collier 10:28 am on October 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    An investor-free company has flexibility to adapt, grow and succeed 

    I’m often asked about who’s investing in Geebo and my response sometimes catches folks off-guard.

    Geebo isn’t a company that was built out of big outside investment dollars. It started modestly as a grassroots effort and has built itself, some 10 years later, into a solid business. More importantly, it’s a company that answers to its users, not its investors. And I think that makes it even stronger. 

    Certainly, I’m not looking down on companies that take investors’ money to grow their businesses – quick cash can be a way to fuel some quick growth and hopefully some traction in a competitive marketplace. But, I’ve also always subscribed to the theory that an investment of your own sweat and money will make you work harder and offer more rewarding returns. Plus, there’s no guarantee that those investment dollars – and the investors breathing down your neck for results – will actually do anything to advance your mission. Some hard work and determination – and your own money – will make you work. 

    Over the last several years, many of my competitors have collectively raised more than $100 million to challenge Geebo, Craigslist and others in this space. But that hasn’t necessarily given any of them an edge. One of those sites, Edgeio, for example, has since failed, despite an injection of $6.5 million in capital. 

    Meanwhile, Geebo remains on solid ground, growing the way we intended when the site was launched more than 10 years ago and taking some risks that might impact the bottom line in the short-term but will create greater value for the long-term. 

    Deciding, for example, to remove personals ads from Geebo at a time when that part of the business was becoming quite lucrative for other sites, was a bold move for us. It was a moral move that allowed us to go home at night with a clear conscience about our impact on the safety of the users. Others, whose users have been the victims of violent crimes, cannot say the same. 

    One of the reasons Geebo can take such risks is because it has never been influenced by outside investors whose interests are in making as much money as possible, as quickly as possible. From the beginning, Geebo employed a “percolation” strategy for growth and set our sights on building value for our users. 

    That’s not just some marketing message at Geebo – we don’t just “talk the talk,” we “walk the walk” when it comes to our commitment to customer satisfaction and social responsibility. We don’t make our business decisions lightly – whether adding a safety feature, venturing into a new partnership or killing a section like personals – and try our best to be transparent with our customers. 

    We want them to hold us accountable. 

    Related posts:

    Why won’t Geebo’s competitors take steps to keep their users safe?

    My challenge to Craigslist: Keep criminals off your site

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