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There’s a well known story of two naked rowers

It’s going to take a while for me to get to my point, but I promise I will get there. Anyhow – it’s great story!

In fact it’s such a great story it’s been turned into a book and amazon describes it like this,

The Naked Rower is the story of one man and his dream. The man was New Zealander Rob Hamill and the dream was to win the world’s first Trans-Atlantic Rowing Race. It was, they told him, the impossible dream. He had no money, no rowing partner, not knowledge of the boat building and – while he was a world-class sculler – he had never rowed at sea. Worse still, when he finally did try blue-water rowing, he became chronically seasick.

In an amazon review a fellow “ocean rower” (who knew such a sport existed!) from Sweden says this (abridged sorry Niclas),

Bear in mind that there are a couple of million above “6000-meter climbs” that Everest climber base there knowledge upon.

Back in 1997 when Rob Hamill and others left Teneriffe (Spain) in rowing boats, we then only knew of 12 attempts to cross an ocean in a rowing boat. Only 8 had survived…

These people broke new land (water) and were truly pioneers in a way that is very, very rare today. They risked their lives for several months of time. Today, almost 200 people have crossed an ocean in a rowing boat. Every year more than 200 people pay guides to be guided to the top of Everest…

It used to be the bible of ocean rowing books, partly because it was almost the first book on the subject and partly because of the really fast crossing the Kiwis managed … It is a book about how one man turned a dream into the by far the fastest rowboat ocean crossing that any person would have ever dreamed about.

In short in 1997, Rob Hamill and Phil Stubbs completed the race in 41 days, 2 hours.

This feat was not only a world record, but they were also 7 days ahead of their nearest competitor!

No one expected them to win, especially by this much. Hell, Phil wasn’t even a rower.

They won because they concentrated on the things that matter most

The rest of the teams had super heavy boats stacked with all sorts of supplies and comforts. Rob and Phil had some basic food, desalination system, comms, survival gear … and a super light boat.

They (rightly) figured the most important factor was boat weight. And if they kept overall weight down (while still being safe) they’d be the fastest boat out there. A great example of the 80/20 rule!

So what’s my point?

Rather than racing across the Atlantic in a small rowing boat, wine retailers are competing in a race to win sales from wine consumers.

Rather than have super-featured-do-everything website that looks great, they should be focusing on the things that matter.

In Rob and Phil’s case – the weight of the boat.

In a wine retailer’s case – converting traffic into repeat business. Not fancy design, sophisticated technology, or price specials. Just getting customers, converting them and getting them to buy again.

The last word to Rob Hamill,

…and coming to that finish line having gone through all those steps to actually finally get to that finish line, … it was awful because the piers were lined with ugly men, and I can’t tell you how disappointed I was having these visions of these gorgeous beautiful women to greet us…

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