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Jul 30 / King Kaufman

Dan Shanoff: “You are not Peter King,” but you can be entrepreneurial

Longtime sports blogger and Quickish founder Dan Shanoff had some sage advice for his “friends in sports media” last week in the wake of big announcements by Peter King and Nate Silver.

King, Sports Illustrated’s top NFL writer, launched his MMQB website, and Silver announced that he was moving his data-driven analysis franchise FiveThirtyEight from the New York Times to ESPN.

The advice was a reminder:

You are not Peter King. You are not Nate Silver. You are not Bill Simmons. The number of folks who can carry a stand-alone sports-media franchise is so small, I’m not even sure I can make it to a second hand. There are incredible talents. There are lots of “names” who might THINK they qualify. But they are orbiting satellites, not planets.

This might sound discouraging. Building your personal brand to the point where you can use it as the centerpiece of an independent property is a kind of brass ring. It is, at the moment, the ultimate sports media home run. But it’s not the only prize out there.

More Shanoff advice:

Do something entrepreneurial that might propel [you] to something bigger. That can certainly happen with lesser-known people who think and act entrepreneurially (I would self-promotingly say that the Daily Quickie [Shanoff's former column] was that kind of effort). But it takes a massive effort, even if you are doing it within the comfort of your mainstream company.

“Do something entrepreneurial.” Another way to put that, I think, would be: “What can you do well that nobody else is doing?” That strikes me as a better question than “What can you do that others are doing, but a little better?”