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Monday, January 25, 2010


Real Estate... and Other Things of Value with Yossi Feigenson

I’m a Conan O’Brien fan. I really like him. More importantly, I admire and respect him. Yet, I’ve never seen his show. I don’t own a television, nor did I grow up with one. Therefore, I don’t watch his program, nor do I have an opinion about his talents, his show or his character.

Recently, however, he entered my consciousness he really showed me something. In the world in which he exists, a world of over sized egos, over inflated senses of self worth, underrated or non existent senses of reality and overall delusion, he made the ultimate statement. He questioned the authorities and disrupted the hierarchy of his organization. He said no to being pushed around.

By now you all know the story: Jay Leno, a legend of legends, gets a fancy new gig, which fails miserably, and now the bosses want to give him his old desk back.

The Tonight Show, as the entire television viewing nation knows, is a long running program, with a rich history and an unbroken chain of hosts; in a time slot that was never uprooted. Now, when it suits the right folks, they have no qualms about blowing up the entire tradition. I personally don’t care either way; Conan, Jay, makes no difference to me; I still will fall asleep with a book or listening to late night talk radio. (You should try that sometime).

What did get me, though, was that this event and the way it unfolded is indicative of the way our corporations think, and which has seeped it to so much of our society: If you know the right people, or hold the right cards, failure will not only be tolerated, but, rewarded. It reminds me of many a seller in real estate, who has a property on the market priced at x, which does not budge for an eternity. You know what the owner does? You guessed it; after intense due diligence he goes ahead and RAISES the price. If it didn’t sell at $20 it most likely will at $30.

The story unfolded with Mr. O’Brien receiving a huge “good-bye” package; to the tune of $43,000,000. (Just to go away). Jay Leno got his old job back. To me this feels and smells like a giant corporation compensating for bad decisions with worse ones. This, as we have all seen has become the corporate modus operandi. Mess up. No consequences.

Corporations have taken to throwing people and money around as if neither has any value left. Someone needs to stand up to this. I know that Conan got paid handsomely for it, but he took a stand for what he felt was right.

Kudos to Conan: You stood up for a principle. You refused to back down, you showed some self respect. We can all use more of that. You’ve earned my respect.

Each of us can earn a bit of much needed self respect if we stand up for what we believe is right. Often in the face of larger and more powerful forces we tend to go in two directions; 1) we either compromise our values just to fit in and get the deal; or 2) we cower in our corner in fear. We allow ourselves to get intimidated to the point where we can’t negotiate on a level playing field. It may feel “contrarian”, but standing up to a seemingly stronger adversary, can be so redeeming and can bring you success far beyond your imagination.

If we’ve gleaned anything from this story; in spite of the perceived pecking order and hierarchy, we can continue to do what is right.

For more information, please visit Yossi's TNNW Bio.

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