Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fire Breather

"The risk of insult is the price of clarity"

People floating a new business idea will tell you all the time they want to hear the truth.

But, the truth is, few are willing to pay the price for the level of clarity they require to succeed. Which is why most small businesses - more than 80% - crash and burn within the first two years of operation.

People who pitch a new business idea would rather hear inspirational bullshit that sounds like "You can make it as long as you really believe"! When someone actually tells them the unvarnished, uncensored truth they claim they want - instead of "happy talk" - it becomes a much different ball game. And the moment these naive neophytes can't answer tough questions from someone who clearly has zero interest in joining them for motivational summer camp, the truth messenger becomes a prime target.

In Kevin's case, he is a prime time target, as he routinely harpoons the ridiculous business ideas of naive wannabees who appear before he and his fellow panelists on CBC's "Dragon's Den".

Personally, I love the guy and what he stands for. And the fact that he owns
two classic Les Paul guitars and can riff on the Stones "Gimme Shelter", is way cool. Another plus is that some of his detractors have actually created a website in his honor at

But, even better, is the story of how he actually got to be Kevin O'Leary.

O' Leary claims his act is "not a shtick," when it comes to his public persona; equal parts caustically charismatic, bull doggedly belligerent and forcefully fire-breathing. "There's only one side with me, he explains. "You get the right side. You get the correct version of the facts. What you see is what you get".

Kevin O'Leary is speaking tonight to an entrepreneurial audience in Winnipeg, before heading to Moncton a week from today for the first ever Atlantic Dream Festival.

Some might see Kevin as ruthless, arrogant and opinionated, but I think he is a welcome addition to an ADF speaker roster that includes Frank McKenna, CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon and a Brit by the name of Branson who also knows a thing or two about business.

You can learn more about the festival here:

"I'm just delivering the truth and only the truth and if you can't deal with it, too bad. Next. You're not an entrepreneur. You're a loser."

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