Blog Rebroadcast: The Secret of What Else?

by Brandon Steiner December 30, 2012 0 Comments

With New Year’s here, and with so many new people reading the blog since I started back in the summer, I thought this would be a good day to bring it all back to the very first post, which explains the vision of this blog. The following post originally appeared on August 1 of this year.

I hope everyone has a happy New Year!

Virtually all of the important lessons I’ve learned in my career can be traced back to things my mother Evelyn taught me; she was a brilliant entrepreneur, very much ahead of her time. She’ll show up in posts throughout this blog, but right now I want to share with you the most crucial Evelyn Sachs business lesson: the secret of What Else, for which this blog is (tentatively: see next post) named. This story is adapted from my new book, You Gotta Have Balls.

When I was an eleven year-old growing up in Brooklyn, I got a paper route delivering the Daily News on my bike. 29 dailies and 37 Sunday papers. But I needed more. The News had a contest for the paperboys every week; the kid who opened the most new accounts won a box of candy bars. That’s 24 bars! To a hungry kid like me, that sounded like a steak dinner at Peter Luger.

Every morning, I walked by some big apartment buildings on my way to school. I figured they contained dozens of new accounts for the taking.

One morning I entered one of the buildings, and knocked on the first apartment I came to. An old lady answered.

“Would you like to buy the Daily News from me?” I said. “I can deliver it every day.”

“Why should I do that?” she said. “I can go to the store every day, and it costs me the same eight cents. But if I have you deliver it, I have to tip you, too.”

Getting the paper delivered didn’t cost extra, but you had to tip the paperboy. The News paid me a little fee for the route I had, but most of my money came from tips. This lady didn’t want to incur that extra cost.

When I got home that day, I told the story to my mother.

“Besides sell them a newspaper,” she said, “What else could you do for these people?”

The next morning, I knocked on the door of the same old lady.

“Would you like to buy the Daily News from me?” I said. “I can deliver it every day.”

“Why should I do that?” she said again. “I can go to the store every day, and it costs me the same eight cents. If I have you deliver it, I have to tip you, too.”

It was like deja vu all over again. But this time I was ready.

“Because if you get the paper delivered from me every day,” I said, “I’ll bring you milk twice a week, and I’ll bring you bagels on Sunday.”

See, I also lived right by a bagel factory, and in those days, there weren’t bagel stores all over the city. Having a source of bagels nearby was kind of a big deal.

“Wow,” the lady said. “You would do that for me?”

“Yeah, I’ll bring you the bagels on Sunday,” I said. “And on Thursday, when you pay me for the News, you can pay me for the bagels too.”

She signed on. One new account.

I went around her building, and neighboring buildings, hitting up everyone with that bagel rap. Before I knew it, I was delivering around a hundred gallons of milk every week, and over a hundred bagels every Sunday. In the process, I doubled my paper route. I was responsible for distributing over a hundred dailies and over 150 Sunday papers.

Sure enough, I won the candy bar contest all the time. I was a dynasty!

And that’s what this blog is going to be focused on – helping you find your What Else.

Can you think of a What Else for your job or career? Or even your life? That little extra something you need to reach the highest level, or bring a little bit of happiness to someone important to you…like the nearby bagel factory of my youth, these things are all around us. We just have to take a moment to notice them!

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Brandon Steiner
Brandon Steiner


Brandon Steiner is the founder and chairman of Steiner Sports Marketing and Memorabilia, the largest company of its kind in America. Considered a sports marketing guru, Brandon is a permanent fixture in the media as a regular on ESPN NY Radio 98.7 FM and as host of "The Hook-Up with Brandon Steiner" on YES Network. He has appeared frequently on CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, ESPN, and in newspapers including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. The author of The Business Playbook: Leadership Lessons from the World of Sports and You Gotta Have Balls: How a Kid from Brooklyn Started From Scratch, Bought Yankee Stadium, and Created a Sports Empire, Brandon lives in Scarsdale, New York, with his wife, Mara and children Crosby and Nicole.

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