Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Business Metaphors

I had the following conversation yesterday with Ines in our Zurich office.

Ines: “Hey Larry, guess what? Our whole Zurich team is gathered around the windows of the office watching Andy Murray and Roger Federer play a tennis match on the river.”

Me: “Uh, what? How does one play tennis on a river?”

Ines: “Let me send you a photo. It is an annual event for Roger’s charitable foundation called ‘Match for Africa’. This year they are playing while floating down the river Limmat on a barge.”

And this is where the conversation went sideways…

Me: “That’s cool, we should blog about it.”

Ines: “What is the business angle for a blog post?”

Me: “Well, there’s a risk management angle, surely the players will constantly be analyzing whether or not to go after some otherwise routine plays based on whether they will end up in the river? Our clients are forced to make these same split-second decisions all the time. Or maybe we can write about adaptability? How it is important to constantly consider changing circumstances as you assess your next move. Chances are neither guy has played on a barge before, so there must be some newness for them in the things they have done thousands of times. Our customers are facing the same thing with adoption of the cloud – the world is changing around them in fundamental ways and they are forced to adapt. Or how about the new forms of competition that companies face in the emerging digital world? Their business is the same, but the ways they compete are constantly changing.”

Ines: (pause) “Yes, I suppose we could do that. Don’t you think sports business metaphors are a little overdone?”

Me: (silence) “But it’s so cool, it would be a shame to miss this opportunity. Wait, I have an idea…let me send you something.”