Not since Wayne Gretzky ripped Leaf fan’s hearts out in game 6 of the 1993 playoffs have they felt such pain as they did on Sunday night after having a 3 goal lead on Boston with just over 10 minutes to play. (FYI I had to forgive Gretzky as I married his cousin and it would cause bad in-law relations). Making Leaf fans more prime for pain was the fact that they have not been in the playoffs for the past 9 years. After watching what had to be one of the worst collapses in hockey history, I got to thinking about what it took to be great. What I came up with is that truly great players like Gretzky and Crosby don’t only make themselves look great but they also make the players around them that much better. Just like great cattle investments don’t only make themselves profitable but also help the animals around them more profitable.
Lessons from Sydney Crosby
Due to the lockout of 2004-2005, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin both entered the NHL in the same year. At the time there was great debate about who was going to be the better player. Since then the stats would tell you that Ovechkin has been the better investment. He has 371 goals, 365 assists for 735 points, whereas Crosby has had 238 goals, 427 assists for 665 points. However, sometimes numbers don’t tell the whole story. Even though Ovechkin has won more individual awards (Rookie of the Year, 2x NHL goal scoring leader, 2x most valuable player, vs. 1 MVP and 1 scoring title for Crosby), ask any NHL player which one is better and they would tell you that Crosby is by far. That is because Crosby not only puts up numbers himself but he also makes the players around him raise their level of play. For example, before playing on a line with Crosby, Chris Kunitz highest goal total was 26 in an 82 game season. This year, playing with Crosby he had 22 in the shortened 48 game season. That is an almost 50% increase. This outstanding ability to inspire others around him has resulted in Crosby having played more playoff games than Ovechkin and has already won a Stanley Cup in his career.
When I got to thinking about how the truly great ones not only make themselves look great they also make the others around them better, it reminded me of a comment that Jeff Butler of Butlerview made in an interview we did with him just before Royal last year (Read more: Exciting Times for Butlerview). In the article Jeff say’s “type brings the foot traffic to the farm, but genomics and pedigree get them buying.” This further reminded me of an article I had written early this year about the great RF Goldwyn Hailey and how she herself may not be a great return on investment (Read more: RF Goldwyn Hailey: Cash Cow or Cash Hog?). While there is no question that Hailey’s own numbers alone are not the highest ROI in the market today, if you look at it from a marketing investment she and other great show cows could be the wisest marketing investment you could ever make. Now I am not talking buy these animals for the over 1 million dollar mark. But as Jeff says nothing drives traffic to your door like a great show cow. Something Jeff should know considering he owns 2 of the top 5 cult following cows in the world today (R-E-W Happy Go Lucky and Cookview Goldwyn Monique).
The big thing you need to remember and as Jeff pointed out in our article is that you need the supporting cast in your herd to help convert that traffic into revenue. For Butlerview that means animals like Regancrest S Chassity, Regancrest G Brocade and De-Su 199 Chart Topper. These high genomic animals from big name pedigrees are the ones that help Butlerview’s big investment in show cattle pay dividends. Key to any of this is the fact that all animals need to be good embryo producers or you might as well kiss your money goodbye (Read more: What Comes First the Chicken or the Egg?).
Lessons from Wayne Gretzky
The great hockey player to every play the game, Wayne Gretzky, always said don’t go to where the puck is but rather, see where the puck is going and go there. As we highlighted in our article about the marketing of Glen Drummond Aero Flower and DES-Y-GEN PLANET SILK, you need to see or even predict where the marketing is heading and make sure your marketing and breeding goals are in alignment with that (Read more: Marketing Lessons From Glen Drummond Aero Flower). As the dairy industry develops, efficient milk production that fills the consumers’ needs will gain greater importance. National indexes are always being adjusted to reflect the marketplace. In Canada it will not be long before greater weighting will be placed on health and fertility traits, this means you should already be breeding for this today so that your ahead of the curve when these changes occur. Remember that it’s not only about how much milk, or how many show winning daughters a sire produces, but it’s also important to breed to a bottom line that is consumer friendly. It’s only a matter of time before the national indexes reflect this even more.
The Bullvine Bottom Line
Headliners will get you attention, but their ability to make the others around you shine as well will be what makes you the money. Sidney Crosby is a great player, but it’s the ability to lift up the others around him better that wins the Stanley Cup. The same was true for Wayne Gretzky. It wasn’t just his own ability to dominate a game that created the opportunity for Gretzky to appear in 6 Stanley Cup finals, winning four of them. It was his ability to see the play developing and make his team around him shine too that did it. Until players like Ovechkin learn this key lesson he will never win a cup. The same is true when you are designing your genetic marketing program. Until you learn just how you are going to use your headliners to maximize the other genetic stars in your herd and look 3+ years down road and see where the market is heading, you are never going to generate as much return on your investment as you could.
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