Friday Q&A: July 17, 2009

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Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at TSL? This week Will Stewart
is our Friday Q&A guest, and he answers questions about the background of
the site and the parent company, various business models and the ever-elusive
press pass.

Have a question you’d like to get answered? Send it to [email protected].

1) What are TSL’s business plans? Businesses, especially those where you have
a passion like you and Chris Coleman obviously do for VT, always have a vision
of where they are headed. Where will TSL be in 2010? 2015?

Will Stewart: (shrug) I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t.

A buddy of mine was an MBA student at Duke’s Fuqua school of business in the
early 1990s, and he told me a story I’ve never forgotten. Dave Thomas, founder
of Wendy’s fast food restaurants, came to speak at Fuqua. During the Q&A
portion of Thomas’s speech, a student badgered Thomas about his business plans,
strategies, etc., obnoxiously repeating the questions when he didn’t get an
answer he wanted.

Finally, Thomas looked at the student and said, “Kid, I just wanted to
make a better &*%#ing hamburger.”

That’s our business plan here at TSL. We’re just making a better hamburger,
except our hamburger happens to be Virginia Tech sports coverage. The core of
our business is commentary, analysis and discussion of VT sports. How you
package and present that business changes over time, and we respond to those
changes as best we can, but when we sit in front of our computers, it’s the
hamburger that we think about. As long as it’s the best we can make it, we’ll be
okay, and we’ll be positioned to survive and hopefully prosper for a long time.

Having said that, the Internet environment changes rapidly. I worry sometimes
that something new will come along that’s going to wipe us out, but I’ve been
worrying about that for ten-plus years now, and things have been okay. I’ll be
ready to retire in 20 years, so my hope is that I’ll worry for 20 more years,
then look around, realize I’ve made it, and ride off into the sunset.

Granted, if Chris Coleman is still around, he will only be in his mid-40s at
that point in time, so then he’ll get to worry and plan for another 20 years.