A Business-Like Prediction

April 2, 2012

Let’s pretend you’ve stumbled upon some extra coin and you have the opportunity to invest in one of two blue-chip companies:

  • The first company has a rich tradition dating back over a century. The company was founded by the same man who created the very industry in which it still competes. The CEO is a principled man who has restored the company’s profile as an industry leader after several years of lackluster performance. The CEO is known for recruiting potential and developing talent to produce future leaders through his respected managerial style and skills training.
  • The second company, equally rich in history, has taken an innovative, though controversial approach to reclaiming its position as an industry leader. The CEO, with die-hard dedication to teaching fundamentals, has made his mark by recruiting top-tier talent who are able to produce at an elite level from the moment they arrive. These prodigies overachieve and quickly work their way up to bigger and better opportunities elsewhere, forcing the CEO to replenish his talent with a new crop. It’s a cycle that’s left many industry purists raising their eyebrows.

Kentucky logoOf course, I’m not really writing about investing. I’m writing about tonight’s NCAA men’s college basketball national championship between Kansas and Kentucky. Portraying the two teams as businesses illustrates exactly why I am choosing Kansas, the first company described above. I happen to believe in their principled approach to success, which is built on patience, leadership and loyalty. If Kansas was a business, you would be impressed by its performance on the basis it felt earned, not owed. Kansas will not win because it is the most talented team, but rather, it is the most developed team.

Aside from its coach, Kentucky is a school without an identity as so many players come and go after six months in the blue Wildcats uniform. I believe that kind of annual turnover can put a team at a deficit in times of great adversity. (e.g. The closing minutes in a tight national championship game.)

Kansas, a team that’s been several years in the making, starts five upperclassmen. Kentucky starts five underclassmen, and each is expected to declare for the NBA Draft within weeks of tonight’s game. How can you expect your team to be all in when they already have one foot out of the door?

I say Kansas 71, Kentucky 67.

Your bracket might be busted just like mine, but I’m curious, who do you have tonight and why?