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Determination To Innovate Speech

From Skip Dowd’s Team


“One determined person can make a significant difference; a small group of determined people can change the course of history.”

Sonia Johnson


“We take innovation seriously and in order for us to remain in the driver’s seat for the next 10 years and beyond, we have to continuously innovate.”

Chip Perry, 2008 Mid Year Update


What does Sonia Johnson, Chip Perry, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Sir Edmund Hilary, Tanzing Norgay, Christopher Columbus, Jack Welch, Bill Gates, ….. have in common?




JFK once said, ‘There are 3 kinds of people in the world today:

  1. Those who make things happen.
  2. Those who watch things happen.
  3. Those who wonder what happened.”


Allow me to add one more type: Those who talk about what happened.


I want to believe that most of you in this room are people who make things happen.


Christopher Columbus is one of my heros. During his time common belief was that the world was flat and if you sailed too far off-shore you would fall into a bottomless pit.  That was the fact of the times, documented in the text books and taught in places of all levels of education. In fact if they had Google and you Googled world, it would come out flat.


Columbus believed that the world was round based on his simple observation that when he stood on the sea shore and looked at in coming ships he would see their masts first. He concluded that if the world was flat he would see the whole ship at once. Since he saw the highest point of the ship first then the world must be round.


He was determined to prove what he believed. His own country, Italy would not support him. His adopted country Portugal turned him down. It was the King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain who gave him 3 old and dilapidated ships manned by 90 convicts and sent him on his way.


Columbus was so determined, he did not hesitate but went on his first voyage and discovered America. Where would you and I be if this man was not as determined as he was.

FYI his 2nd voyage had 17 ships and 1500 professional sailors.


There are many people who are still living with a flat world mindset.

They are afraid to take risks; afraid to try something new; afraid to go where no one has gone before; afraid to carve out a new path.


The business we do is new and still growing and changing everyday. It will take determined people to pave the way; to carve out new channels and create new opportunities to buy and sell new and used cars.


Malcolm Gladwell, in his book: ‘The Tipping Point’ talks about 5 different types of people:


  1. Innovators – adventurous, ‘why not thinkers’ – smallest group.
  2. Early adaptors – leaders – first to get it people
  3. Early majority – the second wave of people
  4. Late majority – deliberate, skeptical masses – no risk takers
  5. Laggards – the most traditional types – status quo. “the old one works very well, if it ain’t broken, why fix it.’


Determined people are not discouraged when people reject their ideas. They look for early adaptors. They look for a Queen Isabella.


And when the going gets tough; and it will; they take a short break to re-charge and go again.


We are the Tanzing Norgay’s of the world. Our names may never be recorded in the History books. We may never receive the award, but we are determined to do our part to INNOVATE. We are builders.


Poem: Builders


Let us continue to build this dynasty and widen the gap between ourselves and the closest competitor so wide that they would give up on trying to catch up with us.


Let’s build a dynasty of!

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