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Marketing Minute

Itís All About the Dash

April, 2022

Jeff Pinyot

As a child back in Pittsburgh, I awoke one Sunday morning to the commotion of my family members who had gathered around our black and white RCA television to see the grainy image of my hero, Roberto Clemente. His picture adorned the screen with no sound, a continual still shot, just two numbers and a Dash. For a young man, that morning immediately became one of the saddest days of my young life. The memory haunts me to this day, nearly 50 years later.


I’ve known many people in my life who had amazing “Dashes”. I’ve written about them over the years. Grandpa Pignat had an amazing Dash. My dad’s working on his Dash still in his 90’s. The best Dashes are the ones that didn’t come easy. Alan Lazowski shared a copy of his father, Rabi Philip Lazowski’s book with me once. Talk about a Dash. Imagine the life represented between his two numbers where he spent literally years living in the Russian White Woods hiding from the Nazis who sought to end his life. Not only is it an amazing story of survival, but it’s an unmatched love story as well. (Faith and Destiny, by Rabi Philip Lazowski January 2006 – find it on Amazon). Mother Theresa had an amazing Dash as well, arguably one of the best we will ever know of. Modern day Front Line heroes showed up under the  crumbling Twin Towers in NYC 20 years ago and today, unvaccinated, caring for the victims of Covid-19. No-one is remembered by the first or last number on a tomb stone, it’s all about the Dash. At the funeral, we speak of the Dash, not the Dates.    


Clemente had a start date and an end date. That morning, the milk expired on his life. As we like to say in Pittsburgh, that was the day Clemente was traded to the Angels. Clemente was a hero not because of his 3,000 hits, but because he loved mankind and especially those less fortunate. It’s how he lost his life. His Dash was powerful. My mom had an expiration date too. Mom was a rock. Mom thought her Dash wasn’t that impressive, always trying to justify why she was as intelligent as her lawyer brother. She didn’t need to do that, we knew it already, and I think her brother knew it too. Mom had a good Dash.  


When I quit my good job and took the huge risk of starting ECO Parking Technologies (not the original name) with our COO, Dave Packard, it was all about the Dash. The Dash I was living was too predictable. It was too easy. It wasn’t what God purposed me for. There needed to be more and there was more. In fact, I felt an obligation to do it. It’s kind of funny in a sense, our lives are depicted between two numbers and the second number is ALWAYS larger than the first. While the actual Dash represents the length of our life in years, many people live trying to make their Dash more about their Net Worth. I like to believe that Net Worth is what you are worth as a contributor to the good of mankind, not to the good of one’s self.


What is your Dash built on? The United Arab Emirates was faced with a crisis. The oil reserves that brought immense wealth to this Arab nation was running out. In his wisdom, the Emir of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammad, had a vision to re-invent Dubai as what he hoped would be the tourist capital of the world, replacing Oil money with Tourist money. The Emir commenced an incredible period of massive development focused on recreation, arts, shopping, food, hotels, and anything that would draw visitors.  Replacing oil with tourism would certainly keep the coffers full. It was an amazing plan and those that visit Dubai today can view the wisdom of the Emir.  


Will the success of Dubai last? Is a Dash built on wealth sustainable? Only time will tell. Covid was devastating for Dubai and recovery is still under way. If you go to the Good Book for advice, you might find a potential crucial error in the Dubai strategy. The Emir was determined to increase ocean front real estate from 70 miles to literally hundreds of miles. He did so by building two large palm shaped island developments and one world map development by recovering sand from the sea and protecting the water erosion by also building wide island breakwaters around the interior islands. The Good Book says that “Man should not build his house on sand, but on solid rock” (paraphrased). I look at money that way. Money comes and goes as it can erode a family unit from greed like a sandcastle can be wiped away from a single wave. Can money destroy a nation? I think we know that answer. My comments are not a criticism of the Emir. The commentary isn’t as much on sand as the metaphor of money as sand. Non-sustainable and not a good building block. 


Today, build your family, your house, your business, and your future on Solid Rock. Make sure the Dash you are creating is Rock-Solid.



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