I started this crazy, little experiment called BTL fourteen years ago in June of 2002. In 2003 I stumbled onto Chateaubriand’s (L.P. Jack’s actually) famous quote about work and life, labor and leisure, and that mastery in the art of living is all about play. 2004, my fellow builder, Larry, introduced me to some Latin. He taught me about the two latin words that translate, literally, to the English word, work. Opus entered BTL language and a piece of the melody line was emerging. That same year I began to fall in love with the idea that the foundation of our work wasn’t building your foundation. Funny, huh. I latched onto the CORE concept and began to write about our figurative and literal CORE and how both are needed to hold us together and keep us upright.
2005 would roll around faster than expected and I began to think about giving BTL a facelift. The dark blue and very basic logo just didn’t feel like me or the band of builders that was starting to come ’round. So I, with the input of a trusted few, began to interview designers. Element was the perfect fit. Two years later, the new logos were born, new playbooks were authored, and as we launched this affair on a cool evening at Muirfield, I can remember feeling very satisfied that my masterpiece, at least a version of it, was being authored. I knew next to nobody knew. I knew. I knew Miss knew. I knew Larry knew. And, I knew that others were beginning to believe. I’ll never forget the feeling of satisfaction that night. So, so good.
In 2008 I knew I no longer wanted to work for public companies. They knew I wasn’t a fit for their message. I knew they didn’t like my jeans, my lack of a filter, and my lack of compromise. I knew what I wanted. My belief was getting stronger. Somewhere in this year, I knew I couldn’t go back. I knew. 2009, my brother and best builder, Larry, went home, for eternity. I felt, in that moment, like I knew nothing.
I knew nothing.
2010 would bring me some work in STL that would serve as a catlyst for additional clarity. Opus would change from a word that we use to describe a labor of love, to a word that would describe an overarching vision, purpose, unifying strategies, and scorecard for significance. Freakin’ MAGIC. In 2011 another rewrite to the playbooks would occur. This one would not be a wholesale facelift but would simply be a “missing piece” addition of 18 pages in length. This piece would bring clarity to the melody line of this massive effort called becoming BTL. OPUS, PoP, and sCORE would cement themselves in our vocabulary. These are the three we want you to want.
Durp and kman would come on board and take BTL in a couple new directions. We would play with BTL in a startup and discover all kinds of nuance as we had a front row seat to kman going from one krazy on Warren street and one project in New Albany to the man recognized for his artistic flair and high powered team of krazies. We would watch a young Durp go from being a junior partner to the man on a mission to change the perception of collections. Today, he and his team have launched re-start and flipped the script on what we expect from debtors and collectors alike. Very cool.
2015 would start with BTL practice getting underway with our first sports team, OSU wrestling. We had no idea what we would learn from practicing with grapplers. We’ve learned more than we’ve taught. Late in 2015 the crazy FD would shoot me an email asking “what if.” I tried to talk him out of it and it kinda reminded me of a day back at Easton many moons ago – he, just like kman would have none of it. So, today, the BTL band has a new builder. We’re growing, slowly. Exactly the way I want it. Good…
Why do I write this for Y.O.U. to read?
I want you to realize that you most likely are in the process of becoming BTL and frustrated with how long it’s taking and how non linear your progress. I want you to be encouraged and keep climbing. Clarity is coming and when it comes, it always feels like it should have been here all along. You can live your OPUS, your masterpiece, if you will. You have to keep working, keep working, keep working. Do not settle or get comfortable. Don’t allow your accolades to compromise your aim toward becoming elite. Keep working.
Thanks for fourteen great years together. Special thanks to Peteboy and Lockton Companies, my first and second clients back in 2002 and still with us to this day. See you soon at another opportunity to get better. See you at practice. Good…