11 Lessons Entrepreneurs can learn from the CNN Republican Debate

11 Lessons Entrepreneurs can learn from the CNN Republican Debate



I had a chance to watch the rerun of the CNN debate and it reminded me of how entrepreneurs have to constantly find ways to get noticed in a noisy world. Here are my thoughts about each candidate:

  1. Rand Paul sounds like a crybaby. He has made a few moves that has gotten peoples attention but not to the point where the American people feel comfortable him leading the nation.

Lesson #1: If something isn’t going your way, don’t cry. Present your solution.


  1. Chris Christie sounds good but no one really knows where he stands on all matters. Is he a Republican or a Democrat? You can’t act like a democrat and say you’re a republican.

Lesson #2: Make it clear to your customers and teammates where you stand.


  1. John Kasich got more attention in the Fox News Debate because it was hosted in Ohio but that’s about it. Even the moderators don’t believe he stands a chance at being a President.

Lesson #3: Find a way to get noticed in a noisy world.


  1. Mike Huckabee would’ve won the debate if the audience was filled with politicians, professors and intellects instead he forgot he was speaking to the general audience.

Lesson #4: Know your audience. Don’t speak to your customers the same way you would speak to your sales force.


  1. Carly Fiorina was strong, trusting and also likeable. Her track record both in private sector and public sector is somewhat suspect. She would’ve done better if Trump wasn’t involved. It’s tough to compete as an entrepreneur when your opponent has a much bigger resume in private sector.

Lesson #5: Play to your strengths, not your weaknesses.


  1. Marco Rubio seems Presidential but he’s too serious and seems too perfect. It seems like he’s trying too hard to fit in. He needs to speak about some of the mistakes he’s made in his life and show his humor. He did a bit of it with his bottle of water example but he needs to be more consistent.

Lesson #6: Don’t seem too perfect. People don’t relate.


  1. Scott Walker is too blah. I can’t see him having a firm conversation privately with Putin or any of the world leaders. More energy or else he’ll be out of the conversation very soon if he hasn’t already.

Lesson #7: Be energetic about your message or you’ll lose your audiences attention.


  1. Ted Cruz who might be the smartest guy on stage is trying too hard to be like Reagan. He’s not Reagan. He doesn’t sound like Reagan. So stop being Reagan. Just speak the way you speak instead of trying to be someone you’re not.

Lesson #8: Let others example of success and leadership style inspire you but be yourself. Only you know how to be you.


  1. Ben Carson is brilliant, likeable and trusting but when it comes down to you leading the free world, you must have some respect and fear. He references MLK, but MLK was pretty controversial and strong. I can see him as a good choice of a Vice President but not as the President.

Lesson #9: Not everyone is meant to be the Captain of the ship. Assess your leadership strengths and focus on a areas where you can maximize your strengths.


  1. Jeb Bush sounds like he’s reading a script. It’s almost as if he has the master FAQ sheet of all questions that may be posed and he’s memorized it perfectly. Stop reading a script and start talking to me as the voter. And stop constantly making a position and changing it the next day. It’s getting annoying.

Lesson #10: Knowing all the FAQ’s doesn’t mean your fit to lead the entire organization.


  1. Donald Trump has stuck to his message from the day he announced his run for Presidency and hasn’t changed it a bit. He would’ve never had a chance to get this kind of attention unless if America wasn’t as divided as it is today. We went from being far to the right, to now being far to the left. He’s disrupting the media, calling out the establishments and challenging the status quo.

Lesson #11: Find a message that fires you up and stick it until it becomes a reality despite the criticism that you will receive.


The entrepreneurs who end up building a substantial business for themselves are those who know how to differentiate themselves from their competition. I would love to hear your opinion on who you were impressed with the most. Post your comments below.



Patrick Bet-David
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