The Many Faces of a Creative CEO

The complexities in any leader, whether they be a coach, teacher, politician, or CEO, is always vast and varied. Oftentimes you do not get a glimpse into who they are, what drives them to do what they do, who inspires them, where they find inspiration, and just about anything else about their process until a memoir, autobiography, or biography is written. This site strives to change that. I will provide content as it relates to ideas I have, things I am particularly fond of, and responses to things I see. My motivation for having this site is to give those who wish to see it, to get an unencumbered view into my world.

Visit often to see what I am thinking, what I like and to see what I'm doing both personally and professionally. Much of what I decide to post comes to me spontaneously and will give you a rare glimpse into how I think and what inspires me. I will also feature quotes and short blurbs from people I meet who have an important lesson to share, giving you a broader sense of what goes on behind the facade.

Derrick S. Wong is the CEO and founder of Winning Solutions Advisory, a strategic advisory firm focused on helping small to mid size companies as well as startups with innovation strategic solutions in business management, branding, and technology.

"We do what we love, so you can do what you love."

/ @WSAdvisory - Twitter
/ 855. WSA. WINS

Derrick is also key in the growth and management of Champions Combine, a sports branding agency designed to help sports related entities varying from athletes, models, teams, leagues, and industry related businesses to achieve their best possible brand by creating engagement from 360 degrees to help achieve your desired end result - whether it be to compete at the next level, grow your fan base, engage the media effectively, reach more consumers, etc.

"Winning sports brands. Increased visibility. Impressive results."

FB - ChampionsCombine
IG - ChampionsCombine
Recent Tweets @derrickswong

It was thirteen years ago today on 09. 11. 2001 that the US saw the greatest attack on American soil since the Pearl Harbor Attack. Much has changed in our lives since the terrorist attack in NYC and the Pentagon but thing remains the same. We’ve become a nation noted for our industrious character and ability to ride above the circumstances of wars, terror attacks, and continuous threats. Where were you 13-years ago when the planes crashed? I was 16 years old during my junior year sitting in my Honors Contemporary History class with Mr. Pearo. We spent the rest of the day watching the gripping coverage on television. #911 #nyc #tradetowers #championscombine #wsa #wsawins

Where can I get myself a pair of these? Not only do they look comfortable, they are functional. #bauer #skates #hockey #championscombine #wsa #wsawins

The bag is packed! The 2014-15 ice hockey season is about to begin. Tomorrow marks the beginning for refereeing and sometime this weekend I’ll be out in the rinks as a spectator looking for potential Champion Athletes to join our portfolio at @ChampionsCombine during the #LaborDayFaceOff tournament. If you’re out and about, be sure to check out the amazing players, especially @coltonm911 and @c_powell7 who play for the @nhjrmonarchs U18 team. #championscombine #wsa #wsawins #sports #athletes #athletics #hockey #icehockey #hockeyplayers #rinks #icerinks #skates #sticks #composite #referees #scouts #jrhockey

With the hockey season right around the corner and set to start this weekend, seeing this picture got me excited for the months to come. It’d be cool to have a rink like this in the backyard. In any case, it was a good day today. Worked on a player portal today for @c_powell7, met with my apparel contact at Brine to fine tune everything we will roll out, and getting ready for a few meetings tomorrow at Framingham HS and John Stark HS. My gym workout today was chest, leg isolation, and some cardio. Poll question: hats or not with the @championscombine logo? Weigh in. I’ll be in Marlborough, MA this weekend. Where will you be?#championscombine #sports #athlete #athletes #recruitment #college #ncaa #juniorhockey #juniorplayers #hockey #hockeylife #soccer #baseball #basketball #football #wsa #wsawins #branding #fitness #gymrat #gym #workingout

50 posts!  Onto the next 50.  
If there are topics or questions you’d like me to address, please feel free to message me with them.  Thanks.

50 posts!  Onto the next 50.  

If there are topics or questions you’d like me to address, please feel free to message me with them.  Thanks.

I pride myself on always working towards my goals going at Mach speeds. It’s the only way I know how to do things and it’s something I bring into my professional life, coaching, refereeing, civic involvements, and my personal life. It use to be my mantra in college that fun and relaxation can happen once I’m dead or maybe retired. I’ve since mellowed a little and now I’d like to have a few moments to enjoy life…doesn’t necessarily happen but that’s the goal. The end of August marks the beginning of soccer and hockey as well as my professional life moving into high gear. Lots going on and lots to juggle but I’m excited for the challenge. @championscombine @derrickswong #championscombine #sports #business #summer #drive #motivation #hockey #soccer #newengland #nh #college #wsa #wsawins #cc

Analysis, reflection, and forecasting about past and present business examples can help us as business owners and professionals to learn how to best position ourselves in the future so we do not repeat past mistakes.

This post is going to take a general look at Blockbuster, Netflix, and Redbox to see what has gone right, eh, and badly so we can apply these discoveries in our businesses.  The worst thing we can do is to be oblivious to what is going on around us and repeating the struggles that have been experienced and dealt with by others, instead of learning from them.  Crafting a successful business is challenging enough and we are bound to experience plenty of highs and lows ourselves, without repeating the ones from our predecessors, peers, and rivals.  

At one time, Blockbuster was the big name in the movie rental business.  They were everywhere for movie fanatics to get new releases and classics.  They were big when VHS was still a common medium to watch movies at home with and managed to stay relevant through the popularity of the DVD and somewhat into the use of BluRay.  Their challenge ended up being in their strategy to utilize only a standalone retail location as their way to service their customers.  Patrons of their business were required to go into their stores like they would any other retail location.  It required you look through their collection, wait in lines to check out, and to bring them back to avoid late fees.  Their adjustment of eliminating late fees and creating a mail-in or return to store policy only came after the popularity of Netflix soared and their market share dwindled.  They stayed committed to their business model for too long and it was only in a last ditch attempt at staying solvent that they incorporated the no late fee and the mail to get movies and return to store strategies.  By then the writing was on the wall and bankruptcy was looming.  Had they rolled out those strategies while Netflix was still in its infancy, we might be shipping blue envelopes instead of red ones.

Netflix came to be when DVDs were becoming all the rage and people were becoming less interested in going to a store to get movies.  People enjoyed the subscription model where their movies came right to them through the mail, where they created a wish list of movies they wanted, and by simply returning their movie with no late fees, the next movie on their list would come to them.  It was a really fluid process that was easy for people to understand and became about as commonplace as taking the garbage out, except in this case, they got a few hours of enjoyment.  Netflix has stayed relevant because they have constantly tried to evolve and remain current.  Instead of waiting for a trend to settle in and try to compete with a company that took advantage of an emerging fad, Netflix would create trial programs like online streaming, creating original in-house productions, and developing separate brands.  The first two were successful and have become common practices the company uses.  The latter was highly unsuccessful and was quickly abandoned.  Their ability to stay nimble and learn quickly from their lessons is what has allowed them to stay relevant.  The question remains, can they figure out a way to compete with a recent rival to come on the scene, Redbox?!

Redbox is a rental company that in many ways plays on the successful themes found in Blockbuster, movie theaters, and Netflix.  They get movie titles faster than Netflix does so in that way they rival movie theaters.  Since their kiosks are found outside grocery stores and gas stations, they use the “brick and mortar” concept but don’t require people to take a special trip to get a movie.  They are found in high traffic places that people are already going to on a regular basis.  They tapped into the things people actually dislike about Netflix and used it to create a huge competitive advantage for themselves.  Instead of requiring people to put a credit card on file and sign up for a monthly subscription, movies can be rented one or more at a time, for a nominal fee for each without much of a late fee if there is one at all, without a monthly commitment or providing financial information that gets stored.  Therefore, for people who like to keep a low profile and do not want to make a commitment, this becomes a great option for people who may not want the cyclical program Netflix offers or the streaming service.  

In this space, the question remains…is the fad that is Redbox going to eclipse Netflix?  Will they expand into the territory Netflix is in and try to gain their market share instead of simply carving out their own niche?  Or can Netflix learn from Blockbusters mistakes and utilize their large infrastructure and resources to prevent a company like Redbox from gaining any more popularity than they already have?  

While our analysis focuses on these three companies, it’s also important to look at how movie rental companies are dealing with the internet, Smart TVs, Apple TV boxes, mobile applications, Hulu, on demand, studios, actors, and theaters.  There are many who have tried to enter the space and for the most part, the many who have tried, have also failed.  So the key is not only trying to mimic what is already being done, but identifying a new way for movie goers to experience and interface with your service that is different.  Redbox learned from Blockbuster and filled a void that BB left when Netflix and online streaming services became the hot trend.  Now with Redbox on every sidewalk outside grocery stores and gas stations, one has to think, what is the next frontier for movies and users?  Who will identify them?  Who will end up victorious and who will we be studying as a case of bad business decisions?

Whether you are in the retail, movie, or rental industries - there are significant take away’s from the analysis of these three companies.

It’s important that you’re always aware of what is going on around you within your industry and vertical.  It’s not okay to just stay narrowly focused on what you’re doing, even if at the moment you’re doing well and your margins are respectable.  By the time you realize something is amiss, it may already be too late to change course and thwart the progress of a rogue competitor.  If you’re already in business and successful, it’s important you not only stay committed to the very things you’re doing well, it’s essential you divert some of your resources to try new things.  Some will succeed and most will fail, but it’s the process that you will learn from.  If you’re a new company, don’t simply try to become a twin of a giant.  You need to find a niche area for yourself so you can market yourself as being different than the giant.  You’ll find success by addressing a need people want that the giant isn’t satisfying.  Whether it’s a service that isn’t being provided or a lack of flexibility, find a way of providing a product or service that’s unique and distinct.  It’ll be far easier to become successful filling a void a giant like Netflix has left then to attempt to become Netflix’s miniature version.

Think through your business, your industry, your competitors, and your desired customer or client to identify how you can better transform your company to be successful right now, but more importantly, to stay relevant in one year, five years, and 100 years. 

To learn more about myself, our services, the types of things WSA has on the horizon, or topics you’d like discussed, please reach out.

- Derrick S. Wong, CEO of Winning Solutions Advisory LLC. / 855. WSA. WINS / @WSAdvisory /

Winning Solutions Advisory is a management advisory firm designed to help small to mid-size companies examine the effectiveness of their planning and innovation strategies regarding business strategy, branding, technology, finance, and legal. Our “call to fame” is identifying opportunities of potential in both startup and established companies before even the management or market has identified them. We then help to develop sound methods to transform the objectives into reality.

Product packaging and how it’s done is important to how people experience your brand and company.  It’s oftentimes believed that once someone buys your product, you have overcome the greatest struggle in business:  turning a prospect into an actual customer.  However, the cost to keep a first time buyer into a repeat customer is far less expensive than trying to attract a first time customer.  The retention rate increases exponentially each time someone purchases from you.

So while your social media campaigns, commercials, and marketing strategies are essential to draw people in to try your company - once they pull you off the shelf at the grocery store or order from you at a restaurant, you want to be sure their experience is positive so they provide positive testimony to friends and purchase from you again.  

Since beer recipes and brewing isn’t my specialty, I’m going to give my impressions on the packaging and how it’s being branded so you can apply the takeaways with your product packaging to ensure you’re providing the best overall user interface and experience.

At first glance, the bottle is attractive and pretty traditional in its shape.  It’s shiny gold cap is eye catching and memorable.  It’s something you’d recognize again if you only saw the luminescent bottle with the amber lager hues and the gold top.  The white block letters with the beer name is easy to read and looks nice against the bottle color, but that’s where the positives end.  The brewery name does not have much sizzle to it and if you don’t look closely, your eyes could scroll past it.  Your eyes shouldn’t fixate on it since the attention should be to the lager name and the bottle/cap, but the company name should register so you can begin generating company name recognition.  This is important so when you see their Super Bowl commercial, you’ll have a nagging feeling that you’ve seen it before and explore their social media/website again.  Once you have a positive experience with this lager, you’ll be drawn to try other recipes they have but if you don’t remember the brewery, you might not be able to reference them when asking for it.  If you don’t register the name passively, instinctual recognition will not happen again.  

Just as color choice and back lighting or shadows is important, text choice is equally important, if not slightly more.  Each text chosen is important on the bottle.  You can tell care and time was given since the brew name, brewery name, brew type, ingredients and more each have a different text choice and color as to create separation for the eyes to be drawn to.  Given the consideration given, it’s important to make sure the decisions made will generate the results being sought after.

The text choice for the white cursive font and the muted red text is very difficult to read and requires the user to inspect it closely if they want to see what the content says.  It’s not easy to read at an arms length so after someone glances at it initially and pours it, their time looking at it is probably over with and the opportunity to generate context and nuances to create a memory are reduced.  

Any successful packaging or marketing should evoke a response on multiple levels so you are reaching a consumer both directly and indirectly, through active senses and secondary senses, and through various levels of consciousness.  The more text that is easily readable and the more about the packaging that is distinctly memorable, the better the chances are that a user will store information consciously and subconsciously that will help drive their buying decisions in the future.

Consider how your product is experienced by users.  Does your product and it’s packaging reflect the careful decision making and market testing that should be spent before making it ready for sale?  The wrapping is as important as what is contained inside it and the sales process used to drive a customer to purchase from you.  Don’t make the work on those two endeavors return you a less than desirable outcome.  A few well thought out decisions with your product packaging can make all the difference to help your company increase sales, improve customer retention, and aide in positive reputation dissemination.

To learn more about myself or our services, please feel free to reach out.

- Derrick S. Wong, CEO of Winning Solutions Advisory LLC. / 855. WSA. WINS / @WSAdvisory /

Winning Solutions Advisory is a management advisory firm designed to help small to mid-size companies examine the effectiveness of their planning and innovation strategies regarding business strategy, branding, technology, finance, and legal. Our “call to fame” is identifying opportunities of potential in both startup and established companies before even the management or market has identified them. We then help to develop sound methods to transform the objectives into reality.



The Houghton Library on the Harvard campus holds the university’s collection of rare books. Inside its walls — in addition to objects culled from the old “Treasure Room” of Widener, the school’s principal library — you’ll find Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts;…

It’s a pretty amazing realization of how times are changing and the validation of Wikipedia when Harvard is willing to hire someone full-time to work on addressing their content on the omni-present information site. 

The website was and may still be the frustration for every teacher and professor currently in academics because of how readily students used it as a citable source in their papers and projects.  I remember professor’s telling our classes that Wikipedia could be used as a tool to familiarize ourselves on something and as a general reference point, but that it was not a reference material we could use in our papers to prove our thesis.  

With the advent of a “Wikipedian-in-Residence” at Harvard, does the website and online resource receive instant credibility that it may not have had before?  Given Harvard’s pioneering nature, does this mean that many institutions and companies will hire staff to ensure their presence on the site is favorable and accurate?  

There are five interesting questions this news creates.  First, when did a site of all things information known to have questionable merits of being factual become credible and worthy of attention from a place like Harvard?  Second, what about WIkipedia’s following drew Harvard’s attention and it’s need to pay attention to its library collection and institutional presence?  Third, what implications does this recognition by Harvard do for Wikipedia?  Fourth, with Harvard being a trendsetter among academic institutions and corporations, will being a “Wikipedian-in-Residence” become a common position for potential employees?  Fifth, will this eventually lead to a degree or certificate program for people to enroll in with marketing and business schools?

Is this position a trend we need to take notice of?  I would argue that this has been a long time coming.  How our brand is interpreted and disseminated is essential.  For many, our focus has been too focused on how we spread our branding and marketing through social media, the web, tv, radio, print, roadside, etc.instead of how our brand is received or experienced through third party sites  Sites like Wikipedia are important to scroll through and should be an important focus to personal brands, product brands, companies, and institutions.  Constant awareness and even damage control is important to perform if the resources exist to do so, to ensure your brand and reputation is not damaged and experienced in the wrong way.

It’s admirable Harvard is taking steps to ensure their collection and school is well represented.  It’s important that we take note and place more focus on how we are portrayed by high traffic sites.  For most employers, the focus needs to be broader but it’s a good sign that simply putting out credible information isn’t enough anymore.  It’s important to make sure the content already out there is accurate.

What steps will you take to make sure you’re represented well?

To learn more about myself or our services, please feel free to reach out.

- Derrick S. Wong, CEO of Winning Solutions Advisory LLC. / 855. WSA. WINS / @WSAdvisory /

Winning Solutions Advisory is a management advisory firm designed to help small to mid-size companies examine the effectiveness of their planning and innovation strategies regarding business strategy, branding, technology, finance, and legal. Our “call to fame” is identifying opportunities of potential in both startup and established companies before even the management or market has identified them. We then help to develop sound methods to transform the objectives into reality.

Whether you’re like me and you prefer to workout at your favorite gym facility, you can outfit your home with a few essentials so you never have an excuse like a blizzard to keep you from working out. My Total Gym, 110# weight set (my first weight set), ankle weights, weighted vest, foam roller, stability ball, jump rope, and frictionless slides give me a good variety of things to use to give me a good filler workout. Plus it’s good to do something while watching tv so you never just veg out on the couch.