Published on February 21st, 2014 | by Daniel Rahe


A Preview of the Post Defiance Presentation for TEDx Tacoma

The following text and images are excerpts from the official Post Defiance Ted Talk, which may or may not be delivered for the first time at the 2014 TEDx Tacoma event at Broadway Center for the Performing Arts next Friday, February 28th. This year’s theme is CONNECTIVITY. 

Hello, Tacoma! Thank you for coming out tonight. My name is Dan Rahe, and I love you already.

I am here today to talk to you about something we all deal with everyday of our lives: Success in Business.

Like all of you, I came from humble roots. I was born in a log cabin and was raised on a steady diet of wild boar flesh and Pop-Tarts. But it is no accident that I am here talking to you today. No, my friends, I got here on purpose.

Which leads to the first point in my revelations to you today, so let’s get right to it, shall we?


You might ask me, “Dan, what is the first rule of success in business?” And I’d say to you, “There are no rules in the Wild West, baby” – because there aren’t, baby.

But listen up, because this might save your hide. There are some “unspoken rules”.

You might ask me then, “Dan, what’s an unspoken rule?” And I’d say to you, “An unspoken rule is a convention that we all assent to without necessarily verbalizing it.”

Write that down.

If you need help writing it down, refer to the text on the screen behind me.


If you want to succeed in business, you must be aware of these unspoken rules, and you must follow them. Not only must you follow them, but you must impose them upon the people you intend to dominate.

Keep in mind that you cannot succeed, nor can you dominate, when you are absent. You must absolutely and always be present.

That is the first unspoken rule of business:

99% of success is showing up.

A good example of this is my presence here on this stage. Clear your mind. Open your eyes. Look at me. I am here. I showed up. I came through the door. I didn’t know what I was going to do when I got up in front of you. I had no clue. You might say, “Dan, but you’re reading from notes and you have a presentation on the screen.”

And I’d say to you, “I’ve gotten very good at showing up. This is what happens when you are very, very, very good at something. I’ve made ‘showing up’ look effortless. Miracles will happen when you start showing up really, really, really well.”

Let me elaborate on this concept.

It can be helpful in business to use acronyms. So, let’s break this unspoken rule into a helpful mnemonic device. This will help you memorize the concept and apply it to your daily business life.


“99% of Success in Business is Showing Up,” or 9OSIBISUP. This can be misunderstood to stand for “99% of Success in Business is Showing Ur Penis,” but I choose not to look at it that way.

You will find that acronyms are very popular with young people, and 9OSIBISUP can be helpful when trying to convince them to be good at business.

The important thing to learn from this acronym is one-fold: Show up. And smile, too. So, it’s one-fold, with an addendum (that’s another business word, and you can read more about it in a book I’m going to write when less of my time is spent on the obligations of fame).


The second unspoken rule of business is very similar to the first rule:

If succeeding is too hard for you, don’t do it.

Now, I know this is a difficult concept. So we’re going to spend a little time unpacking this idea and breaking it down into several parts. Then, we’re going to look at those parts and really instill them into our hearts as hard as we can. I think this is going to be a very moving experience for you.

I want you to think about what drives you. Locate the thing that motivates and inspires you to rise above your competitors and to overcome challenges. Now, try to imagine what would happen to that thing – whether it be a goal or a person or an object – if you dialed back your ambition a little bit.

It really wouldn’t be that big of a deal, would it? Things would be pretty much fine. If you’re driven by a desire to give your kids a better life than you had, for example, maybe you could scale that back a touch and just give them a life that is comparable to yours. Doing that might be more in your wheelhouse, in the range of your realistic abilities.

Let me put this another way. You need to determine if you’re cut out for excellence. And I’ll tell you right now, some of you just aren’t cut out for excellence. And that’s okay. It really, really is.

Here’s a good example: John Schnatter, founder of Papa John’s Pizza.


John Schnatter took a personal inventory of his abilities and aptitudes, and in doing so, he learned that he was utterly incapable of making an excellent pizza. He just couldn’t do it. So, instead of striving toward excellence, he decided to make really mediocre pizza.

But here’s the catch: John Schnatter ended up succeeding even though he made mediocre “pies”. And I’ll tell you why: He made a whole freaking lot of mediocre pies, over and over and over and over again. He turned his mediocrity into a commodity. Now, every time one of those mediocre pizzas arrives on a front porch in the nation of America, it is a reminder that relentless mediocrity is something we can all achieve.

We are inspired by the example of John Schnatter, so much so that he has become a father figure to many Americans. And that’s why we fondly call him “Papa John”.


Make charts and make graphs.

Here is an example of a very helpful chart I have made. I refer to it often, and suggest that you should refer to it too.


You will notice that I have been very specific with my data on this graph. I entered precise figures and hard deadlines. I made realistic projections and expressed them in real-world figures. You can do this too.

So, what is the key to a good chart and/or graph? Keep in mind  that your “Math Picture” (as I call them) is only as good as the data you put into it. For example, if this chart showed how many unicorns I hope to own by the time I am 62, it would be a completely BAD chart – because unicorns are simply NOT REAL.

Unicorns are BAD DATA.

So, what’s an example of a good data to put into your chart? How about magenta yachts? Those are real, and they are cool. So, look deep inside your heart and ask yourself how many of them you want. I recommend saying to your heart, “Heart, how many yachts do you want?” Then, when you get your answer, find a yacht catalog and determine what the pricing for a magenta yacht might be. They often are priced at upwards of $500, so be prepared to have extra zeros in your chart if you are going to go down this route.

Now, you have your cost axis established. You need a second axis. Many people in business today would suggest that the second axis should be “time” – so that you can chart how long it will take you to save enough to acquire a magenta yacht.

Do not, under any circumstances, heed their conventional foolishness.

Instead, your second axis should be “How Excited I will Be About My Magenta Yacht, On a Monthly Basis”.


For example, your enthusiasm for your magenta yacht will probably reach peak levels during the summer months, when you can lounge upon the sundeck in a feather bikini. And it will be lowest in December, because a yacht most likely has no chimney for Santa to go down. So, if you live on your yacht, as I would advise you to, you will receive no Christmas presents. That can be a very harrowing experience. But you’ve planned ahead for that sorrow on your chart, so some of the edge will be taken off.

Here is another example of a chart. It is a pie chart. It is used to show how various factors join with other factors to comprise a whole. When two pie charts overlap, it is called a VENN DIAGRAM. I do not use Venn Diagrams, because it makes the data hard to read – but they are very trendy right now.


This Venn Diagram compares a bunch of statistics about the housing crisis with the most popular seasonal Hostess cakes. The area where they merge is called The Convergence. As you can see, Christmas cakes are doing pretty well, but FHA streamlines are kind of bleeding through. This is the diagram that helped me determine that I would not participate in the Facebook IPO.

Powerful, powerful stuff. It is likely that this talk has changed the way you view the world. I have grown smugly accustomed to changing peoples’s worlds on my many speaking tours.

Now, go out there and drive some cars. Good night.


About the Author

Founder of Post Defiance, Dan is a father, surveyor, writer, and runner.

4 Responses to A Preview of the Post Defiance Presentation for TEDx Tacoma

  1. RR Anderson says:

    you can’t just overlap to pie charts and call it a venn diagram. who do you think you are?

  2. Grace Heerman says:

    No wonder I’m not getting any job offers. Thank you for clearing things up.

  3. Emily says:

    HILARIOUS. I love it.

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