Today’s Illustration: Full-Court Pressure


full court press  Full-Court Press

On This Day: May 2013 — Vivek Ranadivé becomes first Indian co-owner of the Sacremento Kings for $534 million

Who is — Vivek Yeshwant Ranadivé

While Vivek was born in a distant and unknown area of India, he is presently co-owner and chairman of the National Basketball Association’s Sacramento Kings.

Vivek Ranadivé decided to coach his daughter Anjali’s basketball team although he knew nothing about basketball.  He never coached a girl’s basketball team, did not understand the game, and never even played the game before.

“When Vivek Ranadive decided to coach his daughter Anjali’s basketball team., he settled on two principles.  The first was that he would never raise his voice. . . . . The second principle was more important . . . . was that his team would play a real full-court press — every game, all the time.” — Gladwell — pgs 19 & 21

“RANADIVE’S RELATIONSHIP TO basketball has never been conventional. Raised in India, educated at MIT and Harvard, he says he never touched a basketball until he began coaching his daughter’s middle school basketball team roughly 10 years ago. The game nagged at his analytical mind. A shot would go up, someone would either rebound it or inbound it, and both teams would rush back to either defend or attack the basket. Two-thirds of the court went uncontested. With his daughter’s team, a 
minimally talented group of wealthy Silicon Valley girls, Ranadive employed a frenzied press that engulfed every inch of the court, and his team marched to the national championships.” — The Fast & The Curious – ESPN.

His girl’s team of pre-teens ended up at the national Junior Basketball seventh-and-eighth-grade division championships!

“A Redwood City team of seventh- and eighth-graders who make it to the national championships in their National Junior Basketball league. That’s despite their lack of height and talent and the fact that they have a coach . . . . Vivek Ranadivé who was born in Mumbai and has never played the game himself. Gladwell argues that the “little blond girls” from Redwood City achieved their enormous success because they chose to use a full-court press. That’s a strategy in basketball that favors effort over skill: It forces your opponent into making a mistake. . . . . Coach Ranadivé was able to employ his amazing strategy because he came from outside the system. If he and his girls had had more talent and experience, they would have played in the same style as every other team, and had a losing season. But unfamiliarity with the game gave them “the audacity to play that way,” he says, and an underdog’s desperation inspired them to practice more intensely. “The whole Redwood City philosophy was based on a willingness to try harder than anyone else,” and it seemed to work: The team lost only a “few games” in that whole magical season, and made it to the third round of the nationals.” — Slate magazine – link below

Redwood City’s strategy was built around the two deadlines that all basketball teams must meet in order to advance the ball.  The first is the time allotted for the inboundpass. . . . . The second deadline in basketball requires a team to advance the ball across midcourt into its opponent’s end within ten seconds, and if Redwood City’s opponent met the first deadline and were able to make the inbounds pass in time, the girls would turn their attention to the second deadline.” — Gladwell pg 27


Facts & History:

October 7, 1957 — the birth of Vivek Yeshwant Ranadivé

Vivek Yeshwant Ranadivé – Indian American

Father: Yeshwant Ranadivé — “Captain” — Commercial Pilot and fought in WWII as a pilot for the British

Grew up in the area of Bombay, India

Grew up, played cricket and soccer on the Arabia Sea

Youngest of three children

Accepted to MIT at the age of 16 — Unable to attend MIT at that time because of India governmental issues

Enrolled and attended the Indian Institute of Technology – age 17

“(At age 11) It was the middle of the night and I heard Neil Armstrong say those words . . . I said, ‘You know, this is unbelievable. Who are these people that were able to take a man, put him in a box and send him 250,000 miles away to land on a rock flawlessly the first time? I want to be one of them.’ ”

“I don’t think I would have gotten a lot of sympathy for what I was trying to do (come to America and attend MIT) . . . . I just looked at it and said, ‘I’ll just figure this out,’ I have always wanted to be my own man.”

Graduated from MIT – 1979 — earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree

MBA from Harvard in 1983

1985 – Was funded – $250,000 — by venture capitalists to begin his own company — Teknekron Software Systems

1992 — Teknekron Software Systems — 200 employees and 8 million dollars

1993 –Teknekron Software Systems was sold to Reuters for $125 million

1997 — Founder – Chairman -CFO of Tibco (The Information Bus Company):  NASDAQ runs off of Tibco’s software

“TIBCO’s software, which Ranadive likens to “plumbing,” is designed to help data flow between and within companies in fractions of a second. . . . Real time is at the heart of human nature. At the core of it, people have short attention spans. You do something fast, and you’re going to win,” says Ranadive.

First “Indian” co-owner of a NBA basketball team – 2010 — Golden State Warriors

2012 — Launches “Top-Com” — “Schwab says, a “Facebook for global leaders.”

2013 – Co-owner of Sacramento Kings

Married & Divorced: ex-wife — Debra Addicott

Three Children:

Daughter – Anjali Ranadivé
Son — Aneel Ranadivé
Son — Andre Ranadivé


The Power of Now

 The Power to Predict

 The Two-Second Advantage: How We Succeed by Anticipating the Future–Just Enough.


““I think that basketball will be the global sport of the 21st century and it’ll help set the global agenda in terms of green . . . . Without question, basketball will be the greenest sport.”

“This is the 21st-century communal fireplace. . . . Two thousand years ago, you were building these gigantic cathedrals, and that’s where people were influenced. Sports arenas are the-modern day cathedrals; that’s where you engage people.”

“I’ve always believed that sports are a great metaphor for business – and for life itself. Although I had never even held a basketball, I took on the challenge of coaching my daughter’s youth league basketball team. As I reflected on her team at the end of the season – the underdogs for a multitude of reasons – as they battled for the title of national champions, I confirmed my belief that anyone can win at anything.”

From What A CEO Learned Coaching His Daughter’s Basketball Team . . . .

Speed Wins — “We played the game at a much higher and inexhaustible speed than anyone else, giving us a huge advantage over our bigger, stronger and more skilled competition.”

Work Like A Jazz Band — “Even for a ragtag team, everyone has a role to play and everyone is vital to its success. . . . It came together as a symponhony . . . My girls contested the inbounder, disrupting the rythm of the game.  We played more like an improvised jazz band, agile, quick and adaptable to changes, resulting in a beautifully orchestrated force.”

Attitude Is Everything:  “For starters, I never raised my voice at the girls.  These were 12-year-old girls with enough emotional growing pain in their lives.  I wanted to create a fun environment where the girls were motivated to work hard and smarter by the prospect of success, not by the threat of negativity.”

Turn Customers Into Fans: “Our team parents were our biggest fans who supported us at every game.  They didn’t need convincing to become fams.  Businesses, however, don’t have fans from the start and can no longer get away with purely transactional relationship, not these days with so much competition from all directions.”

Overtime: “The inspiration to improve your business can be found no further away than your local basketball gym.”


“He (Vivek) had missed the draft pick so his team was composed of the least experienced girls not picked by other dads coaches.  Those other dads were “7-foot tall, ex-Stanford players,” Ranadive recalls.”


Key Illustrative Thoughts:

• how about changing the way it is played
• thinking outside of the box
• trying harder than anyone else
• full-court press
• small but powerful
• winning
• underdogs
• human ingenuity
• sport gods
• success in business, failure in marriage
• forcing a mistake
• applying full-court pressure
• effort over skill
• press on


Example Application:


Other Information & Links:

“The Next Cinderella Story

One of my favorite sports teams is not one you’re going to see game highlights of on ESPN’s SportsCenter. In fact, you’ve probably never heard of them. The 2006 Redwood City 7th- and 8th-grade girls’ basketball team, however, is the stuff of modern sports legend.

When Vivek Ranadivé, TIBCO Software founder, took on coaching his daughter’s middle school basketball team, he didn’t resort to the usual playbook. Instead, he applied his entrepreneurial ingenuity and curiosity to ask whether there was an approach to playing that would “change the game.” Ranadivé zeroed in on the in-bounds pass and the rule that teams pass half court within the first 10 seconds of play. He suspected that most teams overlooked these seemingly inconsequential aspects of the game.

So he dedicated the Redwood City team’s practices to working on pressing their opponents’ in-bound passes. He also set up tight man-to-man (or, in this case, girl-to-girl) coverage for every inch of the court. He found that this approach brought the girls together as a team in a way that shooting drills never could, forcing them to communicate with each other as they worked to isolate the ball handler and prevent a pass.

At tip-off time, parents and fans at the games said that the opposing teams always looked bigger and better than Redwood City, yet under Ranadivé’s helm, the Redwood City middle school girls went undefeated — in one instance running up the score 25–0 before the other team even scored a basket. —
— “What a CEO Learned Coaching His Daughter’s Basketball Team” by Vivek Ranadive

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