Okay, so Danica Patrick still has not won a race, and now that the Indy 500 is over, a new round of complaining has started. There is truth the complaining. Patrick does have very good equipment in a sport where equipment matters a lot. And she does have more sponsors in a sport where other competitors have had to win a lot of races to get sponsors.

But instead of pointing out all the factors that make Patrick an anomaly, look at how she is like you: She is looking to do something she loves, and she is figuring out a way to make it work. She sees an opening — selling herself to the media as the only woman driver — and she takes it. This is not unfair. In fact, Jamie Birch reminds us that having a unique selling proposition is integral to good business and we all need one.

So as you’re doing your job, keep an eye open for what will make you pull ahead of the crowd, and don’t be discouraged in a field of fast drivers. You don’t need to win a race to have the best selling proposition.

You do, however, need to have a good understanding of what you offer. Be realistic of why someone is coming back to you. Patrick wishes people loved her because she wins races, but they love her because she’s the first woman. Don’t be so picky about why people love you — just leverage that affection to do the work you want to do.

4 replies
  1. Mary Baum
    Mary Baum says:

    I also think it helps that she’s beautiful.

    For one thing, she looks great in ads. I imagine she’ll sell a lot of oil and parts to the Larry the Cable Guy set. (And, to be fair, regular people looking for hubcaps at Auto Zone on a Saturday afternoon.)

    But more important, her looks give her sport crossover appeal in a way Janet Guthrie never did.

    If she can reach teen girls, in particular, I would imagine she can grow the fan base by 30 – 50 percent over the next five years.

    Finally, if she can give teen girls permission to get their hands dirty working on engines and cars, she can help more of our girls into careers in science and engineering. And wouldn’t that be special?

  2. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    Right. It’s ironic that it a race car driver who is like a model can make girls think about un-model-like jobs in engineering and science. This is another reason to like Danica.

  3. Don B.
    Don B. says:

    Wonder why so few comments. The post and the first comment really got my thinking you both are right. It really is intriguing about Danica and I do not see any downside. As an engineer we would welcome more women in the field. Much about design is opinion and projects benefit from more diverse opinion.

  4. Wayne Freeman
    Wayne Freeman says:

    Actually, Danica has won a race. She won the Japan 300 in April.

    So she’s young, beautiful, a strong competitor, and now a winner. Not just a role model for teen-age girls, but for everybody, even for us who are no longer young and have never been beautiful.

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