Night club owner Skinny D' Amato won a million dollars off of one man in a poker game. The man said, "Me and my family are ruined. I'm going to kill myself." Skinny returned the money telling the man, "Stop playing poker. You're way out of your league."
That game happened in Florida. The story spread all the way up to Atlantic City where Skinny ran the '500 Club' where his pal Frank Sinatra often performed.
Why did Skinny return all the money? Why not keep part of it? Skinny was building his reputation which was important to people in the nightclub business. He knew the power of 'branding' before there was 'branding," Had he given back part of the money, the story wouldn't have had the power to spread so quickly, or remain for all these years.
Skinny's "Million Dollar Give Back," as well as his poker playing prowess, was documented in his sister-in-law's book "Chance of a Lifetime: Nucky Johnson, Skinny D'Amato and How Atlantic City Became the Naughty Queen of Resorts."
In his book 'Tell to Win', film producer Peter Guber explains the power of such stories and how useful they are in the business world.
Sometimes for the sake of "branding" it pays to do the wrong thing at the right time. Sometimes it pays to extent yourself for the sake of a positive story that benefits our image. However, the cost is often high, like a million dollars or taking a risk on a business venture, so few of us do it.
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