Ted Turner’s Scrappiness with Re-used Postage Stamps

One of the reason’s startups are successful with limited capital is taking the Moneyball startup approach and being scrappy with resources. When I think of scrappy an example from Ted Turner’s autobiography Call Me Ted comes to mind. Turner was in the process of getting the TBS Superstation off the ground and it was novel to have a local station broadcasted nationally.

Without having the brand recognition of a CBS or NBC, traditional advertisers balked at advertising so he had to do direct response marketing on his own dime. As an example, a company would pay $20 per widget sold, so he’d make the ad and sell the widgets, even doing the payment collections.

Many payments were by individuals sending checks in the mail. Oddly enough at the time, the postal service didn’t always cancel the stamps on the envelopes (e.g. the little black ink lines on top of the stamp to designate that it has been used). To save money, they’d take the non-cancelled stamps off the letters and re-use them for their letters. Now, there are some ethical questions about that but it captures the spirit of a startup being scrappy.

What else? What are some other ways startups are scrappy?

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