Very sad to see David Letterman retire tonight, but it occurred to me that over the course of his 33 years as a late night talk show host, there are three valuable lessons from Dave that all entrepreneurs and biz owners would be wise to follow:

  1. Always keep your sense of humor. If there’s one trait Dave exemplified (aside from sarcasm), it is that you should never take yourself too seriously.
  2. When you screw up, own it. Dave found himself in a public relations crisis a few years ago (to put it mildly), and he responded swiftly by publicly acknowledging and apologizing for what he had done–no excuses, no spin, no attempt to deflect blame. Wonder how things would have turned out for guys like Armstrong, Cosby, and Brady had they followed Dave’s example?
  3. Stay true to your core principles. Dave may have lost the TV ratings battle to Jay Leno over the better part of the 90s and 00s due at least partly to his refusal to adjust his style of comedy to a more mainstream audience as Leno did, but is there any doubt as to who is leaving behind a more cherished and revered legacy? Dave never compromised who he was or what he believed in when it came to his show, and in so doing, he has a secured a spot right next to Johnny Carson on the Mount Rushmore of late night TV.

    Thanks for the memories Dave, you will be missed.