Call me Ribs!

The old Irish bartender took one look at my 19-year old skinny frame and asked, “And what’ll ye be havin’ there spare ribs?”  I was with two of my friends in upstate New York, where you could drink at age 18 back in the 60’s.  And as I was running cross-country at the time I probably weighed about 130 pounds, so I wasn’t surprised at the funny comment.

But of course he said it in front of my friends, and you know how that goes. From then on in Cornwall, NY I was “Spareribs” to just about everyone.

Years later I got a job in banking in my home town.  People would come in to get a loan or something and say to the receptionist, “I’m here to see Spareribs.”  I had to ask them not to do this, and there was a part of me that didn’t like the name at all but that was how it was.

So fast forward to Texas and in 2001 here I am working on my own as a consultant and the name Spareribs is a distant NY memory.  I was pitching my services to a bank in St. Louis and the chief decision-maker said, “You know before you came up here we Googled your name and we didn’t see anything about you being a training consultant.  We got about 5 web pages of running race results. Is that all you do?”

I was pretty embarrassed, and on the plane home to Dallas I decided I would adopt the name Spareribs for all things related to running. Race applications, subscriptions, running forums, whatever, if it’s running I’m Spareribs.  I write a blog now for the Dallas Morning News ( and it’s been quite a success.  And now if you Google “Spareribs LaMothe” you get all running stuff and if you Google “Gregory LaMothe” it’s mostly my business, which is the way I want it.

Now and then I meet some client who runs, and we get to share stories about the Boston Marathon, recent races, what we’re training for and so on.  Terry Engle, a top-notch Business Banker at Wells Fargo mails me his old “Track and Field News,” and other clients will write to me when they are injured or have run a good race.

So today’s Fable Friday ends up being a story about me, sorry about that, but there is a lesson here.  Everything you do, everything you write, anybody you deal with will all end up on the Internet.  Be careful with it.  At this stage in my career I’m okay with having people know that the guy who teaches people how to sell things is also a fiercely competitive runner.  But if you’re just starting out, use care in what you post on Facebook.  Cultivate as many friends as you can on LinkedIn, and go out of your way to help as many others as possible there.

And if you are following this blog but we have never met, perhaps one day we will, and I will be very happy if you just call me “Ribs,” as my other friends do.

Think Like Your Customer!

P.S.  Back to work tomorrow in Philadelphia. It was a wonderful vacation.  Hope you enjoy yours.  Where are you headed?

About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at

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