Persistence has XM Radio beaming

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in Hiring,Human Resources

H. Ross Perot says most people give up just when they’re about to succeed.

“They quit on the one-yard line,” the billionaire businessman exclaims in his exasperated twang. “They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown.”

Hugh Panero did not give up.

The chief executive at XM Satellite Radio spent two years recruiting investors to support his plan for becoming the world’s largest subscription radio service. He nearly saw it slip away when the backers set a make-or-break deadline. But, through exhausting deal-making, Panero managed to nail down commitments for $225 million just a few minutes before the deadline.

Next, the launch of one of XM’s $200 million satellites was scrubbed 11 seconds before liftoff when an engineer misread the computer data. That forced the company to wait two months for the next launch date.

Finally, the debut of XM’s 101 channels was set for Sept. 12, 2001 … one day after the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. Panero had to cancel the celebration and kill the first of XM’s innovative television ads featuring a rap star rocketing past skyscrapers.

Panero’s people wanted him to postpone the company’s launch for a year, but he persevered and launched it only two weeks later. By 2005, XM led the satellite radio business with more than 3 million subscribers (to 1.5 million for main competitor Sirius), and expected to have 5.5 million by the end of that year.

— Adapted from The Success Principles, Jack Canfield, HarperResource.

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