I am honored to be on Jeremy Nulik's list of Best Business Bobs, but troubled to listed right below Bob Knight -- yes, he is the most winning college coach ever (in terms of number of games), but he seems to qualify as a certified asshole (see Pam Slim's post). Read Season in the Brink if you don't believe me -- also look at this tape, it sure looks like he is choking a player to me (If you choked a subordinate, would they let you keep your job?)
Back to the Bobs, it is such a meaningless name that I often don't turn my head when I hear the name. And one of the weirdest Bob things that ever happened to me was when, a long time ago, I was at a think tank (pre-Internet!) called The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, a lovely place where we didn't even have phones in our offices. In my little building, there were six offices, a telephone room, and a bathroom. When a call came in,you would be buzzed to go to the phone room. One day I as buzzed, and asked to give a talk at something called The Food Research Institute at Stanford (now defunct). The day I got there to give the talk, I noticed that there was someone else's name on the door -- another Bob! They had meant to invite one of the other Bob's (four of the six of us in this little building were named some variation of Robert). I can't recall the right Bob's name, but he studied food production and consumption in developing countries. They suggested I give my talk anyway (which was on the stigma of bankruptcy), but within about 10 minutes, the 30 or so people in the room dwindled to 8 or 10.
It is easy to be the wrong Bob.