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Editor at Large

Invest now, reap later – hopefully

The Philadelphia 76ers' new strategy of drafting players for the long term while absorbing losses for a couple of years is similar to a plan for a business startup or a new retail shop.

The Sixers’ former approach of trying to win every year with the limited talent that they have has resulted in just being OK – a middle-of-the-pack team that occasionally makes the playoffs but soon gets eliminated. Mediocre, in other words, and never contending for a National Basketball Association championship.

Their new tactic is to unload their experienced players – who are OK but not great – and to lose a lot of games while using young players. The losing, in turn, has and will result in very high selections in the annual NBA draft for several years. With those picks, the Sixers are stockpiling highly talented young players who have the potential to be great, and perhaps eventually bring an NBA title to a city that has not seen one of those in more than three decades.

It’s a bit like the start of a business. You invest in strong operations and good people up front, creating high quality products and services and great customer service – but understanding that a return on investment will not occur for some time, perhaps years.

But as you build clientele and good will – and become known for providing superb results and service – your business should grow.

Will it become a profitable winner? No one knows, but it’s really the only way to get to the top or carve out a strong niche – you have to take that original risk.

It’s what the Sixers are doing. In three to five years, we’ll know if it works.

EMPTYING THE NOTEBOOK

(Wait, I don’t often use a notebook. … Let’s call this emptying the mind.)

-- T-Mobile is accused of charging customers with hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulent charges. I don’t have T-Mobile, but if its bills to customers are like those I receive from my carrier, there is no chance I would ever detect any unfair charges. Mobile phone bills are more complex and complicated and confusing than the federal tax code and have the same overriding mission statement: “We want your money.”

-- Many, if not most, in America were captivated by the U.S. soccer team’s run in the World Cup. But when you look back, the team won only one game in four tries. Is that success? I guess it is for a nation that has never done much of anything in international soccer.

-- Business Insider ranked the 29 most American foods of all time, a neat feature it trotted out in time for the Fourth of July holiday. Among the foods on the list are the Philadelphia cheesesteak, pizza,a grilled cheese sandwich, mac and cheese, the hamburger and, at No. 1, steak. For the list, click here.

Now I'm hungry. Just in time for burgers on the grill.

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