Frequently Asked Questions
What are the top 5 books that have helped you?
What are the top 5 books
that have had the most impact on your life or
the way you think.
Click on the cover or title to learn more,
What is the biggest secret to your business success?Perseverance.
It is the secret to accomplishing all great things,
and it is something everyone can do.
The dictionary defines "persevere" as: "to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement".
Calvin Coolidge said it perfectly:
"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not;
nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not;
unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not;
the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."
What are the characteristics of a good salesperson?We are all "salespeople" in that we are continually "selling" ourselves. There are many traits that have been mentioned as essential to be a good salesperson, but the best description I have heard is contained in the book "The Greatest Salesman in the World" by Og Mandino, and is essential reading for anyone who wants to be successful in a sales career.
What motivates you?Knowing that what I am doing is helping other people.
What do you consider your biggest accomplishment?I feel that the invention of "PAL" was the biggest accomplishment in terms of what it could have meant to the greatest number of people. The development of the TeleMagic software product is definitely the single achievement that actually did have the greatest positive effect for the greatest number of people. ...so far. I'm working on new stuff all the time!
How do you measure success?My favorite definition of success is:
To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
to earn appreciation of honest critics and
endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty,
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better,
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
That is to have succeeded.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
How do you overcome major setbacks in your life?Look for the lessons involved. It has been said that we don't always get what we want, but we always get what we need. If what I wanted to happen doesn't happen, then it could be that I wanted the wrong thing, or it could be that I just need to persevere in the quest. Sometimes it is easy to see the difference; sometimes it takes more lessons!
How has success changed you, other than having the money and the material possessions.According to my friends, success has not changed me at all, other than the fact that they see more of me now!
How do you find a balance for family, recreation, spiritual etc. when demands of business can occupy total focus?Finding your personal answer to this question is the central theme of the truly great book "First Things First" by Stephen Covey.
I highly recommend reading it!
What makes you think you can succeed where others have failed (in terms of owning a business)?I prefer to look at it in a more positive light:
I like to think that I can succeed where others have succeeded!
Do you have any suggestions on how to find a venture capitalist for an idea I have?I have never used a venture capital source.
It is best to try to avoid venture capital at all costs.
It is a last resort.
If I have a product idea but need someone to develop it for me, should I make that person my partner or just pay them for their service?Consider carefully Commandment #2: "Travel Light".
My experience with business partners has led me to prefer to go solo.
What advice would you give to someone who doesn't know exactly how to start?Take the first step. It doesn't really matter "how" or "where" to start, as long as you start now. The following words of Goethe have had the most profound effect on my life:
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy,
the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation),
there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which
kills countless ideas and splendid plans:
That the moment one definitely commits oneself,
then Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one
that would never otherwise have occurred.
A whole stream of events issues from the decision,
raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents
and meetings and material assistance,
which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has Genius, Power and Magic in it.
Begin it now!
Are you afraid of losing what you have?No. I have been completely bankrupt before, and I know the steps I took to get where I am now, so it should be a simple matter to do it again. That is, if I have truly learned my lessons! I suppose it's like swimming. After you know how to do it, you're no longer afraid of the deep water. However, I'm certainly hoping that I don't have to prove that I could do it all over again!
What would you have done differently in your pursuit of success if you could do something over?It is a question that I am prohibited from answering if I live according to my philosophy of thinking only positively. Thinking about what I would have done differently is an unproductive waste of time. If something turns out in a way other than the way you want, then learn the lesson and move on. I only think of the past in positive terms. Everything I have done is what makes me who I am, and it is impossible to change that. I can only choose my actions NOW. Everything you do should be a learning experience.
Who are your mentors?Leonardo da Vinci
A man of wide ranging talents,
unfortunately limited by the techonolgy of the day.
R. Buckminster Fuller
I'm selling my company, do you have any suggestions?Once you make the decision to sell, you have TWO full time jobs. The first is to continue to run the business as if there will never be a sale, all the way up to the very signing of the final contract. This is essential because there are so many things that can go wrong all the way up to the final signing, and in many cases they actually do go wrong. So the reality of the situation is that no matter how hard you work to make the sale happen, it just may fall apart and you are left with the business you have. Another reason for focusing strongly on running the business during this period is that any hiccoughs in sales or profits will almost certainly result in a "haircut" in the selling price, and may even result in scaring the buyers off completely. The second full time job is to sell the company. I very much recommend that you do not tell ANYONE unless it is absolutely essential, until after the deal is DONE. Your broker will give you lots of advice about getting your house in order before the due diligence. This is essential to reduce the possibility of legal issues just prior to closing, or afterwards. When people smell money, all kinds of nasty stuff surfaces, so get these details right early. There's a million things to think about, and lots of books on how to sell your business, and using brokers, and you will probably be reading a lot of them over the next few months, and will soon be much more of an expert than me (especially since a lot has changed in the years since my deal).
Was any of your success in business due to the stock market?No.
Why have you stopped flying?Been there, done that. Read the story! I'm on to new adventures. Flying is a demanding mistress. To be done the way I like to do it, it needs to be done fully, not as a trivial pursuit. This takes a lot of time and I want to spend time doing new things. But I would not trade one moment of my flying career for anything!
Did you have any trouble adjusting to life after selling your business, or even after giving up flying?No, I really didn't have any trouble adjusting to life without either. I find it is a good idea to keep focused on the present, avoid looking back for sure, avoid looking ahead too far, and to stay in the here/now as much as possible, filling it up with good stuff.
I have a great poem hanging on my wall, given to me by a girlfriend (now ex) many years ago:
To Him I Love
Look to this day!
given to me by Maureen Gallagher, 1979