My dad is off on his ‘adventures’ agai …
My dad is off on his ‘adventures’ again – woke up to the family newsletter he sends out which reads more like a war report:
“Nice to be back to work, we just had our second explosion of the morning. The sound of bombs and choppers crisscrossing overhead lets you know you are back in Baghdad. Now it is 10:30 in the morning and we have had 3 bombings so far. First one was close, while I was having my first cup of coffee for the day, nice rocking explosion. The second was further a way and the third was further away than the second. Coming in from the airport last night XXXXX said there are about 1 or 2 bombings a day, most are not reported as no one wants to say the bombings are getting worse. Driving in to the city I lost track of the check points we went through. It looks like a city under siege.”
Funny when I realize my dad and I have been together through four different warzones – and when I say together I mean we’ve celebrated our birthdays, new years, christmas and more together. We’ve even cooperated on a few jobs and buried friends and coworkers in these places most of you hear about on CNN. He’s always been there for me and he taught me some of the most important lessons of my personal and professional career.
I built my first company after driving alone into Baghdad in 2003 with $10,000 hidden in a camera bag; in 2004 as the had business scaled from two dudes with an idea to a hundred professionals across Iraq, Lebanon, Dubai and DC my dad jumped in and helped me. I’m not sure about any of you, but can you imagine jumping on a skype call with your dad – “Yeah dad, yeah,hey luv ya and all…yeah im alive…all good here ya know how it is…so important stuff we’re doing really well, how about you come out and help me with the business…yeah we’re growing too fast, need some help on the ground, we got offices strung from Baghdad to Basra to Dubai and Amman and more on the way. Need some help putting the teams together….yeah… really…ok awesome, the sooner the better..couple weeks, yup that’s rad dad. Thanks. Ok. Luv ya – later dad.” So I can’t remember the exact details of that discussion but it took him no more than ten minutes to decide to come out and help me. Over the next couple years we would build a complex network of several hundred people across four continents. I couldn’t have done it without the help and advice of this great dude, my dad.
Most people don’t know that my dad gave me my first MBA; I’d later get a real MBA in 1999 while I was still in the Marine Corps, and it paled in comparison to the lessons I learned first hand from my dad. We had a family business that we started out of an abandoned house in Sacramento when I was five years old- said house also doubled as our home – and my dad involved me in the business at a young age. At seven and eight years old he’d bring me to vendor meetings, sales calls, and more. I spent a decade watching and learning how to serve and care for employees, customers, vendors and more. That sounds a little odd, right? But I used the word “serve” because that’s core to my dad’s being – he believes that we all “serve each other” – that we should use our talents, information, resources and riches to help those around us. He ultimately built an art framing and graphics business – but he didn’t treat it as a factory to produce picture frames and shadow boxes. He used it as a vehicle to inspire and support local artists in Sacramento – he leveraged his position to support local art events, to help the community around us, and ultimately he inspired me to be a better dude.
And now, back in the trenches building BetterWorks I’m going to be leveraging that inspiration once again to “Make Work Rewarding”.