Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Who Are You?

Yesterday, my son asked a very interesting question, “ If you could be anyone for a day, who would you be?”

Without too much thought, I told him “Me.” The puzzled look in his eye showed that he doubted my answer so I elaborated. “If I am anyone else for a day, I miss you, your sister and mother for that day.  I am lucky to have a great family and don’t want to miss any more time with you than I have to.” I went on to explain that we are already pulled in many directions: school, work, after school activities and more.  Every day with my family is special.  

After he went to bed, I thought about his question even more.  There are times when our family is apart: trips for the parents, kids off at a friends house or camp, these are all necessary and fun things.  Believe me, my kids need time away from their parents (at least from their father)! But as the old saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

I also went on to say that wanting to be someone else doesn’t appeal to me. I’m not jealous of Bill Gates for his wealth or Michael Jordan for his fame. These people have their own lives and I hope they are happy.  Why would I want to immerse myself in their space for a day, just to get mesmerized by the trappings they encounter every day.  Would I come back only to want more?

Too often we are overwhelmed by the want of what everyone else has.  Don’t get me wrong, I want more than I have: a new pick-up would be nice, maybe a fancy family trip each year, who knows what may strike my fancy even this afternoon. But wanting to be someone else almost extends beyond the material goods and says that person has a better life.  I ten to think my life is pretty darn good.  Would I like less conflict some days, yes! Would I like to stay up late every evening and wake up when my body is rested, you bet! I’ll get that some day, but you have to pay if you want to play, so right now I have to work, I have to get the kids up and ready for school, no matter how much they want to sleep in.

For now I am quite happy being me. I hope my family is happy with who they are, each is extremely talented, smart and loving.  My goal is to never want to be someone else.  I’ll stick with boring old me. There is enough privilege to seeing my beautiful wife and exceptional kids each day to outweigh being a superstar for just one day.

Building a business is like building a fire

  1. You have to start small.
  2. It can grow only as big as your amount of fuel.
  3. The growth rate is based on how fast you feed it fuel.
  4. If your wood is wet (not ready to use), it won't burn and your business won't grow.
  5. You have to start with kindling. The logs keep getting bigger as the fire grows. You only put the big logs on a big fire.
  6. If you use the wrong wood, your fire burns out quickly. The right wood burns long and hot.
  7. A big fire can get out of control. You need know how to control it.
  8. You need to plan how to put out the fire (retire).

Coffee Time, How a Small Town is Run

In small towns across the country, and whether or not it was true, some in small towns feel the business of the town is run from the coffee table in the local cafe. Every small town has one, some have several, the local café. Each one has a group of regulars that hold court, some have hearings in the morning, some in the afternoon, some participate in both.
Ada, Minnesota is a dwindling agricultural town in north-central Minnesota. The town and county are both losing population as farms get bigger and fewer people are needed to work the land.  With fewer farmers, there are few support businesses and fewer jobs in the area.
Our group had the big table in the back room of Bob’s Café in Ada.  Coffee always started with a gathering – some coming in early, others always straggling in late. We often got our own coffee, water, pop, cookies, rolls or donuts. Orders for toast, breakfast or juice in the mornings were given to the waitress, along with a dose of good natured ribbing.  The world’s problems were solved, city/county business discussed, good old days were reminscised, the costs and prices of farming reviewed and harassment given. At any one time you had a town mayor, city councilman, volunteer fireman, county fair board member involved, sometime several. Generally the tone was fun and jovial, rarely did the conversation become heated.
After about 10 minutes, the regular business of the group started, someone has to pay. The standard procedure was to shake dice.  The game called horses is played with five standard, six-sided dice. We always has “our” dice cup in the cupboard under the coffee maker. We also had our own basket of jellies for toast. My father generally sat at the head of the table and started the game. Our version of the game started with everyone getting one shake per round, rolling the dice out of the cup onto the table, clockwise around the table. The highest hand goes out, aces are wild, and five sixes are the best you can get, odds of 1 in 46,656.  Five aces will get the table laughing as that is an automatic buying hand. After everyone had one turn, the person with the highest shake goes “out”. The last person in a round starts the next round, tying of a high roll means no one goes out.  This goes on until only two people are remaining.  These two are in the finals and shake the best of three rounds, trying to get two “horses” on the other. In this part of the game, you get up to three rolls per round. The person starting out can take up to three rolls to set their score.  If they use less, their competitor only gets that number of shakes. The competitor must beat the lead players score in an equal or lower number of rolls. In this part of the game, ties are broken by a one shake tie-breaker.  The loser pays for coffee.  

In an effort to help the loser get his money back, he gets to start one of two games for quarters. The first game is always 6-5-4.  In this game you get three rolls to get (in order) a six, a five and a four and the highest score with the two remaining dice.  You need to get the 6, 5, 4 to qualify and the best score to win the pot (up to 12). Some groups play a version where the goal is to qualify and get a low score (2 is perfect). Others will have the first 12 be an automatic winner. Ties, will require a new round, with another quarter per player; every tie increases the pot by 25 cents.  The winner of this game gets to name the third and final game.  “Lowball” or “threes out low” was generally the last game.  You generally get up to five rolls of the dice. Each roll requires you to take out at least one dice.  Threes have no value, each other dice counts for the value shown. You can take out multiple threes, but only want to take one, in the hopes of getting more threes. A perfect score is zero.  Like 6-5-4, ties up the ante by another quarter.  Although lowball was often the third game, others were sometimes chosen: pick your own (like lowball, but you picked the number that counted as zero), quit anytime or others could follow 6-5-4.  By the end of the third game, it was close to the end of the ½ hour and most guys headed out and back to work. In bad weather or a slow work day, some would hang around longer, maybe playing additional games or debating other local issues.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Why don't you move?

Back when I worked at Lund Boat Company I coordinated the Lund Sportswear program. We worked with Our sister company, Ranger Boats, as they already had a successful sportswear program.  This gave me the opportunity to work with the staff in their Flippin, Arkansas facility. These were great people with legendary southern hospitality.  I worked with a great woman named Sheri. She was helpful, friendly and loved to provide great customer service.  At the end of my first call to Sheri, I learned that the proper way to address anyone down south was  as Darlin' or Honey.

After working with Sheri over the phone for a couple months without meeting her, we were like best buddies.  This is before Facebook, Twitter, the Internet, or texting (even before cell phones were popular), my kids would call this the dark ages of the early 1990's.

In February, we had a terrible cold snap in Minnesota. Perham and New York Mills, Minnesota all were feeling the wrath of winter. There was even a streak of 18 days below zero Fahrenheit. Now if this was Alaska or northern Canada, this may not be unusual, but it is a little extreme for the middle of Minnesota. Fargo, North Dakota is our closest city with tv stations.  One morning Fargo reported a low temperature of forty-two degrees below zero. Now this may not be a record, but it was pretty darn cold. Worse yet, the wind chill was recorded at minus one-hundred, five degrees below zero (This was before the National Weather Service changed the formula, but that would be another story).

Late that morning I got a call from Sheri, starting out "Darlin' I hear it is cold up there today."

My reply was "Yep, forty-two below." This was followed by about ten seconds of silence.  Now we like to think we're tough up here, but this is just plain cold. Unprotected skin will develop frost bite in well under five minutes.

"That's the wind chill,right?" was Sheri's reply.

In the back of my mind, I remember that Arkansas doesn't get to much of what we call winter and that they shut down when they get a couple inches of snow. "No, the wind chill was about one-hundred and five below."

This comment was followed by thirty seconds or more of silence. I thought maybe I'd lost the connection. Finally, Sheri comes back "Honey, why don't you move?"

Although we often say the extreme cold "keeps the riff-raff out," I really didn't have a highly intelligent response.

Since this conversation, I was lucky enough to visit Ranger Boats and Flippin, Arkansas several time. Unfortunately, Sheri had taken a different job, so I never met her face-to-face, although there were several others that extended their southern hospitality that made every visit enjoyable

Luckily, I haven't seen this temperature since. Hopefully, next time Fargo reports this type of temperature, I'll be sunning myself in Hawaii, Jamaica or Arkansas, anyplace not that cold.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Marketing Expert

Recruiters, Executive Recruiters, Headhunters - looking for a marketing expert for your client in Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo, Hawley, Barnsville, Detroit Lakes, Mahnomen, Perham, Wadena or any point in-between?

I have a deep marketing background, gained through nearly 15 years of experience in the Lund Boat Company Marketing Department. I started out as an entry-level Marketing Intern and grew my career through hard work and a little luck. I held titles including Advertising and Promotion Manager, Marketing Manager, Director of Advertising and Promotion, and Director of Marketing at this industry-leading company. I earned the respect of Lund leaders, my coworkers, Lund dealers and leaders of companies throughout the marine and fishing industries.
Sadly, after over fourteen years at Lund, I made the decision to seek new challenges in my career. Management changes and changes in the culture of the organization inspired me to enter the arena and hunt for a new position.

Let me help your client advance their marketing efforts. Put my knowledge to work to help your client's company grow and prosper. Review my resume here or on my website, . If you think I have what it takes to help your client's business, please contact me at or by phone at 218-847-0309.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Meeting Planning

Back to school sales are packing the papers. That means that the summer is coming to a close. Wow did this summer fly by!

With fall coming soon, you may have a business meeting or holiday party coming up soon. Let me put my experience to work to help you stage a successful meeting! For fourteen years I planned and executed meeting for groups ranging from 20 to over 400 people.

Let me help you with:
Site selection
Catering coordination
Invitation design
Multi-media support
And much more!

Please contact me at 218-847-0309 or to start planning you meeting today!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Let me make you look great!

Have a marketing project, but not the time or expertise to get it done?

Let me put my knowledge to work for you!

For over fourteen years I handled marketing projects for Lund Boat company. I can take my talents and make you and your company look great! My areas of experience include:
- Photo shoot management
- Product photography
- Catalog and brochure development and production
- Corporate meeting management and coordination
- Tradeshow planning, set-up and staffing
- Media relations
- Advertising coordination and placement
- Promotion management

I have the experience to make you look great! Please contact me at with any questions.