Sunday, October 21, 2012

"Mr. Johnson Goes to Washington"

The above headline caught my eye in the Wall Street Journal this weekend ( and so I took a good look.  It was such an interesting read, it led me to research Johnson a bit and that got me thinking; we need more folks like him to help us up.

Senator Ron Johnson - Wisconsin

A successful business owner (he started a plastics manufacturing business at age 24 with his brother-in-law), Johnson points out that the 2010 USA Senate (a body of just 100 members meant to represent all of us) was comprised of 57 lawyers but not one single manufacturer.  He ran for office and won on the choice of either "growing government and debt" or "growing the private sector and creating long-term self-sustaining jobs."

What's he learned?  "If you're going to compete against an organization, Congress would be the perfect one to compete against. ... They're all silo-ed. ... A bunch of cats that don't play well in the same box."

What's his advice?  "The government isn't here to solve our problems.  We need government.  It's necessary.  But by and large, it's something to fear because as it grows, our freedoms recede.  And as a result, way to many are trading their freedoms...for a false sense of economic security."

Enough for now.  A future post will discuss one of his core presentations.  In the meantime, you can find it at   It's chock full of solid, real tidbits of data to help us understand the full impact and scope of our current state of affairs.


Monday, October 01, 2012

Takin' to the Sky Again...

 Have not been able to fly for a while ... 5 months to be exact; plus I needed a Flight Review to regain currency .. so I dusted off and hit the books, lined up an instructor, and took to the air for a few work sessions plus a fun cross country flight.

Yes, this first picture is of one happy aviator!

And this second one, shows you exactly what they mean they talk about the LA Basin sprawl... people, people, and more people!

This third shot is of a golf course just off the I-210 east of the hills off Burbank airport.
Thanks to Lee Johnson, CFI at Vista Aviation - KWHP Airport for the training time and the photos.  Looking forward to flying with him again.


Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Montana 2012 --- Simply Spectacular

We recently escaped Los Angeles for a few days of playing tourist in Montana.  Wow!

Besides the pleasure of catching up with long time friends, we were treated to the spectacular scenery of Glacier National Park and the National Bison Range (which our friends' ranch nearly abuts) as well as a trip around Flathead Lake.

Along the way, we spied lots of wildlife: bears, bighorn sheep, deer, bison, antelope and more.

The invitation to visit had been in place for a couple of years, but there was always something in the way that kept us from making the connection.

Now, after experiencing a taste of Montana, I wonder why we ever delayed and am already thinking about how to get back to explore further.

Click HERE if you wish to see our photo slideshow from the trip as posted on FLICKR.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Communications As A Success Key

I believe the secret to success lies in choosing to accept success and that the word ACCEPT itself holds a key to unlocking the power of our personal choice, by reminding us to always consider communication, education, persistence, and thrift in our quest for success. 

The importance of Communication.

The dictionary defines the word communication as the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information as by speech, signals, writing, or behavior.  In the real world, it has been shown that a person's ability to communicate clearly and consistently in business and personal relationships, will determine how far that person goes in his or her quest for success, far more accurately than nearly any other factor.  
Yes, communication is truly a key to our success.  Communication also happens to be such a common, daily function, that most of us do not give it another thought until we become aware of real communication troubles, and then we tend to blame the other party!

From the time we were  babies we learned how to express our needs and wants and thus began our initial understanding of communication.  However, the art of communication, goes much beyond simply expressing our own wants and needs, as it is properly, a two-way exchange of thoughts, messages, and information using a wide variety of delivery methods.

The good news is that communication is truly a skill, and skills can be learned and improved upon.  As such, the process of preparing, practicing, and reviewing the results of our communications, is a winning combination for quickly building our skills anew.  Just remember that as with so many other skill exercises, you are never really done practicing.

Accept your success; always consider communications, education, persistence and thrift.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

You Always Have A Choice

Everything we do boils down to the choices we make, including whether or not we choose to accept our own success. 

It will always be easier to point out circumstances that seem to leave us with "no choice".  To do so though is simply wrong as there is always a choice to make. 

Granted, sometimes the options in front of us are not ones we wish to choose from.  However, they are choices and therefore we have some form of control over how we deal with every situation, even if our first instinct screams otherwise. 

Believing in choice and recognizing the inherent power we have when we exercise our own personal choice, is the cornerstone building block for claiming and accepting our own success. 

Think of the word ACCEPT as a personal reminder that there is always a choice if we but consider: communication, education, persistence, and thrift in our quest to accept success.

It is our choice.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The bloom is off...

Any person who can build a business empire the likes of what Michael Bloomberg has done over the course of his career, can teach all of us a few lessons on the value of capitalism.  And, when that person transitions into public service in order to "give back to the community", the action is seen as admirable.

However, when the lessons being delivered from the public pulpit run counter to the tactics leveraged so well in the person's earlier capitalistic efforts, something is just not right.

Perhaps it's as Lord Acton said more than 100 years ago, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Why else would Bloomberg be pushing so far and so intrusively into people's live to first strive to ban large soft drink servings and now to suggest that the police go on strike until gun ownership is banned?

Yes, obesity is a problem among our population and yes, guns will sometimes be used for terribly destructive ends as was the case in the Colorado tragedy, but how does a former stellar capitalist turn so far away from the root principles that built his business, to believe he can now "rule" with such moral authority and validity?

Et tu Michael?


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Solo across the Atlantic in 1932...

Even today, the idea of flying solo across the Atlantic in a single engine airplane is an awe inspiring idea (some may even say it's fear inspiring).  That Amelia Earhart accomplished the feat way back in 1932 speaks volumes of the strength of her pioneering spirit and offers us all a lesson or two for consideration.

Today, July 24, as she's honored by Google's search page with her own Google Graphic, we remember the 115th anniversary of her birth and more importantly, the hopes and dreams she can still inspire.  Amelia went against the odds, made tongues wag, and still today reminds us that we can fly as high as we can dream.

Happy birthday Amelia!

Want to learn more about this amazing individual?  Check her official biography HERE.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rethink What You Thought You Knew

This review is from: Taming the Violence of Faith: Win-Win Solutions for Our World in Crisis by Jay Stuart Snelson (Paperback)

The business world is full of win-win strategy talkers. This however, is not a book of talk, rather one that paints the clear need for swift action within the business world and beyond, to cut to the heart of activating win-win approaches for all to pursue.

The term "win-win" is used as a matter of course in many a business meeting, even though most business deals end up as win-lose arrangements whereby the acquirer reigns supreme over the acquired. As such, it seems we could all benefit from understanding anew what win-win really means.

In "Taming the Violence of Faith", Jay Stuart Snelson walks you through the futility of our historical and nearly default mindset of win-lose, in such a way that the true destructive nature of win-lose approaches become totally apparent. Jay uses numerous examples from religious and nation state history to mine an extensive set of win-lose examples, in a way that will have you rethinking things you thought you knew, or recalling times when you underestimated the negative impact of a win-lose approach to life.

In doing so, the true value of win-win rises to the surface as never before. By the way, Jay's prescription for practicing win-win is as simple as The Golden Rule itself - another phrase we all know well, but rarely practice based on abundant evidence in the real world.

Understanding the value and need for embracing win-win strategies, not just tactically, but as the required way to save us from our current destructive habits, is the reader's reward. Jay's clear writing on the subject will leave you feeling the need for urgency in spreading the value of the win-win approach far and wide.

Available from Amazon

Saturday, July 14, 2012

An Inspiration - Reagan Presidential Library

Cheryl and I visited the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library in Simi Valley, CA today.  Regardless of one’s politics, it is an inspiring place to spend an afternoon. 

Many of the issues of Reagan’s day were similar to what we face today; high unemployment, wars and skirmishes, government run amok, and more.  However, we could not help but come away from our visit with an uplifting sense of the great communicator’s ability to speak to the heart, in pragmatic language that rings true even today.  

Here are a few of the quotes I enjoyed during our visit.  Maybe they’ll resonate and give you something to consider as well.
  • I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there's purpose and worth to each and every life. (Carved in stone at his graveside.)
  • There are no easy answers' but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.
  • To sit back hoping that someday, some way, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last - but eat you he will.
  • We might come closer to balancing the Budget if all of us lived closer to the Commandments and the Golden Rule.
  • Government always finds a need for whatever money it gets.
  • Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.

Inspired?  Ready to drive real change forward again?  Anyone else want to run for office?

PS boarding AirForce One, and seeing a real piece of the Berlin Wall, a steel girder from the Twin Towers, and many other historical mementos was also good cause for the trip.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Ready for Takeoff

By Julie Wilson May, 2012

For Greg Gudorf, an adventurous spirit and a passion for innovation propelled him from the small-town family business to the technology big leagues.
Short Final - Renton, WA

Soaring high above the American landscape behind the controls of a Cessna, Greg Gudorf is living completely in the moment, just taking in the view as it comes. "When I'm flying," says Gudorf, "I'm not thinking about anything else."

This spirit of fearless adventure and his unshakable focus have helped him achieve more than his dream of becoming a private pilot. They've also catapulted him to great eights in his career. Throw in the passion for technology and the rock-solid work ethic he honed in the family business, and you've got the makings of an all-American success story.

Today, Gudorf is chief operating officer for MediaNavi, global entertainment technology leader Technicolor's digital content platform, There, he and his team created M-GO, an application that allows users to combine all their media— from movies and music to apps and live television—in one cloud-based location they can access from all their Internet connected devices.

The Big Leagues

Gudorf isn't new to playing a leading role in big business. He landed his first executive position in 2005 when he became president and chief operating officer of Digeo, Inc., which was started by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. He was later promoted to CEO. "My transition to Digeo simply would not have been possible without an MBA," he says. 

"For me, the University of Phoenix online MBA made it possible for me to get my foot in the door for that next important career step."

At Digeo, Gudorf redirected the company's focus to software. "I used that [focus] to start a new product suite, and I used that to sell the business for Paul in 2009," he says.

The day the funds from the sale hit the bank, Gudorf got a call from Technicolor, and the rest is history. "They needed someone who could think like an entrepreneur and create a new group," he says, and Gudorf, who's racked up 22 patents over the past few decades, fit the bill. "I fleshed out the vision for MediaNavi ( and built the team," he says, which now comprises 100 employees in Burbank, California, and a team of 20 engineers in San Diego.

Throughout his career Gudorf has been driven by a desire to innovate and the boldness to see things through. "I work for a big company, and nurturing that spark of creativity makes the job more interesting," he says. "Every once in a while, that spark turns into a real business idea. That is the essence of the American spirit: to be able to find the spark that can turn into something new."

A Small-Town Start

The cutting-edge technology Gudorf deals in today is light years ahead of the electronics he sold early on. 
Early Business Mentors - Dad and Grandpa

He got his start on a much smaller scale in rural Minster, Ohio at Gudorf & Sons, the family business his grandfather founded in 1946. Gudorf began working there in 1978 after his father purchased the business from his grandfather. As the oldest of eight siblings, he worked alongside his parents from the time he was a teenager learning the ins-and-outs of retail and electronics.

"It was a tremendous opportunity to learn first-hand the reality of planning for a business and making it come to life by your own hands," Gudorf says. His mother, who did the books, instructed him on budgeting and cash flow, and his father taught him about sales and having a passion for electronics. "That's a lab you don't get anywhere else," he says.

His ability to grow a business caught the eye of larger companies, and he went to work for a Sony product distributor in 1985. "The [man] who owned it was in his 70s," says Gudorf. "He was one of those mentors who was pragmatic about his advice, and he gave me a free hand to build his business." Over the next four years, Gudorf and team increased sales to Ohio Valley retailers by 200 percent.

In the late 1980s, when Sony changed its model and stopped using distributors in his area, Gudorf found himself presented with another opportunity. A former colleague called and offered him a job with General Instrument building a consumer satellite retail business in San Diego. "It was December in Ohio. The ice and snow had started and the wind was blowing," he remembers. "Twenty minutes later, I was looking for a ticket to San Diego, my wife and I were up for the adventure."

Again, Gudorf found himself tasked with employing his entrepreneurial skills within a larger organization. "While [General Instrument] was a big company, the job was to build a retail store," he explains, "[It was an] experimentation lab to learn how people make purchasing decisions around satellite equipment."

After four years with General Instrument, Gudorf worked for Chaparral Communications where he gained international business experience, and then later for Sony. "When I went to Sony, I started working on my MBA [at University of Phoenix]," he says. "I knew if I wanted to advance my career the way I wanted, I would have to expand my education."

And advance he has. This small-town boy turned big-time executive has enjoyed the journey so far. 

New Technology Beckons

Ultimately Gudorf decided to apply this experience elsewhere, though his entrepreneurial roots would serve him well over the years. In 1981, he moved to Dayton where he got a job in computer retail. "I caught the computer bug," he says, simply. "I saw how computers could really be used to advance the cause of small business, as well as large." In his role, he launched Apple's Lisa and Macintosh computer lines in local retail and corporate sales channels and managed Dayton's first computer superstore.
Greg Gudorf (Photo by Bruce Racine)

What's next? "People talk about luck and opportunity meeting," he says, "You have to be open to it." 

Just as he does when he's flying a mile high, "Go as far as you can see, and then you'll see farther." 

Here are four things Gudorf says are critical for flying high in your own life:

1.       Communication
2.       Education
3.       Persistence
4.       Thrift

In addition to enjoying a thriving career in technology and flying single-engine aircraft, Gudorf is co-author of two books: "Speaking of Success" and "Marketing Strategies That Really Work!" Gudorf is also a member of Toastmasters International.


Sunday, March 04, 2012

Up the coast on a gloriously warm and sunny SoCal winter day

All the shots are off the coast of Carpenteria, CA on the way up toward Santa Barbara from Whiteman Airport (near Burbank).  Thanks to VistaAir and Cessna N2126F.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Restoring The American Dream

A recent reading of Robert Ringer’s “Restoring the American Dream” got me to thinking about what I really want from a government.  In a vein not unlike Ayn Rand’s thinking, I believe that governmental functions should boil down to three high level elements:
  • Provide for the protection of the lives and property of citizens
  • Provide for a system of arbitrating contractual disputes
  • Provide for a national defense
These three elements form the foundation of real freedom, although not a free lunch, for all of a government’s citizens.  If this foundation is deemed reasonable, then what steps can we take to rebuild our government upon that foundation?