My dear friend Andrea has drawn me into this little game of tag.
I now have you tell you five things that you didn’t know about me:
- When I was 13, I had to have brain surgery to remove an infection that started with a freak water skiing accident. I spent three months in the hospital recovering.
- I was kicked out of the band in 8th grade for playing too loud and talking back to the teacher. I was heavily recruited for the high school band (can you believe that?), joined on a fluke, and played all the way through college; serving as student director for my last two years.
- Just as our GE careers were starting to take off, my wife and I quit our jobs and travelled for a year – first to Australia and New Zealand, and then three months around the US. It is #4 on the life highlight reel after my marriage and births of our two children.
- Products I manufactured during my operations career – Ziploc Bags, industrial diamond, motor control systems for steel/paper mills, reverse osmosis water filters, transformer enclosures, and PET scanners.
- My favorite holiday is Groundhog’s Day. It is so pagan. We still worship of a large rat to see if we are going to get more snow.
So, now I need to pull five more people into this:
- Jory Des Jardins – she tells great stories, just go read her More Space essay.
- Bob Sutton – he often blamed me for getting him into blogging; I think this a great way to get him a little deeper into the blogging community.
- Rob May – I still feel like Rob and I were pioneers in the business blogging community.
- Steve Farber – Mr. Farber is also relatively new to blogging. I hope he can share some great stories under his banner of Extreme Leadership.
- Tom Ehrenfeld – Tom and I share a passion for business books. I have always wished he would blog more. Here is a little nudge.
I turned it up to six
1. I suspect I have the lowest high school grade point average of any Stanford Professor — 1.9 after my junior year and 2.1 on graduation. I worked really hard after that because I saw the kind of job I was likely to get otherwise!
2. I was a psychology major for about 10 years. I thought I was going to become a business school professor, but then accidentally became an engineering professor. It turns out the average engineer is much nicer than the average psychologist (and far less crazy). I don’t believe much career planning as a result of my experience.
3. I spent a lot of time racing sailboats in my life, although I haven’t done much sailing at all in recent years. I was a pretty good sailor when I was young, and could keep up with and sometimes beat future America’s Cup sailors and Olympic medalists. But I got worse every year after I was about 25 — I realized that my decline in skills was known when I teenage hotshot once said to me “didn’t you used to be Bob Sutton?” Ouch.
4. My father once had a business renting and servicing vending machines in Chicago, but he gout of the business when the mob threatened him and his partner. His partner refused to back down at first, but he did after “someone” broke his legs!
5. My father-in-law Rod Park is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. He has raced to Hawaii on sailboats about 20 times, once singlehanded and once double-handed. He also built his own airplane (and crashed it and walked away), bought 1100 acres in the middle of nowhere in Northern California and turned about 75 acres into the Rockpile Vineyard” into a success and worked with neighbors to establish the “Rockpile” AVA — a region that has produced some highly rated wines. The best wines from Rod’s vineyard are by JC Cellars. Rod had a highly successful career as botanist before going into university administration. He was provost of UC Berkeley for years among other things and at the age of 74 just came out of retirement to run University of California at Merced until they find a permanent replacement. His range of shills and persistence are scary.
6. One reason that I wrote a book on assholes is, I confess, I sometimes act like one, and I feel awful about myself after I do it.
P.S. Todd does get some the blame for getting me into blogging, but Diego Rodriguez gets more.