Category Archives: Business

Living Life

In just about 10 months, I will turn 50 years old.  While my personal demise does not preoccupy my daily thoughts, it is hard to avoid the reality of the situation.  If I am lucky, I have 25 to 30 years left on the planet.  That being the case, I have a lot that I want to accomplish in a short period of time.  In no specific order, here are some of the things that I will do before the lights go out.  If possible, I would like to experience many of these quests with my wife and 2 sons.

  • Learn to Play a Guitar – As a lifelong metalhead, I have and continue to admire the musical abilities of Tony Iommi, Randy Rhodes, Eddie Van Halen and Darrell Abbott. On July 29th, I will take a guitar lesson from Kyle Shutt.  Kyle is a founding member of the band, The Sword.  He is a talented and accomplished artist who kindly agreed to mentor me.  I am not sure if I can learn to play the guitar, but I am going to try. 

 

 

 

  • Own and Operate a Company – I have been an employee for almost 30 years. I appreciate the majority of my employers, and the opportunities they have provided me. That said, I want to own my own company.  It does not matter what type of company.  My years of business experience, coupled with a desire to collaborate with focused and committed people, will ensure the success of this company.  It is only a matter of time before I discover the right opportunity.
  • Hunt a Bull Elk – When I think of hunting the Western half of the United States, the first animal that I think of is an elk. I want to put my evolving predator skills to the test, and challenge myself both mentally and physically.  The good news is that I live in a Colorado where elk run wild.  Admittedly, this hunt intimidates me given my inexperience, and the intense planning & preparation involved.  It would be ideal if I could recruit a veteran big game hunter like Randy Newberg, Nate Simmons or Steven Rinella to provide me their professional insight.  If I am unable to convince a seasoned veteran to assist me, I will figure it out on my own.  Ty (12) is ready to complete his hunter safety course, and Jesse (10) is less than 2 years away.  They will make fine hunting partners sometime soon.
  • Fly Fish New Zealand – I want to catch big, native trout in a majestic environment. Videos I watch validate that those who fly fish New Zealand have opportunities to engage monster fish.  I am told that these fish don’t receive consistent pressure, and they are not shy when it comes to attacking a fly.  In addition to working on my casting proficiency, I will begin to train Ty and Jesse on fly fishing basics.  They already have the angling bug, it is now time to evolve our skills.
  • Hunt Pheasants in South Dakota – My favorite activity in life is bird hunting. If there is a mecca for upland hunters, it is the state of South Dakota.  Friends have told me that the birds are so thick, it can be difficult to pick a rooster out to shoot. Echo, my gundog, is 18 months old.  She and I enjoyed many adventures during her first year in the field.  Echo and I are ready for the 8-hour ride to rooster paradise.
  • Golf Ireland (again) – Back in 2000, some friends and I golfed the east coast of Ireland. We had the time of our lives.  The landscape is incredible, the people are kind and the courses are historic.  It is time to go back, and do it again with a true appreciation for the experience.  To do the trip with my sons and wife would make it ideal.
  • Write a Book – I need to figure out the general subject matter, then go for it. It would be great if the book was commercially successful, but that is not my motivation.  I want it to be good, and I cannot continue to procrastinate.  Tim Ferriss says to write “two crappy pages a day”.  That does not seem insurmountable.
  • Offer Help – I try to lead a selfless, generous and empathetic life. That said, when I do the occasional candid self-evaluation, I realize that I don’t do enough for others.  Of course, I try to extend myself for family and friends.  That is generally easy because I love the person that I am helping.  What I am talking about is being proactively available to strangers.  Actually, assisting people I don’t know.  I am passionate about upland hunting.  Despite my relative newness to the sport, I am 100% engaged.  There are many people that dream about walking a grassy field, alongside a bird dog, with a chance to mount a shotgun at a cackling rooster.  Many of those people might never get that opportunity. Perhaps I can be the person that will introduce them to an unforgettable moment.

As time progresses, I will hopefully minimize this list.  When inspired, I will add ambitious life objectives to it. When I accomplish a feat, I will opine on it in writing.  Completing this article commits me to the journey.  Let’s go!

One Man’s Opinion (Part 1)

I am a demanding, vociferous and loyal consumer.  If I like a product or service, I let people know about my experience.  That said, if I feel slighted or the product/service does not meet expectations, someone of merit will know what transpired.  I invest in quality, appreciate value and expect performance. 

I will use this BLOG to review my personal experiences with specific companies, products and services.

Part 1

Product or Service

Grade

Website

Comments

TaylorMade Golf

A

http://taylormadegolf.com/

I have and continue to purchase TaylorMade golf equipment.  Their products are engineered to work for all types of golfers.  Their people are friendly, helpful and passionate about their products.  If something should go wrong, they stand behind their brand in order to ensure complete customer satisfaction.  Mark King is a masterful CEO that has secured my loyalty through constant innovation and premium service.
Comcast

D

www.comcast.com

I was a Comcast Triple Play (phone, internet & cable) customer for years.  While the offering was technically stable, and the content decent, the underlying customer service was consistently horrible.  The people at Comcast just don’t get it.  When I finally ended the relationship and migrated to DirecTV, Comcast made multiple financial offers to try to save me.  Further proof that they did not understand my issues and never tried correct their mistakes when I was actually a subscriber.
Copper Mountain Ski Resort

A

www.coppercolorado.com

Organizing skiing for a family of four (with 2 young children) is challenging.  Having Kim Casey (Ski and Ride School Sales Manager) on your side makes the experience a painless one.  Kim’s personality is infectious and she works hard to ensure your time on the mountain is enjoyable. Skiing is EXPENSIVE so when you make the investment, you need positive results.  The Copper instructors are phenomenal and have done a great job teaching my boys how to ski.
Winter Park Ski Resort

B

www.winterparkresort.com

After a disappointing first experience at Winter Park, Tom Carey and his team ensured that our next trip to the mountain was an incredible one.  The terrain is varied, and the resort does not attract tourists so lines are moderate.  My kids enjoyed their instructor and we all look forward to future trips to Winter Park.
William Joseph

A

www.williamjoseph.net

I own Willy J packs, jackets, waders and tools.  Their products represent quality, durability and great functionality.  When I have technical questions, their service team responds quickly and accurately.  Willy J represents value in a pricey marketplace.
Texas Roadhouse

A

www.texasroadhouse.com

My family eats at Texas Roadhouse in Parker, CO about twice a month.  The food is good, reasonably priced and the service is great.  We recommend the ribs and fried catfish.  Get there early as the line forms quickly. 
PowerBlock

  • Elite Set

A

www.powerblock.com

I purchased the Elite Set (around $600) about 10 years ago.   The PowerBlock is my primary weight set.  The unit is perfectly engineered, extremely durable and very useful.  I have never had to contact customer service as the product is built to last.
Apple

A-

www.apple.com

I own 4 iPods, two iPhones and an iPad 2.  I despise the fact that I am dependent on Apple for my music and much of my daily information.   When my iPad and iPhone 4s went haywire weeks after I purchased the products, Apple stepped up and worked diligently to fix my equipment.  My Apple technical contact (Eli Z.) was committed to find a solution.  The Apple Store (Englewood, CO) “Geniuses” were understanding, persistent and talented.  It took 3 trips and multiple calls but my products were eventually repaired.  As an apology, Apple presented me with a gift card.
Fishpond USA

  • Open Range Tech Pack

D+

www.fishpondusa.com

My first purchase when I started fly fishing 4 years ago, was a Fishpond vest.  While the pack has tremendous functionality, the service I received from the company was poor.  I called the company to find out how to acquire additional inserts for my pack.  My first two calls/messages were ignored.  When I did get someone live, they told me to visit three fishing websites as they could not help me directly.  It took me over a month to purchase the insert.  After investing in Willy  J packs, I sold my Fishpond Open Range Tech Pack on EBay. 
Beretta USA

  • A400 Xplor Light, 12g, K/O
  • AL391 Urika 2, 12g, K/O

B

www.berettausa.com

I own two Beretta shotguns; A400 Xplor Light 12 gauge as well as a AL391 Urika 2 12 gauge (both with kick off).  In the field, these guns perform flawlessly.  I have knocked down many game birds with these guns, and they have become my only choice in the field.  *That said, when I did call Beretta with questions regarding choke tubes, their service representative was uninformed and impatient.  I wanted to purchase more product and they would not or could not guide me to the appropriate offerings.  This was a really disappointing experience given my significant investment in Beretta products.   
Canon

  • SX20 IS

C

www.usa.canon.com/

I purchased a Canon SX20 IS from Best Buy in 2011.  This was my initial attempt at moving away from a point and shoot camera.  I experienced issues with the camera from day one, and outlined them for Canon.  There only feedback was to reset the settings on the camera (did not work).  I should have returned the unit to Best Buy instead of counting on Canon to honor the warranty.  The camera has not been used in over a year.
Callaway Golf

B

www.callawaygolf.com

There is not a Callaway product in my bag any longer.  TaylorMade accounts for 13 clubs and a Scotty Cameron is my putter choice.  That said, when I have to deal with Callaway customer service in the past, they have been friendly and extremely professional.   I would not hesitate to purchase a Callaway product in the future.
Escort Radar

  • Passport S2

D-

http://www.escortradar.com/

I own five Escort radar detectors and they work great.  That said, when I called the company to order another unit (Passport S3), the sales representative was beyond rude.  Simple questions regarding the product resulted in a crass, sarcastic reply from the employee.  This went on for 5 minutes until I finally ended the conversation because I was so angry.  I have invested over $1,000 in Escort products over the years and was very disappointed in the way I was treated; considering I was calling to purchase another unit.    

 

Definitions

Grade

Definition

A

Outstanding product and service.  I would buy again.

B

Good product and/or service.  I would probably again.

C

Mediocre product and/or service.  Would consider buying again, but would evaluate alternatives in the market. 

D

Poor product and/or service.  I would not buy again.

F

Big mistake.

 

 

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Review – The Rack and myfitnesspal – It Works

Earlier this year I noticed that I was getting fat.  Lifting weights and running 2 miles, three times a week proved to be ineffective at maintaining an aging body.  My diet has always been reasonably healthy; I consume lean protein, keep sugar to a minimum and eat lots of fruits and vegetables.  The problem I determined, was that the volume of food I was consuming prohibited me from maintaining the appropriate weight for my size.  In addition, my exercise routine, while personally challenging, was not providing results.

Here are some facts:

  • I am 6 feet tall and turn 44 years old later in May.
  • On February 21, 2012 my weight was 197 lbs, my body fat was around 24% and I was struggling to fit into size 35” pants.
  • At that time I was working out 7 days a week for between 25 and 40 minutes per day
    • 15 minutes of static stretching (pre workout)
    • Monday: Chest (dumbbells both flat and incline)
    • Tuesday: Back (pull-ups, kettle bells)
    • Wednesday: Sprints (treadmill on 12 speed and 10 incline – 7 repetitions keeping my heart rate above 120 BPM)
    • Thursday: Legs (squats)
    • Friday: Abs (crunches, leg lifts)
    • Saturday: Sprints (treadmill on 12 speed and 10 incline – 7 repetitions keeping my heart rate above 120 BPM)
    • Sunday: Sprints (treadmill on 12 speed and 10 incline – 7 repetitions keeping my heart rate above 120 BPM)
    • Other considerations: I do not eat fast food or soda.  My alcohol intake is usually less than 6 beers on the weekend with a few Johnny Walker Blacks mixed in.

Many of my friends who are facing similar weight challenges adopted the P90X routine.  While the results are obviously compelling, a workout time of 60+ minutes did not fit my schedule.  Too that point, I was not motivated to make the investment in P90X.

After a day on the slopes this past winter, my buddy turned me on to an app on his phone called myfitnesspal.  The concept is simple; determine your goal weight and when you want to arrive to that number.  The application calculates the calories per day that you must consume in order to attain your objective.  After downloading the free application to my iPhone, I started to enter what I was eating throughout my day.  Surprisingly, I soon realized that I was ingesting more carbohydrates per day than anticipated (46% carbohydrates, 22% fat and 32% protein).  My diet started to shift in order to get my carbohydrate intake below 40%.  At the same time, I consciously made a commitment to keep my net calorie intake under 1,950 per day.  To my amazement, it was rather easy to manage my diet to the numbers outlined in myfitnesspal.

One evening I was watching TV and ended up landing on an infomercial for The Rack workout.  A guy named Owen McKibbin was professing the virtues of “zone progression training” utilizing a single piece of equipment called “The Rack”.  After some online research, I determined that the workouts were no more than 30 minutes long, and the reviews were generally positive.  In March, I purchased The Rack at Dick’s Sporting Goods for $99, and enacted the workouts outlined in the accompanying DVD.

  • On May 9, 2012, I weigh in at 184 lbs, my body fat is at 17% and my waist size is 34”.
  • I workout 7 days a week for about 30 minutes per day.  I perform ballistic stretching for 90 seconds before working out, and execute 10 minutes of static stretching after the workout.
    • Monday: The Rack “Into the Zone”
    • Tuesday: The Rack “Explosive Chest, Shoulders & Back” and “Ripped Abs”
    • Wednesday: Sprints (treadmill on 12 speed and 10 incline – 7 repetitions keeping my heart rate above 120 BPM)
    • Thursday: The Rack “Into the Zone – The Next Level”
    • Friday: The Rack “Explosive Chest, Shoulders & Back”
    • Saturday: Sprints (treadmill on 12 speed and 10 incline – 7 repetitions keeping my heart rate above 120 BPM)
    • Sunday: Sprints (treadmill on 12 speed and 10 incline – 7 repetitions keeping my heart rate above 120 BPM)

After shedding 13 pounds in 11 weeks, I am a believer in both myfitnesspal and The Rack workout system.  Zone progression training works, and does not take an excessive amount of time.  I have no ambition to be a muscle-head, or to prance around in my front yard with my shirt off.  Instead, I want to maintain a body that aligns with an active lifestyle.  In near future, I will weave other Rack workouts into my routine as I want to avoid plateauing.  If you are in an exercise rut, and you want results, invest in both myfitnesspal and The Rack.

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When it all Comes Together

Some key descriptors of the perfect fishing vacation on the North Platte River would include:

  • Temperate weather
  • Manageable flows
  • A plethora of bug hatches
  • Plenty of big, hungry trout
  • And of course, great friends

Recently, we drove from Colorado to Wyoming with the intent of enjoying four days of intense fly fishing.  What we experienced characterizes the essence of an ideal fishing trip.  We enjoyed amazing conditions, accessible bodies of public water, millions of flying insects and an incredible number of large, actively feeding trout.   Our mornings were defined by hot woolly bugger action, while the afternoons had rising fish vigorously taking presented emergers.  Landed trout ranged in size (15” to 27”) and in species (giant rainbows and even a big few browns).  Every fisherman on the journey enjoyed over seventy five hook ups a day while landing their share of pigs.

I brought with me a variety of newly purchased equipment that I acquired based on a impulse decision not a defined need.  One of the new items procured was a William Joseph Confluence Chest Pack.  I own a variety of packs/vests and did not need to add another to the collection.  That said, I made the purchase because the product description met a variety of personal requirements.   Here is my review of the William Joseph Confluence Chest Pack.

 

Getting it Done in Wyoming - 2012
Getting it Done in Wyoming – 2012

Date Purchased

January 15, 2012

Price Paid

$129.99

Aesthetics

Attractive sage and blue; you won’t be embarrassed on the water.

Manufacturer Product Description

William Joseph Confluence Chest Pack will ensure that you get the most from your time on the water. The William Joseph Confluence Chest Pack has the new Willy J AIRTRACK™ suspension, and you will forget you are wearing anything – no matter how much gear you have managed to stuff into it. From its William Joseph tippet dispenser to its voluminous pockets, it is the most organized pack on the water.

Features as Described by the Manufacturer

  • Low profile, super strong grab handle and net loop
  • Rear pack; large enough to hold all your gear. Small enough to keep you quick and agile
  • Daisy chain lash straps for those weird loads
  • Two additional organization pockets
  • Hydration portion of the pack holds a 35 oz. bladder (not included)
  • Perforated, seamless alpine style shoulder straps.
  • Nearly perfect weight distribution and center of gravity
  • Perforated/breathable AIRTRACK Suspension for maximum airflow
  • Excess webbing slot. No more flapping straps.
  • Wide and comfortable side straps for great weight transfer
  • Dual Built in Spectra Retractors
  • Multiple accessory attachment points

Functionality

  • Comfort: I have donned vests and other packs in the past.  The Confluence is the most comfortable pack I have ever worn.  It is easy to maneuver which I value when layers have to be removed/added.  The AIRTRACK Suspension allows me to totally relax during fishing.
  • Fit: The Confluence has many adjustments that allows the user to easily modify so they can enjoy a custom fit.  The buckles are effortless to tune with the pack on or off.
  • Storage:  The Confluence has a assortment of useful pockets.  I easily store gloves, a hat, a multi-tool and all necessary terminal tackle.  I can venture far from the car without the fear I forgot anything critical to execution.
  • Access: I love the magnets and the workstation!  Getting at my flies, tippet, split shots and tools represent an easy process.  I can work quickly and effortlessly when rigging and re-rigging.  My nippers and forceps are maintained on the pack’s integrated retractors.   My net is effortlessly acquired and reconnected via a magnet cord (not included).
  • Usability: The pack works for me in every way.  It is light and completely stabilized across my shoulders.  My neck and back are never stressed.  When fighting a fish, the platform is unobtrusive, allowing me to shift my hands and rod easily.  If I want to access the rear pockets, I just unbuckle one strap and turn the unit 180 degrees.

What Would Make the Product Perfect

  • Include the bladder as it has been tough for me to purchase at the local fishing store.

Would I Buy the Product Again

  • Absolutely: I own 5 packs/vests. The Willy J Confluence is now my primary pack.

 

 

 

 

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Image is Everything

The Boston Red Sox celebrating their clinching...
Image via Wikipedia

Today I read Bob Hohler’s article published in the Boston Globe called “Inside the Collapse”.  Hohler refers to “team sources” when stating how he learned of the intimate and disturbing details associated with the 2011 Boston Red Sox.  These indiscretions include:

  • Top Red Sox players (Beckett, Lester, Lackey) drinking booze, eating and playing video games while their teammates were actually playing a game.
  • Disgruntled players who openly objected to trivial requests of management.
  • Selfish players only concerned about their own accomplishments.
  • Constant undermining of the manager and coaches.

The article goes on to then malign the job of former manager Terry Francona citing highly personal issues that include:

  • A failing marriage
  • A potential prescription drug addiction
  • A real concern about children/relatives deployed as soilders in Afghanistan

There is no doubt that the 2011 Red Sox are/were a disgraceful bunch of underperformers who casually dismissed management and their adoring fans.  That said, for Red Sox owners Larry Lucchino, John Henry and Tom Werner to float unsubstantiated rumors about their former manager is downright unseemly.  Larry, John and Tom endorse the philosophy that firing a person is not enough agony to inflict on another human.  They must use the puppet media to deflect criticism, and burry any and all viable scapegoats.  I don’t know Terry Francona but he seems like a decent person who helped generate a lot of money for management/ownership over his 8 year tenure as Red Sox manager.  During interviews conducted post his dismissal, Francona was openly remorseful when taking responsibility for the failure of his team.  He had plenty of opportunities to lash out, but remained professional and composed as he exited Fenway Park for the last time. 

Red Sox General Manager, Theo Epstein is heading to Chicago to become the Cubs Director of Baseball Operations.  In the coming days, I am certain Hohler will publish another article that cites unnamed “team sources” who besmirch Theo’s 10 year run in Boston. 

Firing someone for lack of performance is certainly the right of management in every business setting.  The 2011 collapse of the Boston Red Sox should have meant the end of Francona and Epstein.  That said, trying to destroy someone’s reputation in order to preserve one’s own image is reprehensible.   

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