Category Archives: Personal

Happy Independence Day!

Today was a fun little adventure. I had the opportunity of volunteering in the Utah, Provo, Freedom Festival as an Announcer for KSTAR 96.7 FM and KSTAR 1400 AM. It was a great opportunity to see the Grand Parade and also drive around in a brand-new 2007 Toyota Tundra double cab truck. (Perhaps not the greatest symbol of American patriotism :) but an excellent truck none the less.)

The Tundra was extremely light weight, but still packed an impressive amount of torque off the line. I understand the decision to make things lighter weight was in large response due to the number of women and baby boomers purchasing full-sized trucks, but looking for something a little easier to handle.

Brent Brown donated 10 trucks to be used for Announcing in the Parade and nearly a dozen more that filed through the parade. A great little stunt for additional publicity on the part of Brent Brown Toyota in Provo.

There were about 3,500 people attending my section of the parade. Coordinating commercials, announcing floats and working with audiences and changes in the scheduling was challenging, but also a lot of fun. It is always impressive to see and feel the immense energy that comes from these types of assemblies.

Blog Literate… A must for aspiring entrepreneurs…

Although I seriously considered Information Systems as a major in college, I am far from a programming or network engineer. And while programming or sorting through lines of code is absolutely not something I enjoy doing, every now and again I find myself trying to tweak my various websites to make them work better.

Blogging is important for entrepreneurs and business leaders. It provides a platform for an extended portfolio, and perhaps even more importantly offers a chance to participate in an aspect of our modern culture which is quickly filling the anals of internet content.

It’s not always a peaceful process unfortunately.

I just changed the permalink format on this page to assist in more key-word relavent searching, but it unfortunately erased all of my 301 redirects and everything else in my .htaccess file. Yeah. Frustrating. So I’ll dig it out and fix my newly created problem as soon as I get the chance.

It needs fixed. It’s a good thing to learn. Ahhh yes… The wonderful steep grade of more learning curves :)

Three Magic Words

I was reading a post by a revered entrepreneur Rich Christiansen about Les Miserables and how Javert could not let go of his frustrations and need to chase Jean ValJean. His words reminded me of something that a very wise mentor once shared with me before I got married:

“Remember those three simple words and most things that bother you in marriage will make much more sense. … ‘It doesn’t matter’”

This of course is not encouraging apathy but rather suggests a prioratizing of what really matters in life.

A little thought that could also apply to Richard’s simple four words,Give it up already!

This rule applies in start-ups, interpersonal or partnership relationships and of course the daily grind of operations management.

Culinary Crafts Review…

They say that past performance is the greatest indicator of future performance… (Well an economist might not tell you that)… But when it comes to a special celebration or meeting, you don’t want to go wrong in choosing your caterer.

If you’re looking to start your own catering business, be aware that there is some pretty stiff competition out there. If you’re looking for some services to help a grand opening or other function for your small or medium sized business, remember that a successful event can have lasting success.

So when it comes to finding the best caterer in Utah its really a pretty simple choice. Culinary Crafts has won Best of Utah Caterer for four years in a row.

Although the price is a little more than you run of the mill caterer, their service is hard to beat. When planning a party or special corporate venue, these guys are top on my list for caterers.

I’m pretty impressed by their website. They are careful to pay attention to detail. Like most of my product reviews, I would suggest checking out their culinary craft yourself… And then come back and let me know your thoughts…

Jay Lynn Studios Photography

I have quite a few friends who have developed into professional photographers. And a few more who have taken the leap and worked to start their own photography business or studio. This can be a very competitive industry. The barrier to entry is relatively low, but the cost to gain and maintain a clientele is very difficult. If a studio is open for longer than 5 years that’s a very good sign.

I was asked to write up a review for JayLynn Studios Photography. Although I’m no professional myself, I’ve worked with over a dozen professional and amateur photographers with business, weddings, reunions etc. There are very few which I would personally recommend or endorse. JayLynn’s is one of those. I really do consider JayLynn to be perhaps the Premier Photography Studio in Utah.

Looking for a good photographer can be really frustrating. After looking at their website for work samples, really call them up and ask them for a few references. (Weddings is a perfect example of something you really just can’t afford to mess up on). The best references you can get to verify the quality of the photgrapher is really from the references references. Make sure you call people that weren’t on the list from the Studio.

JayLynn Photography Studio has excellent work and phenomenal customer service. You’ll pay a little extra on the front end, but the quality and experience really do last generations. At all of the weddings I’ve been to with JayLynn Photographers, I have only seen the finest results. (Trust me, I’m what one might consider a not-so-photgenic-person to say the least, and I even dared to look at photos I’m in, time and time again.)

Really though, if you’re looking for a Utah Photographer, I would suggest you check ‘em out for yourself. And please keep me posted with any input or additional experiences that would be helpful to other readers.

The Big Secret…

I see the billboards on the freeway. I see the books in stores everywhere. So what is the big secret?

Simply put it is the age-old-addage of attraction. Birds of feather flock together. Karma. We buy whatever it is we pay attention. Or something like that …

I was first introduced to “The Secret” as a recorded appendage to The Richest Man in Babylon. I felt the principles they were teaching were great but it actually seemed to pale in comparison the classic tale of The Richest Man in Babylon.

A few months ago, a regular customer at Worldwide Book Drive gave me a copy of The Secret DVD. It was a very well done Movie that clearly explained the principles and was done in such a way that nearly all audiences can benefit their lives from watching it. I was impressed.

As an entrepreneur, The Secret does hold some water in terms of basic framework to build an individual’s or company’s success. From small business to large enterprise the concepts of gratitude, positive visualization and focus are universal and lasting.

I would suggest (as a Christian) that The Secret can seem to convey that you can accomplish everything on your own merit and seems to overshadow the necessity for The Atonement and a Savior. Obviously this production element works to include all religious affiliations. The secret can go hand in hand with mainstream Christianity, or nearly all religions for that matter.

Religious or spiritual preferences aside. The Secret is a great tool from which businesses, families and individuals can aim to benefit. At the least, its only a few bucks and be a great conversational piece.

But you don’t have to take my word for it… See for yourself :)

My Bosch! That’s good bread!

So, I just got done making some dough for scones and I’ve set it aside to raise.

Before I keep going however, I should probably mention that this posting is shameless plug for a fabulous product, (Bosch bread mixers) and a reliable Utah store–I’m a big fan of local entrepreneurs.

Now there is something to be said for making dough by hand. Kneading and folding the dough can be, (emphasis on the can) very therapeutic. Breathing texture and flavor into a previously lifeless clump of ingredients can release stress and build needed shoulder and hand muscle.

Aesthetics and athletics aside however, home-made bread is healthier and provides a traditional feeling of accomplishment that is just great. Of course, you’ve gotta feel accomplished after all that work. But sometimes you don’t want to work for your bread… (I know, lame pun). Even with the help of most mixers the task of making enough loaves of bread to feed a family can take a lot of time and upkeep. Growing up, I remember what a task it was for my mom to get out her ancient bread mixer and mix up several batches of dough to make enough loaves for our family and friends. I remember thinking of what a waste of time and energy to make bread when we could buy a good loaf of bread for a buck or two.

A few months ago my previous cullinary paradigms were smashed. While having dinner at a friends home, she used her Bosch Mixer to make, (from scratch) 6 loaves of delicious whole wheat bread and pan of wholewheat-honey cinnamon rolls. The whole process didn’t even take 15 minutes. The clean up was incredibly easy and after a delicious meal, the bread came straight from the oven and we all had hot cinnamon rolls for desert. Delicious!

Now previously I had never thought that I would ever find myself really making a plan to buy a bread mixer, but that night it changed. A good bread mixer seemed like a real investment. For not even a dollar a loaf you can make perfect dough everytime. The Bosch Mixer comes with plenty of recipes and most Bosch distributors will also carry all of the ingredients and add-ons to cover whatever baking dreams you can stir up. It’s more than a K Tech or Kitchen aid. But the investment is clear… We’ve already planned it into our budget in my new household.

Most people will agree that Utah is the land of food storage and the like. It goes to reason that we also have the most stocked and successful Bosch Outlets in the US.

Don’t take my word for it. Check the website of one of the biggest Bosch Distributors in Utah, (and on the web). Or stop by their store in Orem Utah and see for yourself how a good bread mixer can be therapeutic and economic….

Wow, this was a little longer of an entry than I thought. Bread is a serious commodity.

Gotta run and check on my scones.

Let me know what you think about your experiences.

Dick Cheney Comes to BYU

It was fun to the relatively small town of Provo all a buzz. Vice-President Dick Cheney was coming and you could tell. Pro Cheney demonstrations, (cleverly illustrated as Pro-Freedom rallies) were located on one side of while Anti-Cheney, (Happily staged as Freedom to Assemble rallies) were found on the other.

As a Alumni of BYU, and attending with my wife’s graduating class, I found graduation ceremonies simply spectacular. My experience in international trade and business also stirred in me a curiosity to see the man whom is such a key player in American Politics and also a controversial character in International Enterprise and domestic business policy.

The messages were simple carried a profound resonance with me. I am always dumbfounded by the incredible amount of hardwork, money and skill that goes into building and growing an academic institution.–Especially a private school the size and rankings of BYU. Honorary Doctrates (honoris causa) were awarded to Vice-President Dick Cheney–Doctor of Public Service, Ira Amond Fulton–Doctor of Engineering, Mary Lou Henson Fulton–Doctor of Education and Jack Robert Wheatley and Mary Lois Cannon Sharp Wheatley–Doctor of Fine Arts.

Vice-President Dick Cheney’s message was simply that you may never know where life leads you, but always look for that opportunity that may carry you to greater things. And say, “Yes” and act when you find it.

President Cecil Samuelson, Craig McIlroy and Steven John Pearson all spoke about the value of education being more than simply how much a graduate makes when school is done. But it is the value of who we have become.

It was a very fun and very full occassion.

Grateful for the Opportunity

As I reflect on this past Easter Weekend with friends and family, and I look to the incredible opportunities that lay ahead, I feel deeply grateful for the experiences and opportunities I have had. Gratitude is absolutely one of the key components to happiness and success. As an entreprenuer and or business manager, this simple characteristic can produce vibrant success across the gambit of personal and operational challenges one faces.

I have heard it said that a strong seed can grow wherever it is planted. I believe the ability to be grateful wherever you are planted can develop an energy and hope to grow bigger and stronger and reach new heights and fertile soil…

I was digging through some past files (pardon the pun) and found a speech I had given a couple of years ago just before graduation from College. I thought I might share it, as I feel it still applies today…

Gratitude As Expressed Through The Sincerity of Service:
Speech at Hinckley Scholarship Banquet

Gratitude—Gratefulness, appreciation, thankfulness, acknowledgement, recognition, obligation, beholdenness—Gratidude. Although often used to near cliché commonness, this simple word holds a profound place in the awesome and infinite web of God’s perfect plan.

There have been times where gratitude for the immediate benefits of what I received have been easily seen and reciprocated with deep gratitude. A clear memory of just such an instance occurred about 2 weeks after arriving in the Bangkok Thailand mission. It was a warm Bangkok night and my companion and I were on our way home for planning and district prayer. Although in country only two weeks, my companion let me lead the way home as we peddled alongside the 8 lane Pohonyotin highway that ran past our house. Street 37 was about 5 feet across and the alley of buildings that lined it went plush to the sidewalk. Like clockwork I crossed the narrow street just as a speeding Toyota was rushed to the corner to meet me. My bike was quickly pulled under by the little car and I was sent spinning like a top into the broad street beside me. On perhaps my third or fourth whirling revolution I spun around just in time to greet the bright headlights of Mercedes bus. Although the exact proceedings are still a little unclear, the collision left me in the gutter about 30-35 feet from the point of impact—Where my bike and shoes were. Although my bike and clothes were pretty tattered from the ordeal, dozens of wide-eyed spectators looked with surprise as my companion and I walked off with nothing but some scratches, some bruises, and a bent tire to show for it. How grateful I was for my calling and for my life and for the protection proffered by Our Father In Heaven to his servants.

Time and time again I have been the recipient of the benefit from others, often oblivious or maybe incoherent to the work and sacrifice their actions mandate. Being the 4th of 13 children, you can imagine how much work and virtuous energy might have gone into the raising of our family. Growing up was a wondrous experience. Some trade marks of my growing up experience include station wagons, picnics, snow caves, family talent shows, cushion forts, and cushion fights, secret deliveries and more. So many incredible things that I often took for granted. My parents would read to us from the finest that literature had to offer. My dad would take us to do service in our ward and neighborhoods, and my mother would often be found writing scripture quotes or hanging pictures of our favorite book of Mormon prophets around our rooms.

For all of the principles that my parents taught, I had an uncanny ability to provide them with opportunity for real life application. I recall a cool summer’s night when I was about 13 years old. My older brothers were parking our 1969 Chevrolet impala into the garage. I could see they were a little nervous at its broad dimensions and narrow fit, so I eagerly volunteered to try it out for myself. Confident I could accomplish the simple task, I slipped behind the wheel and started the car. Directing me from in front, I was barely able to see my brothers over the dashboard. I began edging forward into the garage. As the car started to pick up speed, I got a little nervous and stomped for the break. Unfortunately I hit the ready gas pedal, and the ancient car lunged forward into the garage. My brothers cleared out of the way as I drove headlong into the back my family’s house. The silence of that solemn moment was piercing. I could not believe it. Having been amply warned by my dad about the “no rough housing, no balls in the house and other rules that had been established to inhibit my domestic destruction, I was sure that I was done for on this one. I was sure I would never get a license, and I figured I would be lucky if I ever even got ungrounded by the time I was 16. I ran to my room hoping to go to sleep and so I wouldn’t have to think about my impending doom. After hours of restlessness, I finally met up with my dad. I wasn’t really sure what to say. I had been crying so much I didn’t really have any energy left, I was just waiting for my sentencing. I remember my dad looking directly at me and telling me how grateful he was that I was okay and that no one was hurt. He told me pretty frankly that there were plenty of smarter and better things I could be doing with my time, but what was done was done and now it needed fixed. As my punishment I was given the opportunity to help him rebuild the small section of our house. With some creativity and a lot of hard work, we were able to patch up accident scene. In fact today, that portion wall is probably one of the strongest parts of the house. More importantly, it has become a monumental reminder to me of the patience and sacrifice of my parents.

I, like all of us am in debt to the myriad of loving family members, friends, mentors, leaders and strangers, whose obedience and sacrifice have created opportunities for us to grow and progress. The benefits we receive from others are often so abundant and so integral they become nearly indistinguishable in our lives. It has been said that a fish is sometimes the last one to recognize the water. If we were to try to trace and distinguish our gratitude, we find that it quickly grows and multiplies to nearly everything around us. This include not only those who influence us, but also those who influence those who influence us. The eternal concept of this exponential debt reaches its apex as we identify the infinite sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ and his endless atonement. How great is that weight and mercy which so fully he proffers us. That already incomprehensible obedience and sacrifice, then coupled with the thousands and millions of saints who have suffered and sacrificed to carry on his work, provides such a priceless opportunity for us. How can it be valued? How can it be repaid?

Our debt is directly unpayable. We could never directly compensate for that we which we have received. And yet there is a way in which we can help, in which we can perpetuate and contribute that plan of redemption that Our Father has prepared. This active gratitude is identified in the savior’s words, “Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” I once heard this scripture referred to as the constitution of Pure Religion. Our service to others is a sincere expression of our gratitude to our savior. Likewise although we may not be able to directly repay the sacrifice of family, friends and mentors with any traditional compensation. We do have the opportunity apply the principles and love we have gained from them and share them with others to improve their lives.

Just last week I received a letter from Miguel and Javier. They are leaders of the small village of TeoXya, Guatemala, a beautiful place with a population of about 500 hundred families. They recently embarked on a venture to introduce the principles of hope, and success through education and activism in their village. With some young men soon to be the first graduates ever to come from TeoXya and no real jobs available, many villagers are skeptical of the value of education and thus have little hope in its success. Determined to prove this value, Miguel and Javier developed plans for a domestic pork and egg operation. We first met Javier and Miguel last summer, we had the special opportunity to share our life experiences and perspectives about success, leadership and personal and national development. We also had the special opportunity to consult with them on their business model. Upon first look at their business model it was clear to see that there were some simple principles that had been overlooked and would almost surely mean failure for their program. In a few brief hours we were able to share with them a few of the skills and insights that have been passed on to us from other mentors and business experiences. After an effective training session and a slight paradigm shift, they were able to build a model that provided long term perspective and sustainability. With wide, eager eyes, Miguel looked up at me and expressed his excitement. He felt something like this could be replicated and in the future he hoped to perfect the model share it with the surrounding villages.

Since then I have received many emails from Miguel and Javier, (their first emails ever) and they have expressed the success of the programs and the education and hope they are gaining from it. There is still a long way to go, but they feel strengthened and confident that someday their village will meet with great success. Their gratitude is so beautiful, so sincere. Their gratitude is not just for me or my friends or my family or the organization with which we were operating. No. Their gratitude is for all those who were instruments to directly or indirectly influence us to influence their village. Their gratitude is a reflection of the hope and excitement of their village and is even now being expressed through their hard work and sacrifice to see the success of the youth and growing leaders of their village.

How grateful I am for Ira Nathanial and his wife, and their examples of obedience and sacrifice that paved the way for Edwin and his wife. Indeed how grateful we all are for Hinckley family and the role they play in blessing and benefiting the lives of countless people. How many lives have been touched by their guidance, love and financial support? It is a truly inspiring example of pure religion and gratitude within gods Plan.

Cheesecake Factory: Chicken Madeira Delicious

During a recent business trip to vegas, I took the welcomed opportunity to eat at one of my favorite restaurants, The Cheesecake Factory.

Their chicken madeira is truly a cullinary marvel. The texture and flavor are satisfying to the last morsel.

Unfortunately, The Cheesecake Factory is all corporate owned. I called their corporate office to see for myself. If they ever change their mind however, I would love opening a franchise in Salt Lake City. We do have some good restaurants, but a few more couldn’t hurt.