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Two Generations of Love

Through my volunteer work and consulting I am fortunate to spend significant time learning from and talking with growers and makers. Without fail people like farmers and manufacturers are smart, generous, and hard-working. It’s hard, hands-on work—not sitting on your butt pushing paper or pixels type of work.

My paternal grandfather farmed; my father grew up on a farm in a family of 8 kids. I will always remember the story of his mother taking him to the feed store so he could pick out the pattern on the grain sack that would become his next shirt.

My maternal grandfather made steel. I remember laying in bed during sleepovers at Grandma’s, watching the stacks at the steel mill paint the sky with fire and sing me to sleep with a visual lullaby.

My father built relationships and sold auto parts to earn a living. He continues to practice the self-taught craftsmanship he learned: fine woodworking, antique clock repair, and a myriad of other hobbies.

My mother has been at his side for over 50 years as his wife and business partner, in the same way, my wife has been with me for over 30 years—together through the highs and lows of family and business.

To the degree I learned about business from my father (more caught than taught), I learned about love from my mother. I could not be the businessman, leader, and creative individual I am today without the balance my mother poured into my life.

I learned a passion for making and creating from my father; I learned how to care about the people for whom I make and create from my mother.

The essence of what I learned is that in business you must be human. It’s not enough to be an entrepreneur or a maker or creator; you must care about what you do and for whom you do it.

You have to pursue what you do with love.

If you work hard all your life and create the greatest company the world has ever experienced, without love, you have nothing.

Look around you for the growers, makers, and caregivers. They have something to teach you.

Thanks, Mom.

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