Thursday, February 12, 2009
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
With that said, I want in. I want a peice of the action. Being in college I feel like I'm so far away from the action. I feel like a can't really do anything until school is under my belt. I know how untrue that really is, but the feeling remains.
I have decided that my new year's resolution is going to be to live like I am right in the middle of the action. I am going to live like the entrepreneur I have always wanted to be. There is so much I want to do that doesn't get done due to a lack of dicipline and even a lack of confidence. This is the year to have no regrets. This is the year to work hard and really enjoy the rewards. This is the year to excel in school, excel in business, and above all, excel in matters of the spirit.
I'm not sure what this will all look like but I have decided to keep a record of my journey on a new blog which you can find here. This is where you will find out if I am succeeding or failing at my task of self improvement. This year will be a refining element in my life.
Wish me luck!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Here are my times for each leg of the race:
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Last Friday I played two tournament volleyball games with my intramural team, Garies'. We have only lost one game in our double elimination tournament. We have plenty of people on our team, but it doesn't help when they don't show up. On Friday we started with 4 players and luckily the other team had only 4 players as well. We beat them pretty easily. The challenge came when we played the second team.
With only 4 players we were already at a disadvantage since the other team had 5 players. Most of their players were decent also. Half way into the first game, one of our players rolled his ankle and was out for the rest of the game. Intramural rules say you can't start a game with less than 4 players, but if you start and one of them gets injured, you can still play. So, here we are playing with three players against their five. The odds were not in our favor.
We were already way ahead in the first game, and we beat them, 25-21. The second game was a scramble. Because there were only three of us, we all knew that we were extremely important to the success of our team. Needless to say, we hustled on the court the whole game. To our frustration, the other team beat us 27-25. Barely. We were pretty pissed.
The third game we turned up our energy and killed them 15-9. It was a satisfying victory against tough odds. That keeps us in the tournament and we play again on Wednesday.
The lesson learned from this experience is about the importance of the teammate on the team. With four players none of us played to the best of our ability. There were a lot of errors due to miscommunication and assumptions that the other teammate would get the ball if you didn't. The truth was that no one on the team really believed that he was an integral part of the team, and that without his complete effort the team would suffer. Once we were forced to play with three players, we all knew we would loose if one of us slacked.
I have always known this principal, but not until now can I really draw on my own experience as to how important it is, and how it works. In management, everyone on your team must know how important they are to the team. They must have a deep down sense of value and responsibility to their team. Without that, your team will suffer and perform below their capacity.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
I had this pair of running shoes for three years. They even doubled as my volleyball shoes and it was that sport that killed them. Last night as I played my men's intramural volleyball tournament, I could tell they had died. Both insoles wore out causing the balls of my feet to feel like they were on fire, and it was that moment I knew... they were dead!
I find it so hard to part with articles of clothing, especially shoes. They really are like two friends who have been with you through thick and thin; rain or shine. They are so loyal, and after a short while, you grow to love and respect them. You get used to the way you look in them and they seem to boost your confidence in any athletic situation. They never fail you, and the one time they do, you have to replace them.
Why can't I just repair them or something? Can't I just buy them a new insole and avoid having to tell them to take a hike? They've been so loyal to me that the thought of replacing them feels the same as having to take your sick, dying dog in the back yard and shoot it. It's downright painful.
The truth is that at one time I did try to fix them. I did buy them new insoles once and kept wearing them for another year, but those insoles wore out, and now the hard soles were wearing out too, so I think it's time to let them die.
And that's why we had a shoe funeral.
We had an open casket funeral where we lit some candles and I said a few words. I paid my respects and then we buried them. It was quick- very suiting for a pair of running shoes. It's exactly how they would have wanted it.
Then Angie and I went to the mall in search of a suitable replacement. I interviewed many pairs of shoes before I found the right pair. They were light weight, bright, shiny, and of course affordable. We went to the checkout stand and finalized the selection process with the swipe of my master card.
The trouble is, how do I know if they will even fit in? I mean, how do I know they will be as good? How do I know if they will be loyal or not? I don't. But I have no choice but to give them the reigns and see how they ride.
While I mourn the loss of a faithful pair of running shoes and inaugurate the new ones I'm sure the new pair will fill the void in my heart that the old ones left. I'm sure after one run or one game of volleyball, I will notice how new and comfortable the new pair really is. I'm sure by next week, they will be my new favorite pair of running shoes and I will have forgotten about the old ones altogether. The new pair and I will have a lot of adventures ahead of us and hopefully it will be another three years before I have to have another shoe funeral.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
It’s the middle of August which means the summer is almost over. It has been a journey full of its ups, downs, and of course, valuable lessons.
Let me give you a shortened version of my summer selling pest control. I anticipated starting my office out with 25+ sales reps. I never had more than 17 or so at one time and I am now down to 5 including myself. Some of them never showed up to work. Some quit after only a few days. Some quit after a few weeks. Some were fired, and some have already completed their summer and are back home to start school again. Over all, my office won’t do as much production as last year’s office, which is frustrating, but all in all, I’ll make more money this year. There has been a lot of improvement on my part as a manager (which is why I’ll make more money) but there was a definite decrease in employee quality this year compared to last year.
This year I have learned again first-hand the importance of hiring the right people for your team. I recruited most of my office outside the Utah “bubble” and hired a lot from booths on college campuses. The quality of those people isn’t half as good as that of the ones from the mother land. I hired for my office relying on sheer numbers to get me through. I was supposed to have one of the biggest offices in the company when I started. I found that there are some kinds of people you want on your team, and some that you don’t. I did not do a good job of picking the good ones. Actually I wasn’t even looking in places where those good people could be found. Big mistake.
As a result, I had to fight laziness, immaturity, a lack of responsibility, insubordination, dishonesty, etc. I will give myself credit, though, for not tolerating much of any of those things this year. I sent a lot of reps packing, some even before the summer started. I made up my mind that I would not put up with much crap this summer from my reps. I guess the problem was I hired reps that came with a bunch of crap.
I am reading John Maxwell’s book about the laws of teamwork. It’s an excellent book I wish I would have read a year ago. There are so many things he says that I wish I could have practiced much earlier on in the summer that I think would have given an extra boost to my team. I think it would have helped me hire better reps for my team also. Maxwell talks about finding people that are going to make a good fit on your team; people who share the same vision and are willing to work hard for that vision. (Actually he says a lot more than that on the matter). I have decided that for next year, I am going to build my door-to-door sales force from the biggest pool of door-to-door experienced individuals, BYU campus. It is no wonder there are so many companies that recruit from there. BYU students just have what it takes and I’m gonna do what it takes to get them to work for me.
Back to this summer. I think the thing I struggled with the most this summer was being disciplined with my time. Like last summer, I seemed to find a lot of miniscule things to do in place of the most important things. I wasn’t nearly as lazy as last year, but there is still a lot of improvement I need to make. That is one thing I would like to hear from you about. How do you keep the balance between your management responsibilities and your personal production responsibilities? I hear leadership trainers say that leading from the front will show your team what to do and how to do it, and they will follow, but I still feel like my office sees me as the manager that demands too much of them. How do I balance?
I’ve been thinking a lot about the kind of leader I want to become. I’ve been taking a realistic view of myself now and comparing it to who I want to become, and figuring out what’s keeping me from being that person. In a nutshell I want to be the leader that works like a well oiled machine; someone who knows how to work when it’s time to work, and play when it’s time to play and knows how to set those boundaries. Here are a few things that I feel are weaknesses of mine that I want to work on for the next few months. I’d like your advice.1. I find myself getting so emotionally overwhelmed with managerial housekeeping tasks that I feel like I need some kind of escape. That usually comes in the form of wasting time on the computer, or crunching useless numbers, or something like that. How do you manage the emotional part of being a leader?
2. Time management has been a real struggle for me. Do you have any recommended books or other resources about how to manage time better? What do you do to help yourself stay structured with your time?
3. In the pest control sales industry, the team spends a lot of time with each other. We not only work together, but we live together and play together. We spend almost all of our time together. I have a hard time separating business and personal stuff. It’s easy to become everyone’s friend, but I feel like I can’t make the switch to being the leader all the time. How do I maintain the respect of my team as their leader and still enjoy a good time with them as well?
One more thing. What kind of businesses do you own? Who comes up with the ideas? Do you back them financially, or take part in the administrative side of things? What are the first steps to building a business? Do you have any positions available in one of your companies? If so, what are they? How could I get involved?
I’d better end this letter now. I just finished eating a nice big mango and I think my fingers a still a little sticky. There’s nothing like a big mango on a hot night. Takes me back to Caracas.
Now here is his response:
Un abrazo fuerte. You're on the track. Keep running.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
What I wouldn't give to be eating a huge bowl of ice cream and watching shrek 3 right now. I would give anything. It's a good thing I'll be doing that in about one hour from now.
Portland oregoneans are funny people. Everyone thinks the air that comes out of the AC is made out of gold. If the front door is open even a tiny crack, (because you are talking to me through it) Portlandeans worry that all their gold will empty out that tiny crack and into my pockets. How I wish that were true. Instead it kisses me on the face and helps keep my eyebrows from dripping off my chin.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Here is the crux of what he wrote:
Is it wrong / dishonest / immoral / etc. to sell something for more than it’s worth? I know there are many who would say it’s worth whatever someone would pay for it. Therefore, you should get all you can. I know there are others who say that to consider yourself honest, you must seek a win-win situation, and not take undue advantage of anyone else. I have strong feelings on this one.
My wife and I talked about this for a while and we decided on an opinion. But first I want to share a story.
A few months ago, two friends of mine were on their way home from a day of snowboarding. When they stopped for gas, two men approached them in a white van, offering my friends a good deal on some home theater surround sound speakers. The men had apparently just finished a job in Park City, and when they had received the speaker shipment, the warehouse had accidentally sent an extra pair. They explained that the invoice only reflected the correct amount ordered, which was one pair, so they now wanted to sell them off at a good price. My friends (who are both salesmen) thought they would talk these two guys down in price and get some cheap speakers. The bidding started at $1200 and when all was said and done, my two friends walked off with the new speakers, having only paid $700, a snowboard, and two Park City lift tickets.
While driving home, and feeling proud of themselves, they decided to look up the speakers online to see how good of a deal they really got. They Googled the brand (which they had never heard of) and in the second search result, it said “White Van Scam.” They went on to read, in horror, a full detailed description of the very interaction they just had with these two men, and realized that they had just paid $700, a snowboard, and two park city lift tickets for a set of $200 speakers.
Clearly my friends felt that what these two men in the white van did was wrong. I agree. The reason it was wrong is due to one thing: lack of full disclosure. There was intentioned deceit, and the seller knew the buyer had not done his homework.
So that is the answer to your question: “Is it wrong/ dishonest/ immoral/ etc. to sell something for more than it’s worth?” Only if there is lack of full disclosure. A seller should fully disclose all information pertaining to the value of what’s being sold, being careful to not mislead the buyer by omitting information that directly effects value. The seller should disclose anything that could otherwise be falsely assumed, and be willing to disclose all information that is requested by the buyer. However, I think the buyer is responsible to do their homework so they know what questions to ask. If the seller offers full disclosure, and the buyer has done the required research and has received an answer to all questions, then the buyer is able to make an educated decision about whether the value of the item matches the seller’s asking price.
I think the worth of something is determined by each person. An item might be more valuable to one person than another, resulting in that person’s willingness to pay more for it. The key again, in my opinion, is having both parties clear about what is being purchased.
As a salesman, I sell my service at a fair price. Many times I give a discount. Sometimes I give a bigger discount than other times depending on how valuable my service is to a customer. I do not feel bad selling the same service to a customer at a higher price than to another when both customers are getting a good deal. I fully disclose the terms of the service so my customers are clear about what they are buying.
So there you have it. Disclosure is the key.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
I got in my car to drive around and look for a suitable place to satisfy my appetite and found none such satisfyings. Somehow I ended up in the ghetto, and was so hungry I vowed to eat at the very next place that served food. A strip mall up ahead looked promising and as I approached with anticipation, the only restaurant in sight had two yellow arches. McDonalds.
With MUCH hesitation, I mean VERY much hesitation, I walked in having convinced myself that, "hey, I haven't eaten here for years. Maybe things have changed."
Why is it that every person who eats at McDonalds looks like McDonalds?There is just something disturbing about seeing America's lower half chowing down on what they think is awesome food only to see clearly that it's really super sized obesity in the form of a big mac.
I sat there embarrased while I satisfied my mac attack in shame among my over weight peers. Between the man with swollen feet popping out of his tevas and the old woman with wrinkly homemade tatoos, i sat dreading the thought of ever turning out like them. I felt their presence seeping onto my skin like a thick stench makes you want to take a hot shower and scrub all over. It was not pleasant.
There were a few normal looking middle class citizens who came in the doors that made me feel a little better about being there. I mean, if they were there, then maybe me being there wasn't so bad. That reassurance quickly left when I noticed that the only reason they came in was to rent a redbox movie. Then they huridly shuffled towards the door as if trying not to be seen, throwing a glance my way that said, "poor fellow. He doesn't even know how to take care if himself." Then they were gone.
There was nothing I could do. They were right. I was taking my first steps to being on welfare and not owning a washer and dryer. I was becoming McDonalds.
Note to self: McDonalds is a terrible place to be. It's not worth the shame.
Friday, June 20, 2008
I will say that on July 11th I will be an excited little camper. On that blessed day the iPhone g3 comes out. I currently own the origional iPhone, but since the vibrate alert function doesn't work and the the camera is jacked up, I'm going to cash in on apple's awesome warranty that says I get a new phone if the one I have breaks before a year is up. Well a year isn't up, and I'm going to have them just upgrade it to the G3.
If you are at all curious as to why I could get so excited by a piece of metal and glass that can call someone, watch apple's keynote address on their website. Steve Jobs will explain everything. Its about the dopest (fake word) thing I can think about.
Sent from my iPhone (soon to be G3)
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
This is a letter I wrote to my mission president today. He is a great man who has taught me a lot.
I've been thinking a lot about you the last couple of days and thought I would write you a quick note. First of all, we missed you at our wedding. We don't feel bad though, and hope that you don't either, because after the wedding, I found out that there were a handful of invitations that got returned, and yours was one of them. So I should really be apologizing to you for not making sure you received our invite.
My wife Angie and I live in Provo where she works in a real estate office as the executive assistant to a bunch of realtors, and I go to school at BYU. I'm majoring in urban development and double minoring in business and communications. I have a very part time job where I sell websites to real estate agents. Somehow my wife and I found jobs where we both work with the same type of people. I am also preparing for the summer where I'll be managing a sales office selling pest control in Portland. I've been recruiting a lot (which gives me an excuse to fly home every couple of weeks) and am very excited for another round of summer sales.
The reason Ive been thinking about you probably comes from the fact that Ive been reading your business blog. You give great advice that has helped me mentally prepare to manage 30+ college aged sales reps this summer. Every time I read one of your stories, I think of you telling them in the Caracas mission home to a bunch of eager zone leaders. Those were such mind forging days for me. You instilled in me a fascination for business that has stuck. I have attempted to start my own business a couple of times since I got home, but like many starry eyed college students, nothing ever came of them. Like you say, there has to be passion, which was the very thing I lacked.
I have found an outlet for my entrepreneurial spirit with the whole pest control gig. It gives me great real-world management experience that I value and a chance to experience the concept of leverage as I recruit, hire, retain and train sales reps to sell pest control for me. I like that, and so far it has paid the bills and then some. I managed last summer also and learned a lot of painful lessons that hopefully I will be able to apply this next summer.
I've been listening to some great podcasts lately that have also fueled the ambitious fire within me. My two favorites are the HBR Ideacast by the Harvard Business Review, and the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Lecture Series by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. From what you write in your blog, I think you would like those two. Those podcasts, combined with self improvement books, blogs like yours and the ones you recommend, keep pushing me to train myself to be a great business leader somewhere, someday. I keep wanting to jump ahead 5 years and see myself running my own business or going to Harvard or being groomed at a big company to be the next Jack Welch. When I read in your blog that you were a CEO at the age of 27, (I'm 25) I wonder if in two or three years I'll be able to do the same.
President, I look up to you so much and you should know that you are and have been one of the greatest role models I have known. I remember all the great stories you've told from your past about your successes and even your failures, and that has become the model for how I want my life to be. You are a great man and I aspire to be more like you. For that reason, I have decided that you are going to be my mentor. I know that is something I should probably ask you about first, but all I really want to do is write you every once in a while and hope for a response with feedback. Heck, maybe you could blog about the experience. I feel like you could help me find a little more direction for what I want to do with my career.
I hope all is well in the Webb household and pray for you and Sister Webb. I would love to hear from you soon.
More to come.