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Liberty = Freedom + Virtue (On Virtue)

Uncategorized Jul 29, 2020

I’m a liberty-minded guy.  That phrase, give me liberty or give me death, has particular resonance for me.  I struggled mightily during the initial lockdowns, and I confess that the recent statewide mask order felt a bit heavy-handed to me - because it’s a big and diverse state, and many areas have seen little covid.  Ten counties in Colorado have seen fewer than 10 total cases to date (with one county at 0, one at 1, and one at 3), and yet they’re asked to be masked up at the local farm elevator or the 4 table local cafe - which can now only have 2 tables.  And I would hazard to guess that mask order adherence in those places is likely minimal - and they are probably taking an acceptable risk based on their situation.  But here in Fort Collins, I tend to wear my mask as prescribed out of responsibility to others, and to avoid being the cause of any unnecessary fear - there is far too much of that in the world already.  It still feels...

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The Delicate and Beautiful Diversity of these United States

Uncategorized Jun 29, 2020

Four thousand, seven hundred and seventy-eight miles!  That’s the approximate distance my beautiful and wonderful and trusting wife Jill and I travelled along with our adventurous and soon-departed foreign exchange student Ola earlier this month.  In a 31-foot Class C RV no less, and with our little dog Tucker!  It’s a good thing gas is relatively affordable, because we burned A LOT of gas!  Spent our whole economic stimulus debit card, and then some.  But we crafted many great memories and were able to show Ola 10 BIG states, of which 9 were new to her.  

 

This blog post may read more like a travel log, but it’s hoped there are some useful make-you-think items along the way, about business and life and the beautiful and hopefully stretchy fabric that ties this nation of states together.  I’m realizing as I tell people of our travels, that the “Great American Road Trip” is a rare thing for most...

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May We Make Lemonade!  

Uncategorized May 26, 2020

"Things are tough all over" was the first line that came to mind when I started this month’s blog post, and then I immediately wondered where that little nugget came from?  Do you know the pop-culture reference?  I didn’t either, so I looked it up, and it’s Cheech & Chong!  It’s the title of a movie, one I watched at a birthday party in about 1985 - wow, that was a deep nugget!  

 

The 1982 episode of the classic series features the stoner comics partnered with an oil-rich Arab who owns the car wash they’re working at to make ends meet while their hoped-for music career takes off.  Like other episodes in the series, this one features all kinds of hijinks by the likeable duo, full of twists and turns and near-death or near-jail experiences, and then a dramatically positive finish (I’ll not spoil it for you).  

 

I want to say that’s a pretty good descriptor of how many of our stories may...

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The Fixers Take Center Stage

Uncategorized Apr 28, 2020

April is among my favorite months - so much change in the air.  Our days are longer, the song of birds is in the air, the weather is totally unpredictable - and oh, yeah - we’re still living in Covid Nation.  I don’t have to tell you that life is different today than it was at the beginning of March, and I think we all wonder what it’s going to be like this time next month, or in the fall.  I found myself thinking about the passage of time as I entered into this months’ blog writing session - of the inevitability of the seasons, the rising and setting of the sun.  A clockmaker may measure this passage, a photographer may capture a bit of its beauty, writers and historians might take note of major moments, but the world keeps spinning round and round.  

 

I would submit that there are two camps, largely speaking, as to how people see the role of government in the world.  There are those who see the inequalities of the...

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March forward, as Saint Patrick would have done.  

Uncategorized Mar 26, 2020

I spent some time earlier this month researching Saint Patrick, who we all know banished all of the snakes from Ireland, had a shamrock farm, and invented green beer.  BUT IT’S NOT TRUE!! He likely did none of these things, but the life he lived was amazing, and I’m going to share a little bit of that history. And then I’m going to write about viruses and fear, and indecision.  After that I intend to tie in some economics, and at the end I’ll give you a charge, an encouragement if you will - and then you’ll go about your day. Sound good? 

 

Saint Patrick first came to Ireland as a captive slave, kidnapped by pirates at the age of 16.  He was the son of a decurion and a deacon in England, or perhaps Scotland or Wales (he’s famous so they fight over him - and it was a long time ago - 432ish AD).  His father was thus holding both a powerful local government role and a powerful role within the church hierarchy. Patrick,...

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Trimming the fat to find the true love of business - profit!

Driving past a First Watch restaurant the other day, I was prompted to place a call to Rayno Seaser, founder (along with his wife Patty) of The Egg & I restaurants - which had recently rebranded to become First Watch locations.  First Watch had acquired The Egg & I back in 2015, but only recently changed names for most Colorado locations. We had a great chat, catching up on recent travels and holiday activities, and agreeing we must breakfast together soon.  

 

After our conversation, I was reminded of something he’d told me more than a decade before, when he was on the bank’s Advisory Board and I was his banker on some projects.  He’d told me that recessions were helpful during his journey, because they forced you to trim the fat to remain profitable. When things were good, he went on to explain, the business gets fat and happy - and even though sales are better than ever, profits sometimes tend to slip as costs creep...

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How Do You Build Your 2020 Vision?

Can’t stay away from the obvious pun in the title, but the turning of the calendar to a new decade only happens once every few years!  It seems the years go by faster and faster the older I (we) get. The 80’s lasted forever! - or maybe it only felt that way because of the big hair and funny outfits.  At the end of the 80’s though, they represented over 70% of my living years, and 90% of my years being slightly aware of what was going on - if that’s even true today. So, that passage of time - a decade - that seemed so long in my youth, went so fast this time around, in part because it represents so much less of my total experience.   

But then I take a think-back.  Writing is thinking, they say, and now I’ve got me thinking about where I was in January of 2010.  If memory serves, I was the Acting President of Capital West National Bank at this time, which is a fancy way of saying you’ve got the same salary as when you...

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The Very Best Gift You Can Give Your Team

Oh, Christmas - what a wonderful and tragic holiday you have become!  Full of lights and song, and seasonal food & drink specials, and time with family and dear friends - and stuff!  In America, we have multiple sub-holidays to our Christmas season - Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Green Monday too!  The UPS and Fedex and Amazon trucks are clogging up the highways and ‘hoods of our nation en mass in December! Our focus on consumerism at Christmas would have Jesus rolling over in his grave - if he hadn’t rolled away the stone!   

What he would approve of, however, is the focus on others during this season.  We buy gifts and make fruit cakes and knit scarves for the people we love and appreciate in our lives.  We sponsor a needy family through a local non-profit, or buy gifts for kids through the Rotary club. Colorado Gives Day is smack dab in the middle of it.  It’s a season of gratitude and...

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The Unstable Balance Between Contentment And Striving

We had our 12th annual Fakesgiving party earlier this month, our silly name for what appears to have become a movement of friendsgiving parties sweeping the nation in recent years.  That’s right - 12th annual friendsgiving party - what you got!?  

Anyway - yours truly cooks up a pair of turkeys (16 pounders this year) along with stuffing and garlic mashers, Jill Bear makes sweet potato casserole and pumpkin cheesecake, and then a couple dozen friendlies bring their favorite side and a bottle of wine or 6-pack to share in our little bungalow.  This year, Fakesgiving was warmer than normal, and many spilled out onto the patio for dinner and later a fire pit session. We had about a dozen side dishes this year, and maybe five desserts - and of course I tried everything. A few things were really good, so I had seconds on those - quite a few things, if I’m honest.  

Striving to eat at least a bite or two of each offering is something I’m...

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Be Not Afraid (On Fear)

From the Founder - Be Not Afraid (On Fear)

Halloween season is upon us, and I thought it might be fun to draw some parallels to the world I know best - small business.  The first thing I think about when I think of Halloween is the costumes - it’s how we’re hooked in the early years! Kids put on costumes and adults give us candy - easy peezy.  In costume, I’ve been Batman, ET, and even Michael Jackson! (Just to derail any future thoughts of political pursuits now, there is a picture of a ~10 year old Curt with a for-real perm, one white glove and blackface somewhere in my mom’s photo albums!The ability to change who we are is also very prevalent in the world of small business.  Often the change from corporate stooge to entrepreneur is a traumatic one requiring many pivots and changes, and then once you’re off the launch pad you’re wearing ALL the costumes! - CEO, Sales, CFO, COO, CMO, HR, Cleaning, Maintenance...

 

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