Friday, May 29, 2015

Are You Lost?...

"If you find yourself in a hole... the first thing you need to do is stop digging"

                                      ~ Will Rogers

This past weekend was a three-day holiday so my wife and I decided to spend it up in the wine country of Sonoma. 

Most of the time was spent doing tourist type things like visiting the small shops in small towns that sprout along the Russian River. However on Saturday night, we had dinner plans with some new friends, Michael and Bonnie (more about them in a few weeks), who had invited us over to their house for dinner.

Knowing that their house was somewhat remote and not easy to find, Bonnie so graciously sent me a map leading to their house (to my young readers... a "map" is like GPS... only it doesn’t talk to you).

As we left the hotel, there was a crossroads.  Wrong WayI mistakenly turned right when I should have gone straight (the correct crossroad with the right-hand turn was still further down the road a bit).

After about 10 miles, the small country road began to widen and soon it became a full-fledged highway. 

Knowing that Michael and Bonnie lived far out in the country and as we were heading to the city, I instinctively knew that we were steering in the wrong direction.

We exited the highway and re-read the map and realized that I had made a mistake.

I immediately turned the car around and we proceeded to dinner (albeit 30 minutes late).

Later that evening as we drove home, I began to think more about the "wrong-turn" mishap.

As these surroundings were very unfamiliar to me, had the road not changed into a highway, it’s quite possible that I might have gone another 30 miles before ever noticing that I had actually made a wrong turn. 

Every minute we continued in the wrong direction, was adding two minutes to our journey time (the time going out and the time coming back to the starting point).

How many times in life do we unknowingly head out to our destination on the wrong path?

Just thinking about my own career path...

At the age of 8... I wanted to be a fireman (I think this is the secret fantasy of all 8-year olds).

By the time I was 13... I wanted to be a commercial pilot because I wanted a way to travel the world and make a decent living.

I applied to college declaring telecommunications as my major... because I wanted to learn how to become a record engineer.

When I found that I wasn’t accepted into the department... I backed into my second choice, becoming a business major... 

A year and a half later... I wanted to learn something more substantial and challenging... so I switched majors to computer engineering...

Upon graduating, I decided that I really didn’t want to design computer chips so I took a job as a sales-engineer, selling electrical equipment...

Seven years later, I left that position to become an entrepreneur starting a wholesale distributor...

Nine years later... I started OptiFuse... and 15 years later... I’m still there.

How many wrong roads did I have to take before I ended up on the right path to my ultimate destination?

Now I guarantee you that my story is not unusual.  Practically everyone has a similar tale.

The interesting thing is that about 8 years into my tenure at OptiFuse, things were not going all that well for me and the company.

The world was heading into the Great Recession... the company was not meeting sales goals... and the company was highly leveraged (which isn’t that unusual for a young start-up).

I began seriously considering if I was once again on the wrong road heading in the wrong direction. 

I also know that if I was indeed heading in the wrong direction, every mile I went down the road was going to cost me more time and money.

Maybe I should just stop and turn my life around and head in a completely new direction...?

What was it about this particular venture that made me keep going rather than stopping and heading off in another direction?

There are hundreds of examples of once great companies that kept on the road that brought them early success but now they missed the turn-off and were now heading in the wrong direction.

Big multi-national companies like Kodak, Xerox, Blockbuster, Circuit City, Blackberry, AOL, K-Mart, Radio Shack, Encyclopedia Britannica, and Borders have all failed by staying the same course when in hindsight, they should have made a turn.

It’s not that these companies didn’t see it coming... they did in fact... but unfortunately they couldn’t stop the law of momentum (velocity multiplied by mass).

These companies just had too much mass and too much velocity to stop and turn around... and by the time they did... they were just too far down the road to come back.
So what lessons can we learn from these experiences so we don’t end up heading in the wrong direction?

The first thing is clear... you need to be aware of your surroundings.

When I noticed that the country road had changed into a highway... I immediately stopped to get my bearings.  Going further down the road would have only exasperated my situation and made it that much harder to get back on the right track.

Every so often we need to take a moment to reflect on our current situations... are we dying or are we thriving?  If it is the former... then perhaps it’s time to make a course correction.

Secondly... it’s never too early to innovate or learn something new.  In only a few situations are we actually presented with a map.  Most of the time we need to be prepared in advance to move in a different direction so if and when the situation occurs, we can quickly change course.

The companies that didn’t make it... are the same companies that had virtually unlimited resources to add innovation into their game plan... but chose not to (until it was too late).

Companies like Google, IBM, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Walmart, and Southwest Airlines continue to add new innovations to their already successful recipes.  All of these companies are still doing the things that made them successful in the first place... but each has added new pages to their maps as they continue to extend their reaches.

Last but not least... we need to recognize when we made a mistake and quickly get ourselves back on the right track. 

The worse thing that we can do is to "double-down" when we find ourselves lost to make up for lost time. 

When we look for short-cuts or quick-fixes, most of the time we end up compounding our problems instead of just getting back on track.
I learned this lesson from watching the great golfers. 

Even the best golfers in the world are apt to hit a bad shot into the rough, or the water or even into the woods.  Instead of trying to make a next-to-impossible shot, they typically play a safe shot that gets them safely back into the fairway even if it means that they will lose a stroke in the process.

Understandably, sometimes it’s nearly impossible to distinguish whether we need to stay the course or its time to chart a new one.

In the case of OptiFuse, I decided to stick it out because I believed that the plan was sound and that it was simply a matter of hark work and patience.

If we continually are changing course, then we’ll end up going around in circles and never actually get anywhere.

Farmers recognize that after they sow seeds, it’s a matter of hard-work and patience before they can bring in their crop.  If they planted seeds one day only to uproot the seedlings before they ever produced fruit, then they would never successfully harvest anything.

There are no easy answers... do we keeping going... or do we turn around?...

...but that’s what makes life interesting and unpredictable... 

I once asked a mentor of mine how to avoid making mistakes... 

He replied, "Experience will help you to avoid mistakes".

I then asked him, "How does one gain experience?"

"It’s simply", he responded, "you make a lot of mistakes".

Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we hope to see you on the road to success.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Moon Shot Thinking...

"If you are not doing some things that are crazy... then you’re doing the wrong things"

                                       Larry Paige
                                       CEO, Google

"So what is your "Moon Shot" idea?" asked my friend Michael.

Michael, who normally resides in Washington, DC was in San Diego on business, so it gave us an opportunity to have dinner together. 

Both Michael and I were only a week or so removed from both moon shotbeing at a conference in Boston, that centered around entrepreneurial endeavors.  The theme of this year’s conference was "Moon Shot Thinking".

This theme was in reference to the famous speech given by John F. Kennedy in May of 1961 to a joint session of Congress.  During his speech, President Kennedy told Congress (and the American people watching him on TV) that "the nation should commit itself to the goal of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth before the end of the decade".   

This is often the classic example used when discussing a big long-term goal with a definite beginning and end otherwise known as BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals).

The conference in Boston, presented us speaker after speaker of people who are trying to do things to change the world in big ways. 

Our speakers talked about things like curing cancer, developing artificially intelligent computers, training and finding jobs for thousands of the returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, creating one of the world’s largest pieces of art on the San Francisco Bay Bridge, and pushing the limits of technology to tell incredible stories through film and sound.

Each of our presenters told us an inspiring story about their journey and how they didn’t let the simple fact that "it’s never been done before" deter them from their mission.

Each of our presenters tried, with all of their heart and soul, to compel the people in the room to not limit their world view and to think in terms bigger than life... to go beyond conventional wisdom to create something incredible versus something ordinary.

As I sat there listening to the cast of speakers being paraded before us one after another for 4 days... each with a stronger message than the speaker before them... I couldn’t help but be moved by their implication that we all have the power to move mountains if we only had the vision and foresight to do so.

Upon my return back to San Diego, I spent a great amount of time reflecting upon the directives and challenges set in motion by those moving speeches and talks trying to think of ways that I too could change the world in a wholesale way.

It was then that I discovered a great truth about myself and probably most everyone else I know...

I am simply not interested in pursuing ideas that could or might change the world...

...I am only interested in pursuing ideas that help a few people at a time.

For me personally... helping people isn’t a wholesale idea... it’s a retail idea.

I am trying hard to be the best father I can possibly be to my own children...

...volunteering my time playing scrabble each Sunday afternoon with one elderly lady who is unable, for the most part, to leave her own home.

...leading a small company where I can still get on the phone to help people with a problem that they are experiencing... and not because I want to grow my company to a size where I can sell it to the highest bidder and retire... but because I love what I do and the people I work with...

Michael on the other hand is trying to build a new business that, if successful, will change the way food is grown throughout the United States and possibly the world.  His ideas are definitely "moon shot". He wants to change the world and enjoy the riches that it will bring him if he is successful.

The point I find most interesting is that most people aspire to be someone like Michael and not me...

I live in the boring world of the non-scaling "incrementally better" whereas people like Michael live in the exciting world of "giant scalable leaps".

I suppose the big difference is that my world tends to be somewhat predictable...

It’s about finding a small need and filling it... whether that need is serving a small niche market... seeing a person who is in need of a friendly visitor on Sunday afternoons... or a parent willing to spend an afternoon teaching their kids to ride a bike, throw a baseball or use the library.

The person who dreams in cosmic proportions of leaving an indelible mark on the world is a very special person... a person who has enough passion to move other people to action... to drive change within large-scale organizations... to develop a narrative about a vision that has yet to be considered... to risk it all on one great roll of the dice...

A moon shot thinker can also be an artist, creating something from nothing... adding paint to a white canvas or words to a blank page... then finding an audience to purchase what they’ve created...

Such a person is Sekou Andrews, one of the most sought after speakers in the field of medicine, technology and retail branding with speaking fees upwards of $40,000 per engagement.  Sekou is not a doctor, an engineer or a marketing technician.  He is a poet.


When Sekou started his journey to the moon, there was no market for his particular skill set.  Perhaps one poet in a million could earn enough money writing and performing poetry to earn a comfortable living.

Yet today, he has performed his poetry for presidents, prime ministers, billionaires, and famous entertainers.  Sekou has a great vision of what his craft could be and created something from nothing while inspiring people, young and old alike "to be awesome".

While a moon shot thinker might feed every hungry mouth... house everyone in India without a home... or create the new killer social app that connects tens of millions of people...

...others will simply choose to make a difference in someone else’s life... to freely give of themselves to someone who needs them... to care... to listen... to be there...

Whether we want to go to the moon or have a humble vision of how we can help... we all have the opportunity to make a difference...

Thank you for your support of OptiFuse as we try to help you to new heights.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Driving Technologies...

"You can never change things by fighting the existing reality... you can only change things by creating a new model that makes the existing model obsolete"

                 ~ R. Buckminster Fuller

This week, I experienced two events that might have seemed similar but were, in actuality, quite different.

On Monday, due to some flight delays, my arrival into Toronto was running about an hour behind schedule.  I had planned to meet my new customer for dinner that night at 6:00, but it soon became apparent that there was no way that I’d be at the restaurant before 7:30.

To make matters worse, I had made the decision to rent a car to  Traffictransport me from the airport to the Toronto suburbs and that evening’s rush-hour traffic was unbearable making the normally 15 minute drive extend to about an hour. 

In addition, I completely forgot that my cell phone’s data plan didn’t actually work in Canada meaning that my normally reliable GPS app in my phone wasn’t working for me either.

Fortunately, I eventually found the restaurant but not before arriving some two hours later than I had originally planned.

As I was heading into the restaurant, I happened to look down at my phone and noticed that I had a multitude of e-mails, text messages, and missed phone calls. 

Due to the time difference between Toronto and San Diego, my office back in California was still open for the next 20 minutes.  Perhaps I could make a quick call to them just to answer a few important issues before I actually went into the restaurant.

In the end, I decided that I had already inconvenienced my client too much so I went into the restaurant without making any calls or returning any e-mails.  

All throughout our dinner, I had this overwhelming urge to pick up my phone and start returning important emails and text messages (but I restrained myself).

A few days later, I now found myself in Las Vegas to attend a national trade show / conference.

Once again, I found myself running late to a dinner meeting after my flight was delayed.

Due to the fact that most of my meetings were mostly at the same hotel, I decided that renting a car and driving Taximyself to the hotel didn’t make much sense.  Therefore when I landed, I quickly found myself in the backseat of a taxi.

The traffic along the Las Vegas Strip is always bad around dinner time, but on this evening it was particularly snarled and my cab was often at a standstill.

The big difference between this experience and the one I had had a few nights before was that I wasn’t the one doing the driving.

I assumed the taxi driver knew exactly where he was going, so I resigned myself to returning emails and phone calls from the back seat.

When I finally arrived at the hotel for dinner, I felt relaxed knowing that I had responded to all of the pending issues facing me.

By utilizing a driver in the second instance, I had allowed myself to be very productive during my drive instead of being stressed from my environment.

As I was heading home the following day, I thought about how much time I waste just driving myself from place to place.

There have been several studies over the past few years to determine exactly how much time the typical American spends driving. 

These studies show that if we commute to work, we end up averaging just over 100 minutes per day driving (or about 75 minutes a day for non-commuters).

Now granted, there are some people who do use the 12 hours a week we spend in a car in a very productive way such as listening to a book on CD or taking the "quiet time" to mentally sort out complex problems, but for the rest of the population driving is simply time wasted.

Enter technology.

In 2005, Sabastian Thrun and his team at Stanford University won the DARPA Grand Challenge and the corresponding $2M prize for successfully demonstrating a robotic self-driving car, "Stanley".

Thrun was no stranger to robotics as he successfully ran the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab and was the co-inventor of the technology that would eventually become Google Street View.

In 2008, Thrun was able to convince fellow Stanford graduate and Google co-founder, Sergey Brin that a driverless car was the future of transportation and thus the Google Car project was started.

In 2010, a prototype of the Google Car was introduced, which was simply a Toyota Prius with 1200 sensors and servo motors being controlled by a series of complex computers. 

The Google Car employs a laser Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) system that helps the car to sense and image its immediate environment and send those images to the central on-board computers that allows the car to safely navigate in traffic.

The cars also use a complete onboard routing and navigation Google Carsystem which uses real-time traffic data to give you the optimal course to get you to your destination in the shortest amount of time (otherwise known as Google Maps).

In 2011, Google was able to successfully lobby the State of Nevada to allow the operation of a driverless car to be driven within the state.  Three others states, California, Florida, and Michigan have since adopted similar laws along with pending legislation in a multitude of other states.

Google now has a fleet of 23 vehicles, including cars manufactured by Toyota, Lexus, BMW and Audi which have already been test driven 1.7M miles on public streets and highways.

Last month, Google reported that over the course of all those test miles, their vehicles had been involved in 11 accidents.  However, when one looks at the data reported, it showed that the Google cars involved in the accidents had actually been hit by other cars including 7 incidents where other drivers rear-ended the Google car while the Google car was stopped at an intersection.

Currently a Google car costs about $150,000 to manufacture with Google Carabout $70,000 of the cost in the Lidar sensing system.  Sergey Brin, however, believes that the cost of the car will eventually be reduced to around $40,000, which is still fairly high for most people.  It is expected that the first production cars will be available starting in 2020.

I began thinking about the cost, but then I started to calculate the savings I could create just by being productive during those 100 minutes a day.

Now, I’m certain that a self-driving car is not for everyone.  There are plenty of people who were very happy riding their very reliable horse instead of driving one of those new-fangled automobiles (yes... automobiles were less-than-reliable during those early days... along with no paved roads).

However, to be fair, mainstream car manufacturers have been slowly automating cars now for decades, including cruise control, safety braking, navigation systems, automated parallel parking controls, back-up cameras, and now automatic lane changing technology. 

A fully automated car was simply the next step in this evolution. 

Additionally, I’m okay with the thoughts of removing drunk, impaired, significantly elderly, and/or "text and drive" drivers from getting behind the wheel.  In the words of Second Amendment advocates... cars don’t kill people... irresponsible drivers do.

Understandably, there are many hurdles that still need to be overcome before a "chauffeured car" is sitting in everyone’s garage, but I suspect that day is only a few years away... not decades or even centuries.

I’m excited to be living during a time when the greatest advances in technology ever witnessed have occurred. 

Change can be challenging for a lot of people... things that we know and love are being discarded for new and different things... but that’s what makes life interesting and exciting for all of us...

Our endless thoughts are driving the limits technology...

...and technology will soon be driving us to work each morning.

Thank you for your continued support of OptiFuse where we continue to embrace the technologies that help improve the quality of our lives.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Super-Heroes in Real Life...

"You’re going to make a difference... A lot of times it won’t be huge... it won’t be visible even... but it will matter just the same"

                    ~Commissioner James Gordon
                      Batman, Gotham Central
A few weeks ago I found myself at an event where new-comers needed to introduce themselves to the regular members.

Since there were several people in the audience that needed to be introduced, our introductions were limited to three questions:
  • What is your name?
  • What is your occupation or business?
  • What is your super-power?
Now I was quite sure of my name and business... but I was really thrown off my game with the last question...

As I sat in my chair awaiting my turn, my mind was racing with activity regarding everything I know about super-heroes.

First of all... unlike most engineers and/or scientists typically depicted in the media... I have no great affinity for comic books or super-heroes...

I have, to this day, never seen any Spiderman, Superman, Ironman, Batman, or Fantastic Four movie... incredulous as that might seem... that is just simply not my genre.

I do however, know a little of the back story of the main characters (proving I don’t live my life in a cave up in the hills) [...oh... and an aside to those of you who are indeed super-hero experts... please don’t send me "hate mail" because I missed a detail or two... I fully admit in advance that I know very little about comic book super-heroes].

Comic book super-heroes come in all varieties and sizes.  Some super-heroes were alien beings from another world, while other super-heroes were self-trained in art of crime-fighting, while still others were transformed by some catastrophic event into a being with super-human powers.

Superman was an extraterrestrial from the planet Krypton sent to earth by his parents.  SupermanThere he was adopted and raised on a farm by Jonathan and Martha Kent where he developed a strong moral code of right and wrong.  His demeanor was that of a shy and kind person with a mild-manner.

Being an alien being, he possessed super-human powers and strength as compared with earthling beings for which he used to combat crime and confound evil on earth.

Bruce Wayne, as a young child, had witnessed his parents’ murder.  He devoted his early life to developing powers of reasoning, intellect, technology, and physical prowess.

As an adult, he took on the persona of Batman,Batman using the skills he had developed, to fight crime and protect the City of Gotham.

Although Batman was fearless in the face of danger and his enemies, his alter-ego, Bruce Wayne was a mild-mannered millionaire playboy.

Batman possessed an impeachable code of honor and ethics while doling out vigilante justice to those who broke the law.

Peter Parker was an orphaned shy nerdy teenage student filled with rejection and self-doubt. 

While at a science fair, he was bitten by a radio-active spider after which he developed the proportionate characteristics of arachnids Spidermanincluding super-human strength and the ability to adhere to walls and ceilings.  Later he invented a device that allowed him to shoot adhesive webbing from an attachment on his wrists.

At first he didn’t use his new-found powers to prevent crime, but later, after his adopted father was murdered, he concluded that "with great power came great responsibility".

Peter Parker continued to live a dual life of the shy introvert transforming into a highly effective crime fighter when called upon by authorities.

Above are only three examples of the most famous of the comic book super-heroes.

Even though the creation and storylines of the various super-heroes differ, there are many similarities that are present in most of these characters: 
  • They all possess some sort of super-human power... whether it was God-given, self-developed, or accidentally administered, the end result is that each of our heroes have certain traits that go beyond that of mortal men and women.
  • They all have a great sense of character.  They are morally and ethically pure, quickly differentiating between good and evil, wrong or right, and moral and immoral.  Their main purpose in life is to help other people.
  • They all have an alter ego that is relatively shy and reserved.  They are not super-heroes all the time.  Instead, they are normal citizens most of the time and only transform into super-heroes when the situation necessitates it.  They shun the spotlight and fortune it brings to live a quiet and peaceful life seamlessly blending into the community they hope to protect.
Comic book super-heroes are fictional characters.  They don’t really exist.

What does exist however, are real-life heroes. These are people who exhibit many of the same attributes of a comic book super-hero, but aren’t necessarily from another galaxy.

First and foremost, they are blessed with some type of extraordinary "powers"... although some might call those innate talents.  Throughout their lives, they have worked hard to hone those God-given gifts into tangible skills. 

These super-human skills aren’t due to radioactive bites, a new undiscovered technology, or a wonder-drug administered by the Justice League.  Instead these skills are due primarily to hard work, devotion to one’s craft and/or art, and lots and lots of determined practice.

Secondly, these everyday heroes have an impeccable internal moral compass.  They understand the difference between right and wrong and live each day to uphold their principles and ideals.  They fight against injustice and try their best to leave the world a slightly better place than when they arrived.

Lastly, these are people who live, for the most part, an anonymous life.  They give freely of themselves, not because of what it’ll bring them in return but rather because it’s the right thing to do.  Although they set high standards for themselves, they do not judge others or try to impose their values on others. 

These heroes among us don’t bask in the limelight or bring undue attention to their deeds and actions.  To them, a good deed, action, or thought is a reward unto itself.

These individuals live to "pay it forward" for they know only too well that they rise above only because they are standing on the shoulders of the individuals who came before them.  Helping others is their own way of showing gratitude to the army of people who have helped them achieve their own successes.

So I sat there listening to the people standing in front of the room... reciting their name and occupation and wondering as to their true super-hero identity.  Would one of them admit to being Wonder Woman or Captain America if prompted?

Soon it was my turn...

Hi... I’m Jim Kalb... I am the president of OptiFuse, a growing circuit protection company... super-power is telling stories that hopefully inspire people to do great things and make a difference in their world...

As I returned to my seat, I felt humbled by my disclosure and just wanted to assimilate back into the seated crowd...
We are all super-heroes in one way or another... what super power will you one day boldly announce to a crowded room?
Thank you for your continued support of OptiFuse where we recognize and honor the every day super-heroes who continue to protect the world.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Planting Seeds of Thought...

"When I see a plant that has died, I do not mourn, rather I see it as a sign that it is now the time to replant"
                                           ~Anook Shah

Not too long ago, I found myself on a road trip from San Diego to the San Francisco Bay area.

The first step of the journey is simply to drive directly north on Interstate 5 to Los Angeles.  This is really the only practical highway. 

Once you’ve arrived in LA you can choose one of two methods to continue your northbound journey, you can continue on Interstate 5 through the farmlands of the central valley or deviate to the more coastal route of U.S. 101.

Most of the time I’ll travel via the more scenic U.S. 101 despite the fact that it generally takes an extra 2 hours to go this way.  But on this occasion, time was a vineyardbit more critical so I decided to use Interstate 5 instead. 

Over the course of 5 hours, I drove through some of the most fertile farm land in the world.  There I saw grape vineyards, fruit orchards, walnut trees, and large open fields of alfalfa.

It was the spring, so farmers were busy plowing their fields to ready the soil to plant this season’s crops.

Living in the high-density urban environment of San Diego rarely gives me the opportunity to see working farms.

As I drove my car down the straight highway, my mind began to wander as I began thinking of the life lessons that could be ascertained from farming.

Today, I wanted to share a few of these thoughts with you...

The Uncertainty of Seeds

Almost all life begins from a single seed. 

A long time ago, back in elementary school, I once had a teacher who thought it would be a great experiment for her class to grow plants from seeds.

One day she brought a brown paper sack to class, full of various seed types for us to plant.  We were each instructed to take a few seeds to plant in our Styrofoam  seedscups.  We asked our teacher what each of the seeds were... but she said that this was part of the experiment... the uncertainty of what would grow from the seeds we planted.

We all sowed seeds and added water to the cup.  After a few days, a few sprouts emerged from the soil though not all the seeds produced a seedling.  Some seeds remained in the dirt unopened.

Although we had now had seedlings, it was still difficult to know exactly what types of plants were growing in our cups.

After a few more days, several of the plants began to display certain distinguishing characteristics... but it wasn’t for several weeks did we know for certain what type of plant was actually growing.  germinateAfter even more time, our seeds had matured into ripe plants, and we were soon being nourished by our hard work and efforts.

This was supposed to be a science experiment... but our teacher used this as a life lesson. 

She explained that most great ideas start simply as unknown seeds... some will germinate... while others remain unopened in the ground.  Often, when good ideas first begin to sprout, they are hard to differentiate from other bad or mediocre ideas.

It is only after they are allowed to grow are they readily identifiable and if nurtured can grow into something tangible and beneficial.

Creating a Bridge Between the Present and the Future

If you plant a carrot seed, that seed has the immediate potential of producing exactly one carrot (discounting the fact that if you wait for the carrot to flower you could potentially end up with hundreds of seeds to plant the following season).

The carrot might be ready to harvest in only 30-40 days from the time the seed was planted but the nourishment from that one carrot is limited.

If you grow a tomato plant, you will wait a little longer to harvest fruit (maybe 90-100 days).  However unlike the carrot, you may be able to harvest fruit from that single bush for several weeks thereafter.  A well-tended, healthy tomato plant may produce up to 50 or so tomatoes over the course of one season allowing you substance for many weeks.  After the season is complete, the tomato plant dies and will need to be replanted the following season.

If you grow an apple tree from a seed, the first year you will not applesreceive any fruit from your labor.  Nor will you in year two.  Perhaps in the third year, the tree will produce 1 or 2 apples.  The following year, you may perhaps get 6-10 apples.

But each year, the apple tree will continue to grow and will produce more and more apples.

One apple seed could, in fact, produce thousands of apples over the tree’s life time.

However, if a new farmer were to only grow apples, he would ultimately starve because he would have no nourishment to sustain him over the three years he would be waiting for the first apples to be produced.

The key to most successful business models is to have carrot customers (those who produce a quick one-time sale), tomato customers (those who take a little longer to cultivate but will ultimately produce some repeat sales however these same customer will eventually die off after awhile) and apple customers (those who take years to grow but who will produce more and more revenue for your company year after year)... 

Every business needs carrots, tomatoes and apples...

Crop Rotation

As I drove down the highway, I noticed that many of the fields contained nothing but overgrown weeds.

Science and experience has demonstrated that even the most fertile soils need the opportunity to rest.  Continuous planting robs the earth of essential nutrients needed to sustain long-term growth.

The ancient Egyptians practiced a three-field rotation where a cereal crop, such as wheat or rye was planted the first season, a vegetable crop the following season, and during the third season, the field was left fallow.

And so goes our lives...

Our first season is for our work.  Spending our time and energies to produce something tangible...

Our second season is left for ourselves and our families. Being engaged with our children, our significant others, and our friends. This is a time for creativity and education. Preparing us to our work...

The third season is for sleep and rejuvenation. Although we can continue on, our productivity will be diminished and if we continue to push forward we will strip ourselves of the nutrients needed to perform at an optimal level.

One of the great keys to a successful life is constantly rotating our attentions, carefully balancing the important with the urgent so our days are filled with feast rather than famine.

Farming is the backbone of any civilizations... not only for the food it produces but also for the lessons it teaches us.

Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we continue to plant new ideas which will bring us all a bountiful harvest in the future...