Friday, July 31, 2015

The Proposition...

For it is in giving that we receive...

                           ~St. Francis of Assisi


I met my friend Dee in 2010 along with her best friend and husband Marc. Marc and Dee  Dee is a registered nurse at a local San Diego hospital while Marc spends his days as a contractor.

Together Dee and Mark were training to ride in the California Coast Classic, an annual 8-day bicycle ride to support the Arthritis Foundation by helping to raise money and awareness.

Each Saturday, during the spring and summer months, Dee and Marc would meet up with our group to train together for our big ride in the autumn.

One such Saturday, Dee was noticeably absent and when I asked DeeMarc, he casually mentioned that Dee would most likely not be riding with us for several weeks.  When I asked him "why" he told me that Dee’s rheumatoid arthritis had begun to flare up again and that she was in so much pain that it was unbearable for her just to walk lest ride a bike.

I was floored... she seemed like she was in such good shape just a few weeks ago... and in fact... I never even suspected that Dee suffered from arthritis... she was so young and vibrant.

How could it possible attack someone like Dee?


As I would later learn, today there are over 50 million, doctor diagnosed, American adults who suffer from at least one form of arthritis.  In addition to the adults, there are over 300,000 children, under the age of 18, who suffer from juvenile arthritis.  Arthritis affects more people than heart disease, cancer or diabetes.

Arthritis is the nation’s leading cause of disability costing the U.S. economy more than $128 billion dollars each year.

Each year, arthritis accounts for 40 million outpatient visits, 1 million hospitalizations, and over 7 thousand deaths.

While you might believe that Arthritis is an "old person’s" disease, over 2/3 of all arthritis sufferers are under the age of 65.

Arthritis can strike seemingly healthy individuals at any time... Dee is a perfect example of how someone can appear healthy at one moment and become debilitated in the next.


In 2010, I was invited to participate in a bicycle ride down the coast of California, 535 miles over the span of 8 days to raise money and awareness for the Arthritis Foundation.

I found that people participating in this ride generally fall into one of two categories:
  • Bicyclists who want to spend 8 days riding along one of the most scenic routes in the entire world... but couldn’t care less what the cause is...
  • Supporters of the Arthritis Foundation who want to raise money and awareness for the prevention and cure of arthritis... but could care less what the event is...  
I must honestly admit that prior to 2010, I was of the former group... not the latter.

Then in 2010, I met people like Dee and Marc and my entire perspective changed. 

That year I rode together with 300 other riders in the 10th annual California Coast Classic... many of whom were severe sufferers of arthritis but somehow found the strength and courage to ride the entire 535 miles.

Dee was supposed to be one of those riders but fate had something else in store for her.

Since 2010, I have met some incredible people... people who try their best to live normal lives despite the excruciating pain they must sometimes endure.  I have had the opportunity to talk with kids, their parents, and other adults who have tried their best to go on each day despite their affliction.

The Arthritis foundation uses the money raised in this event for three main purposes:
  • Funding research grants to find better treatments and one day a cure for arthritis
  • Educating patients on how to better control their arthritis through community outreach programs
  • Advocating on behalf of people, arthritis sufferers at all levels of government 
This year I have decided to once again ride for the Arthritis Foundation. 


My goal this year is to again raise $5,000 for the Arthritis Foundation from direct donations which, and through matching, will actually be $10,000.

So what exactly is my proposal to you...

Last year, I presented the readers of the OptiFuse blog with a unique opportunity to win 50,000 Southwest Airlines Rapid Reward points along with several other consolation prizes.

The grand prize was won by Ken M., a supporter in Chicago who used the points to visit his kids and grandchildren in California during the Christmas holidays (remember Southwest Airlines has no blackout dates).

This year I have decided to up the ante... making it a WIN-WIN-WIN proposition for all participants.

On August Friday August 28, I will hold an opportunity drawing with a very limited amount of entries (100 to be exact) for all those people who donate $50 or more.

The Grand Prize is again 50,000 Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards points.  

Now depending on how you book your travel... these points could be as many as 8-10 one-way trips on SWA... or two tickets to California on Christmas Eve.

In addition to the grand prize... I have decided to offer a 2nd prize of 25,000 Rapid Rewards Points as well as a 3rd prize of 10,000 Rapid Rewards Points.

In addition, to the prizes above... there will be 30 additional prizes including gift cards to restaurants, movies, iTunes, and department stores.


Therefore there is at least a 1 in 3 chance of winning some prize if all the entries are sold... (last year there was 56 donors so the odds were better than 1 in 2 of receiving a prize)

To donate please click or copy and paste the following link into your browser:

(Please make sure that you click on the "give now" button rather than making a "general donation" otherwise I won’t see that you have donated in order to credit you with an opportunity entry.)

For each $50.00 donation you make, you will receive 1 entry to the drawing. 

The Arthritis Foundation is a fully recognized 503c charity so your donation is fully tax deductible and you will receive a letter from the Arthritis Foundation for tax purposes.


In addition to your generous donation... for every dollar raised, OptiFuse will match your donation dollar for dollar.

Therefore... doing the math... for every $50 donated by you... $100 will be donated to the Arthritis Foundation...


I know that many of the readers have their own specific causes that they support... be it... Breast Cancer, Scouting, The Cancer Society, Doctors without Borders, or any other worthwhile charitable organization.

These are wonderful organizations that do some incredible work both here and abroad.

Therefore... if you choose to support the Arthritis Foundation with a donation... I will personally make a matching contribution to your favorite 503c non-profit charity (up to $1,000).

So let’s sum up my proposal:

For every $50.00 tax-deductible donation to the Arthritis Foundation - 
  • You will receive 1 entry to the opportunity drawing for prizes
  • Your donation will be matched by OptiFuse giving your donation a 2 for 1 multiplier effect.
  • Your personal charity will receive an equal donation by me personally
You win... the Arthritis Foundation wins... your personal charity wins...

Now I suppose I could just write a check and be done with it... but raising money is only one of the two purposes of this ride... the other expressed purpose of the ride is to DeePeople like Dee and millions of others like her...

I’m riding so that one day no one ever again will feel the pain of arthritis...
Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we are humbled to be given the opportunity to help others who need it. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Leadership and The Medal of Honor

Success is peace of mind... which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming
                                       ~ John Wooden

In 1861, through legislation introduced in the United States Senate, the Congressional Medal of Honor was created. 

The Medal of Honor is Medal Of Honorthe highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual in the Armed Services of the United States, generally presented by the President of the United States in the name of Congress.

Since the time of its inception, there have been 3,495 recipients of the Medal of Honor, 79 who are still alive today.

One such honoree is Army Captain William Swenson.

While serving as an advisor to the Afghan Border Police in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan, more than 60 enemy Taliban combatants ambushed Capt. Swenson and his combat team as they entered the town of Ganjgal on the morning of Sept 9th.

While under intense attack, Capt. Swenson directed return fire while simultaneously coordinating air and artillery support. 

The combat team was soon surrounded on three sides and taking heavy causalities. 

While still under heavy and accurate fire, Capt. Swenson maneuvered, uncovered, to help administer emergency medical assistance to several wounded soldiers lying in the battlefield. 

As a helicopter evacuation of the wounded ensued, Capt. Swenson led a team in an unarmored vehicle into the forward area of fighting to recover wounded and fallen comrades. 

After recovering 3 wounded soldiers, he returned again to the area of intense gunfire leaving the vehicle and exposing his self to enemy fire to recover 4 more fallen men.

Capt. Swenson offered great leadership and stout resistance during the six hours of continuous fighting eventually beating back the enemy’s assault.

For his great act of Capt. Swensoncourage under fire, extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty, Captain William Swenson was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on October 15, 2013.

After the ceremony, Captain Swenson was asked by reporters why he risked his life to evacuate the wounded and reclaim the fallen soldiers.

He humbly responded, "They would have done the same for me".

Looking after others is what true leaders do.

Captain Swenson wasn’t a leader because he had bars on his uniform or because he was trained; he was a leader because he innately put others before himself... even in the most demanding and stressful of all situations.

Leadership is a choice and exists at all levels of any organization.

Some people at the top of an organization have authority but they are not leaders. 

Instead of sacrificing themselves to help others... they sacrifice others to better themselves...

This is why we have become outraged at the disproportional pay between C-suite executives and front-line workers. 

These same corporate executives continue to extract large bonuses at the expense of reducing their workforce, cutting workers’ pay and benefits, and/or creating toxic work places where employees feel unsafe and under appreciated.

Contrast this to healthy and prosperous enterprises where the company’s leadership puts workers and customers before profits.

In these organizations, people work together in cooperation rather than in competition.  Employees give everything they have... their heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears to make their company successful and help to support their leaders.

Why would employees do this?

They do it because they truly believe that their leaders would do it for them if the shoe was on the other foot.

Truly effective leaders create an environment of trust among workers by creating and implementing the following disciplines within their organization:
  • They provide the safety to fail.  Bad companies regularly punish those individuals who take initiative but fail.  In contrast, great organizations want people who can think, create and act independently but yet still want to be a part of a team.
  • They work hard to develop and grow people instead of just growing profits.  Leaders aren’t afraid that they are training and developing people who will ultimately leave the organization to become assets for someone else.  Strong leaders understand that growth in people leads to eventual growth in profits.  They do this by giving honest and constructive feedback in a timely manner.
  • They hire other leaders who also put others before their own interests... regardless of the position being filled.  They don’t allow managers to sacrifice others so that they can gain.  One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch so care must be taken to rid organizations of toxic managers and "diva" personnel... or better yet... never hire them in the first place. 
  • They help to create a clear direction that answers the question, "Why are we here... doing what we are doing?"  This means that there needs to be complete transparency in the organization with clear objectives for everyone to see and understand.
  • They help individuals understand where they fit in.  This doesn’t mean simply giving people a job description, but rather help them to understand what it is that they do to help "complete" the organization. 
  • They lead... not from behind... but out in front.  They lead by example.  They have impeccable character and integrity.  They always tell the truth.  They work harder than everyone else.  They truly care about people and want to help others succeed.  They ask questions and listen intently.  They take responsibility for their decisions and take decisive and timely action.  They always conduct themselves in a professional and respectful manner regardless of the situation.  They are calm under fire.
A great leader sees more in you than you can sometimes see in yourself.

When things are going well, there is a propensity for bad leadership to be masked. It’s only when it all hits the fan does true leadership rise to the top and step into the line of fire.

Providing leadership is something everyone has the capacity to do... if they choose to do so.

It means making sacrifices.

Ask most parents whether they would sacrifice themselves for the well-being of their children and the answer would be a resounding "YES".

I can’t think of any situation where a parent, if things got really bad, would "lay-off" their kids throwing them out on the street to save the remaining members of the family, yet certain companies do this time and time again. 

Being a good leader is akin to being a good parent.

A good parent provides safety, encouragement, coaching, teaching and discipline when warranted.

...and when our kids succeed, we feel pride in knowing that we somehow played a role in their development... the same way leaders feel pride in knowing that they helped others to grow and succeed.

Today more than ever... we need leaders who actually lead... not people who simple want the reins of power to enrich themselves... at the expense of others...

Captain William Swenson exemplified leadership on the battlefield that day not because it would one day earn him the Congressional Medal of Honor...

...but because it was the right thing to do...

Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we hope to lead by example and encourage others to do the same.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Customer Experience...

"Customer service is the experience we deliver to our customer. It’s the promise we keep to the customer. It’s how we follow through for the customer. It’s how we make them feel when they do business with us."
                                  ~ Shep Hyken

Over the past several weeks, I’ve spent an unprecedented amount of time on the road visiting with distributors and customers.

One of the more interesting conversations occurred earlier this week when I was speaking with Bob, the owner of a mid-sized electronics distributor headquartered in Southern California.

The basic premise of our discussion concerned how the service levels, in almost all industries, have declined to a point of almost non-existence.  There was a time when a customer felt special for patronizing a business concern and received individual attention and impeccable customer service.

Bob and I, being roughly of the same age, waxed nostalgically about times when the customer truly felt like they were important to the business that was serving them.

The first place that we both remembered this transformation occurring was at the gas pump.

I am not that old, but I still distinctly remember when a service Sinclairstation (they were still called service stations 40 years ago) attendant would pump your gas, check your oil, and wash your windows.

Then two strange things began to happen in the early 70’s, gas prices began to rise sharply due to the oil embargo of OPEC (almost tripling within a 180-day window). 

As a way to help reduce costs to consumers, service stations began offering two price levels to its customers... a full-service price and a self-service price (typically about 10% less than full-service).

This was the starter’s pistol to begin the race to the bottom...

In 1978, congress passed the Airline Deregulation Act effectively breaking the monopoly of the airlines by allowing new airlines to compete in the market. 

Instead of effectively competing by offering better service levels to their customers, the new, smaller airlines decided to instead compete strictly on price offering low-costs and no-frills to their prospective customers.
Soon these low-cost providers began to steal market-share from the legacy airlines.  In order to remain competitive, the larger airlines began to match the low-cost pricing structures of the discount airlines and in doing so, they cut services while adding significant add-on fees for services once offered as a part of the ticket price.

Other industries soon followed this same no-frills (otherwise known as "no customer service") model including the big-box retail stores, self-service restaurants, movie theaters, internet retailers, hotels, healthcare and certain manufacturing sectors.

The basis for efficient capitalism is to create strong competition in the marketplace forcing suppliers to systematically reduce costs providing lower prices to consumers.

Product and service providers are simply just trying to react to market competitive forces by taking unnecessary costs out of the equation.

At this point, many of the readers might be pointing to "greedy corporations" as the culprit in this customer service debacle.

Providing a higher level of customer service means higher costs for product and/or service providers... and of course, higher costs means less profit for share-holders and less bonus money for C-suite executives...

However, the truth is, that corporations are not the sole culprits in the customer service void.

We... the consumers, with our insatiable appetite for paying the lowest possible prices, are the sole enablers in this story.

If consumers, in mass...

...decided to no longer patronize big box stores in lieu of small boutique stores that offer unique personalized service...

...if they refused to stay at hotels charging "resort fees" or fly on airlines that charged "baggage fees".

...simply said "no" to buying any product/service where there is no actual customer service person to speak with (and if there does happen to be an actual person at the end of a phone line... that person should be able to communicate with you in your native language... do you hear me American Express and Dell Computers?).

Unfortunately, a coordinated effort to stop patronizing businesses that regularly provide horrific customer service experiences is a futile endeavor.  These businesses understand that no matter how poorly they treat customers; there will always be a market of people who purchase solely on price.

This is not to say that by simply paying more money for something, customer service will instantly improve.

I currently lease a car that would be considered a luxury car by most standards.  I recently needed to take my car into the dealership to correct a small problem.  After waiting 30 minutes or so to see a "service advisor", I was told that my car was 40 miles beyond the car’s warranty so all servicing would be charged back to me.

A plea to the service manager only caused me to waste more of my valuable time as he recited the rules and regulations of the manufacturer’s warranty.

Rules are rules... and customers be damned.

The end of my lease is coming due in January... so I’ll be looking to find a new vehicle to drive... at the very least, this dealership has helped me to eliminate one place to visit in January.

Now it’s also interesting to note that several companies have recognized that there is a growing population of consumers who are beginning to shun the notion of racing to the bottom and are now providing goods and services directed at this consumer base.

This past weekend, some friends and I went to see the new hit movie, Minions.  We all quickly decided that we would shun the typical low price theaters, with their cattle herd treatment of their patrons, and instead go to a showing at a "luxury" theater where we could buy a reserved seat in advance, sit in a large and comfortable chair, and drink a cold "adult beverage". 

The cost differential between the two theaters, one where customers are treated like cattle and one where patrons are treated like customers was a paltry $6 per ticket.

This particular movie theater chain (Arc Light) isn’t trying to cater to a clientele to whom an extra few dollars might be significant (for example... teenagers who earn a minimum wage).  Instead, they realize that some people want a better movie-going experience and are willing to part with a few dollars to do so.

There is a movement afoot where consumers are now demanding a better service experience.  I see this in select restaurants, retail stores, and rental car agencies (personally, I absolutely refuse to rent cars from any company not named Enterprise based on a multitude of experiences, ranging from bad to horrific, with other rental car companies).

Although it might take a bit more effort, companies can and should try to find a way to provide a better service experience for their customers.

Anyone can try and win customers by offering a lower price... however this is not a sustainable model.

Most customers truly don’t want a low price... they want value.

And one of the best ways to create value is to truly offer a better buying experience for your customers... the key is making your customer feel as though they are your only customer and your sole job is to make sure that they are elated doing business with you and/or your company.

In the end... all business is conducted by people... so wouldn’t it be nice to be actually treated like a person?

Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we understand that our customers are human beings so we treat them as such.

Friday, July 10, 2015

What Time Is It?...

"We must all suffer from one of two things... either the pain of discipline, or the pain of disappointment or regret"
                                         ~Jim Rohn 

After several weeks of being chained to my desk at the office, I recently found myself on a business trip where I had the opportunity to meet with a few OptiFuse Timecustomers and distributors in the Pacific Northwest region of the country. 

There are very few things I enjoy more than talking with people who actually work with our products. 

And although life on the road can be challenging and tiring, I am so overcome with excitement about the conversations that I have during the day that I am often unable to sleep each night. 

Although most customer interactions are frequently very positive, I also have the opportunity to hear about problems, quality issues, or times where we simply screwed up.  These meetings are also extremely important as they help us to identify areas where we can improve our products, quality and service.

As the de facto leader of OptiFuse, I take full responsibility for ensuring that we are doing everything within our power to provide the best user experience for our customers.  If we aren’t doing something right... then I want to hear about it!

These days too many people refuse to stand up and take the blame themselves.

Case in point...

During that same business trip, I needed to meet with our sales representative for the territory.  A sales rep is responsible for helping to create local demand for our products.  They are not direct employees, but rather independent agents who represent several different companies with perhaps synergistic products.

Over the course of breakfast, I listened to the rep give me at least 10 good excuses as to why the sales in his territory were not growing...

...Our prices were too high.
...The local economy still has not fully recovered from the recession.
...The tax policies of the federal government were killing new innovation and investment.
...He has never been properly trained.
...Our catalog was severely out of date.
...We weren’t providing him with enough leads.
...Our regional managers (direct employees of OptiFuse) weren’t spending enough time in his territory helping him.

Every other sentence out of his mouth was another excuse as to why sales were lagging... he had an entire laundry list of things that were holding him back.

His list of explanations was extensive and exhaustive... all of the reasons he mentioned could have been good reasons... if they were true... but they weren’t...

...but as I saw it... his list was still missing one key item...

He NEVER mentioned... not once... that maybe... just maybe... the reason that sales were lagging was simply just him.

Taking the blame for failure was beyond him... it was everyone else’s fault... never his own...

I could have tried to explain to him that all of his "good reasons" were just excuses and that the real reason that sales weren’t happening was because he simply wasn’t doing the work it takes in order to be successful... but I would have simply been wasting my breath... he didn’t want to hear that...

He wanted to be a victim of his circumstances rather than the master of his destiny...

Every day we hear stories of people who have somehow overcome horrible situations only to find different ways to succeed...

They had goals... they had detailed plans to achieve their goals... they worked hard in a smart and disciplined manner... they encountered problems, disappointment and failure along the way... they weren’t discouraged by the setbacks but continued moving forward toward their goals. They accepted their failures without complaint and accepted their successes without apology because they know that they earned it.

I personally know scores of people who have started from very humble (another way to say poor) beginnings... they had insurmountable obstacles placed before them and the odds were stacked against them in every way... yet despite all of the difficulties... they somehow found a way to create a positive effect in the world.

Now mind you... I was careful as not to write that these people were now "rich"... because frankly, not all of them are.

Success isn’t measured by the size of one’s bank account rather success is measured on how you live your life and the priorities that drive you.

Mother Theresa, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Jr., Helen Keller and Nelson Mandela were not necessarily wealthy.  They never said to the world, "I’m in this for the money".

What they had was a dream... then a goal... then a plan... then action...

Undoubtedly they had setbacks along the way...

...but I never remember hearing Martin Luther King, Jr. tell his followers... "well... we were all arrested today... I think it’s time to pack it in and go home..."

...Helen Keller saying, "I am blind and deaf... those are two great reasons to feel sorry for myself..."

...Nelson Mandela saying, "I wish I was born with fairer skin..."

They didn’t blame anyone else for their predicament... they took full responsibility for everything that happened... knowing that somehow... everything happens for a reason.

Disappoints are not special gifts to the poor... they happen to everyone...
They weren’t trying to "cover their asses" by not taking a stand... not making hard decisions... or not leading by example...

In the insurance industry... actuaries, within a very small margin of error, can predict how many people will die each year... they just can’t name names...

In the same way... there is a very high probability that something bad or adversarial will happen to each of us sometime over the course of the next year... we just don’t know exactly what it will be and who it will affect... all I can tell you is that it will undoubtedly occur...

The difference between individual success and failure will be measured by what each person does to overcome their particular setback... and this is what separates the winners and the losers...

Winners will find a way to overcome whatever obstacles or setbacks which are placed before them... whereas losers will allow those hurdles (or sometimes walls) to hold them back.

No matter what I did to help alleviate the issues from the sales rep... he would continue to find new excuses to explain his lack of success...

The real question I should (but didn’t) ask him was, "what are you going to do to make a change?... because if you don’t change anything... then everything will remain exactly the same... ".

Sometimes we need to take a look around... if we don’t like what we see... if success has been eluding us... if we have more questions than answers...

...then perhaps now is the time for us to make that change...

Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we hope to lead by example by helping others to find their successes... wherever they may be.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Great Disruption...

"Productivity growth, however it occurs, has a disruptive side to it.  In the short-term, most things that contribute to productivity growth are very painful"
                                    Janet Yellen
                                    Federal Reserve Bank

Not too long ago I found myself at a business conference that concerned itself with big new ideas.

Needless to say, most of the topics were very "futuristic" and included ideas such as healthcare, artificial intelligence, Planetself-driving vehicles, satellite broadband, and resource sharing.  Many of the thoughts involved the term commonly known as "disruptive technology" or sometime also known as "disruptive innovation".

The idea behind disruptive technology is that there becomes a completely new way of doing something that totally replaces the old way of doing something in a relatively short time period.

An example of this might be compact discs replacing vinyl records only for compact discs to be replaced by digital downloads a short time later.

Although music was still purchased by listeners, it no longer required a traditional retailer to provide the medium to the listener.  A listener could hear a song being played, use their smart phone to immediately identify the song, and then download a copy of the song to their listening device... all before the song was over.

There are hundreds of examples where a disruptive technology has conspired to displace a company or entire industry.

Wikipedia and Google effectively have killed the encyclopedia business.

The telephone replaced the telegraph...

Television effectively replaced radio...

Electronic calculators replaced slide rules...

LEDs replaced light bulbs...

Digital photography replaced film...

Desktop computers replaced secretaries (in the traditional sense I suppose... although there are plenty of assistants still employed).

The progressive company who successfully discovers and markets the new disruptive technology is rewarded handsomely as the spoils of business are stripped from one company and given to another.
Although the changing of the guard may be good for some... it can also be equally devastating for others.

Thousands of people were quickly thrown out of work when the automobile replaced the horse and buggy... but where they lost their job, perhaps as a blacksmith... they quickly gained employment on the assembly line constructing new cars.  It was different work... but it was still work.

After tens of thousands of years, disruptive technology turned the nomadic hunters and gathers into farmers and stationary civilizations arose.

After a few thousand years, new technologies helped to bring technology such as tractors, to the fields and with it, displaced farm workers.  These former farm workers then moved to the cities to work in manufacturing factories producing inexpensive goods.

After a hundred years, new disruptive technologies in communications and transportation allowed factories to be set-up in other places around the world where labor was less expensive and raw materials were more plentiful... so people then found themselves exiled from the manufacturing sectors and became employed in the service industries.

Each time a disruptive technology caused jobs in one area to evaporate; new jobs were created in other areas of the economy.

Today, however, there are new forces taking root that threaten to topple our economic systems and models.

In only 65 years since 1950, the population of the world has grown from 2.3 billion people to 7.2 billion people. 

At the same time, technology has significantly raised productivity among workers meaning that it now takes a lot less workers to produce more and more output.
So how will all of these new people contribute to our global society when it takes so many less people to do the work?

Shifting back to the conference, I heard about a new idea that could dramatically change the world in so many different ways... both good and no so good (depending on your perspective).
The speaker in front of our group spoke about a potential new breakthrough in cancer treatment. 

I should rephrase that... he didn’t talk about cancer treatment... he talked about a new technology that will produce a new cancer vaccine that cures and prevents cancer. 

The same way Jonas Salk, in 1955, developed a vaccine to successfully eradicate polio.

Prior to developing the vaccine, polio was epidemic, killing or paralyzing tens of thousands of children and adults each year.  The chart below shows the number of polio cases reported in the United States each decade:

          1945-1954           313,541
          1955-1964             69,835
          1965-1974                  399
          1975-1984                    75
          1985-1994                    15
          1995-2004                      0
          2005-2014                      0

Thanks to the great work of Jonas Salk, and the others who helped to refine the vaccine, polio is no longer a threat to us or our children.

Now imagine for a moment if a reliable vaccine for cancer was developed in the next 5-10 years. 

What would the world look like?

In 2014 in the U.S. alone, there were 1,658,370 new cancer cases and deaths relating to cancer according to American Cancer Society.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there were 8.2 million worldwide deaths related to cancer in 2012 along with 14 million new cancer cases.

In the previous 30 years, $90B has been spent on cancer research and treatment in the United States... more than heart disease, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, mental health, and strokes combined.

There are currently 260 non-profit organizations somehow involved with cancer research or treatment with a combined annual budget of $2.6B. 

The National Cancer Institute (NCI), which is part of the National Institute of Health (NIH), has an annual budget of nearly $5B funded exclusively by U.S. federal government.

Cancer treatment and research is a really BIG business that employees hundreds of thousands of doctors, researchers, technicians and staff. 

There are hospitals, clinics, and research centers devoted just to cancer.

As I sat there listening to the speaker talk about the distinct possibility that a vaccine could be introduced within the next 10 years that would essentially eliminate all forms of cancer, I couldn’t help but think about all those individuals who have devoted their entire lives to researching and treating this deadly disease.

What does the future hold in stake for them and what will they would now do with their lives?

These people aren’t farm workers... they aren’t factory workers...

They are highly trained individuals who have invested so much in themselves and their cause... and will now be thrown to the streets...

Hospitals and research facilities with large staffs will be shuttered...

Non-profit agencies will no longer have a cause to fund-raise for...

What will all of these people and organizations now do?

The thoughts of this medical Armageddon raced through my mind as I tried to intently to listen to the speaker before me...

Would the medical establishment allow such a vaccine, if it became a reality, to actually enter into the marketplace knowing that it would cause so much economic and collateral damage?

Would those who spent their entire lives trying to find a cure try to discredit the vaccine (like so many did in the 1950’s against the polio vaccine) in order to save their own livelihoods or would they be euphoric to see their own dreams become a reality and rally behind this new lifesaver?
Are they willing to sacrifice the economic good of tens of thousands to save the lives of tens of millions?

I believe that the pendulum could swing either way...

Personally, I’m not of the opinion that a cancer vaccine is within our reach over the course of the next 5-10 years... but I could be very wrong...

...and this is what makes living life in today’s world so very interesting...

Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we know that we only have a job until there is some other better way developed to provide circuit protection.