What I learned from my dad's first commercial invention

I recently posted on why I named my blog Lucky7 - it is a tribute to my mom.

I also referenced the tribute to my father in that post.

Below is a photo of his first commercial invention - proudly on my bookshelf at Austin Ventures. This is one of my most cherished items - it is the world's first halogen fishing light. My father sold this product all over the world, and had multiple patents on it. My parents were entrepreneurs from the time I was born - lifestyle entrepreneurs (I wrote about that in my post Bootstrap or VC?). I learned a tremendous amount from them as such. My wife, Debra, was also born to lifestyle entrepreneurs. Our parents were able to spend a tremendous amount of time raising us, especially by today's standards. That really shaped us.

I remember working on the label design with my father. There were no printers back then - this was in the early 1980s. This label was handdrawn by my dad. I remember his joy in selling and shipping these all over the world. I remember his many conversations with fellow fishermen about it, and retailers. I remember his anger when competitors infringed on his patent. I saw the ups and downs (mostly ups, fortunately). He was Tim Ferriss - but the real deal. Tim Ferriss isn't even "Tim Terriss" (I'm sure that the real Tim Ferriss is one of busiest people in the world, traveling and speaking all of the time). My dad wanted the lifestyle that would afford him the time to spend with us and go fishing 2-3 days each week. He achieved that. He lived his whole life like he was "on vacation". He pursued his passion from the beginning. I did the same with Bazaarvoice and Coremetrics. And, of course, I'm still very involved with and love Bazaarvoice. And I'll never forget the incredible experience at Coremetrics either (I'm not involved there today but still have a love for it; IBM acquired it two and a half years ago).

Over the holiday break, keep in mind how you are shaping your children. You are more responsible than anyone else - teachers, nannies, babysitters, etc. You. Yes, there is tragedy in this world. Debra and I chose not to talk to our children about the recent tragedy. Things are bound to happen with 7 billion people and a constant steam of 24/7 media, focused on breaking through the noise and garnering your attention by emphasizing the negative over the positive. I do very much care for the families that were directly affected by this tragedy. It is very sad, and there is no excuse for the completely senseless violence and loss of young life. I love how parents are visibly showing more love for their children during this time, where we are reminded of how precious life is. But there has been so much violence in this world since human beings started walking. That violence is documented in the Bible, the Torah, or whatever religious text you follow. The Dark Ages were especially brutal - with outrageous forms of torture and persecution. And let's not forget that the Holocaust just occured a little over 60 years ago. When Debra and I were in Israel, Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, was deeply moving and the best museum we have visited of it's type. So, again, we chose not to talk to our children about it. Instead, we choose to focus on what will shape our children - to bring out the best in them. Just like my parents brought out the best in me. Thank you, Mom and Dad. Your teachings and belief in me shaped me, Debra, and our children. I love you.