Friday, August 20, 2010

Might be…

So today I went for a tour at Disneyland called “Walk in Walt’s Footsteps” and our tour guide Frank did a super job. He crafted a vision of what Walt Disney the person was about, his thinking, and his view of the world. There were tons of little side notes and comments (like the fact that drawbridge on the castle actually works, but it was only once used – on opening day for the TV broadcast. It wasn’t meant to open and close but 48 hours before Disneyland’s opening Walt wanted the impact of the bridge opening and kids and families to come rushing out. The imaginieers made it happen.)

What hit me today was the fact that the Walt Disney I remember, on TV and in movies is the successful Walt Disney – the man that made his dreams real. On the tour today we learned a great deal of how hard, how long Walt Disney fought t make what he dreamed real. As Frank said today “Walt grew to realize that when people told him that his ideas were crazy, couldn’t be done – this is when he knew he was on the right path. That even his own brother Roy couldn’t fully understand the vision of these firsts – like the movie Snow White or Disneyland. While he believed in his brother and he was able to  was the fact that he made his brother Walt’s dreams real by raising the funds he needed. (Another little fact, when Disneyland was being built the budget was $1.9 million at the start and when it was done it was $17.5 million.)

Walt’s response to the negative, no way, nay Sayers was “might be” (‘Walt that is crazy, no one has ever done a ….’ – Might be?’) but he was the eternal optimist and he saw that in all troubles or mistakes things could be gained. Walt was about the possibility of people doing the impossible. Today I saw a Walt Disney that was human, was a man with the ability to communicate his dreams. A person that had very hard times, ups and downs but never gave up. A Walt Disney that was a young man with dreams and heroes. A Husband, Dad, a Grandpa, a friend. It was energizing to think of all the negative views that came at him and he still made amazing realities.

It was great today to just sit in the circle at the start of main street as see the happy families, the older couples walking hand and hand, the kids and the older guys wearing funny hats. The smiles, the eyes shooting all over taking it all in on this sunny day in southern California I could feel Walt’s spirit very much alive Today I gained a little of that can do energy, passion and vision. And next time someone says “no way Dave, you are crazy there is no way we can XYZ” I will think “might be…” and find a way to move forward.  Walt Disney spent 11 years personally developing the park (even living there from time to time).

(I got to go in the famous Club 33 and touched the doorknob that Walt would have used to open the door and also touched the bench that Walt was sitting on at a park one Sunday and the idea of Disneyland came to him.) 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Moment Before…

Just Before You Leap...

So this week Kristy, the girls and I went to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery (one of my favorite museums in DC) to see the current Norman Rockwell exhibit. Deep inside I have always had a fascination for Rockwell. In many ways I always saw his work as an advertisement for the American way. Capturing the sense of what was truly American of that time, while in the same brush stroke putting together a whole story in one image.

The day started out with all the right mood setters. For the first time in my life I was able to park right in front of the museum, we walked up and in five minutes the museum opened. While we waited and stood on the steps into the building I thought of all those that had come to this building when it was the Patent and Trademark building. Hopes, dreams, crazy ideas and inventions that would move the country, the world and business ahead. All walking up these same steps, model in hand waiting to see if they could become a part of the American dream and the annals of US history (once you are awarded a patent your name will live on!)

So in we went to see this private collection of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg of artwork by Rockwell. We went to the movie first and it was a great set up. Made me begin to remember how ingrained Rockwell’s images are part of my past and also capture a time in American that the possablities where there, the compassion was there and a sense of “together we all make this a great country.”
In the words of both Lucas and Spielberg (summarized) is the thinking that Rockwell was a storyteller. That in his art, with one picture he would tell a whole story. What takes a moviemaker a whole movie to tell, he would tell in a single picture. That through his lens he would shape a story of what we hoped America would be. That in a single image he captured volumes of feeling, emotion and a story from start to finish. They both also feel America needs a Rockwell of today, a way to capture this sense of what it means to be American. What we should be as a nation, a people.  We need more story tellers!

It was fun to see what each person collected and learn why and what motivated them to buy which art. The last picture is one of Spielberg’s favorites, if not his most favorite. The artwork hangs in his office as a daily reminder of the emotion, feeling and message behind it.  For him it represents that moment before he takes that leap into a new project, a new movie. That sense of fear, of not knowing what to really expect. The sense of being afraid and thinking can he do it? The moment before the leap is both fear and excitement, but in the end you need to take the leap!

Makes me think of something I once heard, “do what scares you that way you are more awake for the moment and really live in the moment.” 

Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out. Benjamin Franklin 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What Is Dave Doing???? The Next Adventure

Just wanted to share a quick update on where I am career wise and wondering what Dave is up to? Home life is going well and Carolyn and Hannah are having a good summer (so is Kristy...)

I joined Centennial almost 6 years ago after heading up the National Scrip Center.  As I liked to call myself, the Steward and Servant of this organization that was a non-profit organization supporting other non-profits. We raised over $20 million a year for charities and associations and non-profits across the United States. This was a great experience and while I thought I came to the NSC to do one thing (grow it to get back closer to $100 million a year) the fact was the overall financial structure of the entity was not right and we also had an attack from an unscrupulous for profit competitor (too long a story to go into here) - needless to say I ended up shutting down NSC. One thing that I took with me in my heart when NSC was finally done was the excitement, the passion that a team has to help others. I stood along side some AMAZING individuals that moved mountains to help charities, schools, non-profits. I missed that rush from the higher purpose.

So I joined Centennial after looking at the other job and career opportunities before me. I loved the idea of taking a successful, stealth, business and defining its brand and building its whole marketing and sales approach. When I joined the founder who hired me gave me a list of objectives to achieve. I believe I achieved all these objectives, and then some. It was a wonderful place to work and a great team to be on. I learned a great deal and I hope brought a great deal to the effort as well.  As I like to say, change is the only constant, and well change shifted its fate filled eyes towards me.

Recently I started to think what next? I wanted to lead an organization again, be able to apply my approaches to business and to teams. I wanted to do something that was more than just business, something with a heart and a soul focused on helping the world – and was really a creative business at the heart.

So about 5 weeks ago I received a call from someone I respect and worked with ten years ago.  We have stayed in contact over the years. They basically summed it up, “Dave I have a starting idea for a new business but I need someone to come and take it to the next level and to make it a stand alone business. There is only one guy I know that can do this and have fun at the same time, that is you. So you want to come create a business from the ground up? Be employee one? Build this the way you think it should? Lead it? Its time to get the band back together! (The Blues Brothers... I guess that makes me Jake?)” Wow... I knew this was something to seriously look at and think about.

So I sat down over a vacation at the Outer Banks (OBX) N.C. and typed up my ideas around this possible business and target market.  It flowed naturally from my mind and fingertips. It felt right. Next I  typed up my pros and cons comparison list. I also remembered that saying I heard many years ago “do what scares you a little bit, gives you that sense of excitement.” So after talking about it and doing a brain dump on the idea and gaining alignment with my future partner II said “yes” to the next adventure.

While it was very hard to leave Centennial, I know that the team that is there driving market and business development is a very, very strong team and they will do great things. The company is growing into new markets, strategic partners and offerings. Change will be good for them as well.

So what is it I am doing? Well I have to figure all that out. I left Centennial on July 30th and have been working on the planning, development and marketing around the business idea ever since. Summed up in simple terms the business is about helping associations and non-profits improve performance around corporate sponsorships, membership loyalty and fundraising. The rest is still in the works (name, offering, full business model, marketing, plans... Oh my... Take a breath David, OK breath in and out...) The goal is to set up a business that not only helps the world by helping associations and non-profits, but also is a successful business with creative team members doing amazing things.

Just so you know, Singing Eight Enterprises, It is the code name for the project I am working on (you know me I love project code names) Eight is a super lucky number in Chinese beliefs, it means good fortune. Almost like a natural luck. Singing is the idea to take this luck, these good wishes and amplify them (there are those that believe the universe is connected through tone and song, that the string theory is about harmony though different tones) and enterprises is a tribute to my last place. The real name of the business is TBD.

I will be sharing, looking for support and an ear to bend as I move forward on this adventure.

Best in Spirit! David C

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