Ch. 11 – Who Were your Mentors

Who Were Your Mentors?


I’ve had the good fortune to have had many mentors in my life. Some were personal, some professional, and a few were both. Because I benefited greatly from those associations, I feel obligated to share my experience with others when I can. If anyone can learn from my mistakes, then I have a lot to offer, because I’ve certainly made plenty of mistakes!

I won’t mention all of them here, but I do want to comment on a few.

  • Lee Cooper, a former President of Franklin Electric’s Programmed Power division, was one of the first prominent businessmen with whom I had close personal contact. He was hired as a consultant for the company at which I acted as both Chief Engineer and Marketing Manager. Consequently, we worked very closely together, and developed a friendship as well as a mentor/protégé relationship. I learned a great deal from Lee about old-school marketing and people, in general, that has stuck with me and helped form my business philosophy, particularly toward work ethic and customer service.

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Ch. 10 – Rubbing Elbows at Conferences- Critical Thinking

Rubbing Elbows


I used to attend a lot of conferences, in my former career. Even as only an attendee, it was usually a costly process. Between airfare, hotel, meals and “entertaining” expenses, I rarely got by for less than $5K. As an exhibitor, my smallest annual budget was $25k for a five day conference. One year, the budget for that same conference was $100K. So don’t sell short the investment that exhibitors make to be there to hand out their swag.

Now, semi-retired, I simply can’t afford to attend a conference unless it happens to be within commuting distance of my home. So I do the next best thing, and hang on every Tweet and blog post of those that liveblog from the conferences, in order to get as much out of it as possible.

Unfortunately, the part that is most important to me is lost… the networking.

“Hello, I’m Doc Sheldon, and I’m a networking addict!”

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Ch. 9 – Your Dream-Tools – Critical Thinking

Your Dream-tools


Having tried a hundred different tools and settling upon a half-dozen that perform at least part of what we need, we often still find ourselves wishing for something more. This is where our coder-fiend toolbuilder friends often get their inspiration – filling a void with increased functionality.

Not all our dreams, unfortunately, can be easily made reality. Alan’s below, for example, might still be a few years away. But feedback to toolbuilders does feed innovation. “Give us this option”, “add that capability”, “lose that¸ it’s just clutter!”… constructive criticism and suggestions can contribute a lot to the evolution of a tool into something that we later wonder how we lived without.

Besides, without dreaming, where would we be, as a species? Flight, medicine, automation, space travel… they all began as dreams. Surely a tool that does our job while we languish on the beach can’t be too much to ask, can it?

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