Friday, October 23, 2009

Jefferson, Buffett, Rice, Parsons

Everyone needs role models. If you are one of those folks who considers himself (ok, to be politically correct..himself/herself…but isn’t that really unwieldy?) a one-of-a-kind-doesn’t-need-a-role-model person, then God Bless You. We’ll put your picture on a stamp, retire your jersey, and salute your statute out in front of the post office.

The rest of us are human and often need to look ahead to those folks who have blazed the trail in life and show us the way to do things.

Here are four of my role models (I have more, but you’ll get the idea). In no particular order they are: Thomas Jefferson, Jimmy Buffett, Ron Rice, and Bob Parsons.

Jefferson is self-explanatory. President John F. Kennedy once hosted a group of Nobel Prize Winners at the White House. He said, “Never before has there been so much intelligence gathered at the White House…with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

Jimmy Buffett proved that you could turn a beachcomber/sailor/troubadour lifestyle into a brand and make a living at it.

Ron Rice invented Hawaiian Tropic. He proved that you could be a lifeguard forever. I once had the pleasure of interviewing Rice. I asked him for the secret to a successful life. He said, “Mike, I’ll tell you something no one else will tell you. Go where you want to be. Then find a way to make a living so you can stay there in the style you would like.”

Bob Parsons created Godaddy.com. He showed the way for making a living in the Wild, Wild West of the 21st Century, the Internet.

Who is your role model? We all need’em. Except for the statue folks.

It’s 4 pm on a beautiful fall Friday in Chapel Hill and I’m listening to Buffett right now. I can hear something cold and wet calling my name (no, it’s not a dog’s nose). Have a great weekend.

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