“A plummeting stock price isn’t trouble. Trouble is when your kids take dope.” ~Ken Olson

[Editor’s note: That, my friends, is my favorite quote in the world. Ken Olson was a co-founder of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), one of the major forces at the start of the computer revolution. Now, granted, he also said in 1977 “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home” but in the full context, he was more right than wrong. I spoke to his son about the quote, but that’s a whole other story. Now back to the blog …]

I started my own high tech company about sixteen years ago. As most start-ups, it was out of my basement, typical geek stuff. Pearlsky was about a year old. One of the components of the thing I was designing and selling was a special custom cable; I found a small manufacturer about an hour north of here who could make it to my specifications. The first delivery of 50 went great. I then ordered 250 and needed many for a new, big customer.

The manufacturer called the day they were to be ready, and said we should meet half way. We picked a McDonald’s and met.

I don’t know how to tell you this, but we messed up. It will be at least two weeks before we can do them right.

Okay, keep me informed.

Silence.

Why aren’t you yelling at me?

He actually asked that. I had not known him very long, he did not really know me.

I go home every night to my severely disabled, epileptic, beautiful little girl. I listen to her breathing all night, listening for a seizure that might kill her, or her aspirating and that does her in. If she makes it through the night, I have to give her medications throughout the day. So, let me ask you, do 250 cables mean shit in this world?

He bought me a coke, we had some laughs, got to know each other a bit, and went on. The cables were ready in six days.

Perspective, my friends, perspective. And throw in some priorities, too.

God I love adore Pearlsky. A lot. (Can you “adore” “a lot”? I sort of thought that was all encompassing or something. You can’t “adore” “a little,” can you? Alas I’m a geek, not an English major.)

Oh, by the way, I got a call from the big shot at the wheelchair manufacturer, the one coming tomorrow to hand deliver chair number four. I got the head’s up … the chair is not perfect. I laughed out loud, really.

“A plummeting stock price isn’t trouble. Trouble is when your kids take dope.” Damn straight, Ken.

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  1. By Barbara

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