Sipping Scotch in 2031

This past week, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a private scotch tasting.  Blueprint Summit, a new New York community for successful business and philanthropic leaders, hosted the event at Alton Lane's New York showroom.  Surrounded by Good People and amazing custom mens clothing, sipping scotch from Balvenie just seemed perfect. Balvenie brand ambassador, Andrew Weir (previously know for his role as 'Young Hamish' in Braveheart) walked the group through the stories and subtleties of four different scotches.  It was incredible to learn what a difference a couple of years can make.  The 12 year old, which typically is my go to, was about what I expected.  But, jump up to the 14 and the notes were even more pronounced.  The 21 year old was our last sip of the night, but well worth it.   The 21 year old scotch is finished in barrels that previously held port wine. The result there were some new depth added to an already great scotch. The warmth of one sip lasted longer than any scotch I've tasted before

As the evening wound down and there was a bit of Q&A, I asked, "Was it the intention of the Malt Master to make a 21 year old scotch when they first put the barley, yeast, and water in the oak barrels in 1989?" Andrew shared the extremely unlikelihood of a barrel making it to 21 years.  Every year barrels are taken away and no one knows which ones will make it to the next year.  All they know when they begin the process and combine their ingredients needed to make a good barrel of scotch, is that out of the thousands of barrels started each year, only a few of them will last long enough and mature correctly to make the perfection otherwise known as the 21 year old.

I could help but ponder that thought this week.  In the rapid and fast paced world I live in, am I thinking about 2031? Am I building things that will grow and mature in 21 years? I am I working with the best ingredients right now to produce amazingness more than two decades from now? Will the final product of my labor today be worthy of the effort then? Am I thinking about a vision that is that big? Am I working toward a defined End Game?

These seem like good questions to ask over a glass of scotch.

Don't Cry For Me

I have often shared that one of my favorite things to do in the entire world is "Connect Good People with Great Opportunities" and that I do my best to be in the right place at the right time to do so.  Well, it looks like I am going to have the chance to do both next week in Argentina! With the success of Gowalla's recent campaign with AT&T and TOMS Shoes, it was a true privilege to be asked to join their teams for a week long trip to Argentina for the TOMS Shoes' 1,000,000th Shoe Drop.  It is no secret that I have been a big supporter of TOMS for years and it is really excited to get to take part in the face to face good that they do around the world.

It really is an honor to be a part of this trip and look forward to sharing the stories, pictures, and big ideas that take place in Argentina when I return.  If you don't own your own pair of TOMS, check them out here: TOMS SHOES

UPDATE: Josh Willaims, Gowalla CEO, and I will be experimenting with some cool new technology down in the jungles of Argentina and taking Gowalla where no check-in has gone before: Check it out on the Gowalla Blog

Good People: Eric Lyons

I keep a note on my iPhone called: Future Blog Posts.  It is where I jot notes and formulate some of the ideas that eventually end up here in one for or another.  Since blogging for me is a former of mental therapy, a chance to slow down my mind long enough to form a complete thought, I sometimes have to remind myself of some of the very cool ideas, opportunities, and interactions that race across my cerebral screen.

The topic that has the longest list and the most future entries is the subject of "Good People."  Good People, with a capital G and a capital P.  The kinds of people that I fight to keep close and do whatever I can to be a part of their current and future success stories.  The kinds of people that are not only incredibly good at what they do, but extremely passionate in the way in which they do it.  The kinds of people that know they are a part of something much bigger than themselves and are doing their part to make the world in which they live the best world they can imagine.

One of those people, and someone that will be a big part of future posts, is Eric Lyons.  Eric and I have been friends for a couple years and the deep level conversations about the immediate and lasting change that he sees for this world have enriched my perspective and altered my understanding of the not so nice side of the world I am more comfortable pretending doesn't exist.

In a recent article in Chatter Magazine, Eric tells his story and his vision for the world that he wants to be a part of.  It is a story and a vision that I am very proud to say I am aware of.  It is a story and a vision that I am extremely excited to be involved with.  It is a story and vision that I hope inspires you to be involved in the change that this world deserves.

In connecting Good People with Great Opportunities, these stories happen more often than I deserve.

Eric, it is an honor to know you and to see the work you do.

(Check out http://www.hopeforthesilentvoices.org/ to learn what you can do to get involved with Eric Lyons and his vision to stop human trafficking in our life time)

I Got This

I want to tell you a story about me, a tricked out maroon Cadillac thumping some serious bass, and a the very cold and very wet snow that was falling on Christmas eve. Add these three things together, throw in a flat tire, and finish it off with strangers hugging it out, and you have my little Christmas miracle.
In recent years I have been known to start and complete all of my Christmas shopping on the 23rd of December. I compile my list over the course of the previous couple weeks and then go hunting for presents. I say hunting because there is no debate as to what I am going to get. I walk in, snatch the item from the shelf (with love) and check out. I then spend Christmas eve morning as an OCD little elf doing my best to let some of my inner art skills shine through in my wrapping. But this year was different.
With the help of Annie and a little more intentional approach to the Holiday season, most of my presents were purchased and even wrapped before Christmas Eve. When I pulled out of the parking garage on Christmas Eve, my (super awesome amazingly nice Infiniti G35) was loaded down with all the presents and I was headed for my parents house. I had one last gift to buy, so I swung by Kohl's and nabbed it in 10 minutes flat. As I pulled out of the parking lot, I felt my tires slip a little in the snow that was lightly falling. Then as I pulled around the corner to merge back onto the highway, I realized that one of my tires was severely low on air. I drove back to the 7-11 and went to the air station to top it off. When I got out in the snow that was now falling pretty heavily, I looked down to see a completely flat and blown out tire.
So here I was, dressed up for Christmas Eve services, car full of presents, in the middle of the most snow Texas has seen in years, with a flat tire. I unpacked my trunk and pulled out the spare and the tire jack and went to work. The ground didn't get any warmer and the snow didn't get any dryer as i cranked on the tire lugs. Down on my hands and knees without much feeling in my finger tips was when I heard it.
From my vulnerable position sprawled out under my car, I heard what sounded like a Little Wayne concert rolling up next to me. I looked up and saw a tricked out maroon Cadillac with a canvas top and gold trim on everything. The driver's side dark tinted window rolled down and I saw a smiling black woman looking at me. In a high pitched voice she yelled out, "I brought you a helper!" As she spoke those words, a large black man emerged from the passenger side. Wearing a large coat, a do-rag, and sporting a gold tooth, he walked up to me, shook my hand and said, "I got this!"
Without giving me much of an option, he grabbed the crowbar out of my hand and smiled. He started to change my tire and in between cranking on the lug nuts, he introduced himself as Chris. I asked about the large cast he had on his left hand. "Got into a fight, you should see the other guy." He said as he swung the crowbar for dramatic effect.
Okay, wow.
As he took charge and got my tire back on in short order. I found out that Chris lived in Fort Worth and was a door to door salesman for a local cable company. He had graduated from a school in Austin and then joined the Air Force.
We packed my busted tire back into my trunk and got everything all squared away. I thanked him for being willing to help a stranger out and for getting down and dirty in the snow so I didn't have to. He said that he was sure I'd have done the same thing. He wished me a Merry Christmas and gave me a big hug. He told me that his life couldn't be better and that he was really glad that I had a flat tire.
I smiled, thought for a second, and then asked why.
"I was so sick of shopping with my wife. You having a flat tire was the opportunity I'd been looking for and gave me an excuse not to have to go into Kohl's and get dragged around looking at stuff for her kids. Your flat tire was my Christmas wish!"