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Passion, People and Principles

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Me

post # 265 — December 20, 2006 — a General post

I have been “tagged” by a number of people with this exercise / game, so here goes:

  1. Early in my career, I fainted from nerves during a speech I was making to a Congressional subcommittee.
  2. As a schoolboy, I won medals for cross-country running.
  3. My Doctoral thesis was on “Grain Transportation in Canada”
  4. Although I have lived in the UK, Canada and the US, I have never voted in any election in any country.
  5. I have lived in lived in the same apartment (somewhat expanded) for 28 years


I will tag:

Charlie Green

Bob Sutton

John Sviolka

Bruce Macewen

Dennis Howlett


Bob Sutton said:


I got tagged by Todd at http://astronautprojects.typepad.com/main/

I am not quite sure what this means, but here is what I wrote there!

1. I suspect I have the lowest high school grade point average of any Stanford Professor — 1.9 after my junior year and 2.1 on graduation. I worked really hard after that because I saw the kind of job I was likely to get otherwise!

2. I was a psychology major for about 10 years. I thought I was going to become a business school professor, but then accidentally became an engineering professor. It turns out the average engineer is much nicer than the average psychologist (and far less crazy). I don’t believe much career planning as a result of my experience.

3. I spent a lot of time racing sailboats in my life, although I haven’t done much sailing at all in recent years. I was a pretty good sailor when I was young, and could keep up with and sometimes beat future America’s Cup sailors and Olympic medalists. But I got worse every year after I was about 25 — I realized that my decline in skills was known when I teenage hotshot once said to me “didn’t you used to be Bob Sutton?” Ouch.

4. My father once had a business renting and servicing vending machines in Chicago, but he gout of the business when the mob threatened him and his partner. His partner refused to back down at first, but he did after “someone” broke his legs!

5. My father-in-law Rod Park is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. He has raced to Hawaii on sailboats about 20 times, once singlehanded and once double-handed. He also built his own airplane (and crashed it and walked away), bought 1100 acres in the middle of nowhere in Northern California and turned about 75 acres into the Rockpile Vineyard” into a success and worked with neighbors to establish the “Rockpile” AVA — a region that has produced some highly rated wines. The best wines from Rod’s vineyard are by JC Cellars. Rod had a highly successful career as botanist before going into university administration. He was provost of UC Berkeley for years among other things and at the age of 74 just came out of retirement to run University of California at Merced until they find a permanent replacement. His range of shills and persistence are scary.

6. One reason that I wrote a book on assholes is, I confess, I sometimes act like one, and I feel awful about myself after I do it.

posted on December 20, 2006

Charles H. Green said:

All right, I’ve been “tagged” by a few as well, so I’ll answer David’s call for 5 unusual and revealing factoids:

1. My great grandfather was born in a sod house in the midst of a prairie fire in Nebraska.

2. I play pedal steel guitar (for those of you who don’t know it, it’s the twangy-whangy sound in country music—or, if that doesn’t do it for you, that’s Jerry Garcia playing it on the intro to Teach Your Children).

3. I ran the Montreal Marathon a hundred thousand years ago (3:43:02, in case you’re wondering). There are two kinds of people in this world: those who after running a marathon can’t wait to run another, and those who say, “well, that was special; no need to do it again!” I’m the latter.

4. I majored in philosophy and drove a NYC taxi while in college.

5. I learned a lot by being married twice; I also learned a lot by getting divorced twice. And the latter helped me see more of the former. It’s all good, when I remember to see it that way.

posted on December 20, 2006

Jason Alba said:

Grain transportation in Canada – geez, it seems like you could have gotten rich from such a thesis and expertise :p

Thanks for participating Dave – its great to learn more about you and very interesting to see who you admire (and learn about them)!

posted on December 21, 2006