Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category


The most common nightmare I have as a speaker is showing up for a conference unprepared. So far I have been able to avoid this. The second most common nightmare is completely losing my voice. The third most common nightmare I have is oversleeping. You know, waking up to a phone call from the organizer wondering why I am not starting my session. I have heard stories over the years for a couple people that this happened too, mostly due to some heavy partying the night before. I take pride in the fact that I am always on time for my sessions and prepared, and organizers often count on me to do the early morning sessions because I don’t party.

Today I overslept despite setting up a wake-up call, the television alarm, and my phone as a backup. I did not wake up until Doug Hennig called me almost four hours after the alarms.

I heard the phone ring. I answered it expecting it to be someone from the hotel telling me to wake up. Strange though was the voice sounded a lot like Doug. I think I asked him what time it was. “11:20″, Doug replied. Mental check, my session starts at 11:30. Holy $%#, 10 minutes.

Need computer working so I figured I could log in and get things set up and ready so I can start immediately upon getting in the room. Blue Screen! Seriously?!? Really?!? At this point I thought I might want to wake up from this nightmare. This is not a joke. These are real thoughts. Pinch, nope I am awake, phone says it is 11:21. Reboot the machine and hit shower, dress, login, and run for session room.

I arrived and started my session at 11:35.

The first 5 minutes were the hardest 5 minutes of my presenting life. The adrenaline level was as high as I have experienced in all my years of speaking. I could feel my heart jumping out of my chest as I introduced the session. At the same time I was introducing the session I was trying to figure out where I could cut time, and slow down my racing heart.

Jet lag is obviously killing me this trip. I returned to my room exhausted last night, but could not fall asleep since my body thinks it is dinner time back home. I tried several techniques to sleep and all failed. I got up and called my family and went through my session (which turns out to be a key to delivery this morning), tweeted about the problem of not sleeping, and handled some email for customers. All tasks were done hoping to make me more tired. I ended up falling asleep at 4:30 local time.

All-in-all I was able to convey the information I wanted to share with the people in the room. One of the attendees told me at lunch after the session, after learning I woke up 15 minutes before starting the session, that I did remarkably well considering the experience. In my mind it was definitely not my best work, but appreciate the kind review. I am also hoping the adrenaline levels off some time this afternoon. Wish I could bottle it up for use later.

Thanks to Doug for recognizing my absence and waking me up. Thanks to those who stayed and attended the session. And apologies to Rainer for letting you down this morning. It will not happen again. As a fellow organizer I know how important it is to count on the speakers to show up on time and deliver a good session.


Speechless is not a term often associated with me, but during the closing session at Southwest Fox 2010 I found the state unbreakable when Doug announced me as the seventh recipient of the FoxPro Lifetime Achievement Award.

Even as I sit down to write this blog entry I find myself a bit shocked at how the closing session revealed the award. Doug let me know before the conference that Lisa Slater Nicholls was being awarded, only because he knew I would figure it out when I saw Lisa and Colin roaming the grounds at the Legado and Elegante.

So let’s first start with Lisa. Lisa is very deserving and I am happy she got the award this year. As several others have said, it was long overdue. Listening to Doug’s introduction was chilling to me especially when he talked about the moment in time when Lisa stepped up to take the position of FoxTalk Editor when Glenn Hart passed away. Doug pointed out how that one moment in time impacted so many people in our community. If Lisa had not stepped up there might not be a FoxTalk, and that means a lot of writers might not have had the chance to write about FoxPro. I was one of the people who got my start writing in FoxTalk, which lead to conference speaking, book writing, and other contributions I have made to the community. If you want to read Lisa’s first editorial in FoxTalk head here.

I really enjoyed Lisa’s short video too. Well done. You can read Lisa’s reaction on her blog here: “Legacy” is a good thing

2010 FoxPro Lifetime Achievement Award

Then I see Doug change to the “But wait…. there is more” slide. If you know me you know I like to be prepared and this slide was not covered during the “rehearsal.” You may have noticed I am a bit confused at this point. In the next few seconds I was running through the list of people I thought might be announced and wondering if they were in the room. I am barely listening to Doug as he introduces the second recipient of the afternoon. Me. Me?!?

The moment I heard my name announced the space time continuum skipped a beat. I literally had no words in my head (all the voices stopped {g}). I completely “spaced” out. And yes, it was an emotional moment. It was a good thing I did not make eye contact with Therese and I did not see my parents in the front row. I heard later that my mom was crying and that probably would have thrown me over the edge. I was, and to this day, stunned. I am also honored, and extremely grateful for the recognition.

Tamar was kind enough to point out to me that the next slide was mine and I had to pull myself together to announce that we are already planning Southwest Fox 2011. Unfortunately we do not have the dates or location to announce at this point. I had a reasonable plan of what I wanted to say, but I lost those words as well. We will have more to come in the next month on Southwest Fox 2011.

After the closing session I realized I thanked no one. You know, the academy, all the people who helped me so I could help others, etc. No music to cut me off and tell me to get off the stage. No Kayne West to jump up on stage to explain how Rick Strahl is the best Lifetime Achievement Award winner named Rick. So here it is… Thanks!

First of all there is Therese. She is the Best.Wife.Ever. She is the woman who allows me to be successful by supporting the crazy ideas I come up with. She supports me to follow my dreams, even when I am not sure they are the right dreams to follow. Without her I am unable to do all the things I do. People often ask me how I am able to do everything I do, the answer is one word: Therese. She is my rock, and my biggest supporter. I fell in love with her nearly 30 years ago, and because of it I am one of the luckiest people on the planet.

My kids think their dad is a dork. That is fine, as long as I am their dork and they are okay with me attempting to mold them into the fine adults they have become.

Next up are my parents, who coincidentally came to Phoenix this year to vacation with us after the conference. Amazing coincidence and timing they were there, and it brings me great joy they were in the room to see their son go speechless. They would not have believed it if they had not witnessed it. They gave me the foundation that helping others is something you just do. Kudos to Doug for seeing the opportunity and making it happen. Priceless.

Next up are the people who nominated me. Wow. I am so honored by your recognition. I say this without reservation: it would have been an honor just to be nominated. I think of all the people who I hope someday will get this award, and I am amazed that you feel I deserve the recognition this year. I still get chocked up thinking about this. Thanks.

The past recipients who made the selection: Whil Hentzen, Rick Strahl, Doug Hennig, Tamar Granor, Rainer Becker are all personal heroes of mine and friends. Alan Griver is another hero of mine and also a friend. I also appreciate that Naomi stepped up when no one else wanted to and participated in the selection. Thanks for selecting me for this award. And thanks for shocking me. Well done.

Doug, even though I did not comprehend your announcement and the kind words you had to say about me at the time, I really appreciate them. I am so glad I have video (BTW, thanks Kevin Cully for recording it for me). I especially appreciated the “love you as a brother” comment and feel the exact same way.

To the Fox Community: there is so much good and generosity in our community. Being part of this group and being able to share and learn from this group is such an easy thing to do. Thanks for letting me be a part of it for so many years.

Thanks to everyone who was at Southwest Fox and for all the kind words since the conference. To know I am having a positive impact on other developers, on other human beings, is more than enough for me. To be recognized this way is mind-boggling.