Fireside 2.1 ( The WorkNotWork Show Blog Mon, 21 Aug 2017 13:00:00 -0600 The WorkNotWork Show Blog en-ca If Phil & Sebastian Were a Movie... Mon, 21 Aug 2017 13:00:00 -0600 e6010709-ab89-4c23-aca5-12a6ba092ec3 Sebastian Sztabzyb says Phil & Sebastian was founded on "passion and enthusiasm alone". They quickly learned, however, there were other essential elements required.

We start our conversation with Sebastian Sztabzyb by asking him about getting started and the early lessons learned...

The WorkNotWork Show [0:03:01]: If the story of Phil & Sebastian were a movie what would be the big plot twist around which the entire story would rotate?

Sebastian Sztabzyb: Well, I think there's probably a couple of things that—they’re not events, necessarily—that I can attribute our change in strategy or shift in mentality.  I think it was a slow and steady learning.  Our business was really founded on passion and enthusiasm alone.  There was very little talk of money, profitability, margins.  It was: let's do what we love to do and let's hope people can latch on to that, and appreciate it, and we'll figure out the financials after.  It was really almost that ignorant.  That's been, I think, part of the secret of our success.  But at the same time it's been a recipe for overspending on R&D projects, on getting carried away with more learning than we can afford.

If you look at the way companies are generally structured, they have a certain budget allocated towards R&D.  For us it was anything we make, money-wise, we're just going to spend. Learning more about coffee…pushing the bar with what we can do with the equipment.  So in early days, especially, we modified a lot of it.  We added cooling mechanisms to the grinders to keep up with the heat generated during busy times.  We added timers and flow control mechanisms to the espresso machines to help us with the extraction for espressos which is obviously the base for most of our drinks.  Phil has written a great deal of software to control our roasters.  So there's been a lot of R&D on our end that early on was, sort of, completely free to cost us as much as we could literally afford.

We would create jobs for people that we wanted to keep.  We thought, “OK, well this person adds a lot of value to the company and they’re a little bit tired of being a barista so let's make them head of quality control for our espresso.”  Just espresso.  We were a company of seven employees with, like, three or four or five directors of stuff, just to keep people engaged.

So in our early days we were passion only.  Business was this thing that we'd get together once a year to review our financials and say—“OK, did we lose or did we make?”—with no real forward thinking about what do we want this business to look like.  Let's create some structure to the business and then let's let the rest of the things fall into the structure.

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Listen to this excerpt with the player above, or listen to the entire interview. We welcome your comments below. Also, ratings and reviews on iTunes are invaluable and very much appreciated. Thank you! (header photo: Phil & Sebastian.)

©2017 The WorkNotWork Show

Paul Brodie, Reincarnation and the Unfinished Business of the Excelsior Motorcycles Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:00:00 -0600 5bcfabb3-f2d1-4042-8902-28a15109b93b There was something about his connection to the Excelsior motorcycles he was building, something beyond the ordinary.

Our conversation with Paul Brodie takes a surprising turn as he describes his belief that he is the reincarnation of Bob Perry, an Excelsior motorcycle rider from the 1920s...

WNW [0:36:25]: As you say in your book—there's nothing that I'm putting in this interview that isn't covered in your book—you also have a spiritual side. You actually go so far as to say that you believe that you're the reincarnation of a…board track motorcycle racer by the name of Bob Perry from the 1920s. Can you tell us a little bit about the racer and how you came to believe you were him in another life.

PB: OK, Bob Perry he was engineer and a racer for Excelsior and the owner of the company was Ignaz Schwinn. He made a fortune making bicycles…

WNW: …the Schwinn bike which everybody knows…

PB: …the Schwinn bike and he bought the Excelsior company as the underdogs in 1913, I believe, and then Bob came on board. Each of them lost their fathers at a really early age and so they really had…a kind of a bond, that's my understanding of it. So when Bob lost his life at that early race in January of 1920, Ignaz Schwinn, he was devastated.

WNW: Like he had lost his son. Or brother.

PB: Yes. So rumour goes that he ordered all the bikes smashed and buried. That could have happened but I think there was a couple which were raced later on but there was no factory support so nothing ever happened really race-worthy.

WNW: So this just fed into the legend of the Excelsior.

PB: Oh yeah, the smashing of the bikes, the burying, you know…

WNW: Right.

PB: …a destruction.

WNW: Right.

PB: So I've been going to readings my whole life basically—my mum got me into that—because she was always into the spiritual side so I've always, at some point, I go have a reading see what's going on. Sometimes good readings, sometimes bad readings…

WNW: This is reading as as we would commonly understand it? You go to a psychic and they would tell you the future?

PB: No, it's not the future so much. It's about your life situation as it is, why things are happening, possible outcomes. It's nothing like, you know, if you go buy a lottery ticket you're going to win big or things like that.

The woman I was seeing at the time, she would go into a trance and the guides would speak through her. Her voice would visibly alter when she started speaking. She would go quiet, she would sit still and then a few moments later she would say “greetings!” But her voice was different because they're using her body to speak through. So I really felt like I had a connection with the other side. I know a lot of people don't understand this, or whatever, but I was raised this way and she was really good at this. She's passed away now so I’ve kind of lost that.

I knew that there was something that I didn't know about the Excelsiors. So I went to see her to try an understand what I was missing. My intuition was telling me—I’ve always used my intuition a lot—so I've worked on my intuition over the years. And we haven't even sat down and she says “my God, you were Bob Perry!” That was a total shock to me I just…

WNW: Had you set her up at all? Did she know that name prior to the reading?

PB: Don't think so, no.

WNW: So, she just managed to produce this spontaneously?

PB: Yes. She said “my God, that's what they're telling me right now!” So it made sense because in that life, it was cut short and the bike never reached its full potential because Ignaz Schwinn had cut the racing department. There was no more funding, no more race department. I guess for me, in that last life, it was unfinished business.

I know that I see the world a little differently from other people. I believe that we all have many lives and when we're on the other side, we decide what we want to do, who we want to associate with, who our contacts will be, what we'll do in a sense. I know there is some give and take. It's not just you come down here and there's no change at all. Things change. But the basic idea of what you come down for…there’s a certain purpose often. So I think one of the big things that I’ve come down to do is to build this race bike and to finish it off in a sense.

WNW: The economics are really secondary. This is something that you are almost feel like you were born to do.

PB: Oh yes, oh yes. Which, for a lot of people they probably just don't understand that. When I was writing the book I was really, really hesitant to add that into the book because I had no idea what people's reaction would be. Of all the people that read the book, virtually without exception, no one even mentions that. They say “good book, I enjoyed it very much.”

Now, there was only one person who ever said anything to me about that and he told me that he found out that in his last life which was in 1930s, he was in England, he was a pilot and they were testing experimental planes and he crashed and he lost his life. So it was really interesting that the only person who has ever really said anything to me about having another life is someone who also found that out about his past life.

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Listen to this excerpt with the player above, or listen to the entire interview. We welcome your comments below. Also, ratings and reviews on iTunes or Facebook are invaluable and very much appreciated. Thank you! (header photo: The Excelsior motorcycle racing team. Bob Perry is second from the left.)

©2017 The WorkNotWork Show

BRAT: Paul Brodie on Launching Brodie Bikes in 1986 Mon, 19 Jun 2017 13:00:00 -0600 9bf9d583-c9c5-4310-8570-80c2eb2eee07 Brodie Research and Technology (BRAT), also known as Brodie Bikes, starts in Paul's backyard and quickly grows into a business with international reach.

Paul Brodie quickly learns that entrepreneurship has two sides, both good and bad. He reflects on the launch of Brodie Bikes and provides insight which will be valuable for would-be entrepreneurs...

The WorkNotWork Show [0:17:58]: After a relatively short period of time, a few years, you launched Brodie Bikes and you were finally out on your own. You had your own shingle. How did you feel about that at the time? Did it provide a kind of freedom that you hadn't had before?

Paul Brodie: It was a good feeling because I had wanted to leave Rocky for at least one year. I was setting up and when I started that process of leaving and setting up my own shop. It shows how how bad I am at estimating: I thought I could do it in six months and spend $4000 and it ended up taking a year and $8000. So I was off the mark.

It felt really good to be on my own and starting to be successful. What was nice about the first couple years is that I was working out of my own shop. I wasn't paying rent because the shop was under my sundeck and I always had a big wad of cash in my left pocket. The number that seemed right for some reason was $700. So I always had $700 in my pocket. If I went somewhere I knew I could buy it if I wanted [although] it's not like I went on a spending spree.

Then in ‘88 when we moved into our first commercial lease. I never had any money in my pocket ever again like that. It was really nice for a couple years. I really felt like I was doing something and having the money…the cash in my pocket that was a sign to me that I had some success.

WNW: You tell a funny story in the book about the fact that you were doing painting with Imron. I don't know much about paint but Imron is pretty lethal and you had clouds of Imron paint wafting through the neighborhood.

PB: I didn't have a spray booth. It was the first summer—the business started in May of ’86. What I would do to paint a frame—because I knew how to paint frames—I would hang a stick off the sun deck and a little hook down and spray the frame. My next door neighbour was a Chinese lady and she had a wonderful…vegetable garden, she used the night soil and everything. So I can only paint when the wind came from the West because she was on the west side of me. I knew that she would not be happy with the Imron floating over her vegetables. So I really had to choose my days.

WNW: Another few years and another move of your shop later you incorporated Brody Research and Technology—the acronym for which is BRAT. First of all what was the story behind that and what was the best part of owning your own shop?

PB: Well, the story of Brodie Research and Technology is that years ago I had a girlfriend and she often thought I was a brat. So I kind of thought it was a fun thing to do was to name the company BRAT. Not many people would realize where that came from.

It was good running the business for a while because we are we were growing, expanding…I was hiring people, there was interest, there was interviews, [we] went to races [and] trade shows. I think there were a number of years where we were kind of on a high. People really thought that, yeah, we had we had made it.

WNW: Similarly, what was the worst part?

PB: Well, I can think of one short story I can tell you: we had expanded and we had moved into the place next door as well. That was an interior designer so they had a beautiful office. Now we had the added expense of an extra lease and the bicycle business was starting to slow down. I still remember people, one day, walking into the office and they looked around and they said “wow, you’re doing really well!” What didn't tell them is that I've just gone to the bank and got an advance on my Visa so I could do payroll. I couldn’t say anything because they were obviously thinking thinking that things were great. But there's always the two sides.

WNW: We’re you able to put a positive spin on that when they were in that shop or did you have this disconnect between what was actually going on in your financial life?

PB: I didn't actually say anything at the time but I just knew that what they were seeing was not the reality of our situation at the time. There was a lot of up and down because some years would have a good profit and the next year would have a huge loss. It was very hard to know exactly where we were. The business was getting complex because we had distributors in Germany, Austria and Japan and maybe some other countries, too. There was the exchange rates and importing and the duties and this and that. So it was really hard to nail down our true cost because we were buying parts for the frames, parts for the bicycles from all different countries and exchange rates with changing and so it was really hard to figure out just where we were financially.

WNW: Well and this was all pre-internet?

PB: There was computers, we had Excel, but there was it was really kind of limited and it was going to be a pretty complex situation. I realized that it was spinning out of my control. I knew how to make frames but how to run a business with that much complexity? I knew it was getting in over my head.

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Listen to this excerpt with the player above, or listen to the entire interview. We welcome your comments below. Also, ratings and reviews on iTunes or Facebook are invaluable and very much appreciated. Thank you! (header photo: Paul Brodie and employees outside Brodie Headquarters from his book Paul Brodie: The Man Behind Brodie Bikes )

©2017 The WorkNotWork Show

2000 Art Prints + Bike Week in Daytona = Financial Independence Tue, 13 Jun 2017 10:00:00 -0600 ef57299b-f42c-40f3-82a0-d5972f79b30a Guest Paul Brodie talks about his first serious crack at entrepreneurship before he found is true calling as a bike frame builder.

As we learned in our interview with Paul Brodie, he had demonstrated considerable talent as an artist early on. Shortly thereafter, he hatched a scheme to turn his newfound skill into a bundle of cash at Bike Week in Daytona. It started with four, line art, motorcycle-themed drawings...

Paul Brodie [0:07:42]: started doing a set of drawings and some people thought that I had some potential. I put a lot of energy into these drawings. I spent hours working on these drawings. The plan was—I was driving cab at the time—I would save up the money and I would get 500 prints made of each which was 2000 prints. That cost me $600.

I had boxes of prints and I thought that if I went down to Bike Week in Daytona in my old Austin Cambridge I could walk around the streets and sell a set of prints for $30. That’s what I thought. Now I was pretty young then and I was kind of naïve at the same time. Whether or not—if I got down there—I could actually sell them I don’t know.

I had the plan, I had this old car [and] I had some friends down there. I didn’t know about how to cross the border and fill out the forms. I set it up that I would have supper with some friends down there after I picked up the prints. I went through the border and they wanted me to open up the trunk. I had my story straight, so I didn’t get into trouble, but I got turned back and I realized that…

The WorkNotWork Show: Well, what was the story that you told them?

PB: That I had just picked up the prints on the way to go have supper with friends down in Washington and I was coming home that night. That was true, but I was going to leave the prints down there. The next day I was going to take out the passenger seat of my car and install a foamy so I could sleep in my car on the way down to Florida. I was going to sell the prints, make quite a bit of money, leave the car down there and fly home with a lot of cash. Now I think…

WNW: You really had thought this thing through.

PB: I have an imagination that’s for sure! I don’t know, back in those days, I’m not sure my feet were really on the ground when it came to business plans and things like that. I think probably, at some point, I should have gone business school because I did start up a business.

WNW: But you’re convinced this is going to work. So, how did it turn out?

PB: Well, I got turned back at the border…

WNW: Oh, and it was over that stage.

PB: Yeah, and they told me that they could have confiscated all of my prints. I was playing really innocent, that I didn’t know that that was a problem. They let me go and I realized that my window of opportunity had passed. So, I went back to cab driving. In the end, I had all these prints and I still have a couple. But it took me years just to even give them away.

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Listen to this excerpt with the player above, or listen to the entire interview. We welcome your comments below. Also, ratings and reviews on iTunes or Facebook are invaluable and very much appreciated. Thank you! (header photo: One of Paul's (in)famous Bike Week drawings: Mark Homchick on his Yamaha TZ250)

©2017 The WorkNotWork Show

So How Did You Get the Nickname Scratch? Wed, 10 May 2017 10:00:00 -0600 0b05ae2d-7e86-425f-82c6-c38667e0285d Our guest Scratch Mitchell tells the story of how he got his nickname and reveals a little known fact about how nicknames are doled out in the Air Force.

The WorkNotWork Show [0:53:33]: Can you tell us the story of where you got the nickname Scratch?

Scratch Mitchell: As it turns out, the canopy of an F-18 costs quite a bit of money as I found out in my first week in Bagotville, on 433 Squadron, when I substantially scratched a canopy air-to-air refueling that week.

WNW: I shouldn't laugh because it's actually kind of a serious situation.

SM: Yeah, I know it is, but it's sort of funny to me as well. They're looking for something your first weeks and months on squadron. They are looking for some blunder. It's not like movies where you get cool call signs. It's something you've done wrong, ultimately. So they called me the Scratch Man, and it stuck ever since.

WNW: I see, so it actually scratched when the refueling hose knocked into the canopy as you are either connecting or disconnecting from the refueling plane.

SM: When I was trying to connect. It went from head to toe on this thing. Foolishly I got out of it—I was just young, I was 24 years old and it was a French squadron—so I was trying in my best French explain to them "I think you're going to be able to buff it out."

WNW: Buff it out!

SM: And they came in with wide eyes, and they basically said to me "you just about lost your entire head!"

WNW: Wow, I was gonna say, it was actually a very serious, I mean it could have been, potentially, a very serious situation.

SM: Yeah, so I've been the Scratch Man.

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Please take time to listen to the whole episode—there is so much more! We welcome your comments below. Also, ratings and reviews on iTunes or Facebook are invaluable and very much appreciated. Thank you! (header photo: RCAF-ARC)

©2017 The WorkNotWork Show

Richard Bach and Nothing by Chance Thu, 04 May 2017 11:00:00 -0600 43b02493-026c-4cd6-876a-72deb23814f7 Our guest Scratch Mitchell talks about an early influence on his career, Richard Bach, author of Nothing by Chance and a host of other books. But the conversation starts with me starting a completely unfounded rumour.

The WorkNotWork Show [0:37:05]: So I hear a rumour that you're currently pursuing a project to turn Richard Bach's book Nothing by Chance into a feature length movie.

Scratch Mitchell: I would love to do that, but I haven't heard that rumour myself though.

WNW: Okay, I totally made that up. But, seriously, I wasn't going to have this conversation with you without bringing that up because it was the book that kindled my love for everything that flies, as a kid. I've always hoped that somebody would eventually turn that book into a movie. You're the perfect guy to make it and the perfect guy to star in it.

SM: I would love to do both. In fact, Richard Bach had an impact on me as well in his writing. When I was young, going through pilot training, I read a number of his books. I think that's what grabbed me is he was a guy who was a fighter pilot, but he understood the human condition and was able to put it down in words. That's what I'm trying to do with film and television. We're not all that different in the sense that I'm trying to put down what I know about aviation, I'm trying to merge it into film.

A lot of my projects, no surprise, they're about aviation. I have a fascinating project coming up. I'm partnering with a co-producer on a family adventure with warbirds and a little bit of time travel...all the things I love. It's a movie that I would be proud to bring my kids to see. Sure enough, it's film making and it's aviation, it just doesn't get better than that. So if I was ever able, not only to have the privilege of meeting Richard Bach but to...

WNW: You and me both.

SM: …but to speak with him about turning one of his books into a movie, gosh that would be a dream.

WNW: Well, and to be honest with you, Nothing by Chance has become kind of a life philosophy of mine. I don't know if Richard Bach necessarily intended it that way. I've had some ups and downs in my career and I've always said [that] according to Richard Bach, nothing happens as a random act. Somewhere along the line we'll have to see if that's been optioned. I suspect it probably has.

SM: Well, you've now given me another challenge.

WNW: At his core, he's an aviator. The two of you would have so much in common. I would just love to see that happen.

SM: It's interesting you say that word aviator because I'm invited to speak at a number of events and whatnot, unrelated to aviation, at a fire investigator's course or whatnot. I try to explain to these groups the difference between an aviator and a pilot. A pilot just flies an airplane, an aviator, it's in his soul or her soul, and there's a big distinction. I see the exactly what you're saying. Richard Bach is an aviator through and through.

WNW: It was only after the fact that I learned that he was the author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. That movie and that book makes so much more sense when you read his other books.

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There’s so much more – we hope you will take time to listen to the whole episode. We welcome your comments below. Also, ratings and reviews on iTunes or Facebook are invaluable and very much appreciated. Thank you! (header photo: ©David Lednicer used here with his kind permission)

©2017 The WorkNotWork Show

Sitting on a Surfboard in Coolangatta Fri, 28 Apr 2017 18:00:00 -0600 e466d2f5-dd37-4906-80d2-b60978cf486f Our guest Scratch Mitchell talks about the precise moment that he knew that his days with the Royal Canadian Air Force were coming to a close and the next phase of his career was about to start.

Our guest Scratch Mitchell talks about the precise moment that he knew that his days with the Royal Canadian Air Force were coming to a close and the next phase of his career was about to start.

The WorkNotWork Show [0:23:26]: Eventually, in 2010, you finished up with the Royal Canadian Air Force. You must have had very mixed feelings about wrapping up this stage of your life.

Scratch Mitchell: I had an option to continue on in the Air Force. I was a lieutenant colonel, and some suggested that I had had this sword placed on my shoulder, that I was one of a few select people to carry on and I'd quite likely become a general and beyond. That was very flattering and, I must say, I got caught up in that a little bit. I said “really—wow—because I thought I'd never make it past lieutenant.” I got in trouble a couple times as a young fighter pilot.

WNW: Say it isn't so. [laughter]

SM: Yes. Goodness, my daughter's listening. [laughter]

WNW: That’s right. There's a whole range of stories that you can't tell. [laughter]

SM: That's right. But I realized while I was doing post-graduate training in Australia—I was sitting on a surfboard in Coolangatta one of my favourite places on the planet—and I had a moment where I said “I'm not going to fly airplanes anymore as a colonel, and beyond.” I was 39 years old. I was fairly young still, and I said “nothing else scares me in the Air Force.” The fact of being a general doesn't scare me and that was frightening in itself that I wasn't afraid of progression. Whereas everything else in my career I was like, “am I going to make the Snowbirds? Am I going to throw my name in there? If I don't make it, what would that look like? The fact of becoming a general didn't scare me, and I realized that was a turning point for me.

WNW: The challenge just wasn't there anymore?

SM: The challenge wasn't there. I had set out to do a number of things and I had achieved those. I had discovered that there were other passions in my life that I needed to bite into. Because as a Snowbird pilot, we used to do countless visits to schools talking to kids and our main message was pursue your dreams and goals. I realized I had to measure up to my own words and I had to embrace that which I was preaching to all these kids and I challenged myself. It was terrifying, but I challenged myself. I said you have an opportunity that no one else has to go pursue a second goal.

WNW: So after retiring you spent a couple of years as a first officer for Westjet?

SM: Being an airline pilot was fundamentally different than being a military pilot. Some people respond to it very well. It didn't grab me. I sort of knew that was going to happen because I've been very success-driven, very goal-oriented and I like to get within a situation, find what I like and rise in that aspect of what I was doing. Whether it's being an air show pilot, or it's being a tactical person, in my younger days. I found an aspect or something I could potentially rise above other people.

WNW: And people in a 737 don't appreciate four point rolls?

SM: No, they don't want to appreciate four point rolls in a 737. But I think the airline thing didn't give me any sense of challenge. Certainly, it was very interesting, and I'm very, very happy that I did experience that aspect of aviation. I can say with authority what that is like now. But at the same time, I didn't respond well to being a number. I knew that going to the airlines was hedging my bets a little bit because I got out of the Air Force with this clear goal of getting into film and television. I thought I was going to be at the airline for ten years and perhaps be able to work part-time, do film, develop a performing career, training as an actor, developing a director/producer career. But I quickly found out I had to make a decision early on.

WNW: I'm guessing that the majority of our listeners will recognize your name and, when they see the pictures, they will recognize you as that guy from that show on Discovery Channel called Airshow.

SM: Yes, Airshow. It was basically the catalyst for change for me. I have somewhat of a mentor in the film industry and he told me early on that to get into TV at anything but the bottom, go in with something you're an expert at. Aviation clearly was what I had in my back pocket—an interesting perhaps background with aviation for many people. So I had brainstormed an idea for a TV series. I don't like the term reality television, but a documentary series about the airshow industry, because I knew a lot about it and I knew there was some amazing characters and some interesting stories.

I was involved with some flying myself. I thought “could we marry this all together?” So I partnered with somebody who had deep connections with Discovery Channel, who incidentally was coming up with this idea himself. We met at a convention, I heard him speak about it. I’m, like, “we should talk” because I'm thinking about something like this now, but I don't have the means or wherewithal to get it going. So we partnered on this. Little did we know that within nine months Discovery Channel would say “yes, let's make this.”

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There’s so much more – please listen to the whole episode. We welcome your comments below. Also, ratings and reviews on iTunes are invaluable and very much appreciated. Thank you! (header photo: View South from Point Danger Lookout, Coolangatta, Queensland by GrieSeb on WikiMedia)

©2017 The WorkNotWork Show

Three Generations of Fighter Pilots Fly Together Thu, 20 Apr 2017 16:00:00 -0600 ffdb2a10-553c-4298-8823-2f8ed032b649 The surprising lessons of a unique flight.

The WorkNotWork Show [0:02:50]: Scratch, as I researched this episode, there was a moment in your career that really leapt off the page for me. You’re a third generation fighter pilot. Most remarkably there was a day, back in 1999, that might be unique in aviation history. Can you tell us that story and walk us through that day?

Scratch Mitchell: Interesting, I know the day of which you’re speaking – it’s the day I got to fly with my father and my grandfather, both military pilots. It was really interesting: it didn’t register until a week or so afterwards how important that was to me, to the family, to my grandfather, to my father.

I was the CF-18 airshow pilot at the time in 1999, and I was somewhat of a public figure and I got to know the generals and what have you. It just occurred to me if there’s an opportunity to do something unique with my family, it was that year. I put the request and I said “there’s an opportunity here to showcase the 75th anniversary of the Air Force,” which 1999 was, “would it be possible to take both my father and my grandfather in a flight where all three of us are airborne at the same time in F-18s?” The answer came back within an hour and was ‘yes!’.

WNW: Wow.

SM: Pretty spectacular. Grampa was nervous. He had not been in a fighter since the last day he flew in France at the end of the war. And he…

WNW: What kind of plane did he fly?

SM: My grandfather was a Spitfire pilot and for the RCAF 421 Squadron. He was in Africa as a tank buster, train buster, and then nearing the end of the war, he was with 421 Squadron in France. And he flew about 400 missions over there, and he didn’t speak much of it. As I became more involved in aviation, he opened up more about this time. But I saw that day, at the time, he was a 78-year-old man.

I saw him turn from my old grandfather to a young fighter pilot again. I saw the fangs come out. I saw that spark and fire come back in his eyes. It was phenomenal and that’s what I feel – I was 29 years old, and I was, as we say, a piss-and-vinegar fighter pilot. And it was really neat to see my grandfather there.

My father who is not much older than I am – In fact he is only 20 years older. He was still in the flying game, and I didn’t see as big an arc for my father in this experience. He had flown F-5s and been in Voodoos and whatnot, in the jet age. It was the biggest transition I saw was through my grandfather’s eyes.

WNW: There’s a pretty good chance that I actually saw your dad fly. I used to attend the Abbotsford Air Show in the early 70s, and the CF-101 Voodoos opened the show. I’m thinking that it was around the same time.

SM: It may very well have been. A funny story: I had the approval to have my father in my back seat, and my squadron commanding officer took my grandfather in the back seat. The mission was a 2V2 – two airplanes versus two airplanes. Two of them went off to the north, and two in the south, and my grandfather was in the northern package and we were in the south, and we mixed it up a bit. But at one point, I said “I really need to show my dad what the F-18 could do”

WNW: Compared to what he had flown?

SM: Compared to what he had flown, absolutely. And I said, I just want to hold my grandfather in the north, for about five minutes, and I wanna wrap it up in a 1V1 dog fight with my dad in the backseat and my wingman. Just a practice dogfight just to show them. Sure enough, we hit the merge, and with my wingman I went up. We were wrapping up the F-18s. It’s a knife fighter – it likes to get slow and then it wrap it up nice and close and see the eyeballs on the other pilot.

And at one point, I remember going up and reversing over, and I heard my dad in the back seat going “nope, I don’t think you should go!” I remember thinking “nope, dad doesn’t know best.” I went the other way and I rolled in, I gunned the guy, and I’m, like “yeah dad, you lost it.” (laughter)

WNW: Well that must have been a special moment, realizing that the student had become the teacher.

SM: I think it was and I think my father took some pride in that moment. That he was along for the ride, and his son was propelling him through the air at 1000 miles an hour. For my father, it was probably a quiet victory for him.

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There’s so much more – this is just the beginning of our extensive, in-depth interview with Scratch Mitchell. We welcome your comments below. Also, ratings and reviews on iTunes are invaluable and very much appreciated. Thank you! (header photo: Mitchell Family Collection)

©2017 The WorkNotWork Show

“That was one of the most amazing flights of my life." Tue, 18 Apr 2017 16:00:00 -0600 b0792500-27a1-4ebe-82ab-d9156a9bb072 Scratch Mitchell describes one of his most cherished memories as Commanding Office and Team Lead of the RCAF Snowbirds.

Scratch Mitchell [0:00:00]: It was at this purple hour as the sun was setting, and I saw Mount Baker in the distance. I said “Okay, boys, just tighten it up,” as we flew transits fairly loose, “tighten it up…I’m gonna take us over by Mount Baker.” The white snow was turning a light hue of purple. We apexed over the top of the mountain and slid, as a toboggan would, down the glacial moraine of Mount Baker in perfectly still air. We had enough energy accumulated that we slid out the base of the mountain over to Abbotsford as the sun continued to set. We pitched out without a breath of air or a bump.

There was something magical and so supple about what was going on that I pitched it out in almost perfect silence with the engines retarded. As we pitched out we split up in three groups of three, landed, and there was such perfect synchronicity amongst the nine pilots that day as if we were all in the same airplane. There wasn’t an inch of movement. There wasn’t one pilot that wasn’t moved by that, to the point where I got out of the jet and I walked over to my number two pilot and he said “that was one of the most amazing flights of my life.”

Here we do all these crazy things — in front of crowds and whatnot — and a simple flight with perfectly still air, at this purple hour, sliding down Mount Baker towards Abbotsford connected us all in a magical way in those airplanes. Those were the moments that I recall the perfect coalescence of team and craft; man versus machine, man versus himself all came together in that exact moment and that flight. It was absolutely beautiful.

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We open our interview with Scratch Mitchell with his moving description of this once-in-a-lifetime flight. It’s just the beginning of a fascinating discussion of his life as aviator, actor and producer/director. (header photo: RCAF-ARC)

©2017 The WorkNotWork Show

Wayne Thomas Yorke: Episode Notes Thu, 19 Jan 2017 16:00:00 -0700 02165c56-5258-494f-a15f-a93373013c07 Selected materials related to our interview with Wayne Thomas Yorke. Just added, selections from the interview related to Fatty Arbuckle.

The Short History of Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle [0:38:28] | Wayne provides listeners with a short course on Roscoe Arbuckle and how he was railroaded ostensibly because he was famous and rich. William Randolph Heart was to have said at the time that ‘he made more money off Arbuckle than the sinking of the Lusitania’. Think ‘fake news’ was something that was just invented? Not so.

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An Arbuckle Movie Curse? [0:41:50] | Before Chris Farley’s death, there was talk that he was in discussion with David Mamet regarding a movie based on the life of Roscoe Arbuckle. There was also talk that John Belushi and John Candy had also considered similar projects. All of them are gone now leading to the idea there may be an Arbuckle movie curse?

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If there is anything else you would like to see added, please free to leave a comment below and we'll do our best to accommodate your request. Thank you so much for listening.

©2017 The WorkNotWork Show

Introducing The WorkNotWork Show Thu, 20 Oct 2016 16:00:00 -0600 9b407110-ced4-40cf-83ef-6a57578efce7 If you truly love what you do is it really work? The WorkNotWork Show is the podcast dedicated to telling the stories of those who have turned their passion in their profession:

Actor; aeronautical engineer; airline founder; arctic rescue pilot; artist; astronaut; automotive inventor; bicycle manufacturer; book publisher; cancer researcher; cardiologist; carpenter; circus performer; coder; color commentator; corporate pilot; craft beer brewmaster; cyclist; decathlete; demolition technician; dog photographer; drone pilot; farrier; fireman; fireworks technician; gamer; golfer; greenskeeper; grocer; hobby retailer; hockey player; jet fighter pilot; late night talk show host; lawyer; librarian; magazine editor; mayor; nature photographer; navy captain; paint store owner; park ranger; podcaster; policeman; politician; race car driver; rock star; shepherd; soldier; space entrepreneur; sports car dealer; standup comedian; technology evangelist; television reporter; triathlete; university chancellor; urban goat herder; venture capitalist.

We use in-depth, wide-ranging, long form interviews where the subjects are allowed to tell their own stories in their own way. Through those interviews we explore work as a calling, as opposed to simply a way of making a living and keeping the bills paid.

Career choices bookend our lives.

As kids, we think about all the things we want to do when we grow up. As mature adults, many of us look back on our lives and wonder where the time went. What might we have done if we could do it all over again? At these life bookends, we free ourselves from the constraints of what’s reasonable and practical and achievable. Between the bookends, we often drift in and out of work which might make practical sense but perhaps little else other than that. The money working in the salt mine may be good, or steady, or both, so we stick with it for thirty-five or forty years so we can finally settle down to do our real life’s work. We hope.

When we look across the landscape, however, we do find people who have what appear to be dream jobs — the very job we might wish we could do if we could turn back the clock. These people didn’t wait for one life to end and another to begin before they pursued their dream. Often they never thought of doing anything else. Now they are actually doing that job and will happily do so for the rest of their lives. While luck rarely has anything to do with it, they often readily admit they feel truly lucky to be living their dreams as they do.

For others, their calling is goal driven: to compete in the Olympic Games or go into space, for instance — goals which took decades to achieve. Once that goal has been accomplished, however, how do their lives evolve from that point? Did achieving that dream change them? How did they decide what to do next? Has the transition been successful? Did achieving that big goal help them later in life? Are they happy now?

For still others, it was a mid-life pivot that they either chose for themselves or was dictated by some fateful event in their lives. What was the event that precipitated the change? How did they get from their old life to the new one? Were they afraid? Did their dream job work out as they had planned? Is their new life all they thought it would be?

How did we get here?

As The WorkNotWork Show’s writer, producer and host, it started out as a personal journey to find out what I wanted to do next, before life truly got away from me, this time for good. Like those bookend periods, I temporarily freed myself from the constraints of practicality and common sense. I found people doing amazing jobs and asked them to tell me their story and I found each of them truly fascinating. People are natural storytellers when talking about their own lives and I was completely captivated by what I heard.

These life stories have all the elements of a great novel or movie: triumph, heartbreak, good characters, villains, surprises, persistence in the face of overwhelming odds, amazing luck, dedication, plot twists and the nobility of good hard work. Unlike the rest of us, however, these people don’t daydream of doing anything else. Their work, succinctly stated, isn’t work at all. Thus, The WorkNotWork Show, the show dedicated to telling the stories of these amazing individuals and the work that they love to do.

Some will be household names and others will not be familiar. In some cases, they’ve had a lot of financial success, and in others, money was never the objective in the first place. Some will talk about jobs you might consider for yourself. Others will talk about jobs that you would not think of doing in a million years. But they are all fascinating stories I believe are well worth your time.

What you can expect.

The WorkNotWork Show is a podcast launched in June of 2016 and employs the long format interview — we let the interview subjects talk for whatever length of time they want. We have kicked off with three great subjects: Mark Langille, drone pilot, entrepreneur and industry advocate; Michael C. Smith, Olympic decathlete, investment banker and high performance coach; and a three part episode with Dave Thomas, coder, author, teacher and publisher emeritus of The Pragramatic Bookshelf. We look forward to re-introducing them — and introducing future guests — in more detail here in the companion publication on Medium.

We dedicate one entire episode to a single individual’s story. If necessary, we break an episode into multiple parts so that each fits neatly into a typical urban commute or power walk. In some cases, we complement the audio podcast with additional material of interest to the audience and publish it here on Medium and our other supported platforms.

We do not believe in compromising the quality of the episodes in the interest of meeting artificial production deadlines. New episodes may come fast and furious for a time and at other times they may take a while. As each new episode is produced, however, you can be assured nothing has been spared in producing the best possible listening experience. To be alerted as each new interview is available, follow or subscribe on your platform of choice: iTunes, Fireside, Twitter, Medium, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Instagram.

Welcome and thank you.

We are thrilled to have you as a member of The WorkNotWork Show audience, and truly hope that you feel its worth your time and your attention. If you like what you hear, please rate us on iTunes, it really helps.

We also look forward to hearing from you and talking with you. We also hope the information may prove helpful and an inspiration to you in perhaps finding some new path for your professional life.

The WorkNotWork Show: the show about people who have turned their passion into their profession.

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(header photo: 19th Century salt mines in Wieliczka, Poland from Erica Guilane-Nanchez on Adobe Stock.)

©2017 The WorkNotWork Show

The Best Answer Ever Sun, 16 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0600 544c3ee6-fdfd-4439-a771-e7613730990d All of us are searching for that career which provides happiness, fulfillment and will keep a roof over our head. Turns out that it's actually not that hard, if you keep one essential idea in mind at all times.

The answer to a casual question at lunch, 35 years ago, taught me everything I needed to know about choosing a career.

I knew my father’s cardiologist for a dozen years before my father needed him.

In the early 1980s the medical community was just starting to build applications for patient record keeping using the new personal computers coming on the market at the time. Through circumstances I am totally unable to recall I was introduced to an eminent cardiologist—I’ll call him Dr. Don—whose research work required him to collect data on his groundbreaking coronary angioplasty cases. I wrote a little code for him and it remained an entirely professional relationship except for the occasional lunch at the local tennis club. They were awkward discussions. Apart from the microscopic overlap in his coding requirements and my coding capabilities we really didn’t have that much to talk about.

Desperate to find a way to make the conversation last at least until the main course was served, I grabbed for the only thing that came to mind that made the least bit of sense.

“So when was it that you knew you wanted to be a cardiologist?”

Perhaps unwittingly—or more likely he knew precisely the gravity of what he was about to impart—he provided the single best answer ever to similar questions I had asked many others, perhaps searching for some sort of magic for my own career:

“I don’t remember not wanting to be one” he said.

How a six year old boy knew he wanted to be something that wasn’t a fireman, policeman, hockey player or astronaut seemed rather incredible to me at the time. However, he did go on to describe that, yes, for as long as he could remember being a cardiologist was the only thing he ever wanted to be when he grew up. What the six year old Dr. Don could not have known, of course, was only a small, small number of those who might aspire to such a profession actually have the wherewithal to see it through. Astronaut or hockey player might actually have made more sense. Setting aside the base IQ that only nature and good luck can provide, the staggering amount of education required—literally decades—is insurmountable for all but a tiny fraction of those who try.

Defying those impossibly long odds, Dr. Don obviously did achieve his childhood dream and became a cardiologist. Not just any cardiologist, though, but one of global reputation sought after by institutions around the world to further perfect his craft and to impart some fraction of his knowledge on those around him. He went on to develop and patent many advances in the state-of-the-art that are still widely used today. He is, without doubt, one of the best in his field.

Most importantly, for the Gannon family and countless other families like ours, Dr. Don became our fathers’ cardiologist. He provided the supremely nuanced, careful, thoughtful, transcendent care that extended my father’s life from maybe his late fifties well into his eighties where he happily lives to this day.

Those two or three decades—at least—of extra life have provided an opportunity for my father to see his grandchildren grow up, thrive and to see the birth of his first great-grandchild. An opportunity for him and my mother to look after each other as they grew old together. An opportunity for him and I to go to the Reno Air Races (twice!) and an opportunity for me to get to know my father as an adult. An opportunity for my father to impart his wisdom and spirit on me and my siblings.

All of that would never have happened without Dr. Don. In other words, our family owes this man a debt we can never hope to repay because the gift he gave us was priceless. So instead, on behalf of my family, I simply offer him my humblest, heartfelt thanks. We will never forget what you did for us.

I’m sure that Dr. Don is well into his retirement now and he deserves and long and happy one. But think, for a moment, how blessed his life has been: to know exactly what he wanted to do for as long as he could remember, to be able to grow up and do exactly that, achieve enormous success within that field and to leave a legacy of families like ours. Families whose lives have been profoundly and indelibly affected by his work. He was truly able to turn his life’s passion into his profession and we are all infinitely richer for it.

Actually, I don’t think Dr. Don chose cardiology at all. Cardiology chose him. Happily, it became his life’s work, his grand professional passion. But I really believe that in Dr. Don’s case, his life’s work was never really work at all.

Now that’s the life we should all hope to lead.

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The WorkNotWork Show is a podcast dedicated to the stories of those who, like Dr. Don, have turned their passion into their profession. If you like what you hear on the podcast, please rate us on iTunes, it really helps. Also, thank you for reading and we welcome your comments (header photo: ©Jim DeLillo via iStock)

©2017 The WorkNotWork Show