Born: Wichita, Kan. I grew up in California.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in economics from San Diego State University
What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?
When I was 14, I wanted to buy a little motorcycle and my dad said, ‘Fine, as long as you can save the money.’ So I got a job doing a paper route. This was a little local newspaper, and in order to make any money, in addition to delivering the papers, you had to collect the money once a month door-to-door. It helped teach me to confront people. I learned about customer service when people said I didn’t deliver their paper the correct way or it was too far from their door. I think the monthly fee for the newspaper was a whopping 50 cents or something like that, and it was amazing how rude people could get over 50 cents.
What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
Do the right thing. Be ethical. Do the job right the first time. Don’t take shortcuts.
Whom do you admire most and why?
You can learn from everybody even the people that you don’t respect, you can learn what not to do. What I’ve always tried to do is just take the best from everybody. I don’t really have any idols, per se. I like to basically plagiarize from everyone I can because I think everybody’s got little tidbits of wisdom that they’ve found in their life and that they’ve incorporated into their management style.
What’s your definition of success?
Achieving balance in all things. In your life, it’s the balance between your family and your career and your personal interests. In a business, for instance, you could think about the balance between sales and operations and finance. As a CEO, I have customers, I have shareholders and I have employees and I have to keep the needs of all three of those constituents in balance.
Your workday is off to a bad start. How do you turn it around?
Now don’t laugh, but I meditate. I’ve been meditating for 30 years. I’ll shut my door and take 10 or 15 minutes and have a little quiet time.