Sunday, November 25, 2012

Driven to Succeed

I just finished Frank Hasenfratz's biography - Driven to Succeed.  It is gripping.

The story starts in Hungary and tells of  Frank (called Farec then) hiding while Russians overrun his village - stealing everything in sight and worse.  He is then forced to leave his family home with only what they can carry and being re-settled in a much tinier house in an area they did not know.

I am thankful for where I was born and raised that I had such a relatively easy life - especially by comparison.

Frank escaped from Hungary after WW II and made his way to Canada with no money.  He tool a job in a metal shop and eventually had a falling out with his boss over how to make parts efficiently.  So he made a deal.  He would buy a lathe and put it in his basement and make the parts and sell them to his former employer.

He then added an oven to heat treat.  He added more machines and built a shed to house some of the machines.  He hired a few people.  Then a few more.

And over 35 years grew to $2 Billion in sales and thousands of employees.  (His original vision was to "grow to perhaps 20-30 people).

In reading it, I am inspired to consider returning to selling real goods.  There is something rewarding about selling tangible "things".

There is certainly a large focus on family business (sort of like Now Foods - supplement manufacturer, distributor of stevia etc.).  There is a section how Linda worked her way into and up in the business and the hopeful note that one of her children might someday join the business.

I am sure I found it partly interesting because I know many of the players.  Frank was a neighbour.  I played bridge with him every other week for 15 years.  He sat on my (EMJ) board for the 10 years we were public.  I have been to his house many times and he has been to mine.

And I know many of the characters in the book like Jim Jarrel, Bob Young, Linda Hasenfratz etc.

I also have spoken one of the authors,  Rod McQueen when he was writing a book on Blackberry.  McQueen is well known for writing Canadian business books.  He is an excellent writer.  I like his general positivity and objectivity.

It is a great - must read book.

The house across the street set out some storm debris today.  I wish I still had a wood stove.

My brother Glen sent me an interesting article on global warming.  There has never been a month for 27 years that global temperatures have been above average.  337 months in a row.  The odds of that happening are ½ to the 337th power.   We don’t even have a verbal number for something that small – it is 3.571 e—102. 

 I fear we may have more and worse storms in our future.


At 8:13 PM, Anonymous Mara said...

Any person can become successful if they have the right attitude and motivation to succeed. I love reading success stories and more often, these stories inspire me whenever I feel like giving up.


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