A Man and A Dream

“You got to like your work. You have got to like what you are doing, you have got to be doing something worthwhile so you can like it — because it is worthwhile, that it makes a difference, don’t you see?” ~ Col. Harland Sanders

Colonel Harland Sanders was a jack of many trades. Before becoming the world-famous face of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Colonel Sanders was was a sixth-grade dropout, a farmhand, an army mule-tender, a locomotive fireman, a railroad worker, an aspiring lawyer, an insurance salesman, a ferryboat entrepreneur, a tire salesman, an amateur obstetrician, an (unsuccessful) political candidate, a gas station operator, a motel operator and finally, a restaurateur.

At the age of 65 when most people are entering a life of retirement, he was just beginning the most notable chapter of his life. In 1955 a newly constructed interstate highway snatched the traffic away from his Corbin, Ky., restaurant and Sanders was left with nothing but a Social Security check and a secret recipe for fried chicken… as it turned out, that was all he needed.

It was then, confident of the quality of his fried chicken, he started traveling by car to different restaurants and cooked his fried chicken on the spot for restaurant owners. If the owner liked the chicken, they would enter into a handshake agreement to sell the Colonel’s chicken. Legend has it that Colonel Sanders heard 1009 “no’s” before he heard his first “yes”. Less than 10 years later he had over 600 franchises in the U.S. and Canada.

Never stop dreaming of the world you wish to build no matter what chapter of life you find yourself in… with a little persistence it just might become a reality.

Trust Your Crazy Idea

On July 7, 1928, a baker named Frank Bench in Chillicothe, MO, who was so broke he had nothing left to lose took a leap of faith on a crazy idea – sliced bread. The rest, they say… is history.

While sliced bread is so commonplace today that we don’t really consider it “inventive”, that was not always the case. Otto Rohwedder, of nearby Saint Joseph, MO had been working on the idea since 1912, nearly 16 years before his bread slicing invention ever saw commercial use. Naysayers scoffed at the idea, claiming people were not lazy and didn’t mind slicing their own bread. Aside from the outright rejection along the way, Rohwedder also experience numerous setbacks including sickness and a warehouse fire that destroyed his original prototype. Rohwedder, kept pressing on with faith that his invention would prove worthwhile.

Finally, in 1928 his machine was ready. Rohwedder and Bench teamed up and began producing Kleen Maid Sliced bread. Bench took out a full-page ad in the local paper announcing “The greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped,” and acknowledging that “the idea of sliced bread may be startling to some people.”

The Constitution-Tribune printed a news story touting the benefits of sliced bread that helped convince the public of the invention:

“The housewife can well experience a thrill of pleasure when she first sees a loaf of this bread with each slice the exact counterpart of its fellows. So neat and precise are the slices, and so definitely better than anyone could possibly slice by hand with a bread knife that one realizes instantly that here is a refinement that will receive a hearty and permanent welcome.”

The article went on to explain the process of opening the package at one end, taking out as many slices as one needed, and resealing with a pin – to prevent spoilage.

The cynical public was sold! People lined up around the block, Bench’s sales shot up 2,000 percent in the first three months, and his floundering bakery was saved. Rohwedder’s machine was embraced as a success and orders came rolling in.

Today the phrase “That’s the best thing since sliced bread” embodies the significance of this often overlooked innovation that was once just another crazy idea.

What’s yours?

Get Up, Get Out & Do Something

I love this video from GoPro… it makes me want to get up, get out & do something.

“We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.” ~ John Hope Franklin

Watch it and see if it makes you feel the same. What do you want to go do?

If you’re not familiar with GoPro they produce arguably the most versatile cameras in the world, a line of wearable and gear-mountable cameras and accessories.

GoPro helps people capture and share their lives’ most meaningful experiences with others—to celebrate them together. The sharing of our collective experiences makes our lives more fun. We dream. We have passionate ideas about what’s possible in this world. Our passions lead us to create experiences and realities that expand our world and inspire those around us.

I don’t own one… yet, but it’s definitely on the list! I love the wide angle on the video they take and would love to be able to just strap a camera to my bike or helmet and capture the experience.

They have a great story too. It’s all summed up pretty well in this video: