Entrepreneurs take risks and then organize and manage new enterprises (often businesses).  Regular readers of my blog know that I have been looking for my next business opportunity for several years.  I haven’t found it yet (but stay tuned) so in the interim I have to live vicariously through my friends and acquaintances.

One such person is a Vancouver entrepreneur named Robert Zalaudek.  I’ve known Robert since his undergraduate university days when he owned various coin operated vending machines.  Recently, after practicing as a professional technology recruiter, Robert took a risk, left his firm and followed his passion (read Hedgehog entry by clicking here) by starting a company to distribute the European designed and manufactured Sit Fit.

I’ve known Robert a long time and if I were to list his passions (not including family and friends) I would include tennis, general physical fitness and wine.  This evolving story is a true one in entrepreneurship.  Robert decided he wanted to start a business, sought out a product, defined a business model, approached the manufacturer (in Germany, no less), proposed various structures and went through many rounds of discussions before landing on his current deal.  If memory serves me correctly, then establishing his business has taken about six months.

This is just the beginning for Robert and Build Your Core.  I have no doubt that he is going to have great business success.  Check out Robert’s company website at www.buildyourcore.com and, even better, buy his core building Sit Fit product.  I’m sitting on one now and can attest to its effectiveness!

Founded in 1960 BC Ferries has become one of the world’s largest ferry operators growing from two ships and terminals to 36 vessels and 47 ports of call.

In 2003 the provincial Liberal government spun BC Ferries into a separate independent commercial entity that operates under the Coastal Ferry Act with an executive team that reports to private sector board of directors.

The current CEO, David Hahn, joined the corporation as its CEO in 2003 and since then has assembled and led a team that has, in my opinion, made great strides forward in improving the customer experience with BC Ferries.

Now, with a company that employs 4,700 people, carries 8 million cars and 21 million people annually there is undoubtedly going to be imperfections.  Obviously it’s best to do a great job and minimize problems, but it’s more how a company reacts to and handles problems that differentiates it from other organizations.

Last Sunday afternoon I was returning to Vancouver through Departure Bay in Nanaimo and had a less than stellar experience.  So, while waiting in the ferry lineup I thought I’d email the company’s CEO (I know the email naming convention at the company) and tell him, in real time, about my experience.  I don’t know him and have never met him, so there’s no reason why my name appearing in his inbox would get his attention.

Pleasingly, he replied within twenty minutes (at 5:42pm on a Sunday, no less), apologized for my experience, offered an explanation and, more importantly, copied the relevant vice president and director level management in order to raise the issue with them and work toward solutions.

I haven’t heard back from either the VP or director on how they’re going to solve this problem, but I was, nonetheless, very pleased with their response.  This is clearly a CEO who cares about the company he is running and its paying customers.

If you’re interested in the email thread then let me know and I’ll forward it to you.

Sarah Palin

July 6, 2009

I have had a long standing interest in following US politics and I found the 2008 US election to be one of the most exciting.  While I don’t agree with much of the tonic President Obama is administering to the current economic illness, I think the two choices American’s had for president in 2008 were both exceptional candidates.

When Senator McCain announced Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his nominee for vice president I was surprised.  She wasn’t someone on any list of prospects I had seen.  At the time I described that decision as McCain’s Hail Mary pass for the election.  As we now know this didn’t pay off for him.

The position of US vice president is important primarly because the occupant of that office becomes president in the event that the incumbent becomes incapacitated.  The vice president is also a member of the legislative branch of government in his or her capacity as president of the Senate.  The Senate’s president casts the deciding vote in the event of a tie.

If I were a betting man I’d predict that John McCain will be alive in November 2012 – which means that, barring a catastrophe, it would have been highly doubtful that a VP Sarah Palin would haved needed to be called upon to replace McCain.  Nonetheless, she would still have been ” a heart beat away from the presidency.”

The more I learn about her, the more pleased that she isn’t today’s vice president.  Now she may over time become well equipped for the job of president, but she’s got a lot of work to do between now and then.  This Vanity Fair article, which was linked form a recent Wall Street Journal on Palin, does a pretty good job of describing Palin, a bit of her history and, most concerning, her character.

Vanity Fair is not gospel when it comes to politics.  So I take the writer’s comments with a grain of salt.  Nonetheless, it’s a worthwhile read if you’re interested in the free world’s leadership.