No story about the history of AEG would be complete without talking about my parents, family and friends who not only supported us, but also helped when we needed it most.
My dad, John (Big Z to most everyone who was his friend), did not understand my decision to stop doing golf marketing and start a game company, but my parents supported it. We had some rough times in the early years and my parents invested in AEG and in my dream. They believed that I could make this work.
When we ran into major trouble for the first time it was my father who came down to our offices and started asking questions and outlining the problem on a whiteboard. He helped me see that things were not as bad as they seemed and that we would work our way out of the problem.
We opened a warehouse in Apple Valley and my parents ran it for AEG for multiple years. I don’t think anyone would argue that while my dad was in charge it was the best run part of our company.
My dad was a simple hard-working guy who loved his wife, golf, and was proud of his kids. The second best day of my life (best was my wedding day) was right after we sold L5R for the first time and I was able to hand my parents the check which covered all of their investment and more. And I remember my dad’s reaction. He tried to hand it back to me. “This can’t be right, it’s too much. I am sure the company needs this.” I smiled and pushed it back. “It’s your money. Your investment paid off.” He was a proud dad and got more mileage out of that story than he did the money.
He has been gone for a long time, 18 years. He was taken from us way too early at 62 years old. We all miss him.
I have so many great stories about my dad, but the one that has been my guiding light since he’s been gone is the story about loads.
My dad loved doing things around the house. We always had a project going on. One month my dad decided that he wanted to get rid of our gravel driveway. His plan was to move all the rocks from the front driveway to a pile in the backyard. He told my brother and I that we could get it done quickly if we worked together. If we each did two loads a day, the project would be done in no time.
About a week into the project I had some extra time and decided to do all my loads for the week in one day, 14 wheelbarrow loads from the front to the back of the house.
The next day I was laying on the couch and my dad was on his way outside. I remember it like it was yesterday.
“Did you do your loads today, son?”
“I did my loads for the week yesterday.” I responded. “Fourteen.”
He smiled. “That’s not how loads work, son. You had an excellent day yesterday, but just because you were able to do extra yesterday does not mean that you don’t need to do your loads today. Come on, get up and let’s go do our loads.”
I remember thinking, that is a load of something and it’s not rocks.
That is how my dad lived his life, doing his two loads every day and having excellent days in between. Working two jobs or waking up at 4am to drive four hours from Apple Valley to LA for work. Everything he tried he found a way to be good at.
This memory motivates me when I am feeling overwhelmed, overworked, or just feel like procrastinating.
Happy Father’s Day to all of you fathers out there. Don’t forget to do your loads today, whatever it is you are trying to accomplish.