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Hi everyone. This is my first post to the board, but after reading a few of the threads I think I'll be here for some time to come. So, I thought I would post a greeting, to let you all know who I am and what I've been up to lately.

I come from a family of entrepreneurs. My great grandfather (on my father's mother's side) was a farmer and butcher. He ran his own (successful) business through the Great Depression. My grandmother (his daughter) married a wonderful electronics engineer (my dear grandfather), who eventually partnered with a man who turned out to have poor moral values. They started a business, the partner (and his wife) pilfered, the authorities intervened, and my grandfather ended up the proud (sole) owner of the company.

Hard work, dedication, and years of great customer service and reasonable pricing led the growth of the business, my grandfather's happy retirement and the passing of the baton to my father. Dear old dad ran the business beautifully. Took advantage of the right opportunities, and ended up selling the family-owned corporation to a very large company for a tidy sum -- we were all very happy in the late 80's.

Ever the entrepreneur, he put money into a new series of businesses, which did very well, but other circumstances prevented reaping what he sowed in the 90s (a very long, involved story that I am not currently at liberty to share). But, he had the sense to send me to college, but in the middle of it all I amassed some pretty severe student loans (based on some broken promises), but earned a professional degree (MS) in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). My emphasis was on Information Security. My skills, knowledge, and expereince are in demand.

Between degrees I invented a secure e-mail methodology, which has since been patented, and dear old dad and I have been trying to start a business around that for quite some time. Unfortunately, secure e-mail is more complicated than most VC and other investors would prefer, and we were trying to start the tech business right when the bubble burst. Getting off the ground has been difficult, to say the least. In fact, we're still grounded.

I currently hold a very stable position in my field and will soon be a Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP) -- passing the exam is more a formality at this point. I have started a Web site (though I'm not yet incorporated) and have plans for online subscription services for small businesses and consulting. Three areas of revenue streams: advertising from the Web site, subscription fees for online services, and consulting fees for more in-depth, one-on-one consultations. This is separate from what dear old dad and I are working on.

So, I've got a few things upon which I'm working. A new business idea, my full-time job, and an older business idea (with dear old dad). By the way, I'm a pretty big "do-it-yourselfer," so I'm always working on the house. Thankfully, I don't yet have any children, though I sometimes tax my wife's patience with my incessant reading, thinking, planning.

Her family is 180-degrees the opposite of mine. They are blue-collar, wage earners who have made a very good life for themselves through hard work, being frugal, and extreme savings. For example, rather than pay a contractor to build a home, they bought an awesome 5-acre plot at auction for a song, took out a construction loan, and built it themselves. Total cost: $110k. It's worth $300k, and it's already paid off (they've been there for 8 years). In their family, you work hard for someone else rather than being that someone else. So, there's a bit of friction there in terms of the differences (though her dad has been very supportive).

I'm hoping to be able to turn to this board for encouragement, advice, and (every now and again) to set me straight. My wife would consider me to be a dreamer. My dad would consider me to be a go-getter. We have no children. We have a mortgage, car loan, and student loans.

I post to the Small Business board, the CC debt board, and sometimes the Online Banking board. I lurk on the Tax Strategies board from time to time.

So, with that I say, "hello" to the board, and raise my glass in a toast to the good conversations of the future, where we all learn and share our experiences in order to become better businesspeople and provide a good life for ourselves and our families.


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