BUILDING MY EMPIRE
Steven Adams -- CEO, Six Pack Companies
THE STORY OF MY RISE THROUGH ADVERSITY TO BUSINESS AND PERSONAL SUCCESS.
FIND HIDDEN KEYS IN YOUR OWN LIFE AND REACH ANY MARK YOU SET.
INTRODUCTIONWhether I'm chatting at a party or presenting at a conference, chances are I'll underscore a point or segue to another subject by telling a story from my past. Inevitably, someone will comment that I have so many stories that I should write a book. While I certainly consider my life and my accomplishments eventful, I never thought them so out of the ordinary that they would make interesting reading. Recently, however, I have started to reach that point in my life where I spend more time assessing than doing. The thought of putting down some of my life in words has seemed more and more worthwhile. My intentions in doing this are three-fold: first, to inspire others that with a dream and effort, they can accomplish what I have; second, to recognize the key events in my life and those who made them possible; and third, to help others understand and take advantage of their own key moments in life.
MY EMPIREAs a writer, I want to avoid vain, ostentatious terms like "empire", "tycoon", and "fortune", but as a businessman, I feel I must use them. Although these terms may scream self-effacement, they are, quite honestly, how I look at myself and my accomplishments. They are the terms I used to describe my goals, years ago, and the terms I have repeated to myself time and time again as the incentive to reach those goals. Freedom to use terms like these is a key to setting your state of mind. And state of mind is one of the biggest drivers to success.
So with my apology for terms out of the way, let me talk to you about what I consider my empire. I place this section here not to promote myself or my companies, but merely as a setting from which I will speak. Consider it a validation, even, of my credibility to talk about what can bring success -- or more simply, my answer to the question "Why should I listen to your ideas?" There are many brilliant theorists out there, but I am of the opinion that only a man who has walked a path himself can explain to others how to go.
Looking around me and assessing what I have, I have finally reached a point where I can call it an empire. My corporate holdings, which form the Six Pack Companies (formerly Adams Enterprises Inc. (AEI)), include a successful sports apparel manufacturing company, SCA Designs; a research & development bio-tech/hardware business, BrainWorks; and four Internet technology companies. SCA Designs currently employs over 125 people in the design and production of uniforms and custom equipment for junior league sports. As of 2004, BrainWorks employs 11 electronic engineers and 20 medical researchers in the charting and exploration of the sensory areas of the brain and the development and control of automated, artificial sensory stimuli. Our corporate headquarters, located in Escondido, CA and pictured below, houses our corporate management, the offices of SCA Designs, BrainWorks, and Del Mar BeachNet (one of our Internet companies).
A far cry from our original office space back in 1994: a spare bedroom in my Solana Beach home.
The Internet portion of the Six Pack Companies are, by nature, distributed. Much as the Internet itself requires smaller points-of-presence around the world rather than a single centralized location, our four subsidiaries are spread across the nation. We currently hold as small local offices the original office space of our component companies in Denver, CO, Herndon, VA, and Naperville, IL. Future expansion will lead to dozens more smaller, distributed offices with central operation and decision-making being driven from Six Pack headquarters.
Finally, I count among my empire my personal possessions, which I view not as a manifestation of success but as a side effect of it. I currently own two residences on opposite sides of the country. My current home, pictured below, was purchased in 2004 and sits atop Mount Soledad in La Jolla, CA. It replaced the cozy 3 bedroom house in Solana Beach, CA, which I had lived in since 1995 when it housed the original AEI "office". My second home is a revitalized turn-of-the-century townhouse in Washington, DC. Acquired for business purposes in 1998, I fell in love with the property and stay there as my business takes me to DC, although it is mainly used as a residential "perk" for our Chief Operating Officer. I have a small collection of older, restored sports cars. My favorite (and most often driven) is a 1965 Austin Healey 3000, which I purchased already restored in 1994. Since then, I have also acquired a 1967 Corvette convertible, a 1958 Thunderbird, and a 1970 Mustang. I think the main reason I moved was to have more garage space!
It meets my two big needs: lots of entertaining space, and lots of garage space.
And the view's not bad either.
While these hardly make me the world's next Warren Buffett, I am proud of what I have achieved both financially and professionally. I fully expect to dwarf these accomplishments in the next 10 years of my life and, as such, have set more and more lofty goals for myself as my degree of success has increased. But for now, I am proud to survey my accomplishments and call them my empire. And I am proud to share what made me what I am today.
WHAT GOT ME TO THE TOPAs important as looking around and examining where you are in life is looking back and examining how you got there. Too many people credit a single experience as a turning point, perhaps because we all look for simple answers to difficult questions. I see, however, influences from many parts of my life: things from childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, and even last week. Valuable lessons have come from my parents, my extended family, my friends, and my co-workers.
Various pieces of life have built a foundation for me to become who I am. Pieces that have led me to believe in myself, to not be afraid to set goals and try for them, and to learn from failures as well as successes. Other experiences have given me the skills I need to solve any problem in life and to reach any goal that I set. There are many things taught to you as you grow, but if you can walk away with just a belief in yourself, a willingness to set goals, and a basic skill set to help you tackle life's problems, you will have learned all you need. The rest is all building experience after experience on to this foundation, listening and learning from everyone you meet, and drawing on the positives from planned and, more importantly, unexpected opportunities in your life.
Read on to hear some key moments in my life which have had measurable impacts on who I am today. Together, these moments have provided for me the necessary pieces that I discussed above. Some may seem minor, some may seem major, but instead of evaluating the effects of each individually, I look instead at the combined impact that they have had on me. So follow the timeline of my life and see how influences from every area of life come together to bring success and happiness.
Text is © 1999-2004 Steven Adams.
No reproduction without authorization.
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