Archive for February, 2007

My winter reading list

This could also be titled I Need to Read More. I have only tackled two books this winter, but they were good ones. If I was only able to choose two books to read over the winter, I would have still chosen these.

These books are definitely business books, but they have lessons and ideas for any aspect of life and not just business.

First would be Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard. Yvon Chouinard is the founder and owner of Patagonia clothing company. Before he even began making clothing he was a climbing bum making climbing gear to support his outdoor lifestyle. His one page mimeographed catalog featured a caveat telling his customers to not expect timely deliveries during climbing season. From this, he has built a clothing company that is consistently profitable, while also being a model environmentally conscious organization. His book includes a history of the company, and an outline of their business practices.

After Let My People Go Surfing, I read Raising the Bar by Gary Erickson, the founder and owner of Clif Bar. This book promotes the virtues of traveling the “white road” instead of the more heavily traveled “red road.” A prime example of this is when Gary turns down a 120 million dollar buyout deal that would have given him and his partner 60 million a piece. Even though this presented issues in the form of his partner wanting out of the business, the company going into debt, and the competition of larger firms, the “white road” of continued private ownership of the business provided for a fulfilling journey for everyone involved with clif bar. And like Patagonia, this company stands for environmental values, such as having all of their products be organic and vegetarian friendly.

I truly enjoyed these books for many reasons, but they primarily show that a company can survive and even thrive when integrating earth friendly practices throughout all of their business practices.

I encourage you to follow the links to these books and purchase them if you are looking for a good read.


A Farewell

Last week, Matthew Mclain, our Operations Manager, let everyone know that this week will be his last at Phoneraiser. For a while now, Matthew has been into planes. He plans on getting his private license and hopes to own a plane of his own one day. But for now, he is getting into the plane business. He will be working at a company that sells private and business jets.

While we are happy to see him follow his passion, he will certainly be missed. His integrity and diligence in his work is something that we all appreciated. Since we are a tight nit group, it will be a very different place without Matthew.

And now, a very rare photo of Matthew. He doesn’t like to have his picture taken, but I was able to snap this one while we were on a business trip.

Matty Mclain

Happy Trails, Matthew Mclain! You will be missed!

Green Mountain Energy

In most of Texas, electricity is a deregulated indstry. To the benefit or detriment (that is another post for another blog) of prices, there has been one large environmental benefit. Green Mountain Energy is an electricty company that uses non-polluting energy sources. They do it by adding additional “clean” electricity to the grid according to how many customers they have. Their energy sources include wind, solar, water, geothermal, biomass, and natural gas. In Texas, they have funded wind farms such as the Green Mountain Energy Wind Farm at Brazos and solar electricity development.

And, to the benefit of the environment, if you live in Florida, New Jersey, New York, or Oregon you can enjoy having energy that you know to be non-polluting. According to an EPA website, “Fossil fuel-fired power plants are responsible for 67 percent of the nation’s sulfur dioxide emissions, 23 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions, and 40 percent of man-made carbon dioxide emissions.” Cars are indeed a major contributor of many greenhouse gases as well as pollutants, but electricity production is also an area that we as a country can improve.

A side benefit of Green Mountain entering (besides being cheaper than the big guy, TXU) the market is the fact that other companies have started offering green electricity packages as a result.

I will end this post by saying that we aren’t affiliated with Green Mountain, but we do use them for our electricity company. If you live in a state that posesses a deregulated electricity market, check out Green Mountain Energy or any other company that produces green electricty.