It’s 10:10AM, Friday, June 19, 2009. As I sit here in my office, I stare at four grey walls and three windows with the blinds closed–also grey. This isn’t a metaphor; I am really looking at four freshly painted walls, and my windows are shaded with silver metallic shades that block out most of the light. My desk is grey my credenza is grey and my computer stand is grey and black. My 42” monitor, my portal to the world, is currently open, but I can close it any time I wish.
What’s missing from this picture? My past. All the accolades, accomplishments, plaques and photographs of some of the most remarkable people I’ve been blessed to meet have been removed. You might be curious who they are/were? This isn’t a trip down memory lane; it’s about letting go. At age 46, I can look back at my life and find failure and success; “Triumph and Disaster” Kipling called it. He also said we should “treat those two imposters just the same.” I’m going to listen to him. As Diamond Cutters International heads towards a quarter century (sounds more impressive than 25 years), it’s important to take a moment to look back. When I started this company back in 1985, there were quite a few memorable headlines from that year. I picked two that stood out each month.
- January 20th – U.S. president Ronald Reagan is privately sworn in for a second term in office.
- January 28th – In Hollywood, California, the charity single “We are the World” is recorded by USA for Africa.
- February 1st – AM stereo broadcasting starts in Australia.
- February 20th – Minolta releases world’s first auto focus single-lens reflex camera.
- March 4th – The Food and Drug Administration approves a blood test for AIDS, used since then to screen all blood donations in the United States.
- March 8th – A car bomb planted in Beirut by CIA mercenaries attempts to kill Islamic cleric Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah and kills more than 80 people, injuring 200.
- April 15th – South Africa ends its ban on interracial marriages.
- April 23rd – Coca-Cola changes its formula and releases new coke.
- May 11th – The FBI brings charges against the suspected heads of the mafia families in New York City.
- May 23rd – Thomas Patrick Vavanaugh is sentenced to life in prison for attempting to sell stealth bomber secrets to the Soviet Union.
- June 17th – John Hendricks launches the Discovery channel in the United States.
- June 27th – U.S. Route 66 is officially decommissioned.
- July 19th – U.S. Vice President George H.W. Bush announces that New Hampshire teacher Christa McAuliffe will become the first school teacher to ride aboard the space shuttle Challenger.
- July 20th – The main ship wreck site of the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha (which sank in 1622) is found 40 miles off the coast of Key West, Florida by treasure hunters who begin to excavate 400 million in coins and silver.
- August 6th – In Hiroshima, tens of thousands mark the 40th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city.
- August 31st – Richard Ramirez, the serial killer known as the night stalker, is captured in Los Angeles.
- September 1st – A joint American-French expedition locates the wreck of the RMS Titanic.
- September 19th – An 8.1 Richter scale earthquake strikes Mexico City. Around 10,000 people are killed, 30,000 injured and 95,000 left homeless.
- October 1st – The Israeli Air Force bombs PLO headquarters near Tunis.
- October 18th – The Nintendo entertainment system is released in U.S. stores.
- November 18th – The comic strip Calvin and Hobbes debuts in 35 newspapers.
- November 20th – Microsoft releases the first version of Windows, Windows 1.0.
- December 1st – The Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable are released for sale to the public.
- December 16th – In New York City, mafia bosses, Paul Castellano and Thomas Bilotti, are shot dead in front of Sparks Steak House making “hit” organizer, John Gotti, the leader of the powerful Gambino organized crime family.
The world we live in has changed a lot in 25 years. It’s always interesting to look back to see how far we’ve come, but it is even more important not to confuse our pasts (good or bad) with who we are. We are not our past. Twenty five years ago, I started with an office and some grey walls. Now I begin again; a fresh coat of paint and hungry for the next adventure. Let’s take it together!