Sunday, March 2, 2008

Great Expectations & P.G. Johnson

Far and away, my favorite aspects of blist as a company are our great expectations, high standards, and immodest goals. In fact, ‘favorite’ is much too weak a word; I do not thrive in any environment lacking these. I have many (too many?) intense interests to distract me from an environment with obviously limited upside potential. This quality can make my life excruciatingly difficult at times, but with perspective is, on balance, a good thing.

A lot of the reason that I am the way (PITA some might say) that I am stems from my family history. My grandfather, P.G. Johnson, managed to be both enormously and precociously successful in business as well as contributing very centrally to history and progress. P.G. was a pioneer of the modern, professional CEO role during the nineteen-thirties and forties before dying too young. You can read more about him on Wikipedia, here and through the external links on that page.

Having this sort of role-model as a forbear cuts both ways. On the one hand, it’s inspirational and confidence building; At least I know I have the genes for success, however small a role they play, and believe me, I can dream big. On the other hand, as a progressive (one who subscribes to the idea of progress), I feel that I ought to, in summation, do more. Now, I don’t necessarily expect to have quite so much business success as my grandfather, but I need to prove a significant amount of it - and here’s where it starts getting tricky. I need to simultaneously be able to live a long and balanced life - something he did not do - and contribute to the world in some possibly broader and more public spirited ways. Definitely the environment, definitely human rights, definitely foreign affairs/understanding, perhaps elected office. Basically, to leave a mark, so that I couldn’t say that I might as well have never been born. And that can feel like a heavy weight from time to time, while paradoxically, the way to accomplishing all those things is just to energetically get on with it. And I try to do that - most of the time.

1 comment:

Rahul said...


Thanks for sharing such a personal story. I'm sure a post like this isn't easy to write but the payoff (for the reader at least) is huge.