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The Opportunity to renew…

by | Nov 1, 2020 | Opportunity, renew, Van Halen

I have written about being fired before,  and I have used that story with a number of others who now I can honestly say, “I know how you feel”.  It is not fun, and yet… like the Stock Market, it puts in the “bottom” that you either grow from, or get angry. In this case, it was literally the best thing that could have happened to me. It caused me to really take stock of what I was about, and what I wanted to now focus on.  I had a few other steps along the way, but ultimately, my network and relationships saved me, financially and emotionally.  Friends become real – those that take the time, and those that don’t. I eventually got the call that they needed a new head of Engineering at VeriSign… 

…where my interview process was upside down – I interviewed FIRST with the team I would lead.  That was interesting to assess each of them, and I added this question to my list: “Why didn’t YOU want/get the job?”  I realized in each case there was something I knew how to do… and now had to learn how to teach. In most cases the root issue was “confidence” – a pattern I have seen play out over and over with slightly different nuances.  But here I had a laboratory to start to practice what I now see was my best career – how to build people up,  teams together consistently, how to do both remotely, how to interface with senior leaders, what the Board really cares about … it was all here. And with lots of preparation and persistence, it was one interview away…

As always, I get to the end of these with more stories and songs that I would like to tell.  Eddie was firmly entrenched in his “best place” – sitting in 5150 and noodling on sounds, hardware, guitars, etc.  And the music he was making was richer, more complex, and more meaningful at least to him. After Sammy left, they had a few more albums, and a reunion with Roth, including this amazing set on Jimmy Kimmel where you can see (other than Roth’s voice) just how good they were live – even when Ed was 60.  The tape on Roth’s nose comes from cutting it in the first song… and you can see here just how great the band is when they improvise.  I think now of his son who will be going through thousands of hours of tapes in 5150, or half-finished guitar projects, each a reminder of his Dad’s unending thrist for something new and different.

Van Halen was inducted in the Rock Hall in 2007, and there will be a special ceremony on November 7th on HBO to honor him that I would highly recommend. He was truly a genius for our times.  I have noticed that most of his music is in a major key, something not typical of “metal” music, and also, that most pictures of Ed are smiling.  Almost all of the stories come back to what a nice person he was, particularly once he got sober.  His impact on music is still reverberating.  Google “Eruption” and you will see thousands of would be’s showing you their skills, and it is now a part of any band interview – even for country artists like Kenny Chesney 😉  Sirius XM shared a concert where Eddie and Alex joined them for Eruption/You’ve Really Got me. 

My last hurdle was being invited for a dinner to see “how our families would mesh”. The other leader’s kids were in their single digits mostly… mine were in college 😉  My daughter agreed to go with Beth and I, and frankly helped carry the conversations where I was WAY to nervous.  With all of that on the line, I knew this role would change our trajectory… and it did.  And, what helped me relax most was realizing that almost everyone there was a believer, and meant it… active in their Faith walks, and talked about it.  I have no idea what Ed’s faith stance was, but I do know that Alex became an ordained minister – not sure exactly… but again judging others is a fool’s errand.  How to close this out – how about the words from today’s that say much more than I could… A perfect mix of instrumental, rhythm and words that are real … “Woke up in life, found I almost missed it, You think you got the interest, Come on and take the time, ‘Cause you know, I wanna be, Yours in a simple rhyme”

 

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