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December 15, 2005

It is a primary goal in life for me to leave the world
a better place than before I got there. I am a very selfish person in
that goal, however, in that I want to do it through kayaking, instead
of through the advancement of medicine, world peace, or inventing a new
solution to our energy needs. This may limit my overall impact in the
world, which puts in perspective my willingness to completely self-sacrifice
what is important to me for the betterment of society as a whole. This
is a little off topic perhaps, but I just don’t want anyone to think
I am self-proclaiming any high level of righteousness

It all started with Yvon Chouinard’s book “Let
My People Go Surfing” less than a month ago. Yvon is someone who,
while no different than you or I, has proven that living everyday for
the journey, doing what he thinks is the right thing for himself, the
people and world around him at the moment can create astonishing amazing
results. I had the opportunity yesterday, to spend the day at the Patagonia
Campus (headquarters in normal business talk) and I witnessed first hand
an entire organization of individuals pulling together for things bigger
than the bottom line. Yvon’s long time and unwaivering commitment
to the environment has produced a model company with hundreds of environmental
activists inside it. Certainly, some of their staff are more involved
and effect more positive change than others, but there is no way someone
who was indifferent to the needs of our environment would last a week
without either getting a fire lit under their rear end to join in the
cause, or move on to an apathetic company where they could be complacent
with their idea of status quo. There are so many worthy causes for any
individual to get behind, making them accountable to the world for their
own area of expertise. The environment is only one area, but as the quote
says on the front door of Patagonia, “There is no business to be
done on a dead planet.” Patagonia does all of this without losing
sight of the fact that they also have a responsibility to operate their
primary function effectively and successfully, which is to create and
sell the best products, with the minimum impact on the earth. Patagonia
is owned by Yvon and Malinda and they take their jobs and responsibility
seriously. It appears to me that they are not comfortable sitting still
with their business, but treat it as if major improvements must be made
constantly in order to be worthy of their time. I am impressed.

Several things are in the works, and a couple of things
are certain in regards to the Jackson’s and Patagonia.

  1. We have enough information about Yvon’s creation,
    1% for the Planet, to get officially signed on for 2006. Yvon has watched
    his group grow to over 200 members and we are proud to be a part of
  2. The Jackson family will officially become Ambassadors
    for Patagonia. Each of us will help in our own area of expertise. Patagonia
    Kids, Patagonia, Water Girl, Lotus- all owned by Yvon and his wife Malinda.
    We will be both the Jackson family, and Emily, Dane, Kristine, and EJ
    individually. It is a win/win prospect.
  3. Yvon Chouinard is now an official esteemed member
    of the Jackson Kayak “Think Tank” which is our advisory
    board. This is another big win for Jackson Kayak as a living being and
    a brand. We will have a direct line into the experience, advice, and
    the caring hand of one of the world’s leaders of a sustainable,
    responsible, family business. With Yvon, we will also have the opportunity
    to get input from his lovely wife and partner Malinda, his CEO Casey
    Sheehan, and other members of his senior management team. My intent
    in creating this powerful “Think Tank” is to give Jackson
    Kayak every opportunity to become the kind of business that it has to
    potential to become, and not be held back by any shortcomings I may
    have or lack of vision on my part.

There are a couple of other awesome things that came
out of my time spent with Yvon and his team, but it will be a short time
before I can indulge in details. No, Jackson Kayak did not sell out, in
case your mind is wandering to the dark side. 🙂

I am on a plane flying back to Tennessee. When I arrive,
Jackson Kayak staff will be at my house already under way with our 2005
Christmas Party, sweet! I have an awesome team and look forward to spending
time with them.