Big Red Rules

Big Red Car here.  The Boss is out drinking coffee early this morning.  He loves the 7:00 AM meeting at Austin Java.  He gets a 3-shot cappuccino and is wired for the rest of the morning.

Me, you ask, I am in the driveway with my top up because it is cloudy and a bit rainy.  Rats.  But you have to follow the rules.  Speaking of rules, I have some of my own that I call the Big Red Rules.

Here goes:

D Theory of Life

When it really counts, the first person you encounter to assist you will have made a “D” in that course.  Move on.  Get a second opinion.


Every story that starts with — “Dad, it was 2:00 in the morning….” will always have a bad outcome.

Your IQ will increase dramatically as your children move through their twenties.

Your children need a parent, not a friend.  They get to pick their friends but you are their parent whether you like it or not.  Be a parent and then maybe you can be friends later.


The earlier you get up, the harder and later you work — the luckier you will get.

Luck is opportunity colliding with preparation.

Always, give yourself a chance to get lucky.


The first casualty of contact with the enemy (the marketplace) is the plan.

Check, double check, re-check EVERYTHING.

Plans, like dogs, have to be fed and watered daily.


You are different.  You are weird.  It is not a curable condition.  Stop fighting it.

A real entrepreneur would rather command a row boat than be the Second Mate on the QE II.

Use all the slights and rejections as fuel.  You will have a lot of fuel.

Success is revenge.

Never complain, never explain.  Just do stuff.

Failure is not permanent, it is tuition.  Learn from your failures.


Your generation did not invent business or sex.  Neither did mine.

Meet and read Drucker.  See, you don’t even know who the Hell he is.

Nobody on their death bed has ever lamented that they did not spend enough time at the office.

You cannot over communicate.  Repetition is necessary to get the message across.  Folks like to hear that nothing has changed.

Businesses — successful businesses — solve someone’s problem.

Know your customers.  Engage with them.  Listen to them.  But understand sometimes they do not really know what they want.

Change is not the outlier, change is the constant.

Check your “six”.  You never know what’s behind you.


Everything — everything — in life is negotiable.

In life you do not get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.

The first rule of negotiating is simply remember to negotiate.

Low ball everything, give yourself a chance to get lucky.

Negotiating is like putting, it requires a bit of finesse but anyone can become a great negotiator.


You will get out of any relationship some multiplier of what you personally invest.  Invest nothing, get nothing.

Be kind to everyone on the way up because you do not know who may be helpful on the way down.

Never piss off anyone who is shipping your belongings.  This is how stuff ends up in Alaska by mistake.

The best way to make a friend is to ask for a favor.


You want loyalty, get a Labrador.  See if you can be the great guy that Lab thinks you are.

The second you leave as President, CEO all loyalties will shift dramatically.


In life you will make only 5 true friends.  Don’t squander them.  Hunt them down and maintain a relationship.

Be the friend you want to have.


Over tipping is not a sign of weakness.

Over tipping is neither a misdemeanor nor a felony but if you leave something at the restaurant, you will get it returned.  In that manner, it is like insurance.


Nobody has 20 years of experience anymore.  Today you have one year of experience 20 times.

Experience has a shelf life and a sell by date.


You can learn to do anything you put your mind to.  Never stop learning.

You can teach an old dog new tricks but only if the old dog wants to learn.


Insurance companies are not in the business of paying claims.  Their main business is denying claims.  There is a reason why the print is so damn small.

Pursuit of happiness

The Founding Fathers set up a system whereby you could have “…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…”.  They did not say you would actually catch happiness, they just said you could pursue it.  Go get some for yourself.

Most of the things in life that make you truly happy — great spouse, favorite khakis, Moleskine notebooks, body surfing, wind in your hair, singing along with Pat Green, roaring fire, nice steak and a great bottle of cabernet — don’t cost a whole lot of money.

Well, that’s a good start for today.  I will share some Big Red Rules from time to time.

But, hey, what the Hell do I know really?  I’m just a Big Red Car.

Be kind to yourself, you deserve it.

17 thoughts on “Big Red Rules

  1. This is rich. So rich that I will need to re-read these “rules” from time to time to let them sink in. Thank you, Big Red.

    For the record , I do know who Drucker is — he’s one of my heroes. But I had to google Pat Green. Forgive me.

  2. Need rules on skiing. Never ski groomers, always wear helmet in trees, etc.

    You are a treasure of valuable info. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Jeff, just found your blog a few days ago. Great stuff here.

    Best of luck in 2013 with everything both new and old.

    • .
      Thanks, I resisted for a long, long time and ultimately it was only that damn Big Red Car that got me motivated. Tell someone else and subscribe.

      Thank you very much for writing.


  4. Hey Jeff,

    These are all great – especially as we start a new year.

    I need to scan these about about once a month.

    Good luck w/ the new blog, you have and know a lot of life lessons – and you are a master at communicating them.

  5. Love it.. especially..

    Most of the things in life that make you truly happy — great spouse, favorite khakis, Moleskine notebooks, body surfing, wind in your hair, singing along with Pat Green, roaring fire, nice steak and a great bottle of cabernet — don’t cost a whole lot of money.

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