Jack Baum On Success – Three Legged Stool
Apr 28 2009

Jack Baum was one of my favorite investors and board members at the first company I founded.  He was outspoken, introduced us to key customers and other key investors, and was a real supporter of us founders.  He isn’t afraid to say what was on his mind even if it was not politically correct.   He also took time to listen to our perspectives and since he is an entrepreneur himself, he could relate to us.

I interviewed Jack (pdf) for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, for an article that was published in the November/December 2005 issue.  My writing partner, Pam Losefksy, and I pulled these articles together a while back and you can see them on the Success Profiles page of this blog.  You can see the full article on Jack by clicking HERE (pdf).

Jack is the President/CEO of Food, Friends & Company, which owns Cozymel’s Mexican Grill and is now creating an upscale seafood restaurant called Red Sails, as well as a Pan-Latin concept called Tango. He founded Canyon Café, Sam’s Café, and Newport’s in Texas as well as Sagebrook Technology Partners, an investment firm that provides capital to early-stage technology companies. (Sagebrook subsequently merged with 2M Capital.)  Has competed in five Ironman triathlons and finished in the top tier in the amateur division.

The main point he wanted to share was:

When I look at the traits of successful people, I think of a triangle or a stool with three legs. First, successful people have meaningful relationships with their family and friends.  Second, they take the selfishness and the ego out of making money and elevate
what they do to make money to a point where it’s good for society.  And third, successful people know how to recharge their batteries.

He also shared the following advice:

When I talk to young people, I often use the metaphor of training for a marathon, which is something I know a lot about, to illustrate how to be successful. I know I can increase my training by 5 percent a week without injuring myself. If my goal is to run a marathon, and the longest run I’m capable of today is three miles, I then calculate how long it’s going to take me to be ready and I can enter a marathon after that date.

I think the same thing happens in life. A lot of young people coming out of college are rushing to get their careers started, but I think they need to look at it more as a marathon than as a sprint. I believe they need to say to themselves, “Here are the tools that I need to put in my toolbox to be successful. I’ve got plenty of time to do it. I don’t have to do everything today.” If they can have that perspective, they are more likely to stay balanced and to keep each leg of the stool on the ground.

I have a lot of respect for Jack.  He seems to have found ways to keep his three legged stool balanced for the most part from what I’ve seen.   He flew in to speak to my entrepreneurship class a couple of times and was always a great hit with the students.

The marathon analogy works well for start-ups and life.  There are many times in an entrepreneurial endeavor you feel like just giving up because it’s just too hard and all your muscles ache and your brain is fried.  But you get up and keep going until you make it over the hump or you hit the wall.  Some companies make it across the finish line, some make it but fall apart afterwards, some make it in record time and are the darlings of the race, and some people’s mind/body just have to call it quits because that’s just how it has to be at that point.  They pick themselves up and try again later with another company.  And such is life.

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Success To Me – Leilah Powell
Nov 22 2007

Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels to everyone!

As some of you know, I co-write articles on the topic of success for university alumni magazines with my fabulous writing partner Pam Losefsky. Our latest article for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, is on Leilah Powell, Government Relations Manager for Bexar County, Texas and former Assistant to the Mayor of San Antonio, Texas. 

Our goal with this endeavor is to get people thinking about what success means to them by reading stories on how others define success.  Please click here to see more success profiles.


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