Let’s take a walk together. We can get to know each other, talk about life. Enjoy some back-and-forth. I’ll get us started.

I didn’t come this far only to come this far. As an author, speaker, public company board chair, family man, a man with many friends (and friends-to-be), citizen and a child of God, I am driven to contribute. One way to for me to contribute is to start thought-provoking discussions. My overall objective is to stimulate “Passionate, Relentless, Reasoning.” My specific goals include getting people to act (only) after Reasoning.

My successes have taught me a lot; my stumbles have taught me more.  Often, my stumbles have led directly to my successes; for example, I had no business going to college right after high school — but I did anyway. And flunked out of The University of Colorado at Boulder. I joined the Army, first in the Infantry at Fort Riley, KS, then in the Signal Corps in the Far East and Southeast Asia. Returning to “the world” (having started the process of getting my head on straight), I went back to CU, graduated, and bootstrapped what became the second largest independent audio/video chain in the Rockies.  

My business put me through Harvard Business School (HBS), earning an MBA. HBS asked me to be one of the few second year tutors, helping struggling first year students, leaving me with the dubious distinction being the only person ever to have flunked out of CU who was later asked to be a student tutor at HBS.  (A highly dubious distinction…☺.)

Formal education and extensive business experience, augmented by lessons learned playing sports and income-supplementing high stakes poker in college (the second time) and high-level tournament bridge (before I started my business and quit) have combined to teach me lessons that apply everywhere in life. For example, once you learn the rules, say in poker or business, it is all about people.

Let’s dig in and help ourselves and other people by truly learning to think before we act. Let’s challenge ourselves to understand why we think what we think, and believe what we believe. Get past preconceived notions; leave slogans, cliches and knee-jerk reactions behind. Look for ways to serve.

Along the way, I have enjoyed participating in everything from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), giving a speech about loudspeaker enclosure design, to the Arthritis Foundation as their top fundraiser in 2004 and 2006, while participating in the annual 525-mile California Coast Classic, a fundraising bike ride from Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco to the Santa Monica pier. (The talk was easier…:)  ). I plan to do the ride again in 2017–my 6th and likely last time. I also enjoyed being a part of the San Francisco-based US Olympic Committee, and the citizen board that advised the Army prior to turning over the Army’s Presidio at San Francisco to civilian control. More recently, I am a volunteer for the Kadet Football Booster Club (my youngest plays for Air Academy High School here in Colorado Springs; Go Kadets!), and volunteering at our church. Oh, and I am a proud member of the Society of the First Infantry Division.

Writing, formal work, e.g., boards, volunteering and day-to-day interactions allow me multiple opportunities to contribute. And I am always looking — scratching – for more ways to make a difference—large and small. Contributing makes me better and happier. Becoming better and happier drives me to contribute. A powerful, virtuous cycle.  

Looking forward to our next walk.

Will Luden, writing from my home office at 7,200 feet in Colorado Springs.