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Taking stock...

Peter McCormick


I'm admittedly a little late with my year-end backward glance and look-forward prognostications.  But so it is these days... so much to do, seemingly so little time.


db4deef53043e91c1f78f25dc45c46e3-.png2014 is a milestone year, of sorts.  TurfNet turns 20 on February 1 and I turn 60 on July 4. I'm not sure which is more monumental.  Probably the former, given the odds.


As I have said many times, one of my first goals as a newbie entrepreneur slicing through the uncharted waters of a paid information service/networking platform-to-be in the golf course business was simply to NOT be one of the estimated 90% of new businesses that fail within five years.


We made it.



How?  For starters, I'm the first to admit there was no stroke of genius, no Eureka! moment, no grand plan. Start with an idea, get the adrenalin pumping, put your ear to the ground and open your eyes. Realize you'll eat what you kill (so to speak) in the early years. Listen, watch, adjust the rudder. Make mistakes, learn from them. Be honest, follow the Golden Rule (sounds corny, but it's critical). Embrace change. Tackle new challenges head-on, without fear. Seek guidance from people smarter than you are. Outsource whenever possible. Pay your suppliers promptly. Pay your taxes. Read. Listen, watch and adjust the rudder again, and again.


As the years go by, keep your ego in check. Help people, at whatever level and in whatever way you can. Be a good guy, make friends, but don't be afraid to smack those who deserve it. Call a spade a spade; no baloney or bullshit. Have fun. Work hard. Enjoy the ride.


All pretty simple.  Easier said than done, but that's it, in a nutshell.


Now, back to the 60 thing.  I'm not one to dwell on age, and I don't fear aging, as every stage in life has it's pleasures and problems.  I can't think of any period in my life that I'd want to go back and repeat.  Plenty of things I'd do over, differently, but no great longing for any particular era.


9c21e4382ef8742ef2199803c237a43e-.jpgOddly enough, I have no bucket list.  I live in two places, by the sea and in the mountains, both of which inspire me.  I've been married to my best friend for 36 years, an item for 40.  Daughters A and B are lighting up their respective professions (both in senior positions in digital marketing and communication... cue the sounds of apples falling from trees). One is married, the other mouthing the bait. No grandkids, but two granddogs in addition to our own two.


I have worked at home for 20 years. Burned a lot of wood in the fireplace. Traveled a little bit, seen a little bit of the world. No great desire for more. Some may say that's sad, but I call it liberating.  The future is an open book to be written as I see fit.


The one thing about aging that I don't like is diminishing stamina, both physical and mental.  I usually start work between 5 and 6AM, and find my mind going soft by late afternoon.  On the rare days that I can goof off, I like to load my chainsaw and gear into the bucket of my Kubota and head off into the woods. I used to be able to start at dawn and finish at dusk, but these days about four or five hours of that and I'm done.


But here again, observe, realize and adjust the rudder.


What's ahead? I believe it's foolhardy these days to plan any farther than five years out, but it's also a good idea to keep one eye on the present and the other on the road ahead.  Given all that I've encapsulated above, I see no real need or desire to retire. Or, until I "become irrelevant", as my late friend Gordon Witteveen once said.


b21e10073e57a87f9930901d0deebc14-.jpgOne would think that technology would make things easier, but it has made our (meaning myself and my compatriots') business much more complex and demanding. Smartphones and tablets have to be reckoned with, social media integrated. Before that it was online video and webcasts.


We have been able to do all that with the same core staff and a small army of contributors. But we're flat out, at the wall. I would like to do more observing, planning and adjusting rather than executing. So, at some point in the fairly near future, we're going to have to add someone to the mix to initially assist and augment... and, if the right person, eventually morph into the next maestro (lower-case 'm').  


That should be an interesting job description to write.


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Congratulations Peter for creating TurfNet and the ability to share our knowledge amongst our peers. I still remember that day back in 1994 when you came by our golf course in your minivan during the earliest days of TurfNet. I could not be more proud of you and all you have accomplish.


Keep up the great work......Tony

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Peter....remember your visit to my 20 x 40 " maintenance facility 19 years ago. Your vision has helped so many in the industry. Thank you!


Jeff Carson

Country Club of Fairfax

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I think I joined Turfnet mainly for your monthly columns. As always, very well written and full of useful information and observations. Congratulations on the 20 years!



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Congratulations on both counts. I'm glad your healthy, vibrant, and happy at 60 but I agree, 20 years of Turfnet is Monumental. The impact you've had on our industry, and more importantly on so many of us personally, is also Monumental. I haven't even thought about my new business being around in 20 years--well, not until just now-- but I'm following your advice to the best of my abilities and maybe I'll make it too. I do worry about you and your chainsaw though. Haven't you gone through my Chainsaw Safety presentation yet? First rule: Never work alone!


I wish you continued health, success, and peace. If Karma is real, it's all a lock for you.

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Guest Steve Gipson


There are a few folks that one thinks will never grow old nor will we cease from hearing or reading their words, Peter you are one of the few who fit that category. Though it has been nearly 20 years and a lot of water has passed beneath both our bridges, I still enjoy your thought and your dry humor. I understand your wishes to slow down and, at the same time, your reluctance to do so. Only you will know when the time is now. Good luck to you and yours and know that your baby continues to grow while providing a very useful product to all superintendents.

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