For me 2004 and 2005 will undoubtedly be years to remember. I spent 2004 serving in the United States Navy in Operation Iraqi Freedom. One of the most significant events of my life. And in no small part as a result of that service, 2005 will be equally unique.
As of January 3rd, 2005 I terminated my employment with Apple Computer. Apple is an awesome place to work. I spent 5 great years there and I would not hesitate to go back to Apple. While serving in Southwest Asia I spent a lot of time thinking about how I was living my life and how I wanted to be living my life. Working for Apple or any high tech company in Silicon Valley meant traveling 80 to 100 minutes a day and a ‘normal’ work week of 50 to 70 hours. It meant having little time to work with my children on their school projects. It meant having no time to participate in community and church activities. It meant not being able to be involved in my local community. My community was my co-workers at Apple. I have made some very close friends during my tenure at Apple. I sincerely hope that I will be able to maintain several of those relationships as I follow a new path.
In January, my wife and I will form Smittie & Company as a corporate entity. We plan to enter the specialty coffee business. Specifically, we intend to open a Hawaiian theme coffee shop, Hale Kope. At this point I know little about operating a business and only a little more about the specialty coffee industry. I’m learning. We’ll see how it goes. But even if the coffee business doesn’t prove to be the business for us we are determined to find an alternative and possibly unorthodox means of making a living. I have realised that I want my life to be about my family, my community and the things that are important to me.
So, a confluence of circumstances has landed me in a place where I have the opportunity to make one of my dreams come true. As is the case with the pursuit of all dreams, I have no assurance that I will succeed. In fact, there is every possibility that I and my family will end up in many ways worse off than when we started. But quite honestly, I also believe that my family and I would also be not as well off if we pass up this opportunity to pursue a dream. It is perhaps all summed up in that famous poem by Robert Frost….