Andy Gibbs

If you’re expecting a chronologically organized retrospective of my professional background (the done-that list), then meander over to LinkedIn.

For those who care (and it’s OK if you don’t), this is the place where I write a bit about how, what, and why I think, do and create.

I AM

I am a product of my experiences as: a family man, an entrepreneur, builder, inventor and manufacturer of many things, a chef, pet owner and dog rescuer, a guide dog puppy trainer, a journeyman level carpenter, plumber and machinist, a dairy farm hand and milk man, a Nestle chocolate maker and Mc Donald’s manager, a walnut rancher, an architectural designer of buildings and engineering designer complex products, systems and processes. I’m an expert outdoorsman, a Navy and Army veteran, a medical lab technician, emergency medical technician, sports competitor, cyclist, Boy Scout Master, mentor, published non-fiction, scientific and business author, a sometimes TV / radio show guest, an EVP of a Fortune 500 division, a US Secretary of Commerce appointee, and the first non-attorney in 100 years to author Federal legislation.

GIBBS ON GENIUS

It’s the page title, so here’s the short story. On any given day, I’m usually the smartest one in the room – assuming that the comparison is based on standardized IQ test scores.

However, my definition of genius leans heavily towards “the application of practical ability, acquired knowledge and tireless work ethic to the shortest path to the most efficient result”. With that definition, I find many peers.

GIBBS ON WORK ETHIC

I grew up in rural western New York, and developed a stout work ethic early early in life. The proverbial lemonade stand at 8, working under Model T’s with my dad learning auto restoration, paper route, garden and roadside vegetable stand, and neighborhood leaf raking and show shoveling. Then, my first big gig at 12 years old – painting a neighbor’s house – for a whopping $200! Frankly, that was a job I didn’t want to finish, and that was the job that taught me commitment follow-through.

Driving tractors and bailing hay at 14, and a before-school milk man at 16, home delivering milk before the sun came up. The school day was followed by swim practice, followed by homework. On my off time, my brothers and I would buy, fix and sell cars until we were turning them for cash – though my preference was racing our sail boat.

My parents informed us early that we would be paying our own way through college; the work ethic paid off as I received appointments to West Point and Annapolis, and was offered full ride scholarships at 5 of the top engineering universities.

Those of you who have created a startup understand work ethic. I’ve started a half dozen.

GIBBS ON CREATIVITY

I quickly found that structured teaching is an inadequate learning tool.

The brain cannot distinguish between imagination and reality – and after digesting R. Buckminster Fuller on Education I learned how to learn – faster, broader and deeper – by leveraging imagination (which I briefly discuss in my 20-20 hindsight insight article).

Mozart said that he “just copied the music he heard in his mind.” Picasso said he never searched for creativity, but simply “found” it.

Invention comes to me naturally – devices, systems, processes, concepts, models, physical, corporate and human capital structures, all practical solutions to complex problems. Primed with a problem or an opportunity, complete roadmap solutions “arrive” effortlessly through lucid dreams which I can direct in real time to explore alternate scenarios that would literally take months in the “awake” world. But work ethic is required to create value from them.

The brain required big data to create new realities, data that’s obtained through real experience, acquired through books, or obtained virtually through previous dreams. Each of my inventions increase the data used to create the next one – a phenomenon that Einstein called “combinatorial” creativity.

GIBBS ON OBJECTIVITY

Objectivity simplifies life. I have little use for subjectivity in business – it’s inextricably linked to emotion which is ultimately destructive. Drawing a bright line between black and white through what others subjectively see as gray area allows me to acutely assess, decide and enact a solution – while the subjective-minded folks endlessly argue the possibilities.

Objectivity is the foundation for meaningful discourse, a candid platform that leads to effective team-based, fact-based decisions. Progress relies on objective thinkers.

My objectivity is based on frank self awareness of assets, capabilities, limitations and such. It stems from a time when my daily decisions resulted in life and death – as a combat medic and Texas EMT. Most all of the time my decisions saved lives, but sometimes they didn’t – gray did not exist. But those sobering experiences, carried forward to each of my startups, taught me how to acutely analyze situations, identify available assets, and rapidly enact solutions.

GIBBS ON RELIGION AND POLITICS

I dislike structured group-think. Group discussion is best left to important life topics such as single malt Scotch, home improvement ideas and cycling.