57) David

Welcome new reader!

In my last post I informed you of some cracks beginning to appear in my “Unshakeable Foundation for Achievement” in 1988 while working at Micro Linear in San Jose, California. We’ve all embarked on new careers but how many of us – to use an analogy here – couldn’t do long division, but woke up one day and decided to help design computer chips? Yet, effectively, this is what I set out to do.

In this post I will introduce you to David, a good friend and one of the smartest guys I know.


Then I met David. David is like me only bigger, smarter, louder, wealthier and just as self-absorbed. At 6 feet 2 inches tall with steel-grey hair, his waist now shows the result of thousands of hours drawing and checking transistors as a Mask Designer. Although he has always negotiated a better hourly rate than me on his contracts, Dave says, “It’s not about how much you earn Oliver, it’s about how much you save.” Dave likes to talk and at times, on the job, it has led to trouble. But Dave’s ability to earn and manage money is, in my opinion, unparalleled.

Courage  to Discover and Live by Your Own Principles

Dave and I met each other at VTC where we worked together and used to take long walks and philosophize about the nature of work, how to get wealthy or if not wealthy, how to lead an exceptional life. At age 37, Dave already owned a rental property in Minneapolis and drove a used BMW, for which he paid cash, if I recall. Dave would come and go on jobs – he wasn’t yet contracting in those days – at the drop of a hat. Demand for Mask Designers was robust and in 1989, growing rapidly. And Dave’s resume was strong. So Dave had no qualms about walking if a supervisor said something that went against Dave’s values. I came to admire Dave’s pluckiness in that regard but didn’t yet possess a clear sense of my own values to understand how to defend them. As the years passed, in Dave, I began to see someone whose quest for independence and self-reliance, I wanted to emulate and today drive me in everything I do.

David’s First Rule – Know Yourself and Try Hard Not to Compromise Your Values

Dave helped me look at personal finances in a different way. In a way, that draws distinctions between working for money and having money work for you. I had always been interested in becoming financially secure and had done some reading by the time I met Dave. I learned later that possessing the knowledge about becoming financially independent is a worthy goal. But only through putting those principles into practice will you get there. What I had to decide was, would financial independence bring me true happiness? If so, what would it require of me to achieve it?

Does money bring happiness?

Next: The perils of working for the only employer in a small geographic technology market.

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