Rita and I have been married 32 years.
In Fall 1984, we married and quit our jobs. We honeymooned with a leisurely drive from Palo Alto, California to Fairfield, Iowa.
Adventurous and idealistic, we moved to Fairfield in response to Maharishi’s call for practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation technique to move to Fairfield and meditate together for world peace.
Rita left an excellent position in health care. My fellow Hewlett Packard engineers thought I was nuts to leave prestigious HP for a world peace project in the middle of nowhere.
We had about $10,000 of personal savings to cushion us on our new adventure. Shortly before leaving Hewlett Packard (HP), I used the employee purchase program to buy two cutting-edge products – the first LaserJet printer and the first desktop PC compatible laptop.
Once in Fairfield, I decided to write software that would allow the two devices to communicate. I soon realized that I would not make my fortune promoting ‘PrinterTalk.’ To support Rita and me, I began selling personal computers for a local retailer. My wife knew I wasn’t happy selling computers. Her regular prayer augmented by twice a day meditation was that I start my own business. One day, as Rita recalls, I burst out of my office — I would create a newsletter to support HP laptop users, and through the newsletter, I would sell PrinterTalk.
By mid-1985, Rita and I began working on the business together. Early on, Rita and I made two decisions that saved both the business and our marriage.
First, we soon realized that both of us liked to be in charge. Neither of us enjoyed being subservient. We agreed that Rita would take care of the house and the rental properties, and I would run the business.
Secondly, after watching me work from early morning to night seven days a week for about a year, Rita stood firm. Unless I took one full day a week completely off away from the business, she would leave me.
Ceding to her demand was the smartest thing I did for the business, for my sanity, and for our marriage.