Ahoy! … I’m Dream-maker … courtesy of our US Navy. But seriously folks, my name is Dennis Hall, founder of Avere Group – consulting, a family man, baby-boomer, blogger, author, documentarian, journalist, entrepreneur, and volunteer for the better good. This is a shot of me underway about the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).
When the planets align just so in coming weeks Guy Kawasaki, Charlene Li, Beth Blecherman, Jennifer Leo, Jenny Lawson, Pamela Slim, Jennifer Van Grove, Jennifer Jones, Bill Reichert, Jefferson Wagner, Robert Scoble, Andy Sernovitz, Carroll LeFon, Chris Pirillo, Andrew Nystrom and me, Dennis Hall, will commense Bloggers’ Embark by Navy C-2 Greyhound twin-turboprop transport aircraft. We will fly out of NAS North Island near San Diego about 125 nautical miles to the stern of the USS Chester W. Nimitz (CVN-69). Our carrier qualified pilot will ‘trap’ us on the deck with the plane’s lowered and braced tailhook. The following day the aircraft carrier will catapult launch us again aboard the C-2 Greyhound off of the carrier’s bow to resume flight back to NAS North Island.
How did this come about? Well, my volunteer time and entrepreneurial pursuits over the years converged upon the great fortune of building friendly relationships with venture capitalists Guy Kawasaki and Bill Reichert of Garage Technology ventures (Garage.com) in Palo Alto, California. They in turn networked me with a wonderful community of entrepreneurial bloggers nationwide.
Through attending Guy’s and Bill’s Start-up Strategies workshops plus taking in their presentations at the Gong Shows of the Asia Silicon Valley Connection (ASVC.org), it became high-def to me immediately that these two gents are fun, funny, yet deeply intellectual, and possess adventurous spirits.
So as Steve Forbes espouses in Forbes magazine, ‘With all thy getting, get understanding,’ I asked Guy and Bill if they would like to experience first-hand our military in action via my nominating them as part of my volunteer endeavors. Guy and Bill asked me to keep pinging them with these nomination offers. So, I did so faithfully over the years.
During September 2008, Lieutenant Commander Charlie Brown, Public Affairs Officer for the Commander – Naval Air Forces – Pacific (COMNAVAIRPAC) accepted my nomination of Guy Kawasaki for the Distinguished Visitors (DV) Program managed from Naval Air Station North Island (NAS North Island) on Coronado Island near San Diego, CA. Upon formal invitation, Guy accepted, much to my glee. Some years earlier Captain Chuck ‘Slick’ Henry, USN fighter pilot, now retired, networked me to the DV program.
Guy embarked September 30, 2008 from NAS North Island on Coronado aboard a Navy C-2 Greyhound twin turboprop transport (Carrier Onboard Delivery – COD) to the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) steaming underway in the Pacific Ocean, the focal vessel of the Carrier Air Group of Navy vessels well over the horizon in international waters. Following his ‘trap’ (landing on the flightdeck), he toured, dined, and stayed the night aboard ship. He then returned to shore aboard again a C-2 Greyhound COD via exhilarating start-up launch by steam-powered catapult take-off from the bow of the USS Stennis on October 1, 2008. You may read his intriguing chronicle at (http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2008/10/26-hours-at-sea.html).
Guy’s personal experience underway spawned his vision of a Bloggers’ Embark of a Navy C-2 COD filled with bloggers going to … and from … an aircraft carrier underway. What great public relations for the Navy and Marine Corps that could provide! So, he dispatched me an e-mail from one of his founded companies, Alltop.com, titled, ‘An idea’. Well, I agreed whole-heartedly, and so Guy, Bill Reichert, and I met in Palo Alto, CA during early October 2008 and fleshed out the proposal for my submission to Lieutenant Commander Charlie Brown at COMNAVAIRPAC. Guy and I both being veterans of embarks to/from aircraft carriers underway, we listened closely to Bill Reichert’s inquisitive questions about the whole experience. His line of questioning provided confirmed Guy’s intuition as to whom would be a balanced portfolio of blogger personalities all being together subjected to these unique conditions of adventure. Guy saturated us with names of women and men top bloggers who offer a rich diversity of content to millions of readers worldwide.
Within minutes of my submission to Lieutenant Charlie Brown of our Bloggers’ Embark proposal, ‘Charlie’ called me accepting it and vowing his full support. He gave me the term sheet, which, of course to which I agreed. Guy and Bill were ecstatic.
Within a week, Guy channeled replies from bloggers to me for building the Bloggers’ Embark manifest. Navy Master Chief Steve Harbour with Public Affairs, Commander – Naval Air Forces – Pacific coordinated with me the selections and he sent out the invitations. Each blogger has his or her bags packed and awaits the signal to converge on Coronado Island.