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MAACS Videos
Episode 18:  The Great 8

The MAACS flight simulator experiment was an incredible thing to live through.  
Imagine waking up every morning knowing that your job is to build flight simulator
stuff.  But also imagine that you don't get paid for this job.

So it was stressful because I was draining my savings account just to live, to buy
food and pay the mortgage, and I was under pressure to produce solutions for the
MAACS flight sim every day and complete the project.  

The plan was for MAACS to generate revenue after it was finished, I could then
repay my savings account, pay for the materials that went into MAACS, and earn a

So, when you're in the middle of a big project like this, how do you keep going?  
There's no mentors to coach you.  If you're selling real estate, or insurance, or
you're a consultant, or artist you can find a mentor.  When you're building flight
simulators in your basement...they don't know what to say to you.  They love it -
they think it's all wonderfully interesting, but that's about it.

So instead of mentors, I had role models, 8 of them.  The Great 8.  I printed a
picture of them and posted it on the basement wall and in the garage and next to
my computer.  These men inspired me to persist.

Jimmy Doolittle
Every pilot knows about Doolittle's raid on Tokyo in World War II, but what else do
you know about him?  In addition to being a world-renouned air race pilot, Jimmy
Doolittle was a very innovative man.  Prior to WWII, he invisioned a safe way for
airplanes to fly in clouds, fog and darkness with limited view outside of the
airplane.  The pilots would fly solely by reference to their flight instruments.  Jimmy
Doolittle helped invent and personally tested (in flight) gyroscopic flight
instruments - the kind that are still in use today in many aircraft. He was a true
aviation pioneer.  

Burt Rutan
Where to start with Burt Rutan?  You may know that he and his crew built and flew
SpaceShipOne, the first non-governmental spacecraft, but that crowning
achievement came after decades of ground-breaking aircraft design.  He
pioneered the use of carbon composites for airplanes, including home-built
kitplanes.  This material, which is similar to fiberglass, but better, allows for
airplane designs that are stronger, lighter and radically different from standard
aluminum airframes.  Rutan's Voyager was the first airplane to fly completely
around the world without stopping or refueling.

Peter Diamandis
Dr. Diamandis founded the X-Prize Foundation to encourage technical innovation.  
The X-Prize is similar to the Orteig Prize that Charles Lindbergh won by flying from
New York to Paris nonstop.  But Orteig was a rich hotel baron, Peter Diamandis
had to solicit donations for the original 10 million dollar X-Prize, and that took
years.....years.  I can only imagine the persistance and the passion for the cause
he must have had to get through that time.  He suceeded, the X-Prize became a
reality and it was later won by Burt Rutan's team and SpaceShipOne.  You could
argue that if there had there been no X-Prize, then there would be no

Earl Nightingale
I listened to Earl Nightingale's recordings over and over while I was working on
the MAACS flight simulator.  The Strangest Secret, Lead the Field, even some of
the rare Direct Line recordings.  Earl had deep faith in working towards personal
goals regardless of the environment we find ourselves in.  Earl also warned of the
dangers of conformity - the things that happen when a person stops making real
decisions and starts going along with the crowd.

Jim Collins
The author of "Good to Great" and "Built to Last."  I listened to both these audio
books over and over again while working on the project.  Jim Collins and his
researchers examined the behaviors of companies and their results spanning
decades and discoverd certain core principles that were common among
excellent companies.  I listened to stories of Boeing, Sony, Hewellit Packard,
Disney, 3M, Nucor, Gillette.  I learned that "greatness" is not a destination...if you
don't continue to do great again become average.

Napoleon Hill
The author of "Think and Grow Rich"  Hill researched and personally interviewed
the successful business tycoons of his time and eventually discovered a number
of behavioral similarities among them.  This research took 20 years.  Most people
don't persist with anything for 20 years.  I've read "Think and Grow Rich" several
times, which is only partially about money, and mostly about setting and achieving
your goals.  I had an abridged recording narrated by Earl Nightingale which I
listened to repeatedly....over and over.

These were important lessons and we're talking about changing attitudes,
changing behaviors, changing habits.  These types of changes require repeated
reinforcement: listening every day.  You can't just listen once and think you learned

Jeffery Gitomer
Another author, I own a few of his books on selling and attitude.  Actually, I read
each book a couple of times at least, and made a lot of notes.  I also received his
weekly email newsletters on sales.  The number 1 rule of selling is Kick Your Own
Ass - get going, get moving, get working - don't make excuses, don't
procrastinate...just do it.  I got the idea for videotaping our simulators from one of
Jeffery's books.  Ironically, my YouTube channel now has more video views than
his does - but that's ok he's the millionaire, not me. He's got much wider exposure
through his books, newspaper articles, blogs and seminars.  

George Washington
Many only know George Washington as the first president of the United States, or
the revolutionary Commander in Chief of the Continental Army who beat the
British, but he is in fact the indispensible character at the founding of the United
States. Even so, this came after great sacrifice.  His final victory against the British
came after years of heartbreaking bloody defeats.  Even at the end of the
revolution, his top officers in the Continental Army threatened a counter-revolution
against the fragile republic.  Washington basically talked them out of it.  This was
perhaps his greatest military victory, and it wasn't even on the battlefield.  His
greatest political victory was not becoming the first president, but not seeking
re-election after two terms.  The European monarchs of the time thought such a
thing was ludicris.  If George Washington had not existed, the world would be a
very different place.  

These are the Great 8.  
If I found myself getting discouraged or afraid of failure, I looked to these men for
inspiration.  And I listened to Earl Nightingale's or Jim Collin's audio books every
day over and over.  I was working on the MAACS simulator, but I was always
listening to them.....or sometimes Brian Tracy, or Zig Ziglar or Dr. Steven Covey.  
But the message was always the same:  keep going, keep at it, endure, persist.