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December 2014

Jack GuarnieriJ
by Jack Guarnieri
ersey Jack

It's Time To Be More Like "Robert"

Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of my favorite writers, tells us: “Do not go where the road may lead, go instead where there is no road and leave a trail.”

Where have you driven your company and its products to and have you been a leader, follower, innovator or copycat? Have you been drifting along and hoping for something to change? Remember that hope is not a plan. Are you buying the next great game or buying lottery tickets?

Most of us like to live in some type of comfort zone, while some of us like to get out of that zone and shake things up and take a chance. I’m obviously the latter, and I encourage others to blaze new trails. Be a builder and a doer.

I’ve started several multimillion-dollar companies and have worked with others to do the same. I have a really good friend I deeply admire who lives this every day. I’ll call him Robert. He has created more jobs in the past four years than our political leaders. He took chances, risked it all. He says, “Go Big or Go Home.” Winning is a high for him that cannot be replaced. He is driven every day to be the best and have those around him be their best.

He has hired and fired so many people over the years you need a scorecard to track them. He also has employees who have been with him for many years. They are loyal and dedicated, but not one of them can replace him. When his business took a downturn, he was loyal and continued to pay them. Some worked at jobs they were less productive at or less qualified to do, but he paid them every week and they all worked through it.

Robert works endlessly, driven to succeed in the face of disaster thrown at him all day long. He navigates through it and solves problems that would crush others. He is seemingly working all the time.

This is not without a cost. Not just in money but in time away from family and friends. To strike some balance between work and play is very important. I’m reminded that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. I do combine work and play often though and I encourage him to do the same but he rarely listens.

Usually those who take the biggest risks have the least to lose. My friend had everything to lose, but risked it all on his belief in success. He never even considered failure.

His businesses create things that people enjoy. He gets satisfaction from seeing those people happy with what he has built.

Seemingly to others, whatever he touches turns to gold. That’s not the case. He works tirelessly, taking tin and turning it to gold. Those who are really good at what they do make it look easy to those who have no clue.

The biggest support system I have is my family. The constant encouragement from my wife and children make me feel energized that I’m on the right path. If you don’t have that support system, it is much harder to move forward. My friend Robert is lucky to have that system in place as well.

Next month starts a New Year. The usual resolutions come and go. What is your plan to be better, to innovate, to build and grow and to lead rather than follow?

Things for the most part have been slowly getting better. Even so, trucking along doing nothing will not help get you from zero to one. Be like Robert, get that chain saw and earth moving equipment ready and go blaze a new road ahead!

Happy and healthy holidays to all.

Jack Guarnieri started servicing electro-mechanical pinball machines in 1975 and has been involved in every phase of the amusement game business since then. He operated a substantial game route in Brooklyn, N.Y., and developed amusement centers including Fuzzy’s Family Fun Factory. In 1999, he founded Pinball-Sales.com to sell coin-op to the home market. Last year, Jack founded Jersey Jack Pinball (named after his RePlay Magazine pen name), which is designing and developing full-featured, full-sized commercial-arcade pinball machines for manufacture in early 2012. The first game is based on a licensed theme, the timeless The Wizard of Oz. To learn more, visit www.jerseyjackpinball.com. You can email him at jack@jerseyjackpinball.com or by phoning him directly at 800/473-JACK.

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