“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
5-year plan (pre-HBS)

  • start a business with two HBS classmates
  • grow sales to $500 million in first three years
  • IPO within 5 years
  • get on cover of Entrepreneurship magazine with cofounders
  • repeat
  • sleep (optional)

Revised 5-year plan (post-HBS)

  • start a family (twins due in September 2002)
  • grow family to 5 children within 10 years
  • eat dinner with the whole family four nights a week
  • kneel for prayers with our children each night
  • have a big family brunch every Sunday with banana pancakes and whipped cream
  • imprint family with values of love, integrity, faith, and humility
  • sleep (optional)

HBS has definitely been a "transformational" experience. My life goals have changed since Crimson Greetings. More than seeking fame, fortune, titles, or an IPO, my top priority is to build a strong family. While this may not be as ambitious as creating the next Amazon.com, building a loving, compassionate family is no small accomplishment.

HBS's mission is to train business leaders who "contribute to society's well-being," but mine will start at home, where Accounting, Negotiations, Leadership, and Investment Management also come into play. I'd like to get the family right first before trying to change the world. By raising polite, caring, and giving children, Cyndi and I hope to have contributed to society in some small way.

Changing diapers may not be as sexy as ringing the NYSE closing bell on the day of a company's IPO, but there's something to be said for simple pleasures.

April 2006: Reflections on my essay from 2002

One of the many changes that has occurred is that I've become a San Diego Firefighter. I went from a job as a high-net-worth financial planner for Goldman Sachs in San Francisco, to a blue-collar firefighter in San Diego. What a change that has been. I'm working with some people who barely have their high school diplomas - and loving every minute of it. I think of myself as a "firepreneur" - one part firefighter, one part entrepreneur.

— Phil Black