Full Circle: John Rollwagen

I interviewed John Rollwagen, former chairman and CEO of Cray Research, for a Minnesota business magazine article titled “Full Circle.” John’s story is a perfect illustration of the value of connections, synchronicities and how we often find ourselves in someone else’s orbit.
 

INTRODUCTION

Androcles, the Roman slave who removed a thorn from a lion’s paw, was later spared from death when the lion recognized him in front of a bloodthirsty crowd in the Coliseum. If Androcles had been a Twin Cities business leader, a seemingly isolated incident early in his career would undoubtedly have led to his company capturing the lion’s share of the market years later.

These three stories from Twin Cities businesspeople illustrate the inscrutable relationship between connection and coincidence. Call it karma, reaping what you sow or what goes around comes around; inexorably, like a circle completing itself, scales are balanced and debts repaid.
 

JOHN ROLLWAGEN’S STORY

John Rollwagen

John Rollwagen


When I was 12 years old, George Hanson was my scoutmaster at Cleveland Avenue Methodist Church in St. Paul. In the summer of 1959, when I came back from my first year of engineering school at MIT, I was looking for a summer job and my dad said, “Why don’t you call George Hanson?” I said, “George Hanson, my old scoutmaster?” He said, “Yeah, I read in the paper that some new company is starting up. It’s Control something. George is involved and maybe they’d have a spot for you.”

The company turned out to be Control Data and I did get a summer job there thanks to George, who was the vice president of marketing. My summer job was to help assemble Serial Number 7 of the 1604, which was the first transistorized computer ever and was designed by a fellow named Seymour Cray.

Working at Control Data got me fascinated by computers so I took every computer course you could take at MIT. There were three of them. In fact, the three classes overlapped sufficiently that if you took two, you didn’t need to take the third one. I ended up working at Control Data for two more summers while I was in school. I had kept hearing about this guy Seymour Cray who was already pretty famous at the time but I never met him.

After finishing at MIT, I continued my education at Harvard. When I graduated with an MBA in 1964, I thought, “Now that I know enough engineering and I know everything there is to know about business, if I could find a guy one-tenth as smart as Seymour Cray, I could do the business part and he or she could do the technical part and we’d have a neat little operation.”

In 1972, I was getting a haircut in the basement of Metro Office Park, which was right across 494 from the airport. The barber chair was facing out the door of the barber shop, which was across the hall from the lunchroom. At the time, I wore Coke-bottle glasses and couldn’t see my nose in front of my face. While I’m sitting in the chair a shadow appears in the door and waves. Without my glasses, I couldn’t tell if the shadow was waving at me or across the hall in the lunchroom. So instead of waving like a jerk at the back of somebody’s head, I just sat there. The shadow shrugged and moved on. I turned to the guy in the next chair and said, “Did somebody just stop and wave at me?” He said yes, so I said, “Oh, darn it, you don’t happen to know who it was, do you?” He said, “Well, actually I do. His name is George Hanson. “ I said, “You’ve got to be kidding. Does he have an office here?” He said, “Yeah, he’s right upstairs someplace.”

I went upstairs after my haircut and found a door with little letters nailed into it that spelled out Cray Research. I had heard that Seymour was starting a company and put two and two together. I went in and there was George. I apologized for not waving at him and we renewed our friendship. He said, “I was thinking about calling you because we’re going to have a computer to sell and you could help sell them. But that’s going to be a few years from now because we’re just starting to build it.” Sure enough, three years later, George set up a lunch for me with Seymour Cray, whom I met then for the first time. Seymour offered me a job, I took it, and the rest is history.





Click here to see all my posts featuring cool synchronicity stories.




ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA

through-gods-eyes-book-cover
If you feel more stressed than blessed . . . if you have more confusion than clarity about how to live your beliefs . . . if you long to live a richer, happier, more meaningful life . . . you will find a wealth of insight and guidance in Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World.

Through God’s Eyes is a road map for living a more peaceful, beautiful life. It’s the only book that explains how dozens of spiritual principles interact, how to weave them together into a cohesive worldview, and how to practically apply this spiritual wisdom to daily life.

Readers everywhere are discovering that when you challenge yourself to look through God’s eyes, the world around you changes, and so do you.

Who will benefit from reading Through God’s Eyes?
Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to be.
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to.
Anyone who is happy, or wants to be happier.


Click here to order your copy of Through God’s Eyes from GodsEyesAmazon.com.
For an inscribed copy, click here to e-mail Phil for information.

Click here to visit the Through God’s Eyes website.

Click on the link below to download a FREE 28-page chapter!
SEE EVERY MOMENT AS A GIFT

Click here to read endorsements from authors and thought leaders.

Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers.

Click here to ask Phil to add you to his e-mail list for updates on his blog and books.

Here is a two-minute video introduction to Through God’s Eyes.




Like to learn more about Through God’s Eyes? Here is a free 44-page PDF sampler from the book that includes:

• an overview of the book
• the complete table of contents
• the Foreword by Caroline Myss
• my Introduction
• chapter excerpts
• a sample end-of-chapter story
• endorsements from authors and thought leaders

Just click on the link below to download your free PDF sampler!
THROUGH GOD’S EYES PDF SAMPLER




Schedule a Mastery Mentoring phone session with Phil to learn how to apply principles of spiritual living more effortlessly and effectively. Priced affordably! Click here to e-mail Phil for details.



logic-of-living-a-spiritual-life-book-cover

Phil’s eBook, The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life: Supporting a Life of Faith Through Logic and Reason, is now available for 99 cents.

Order it at GodIsLogical.com.

In this eBook, you’ll find answers to questions like:
• What is the cornerstone of a spiritual life, and why?
• What is the secret to liberating yourself from other people’s judgments and expectations?
• How do you reconcile the “free will vs. Divine Will” conundrum?
• Why is there an exception to “Everything happens for a reason”?


Those who worship logic instead of God are only half right. Not only is it logical to believe in God and to live a faith-based life, the existence of a loving, benevolent God that governs all creation is perhaps the only systematic worldview that explains every aspect of life.



sixty-seconds-coverPhil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent authors and thought leaders he interviewed. The roster of storytellers includes Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Neale Donald Walsch, Caroline Myss, Larry Dossey, Rachel Naomi Remen, Bernie Siegel, Dean Ornish, and Christiane Northrup. Sixty Seconds has been translated into four languages: Italian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories.

Click here to order Sixty Seconds.

Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.

Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers.

Here is a three-minute video introduction to Sixty Seconds.





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