Back in black

When you are an iconic company CEO who is equivalent to a rock star, you don’t just get voted CEO of the year; you get voted CEO of the decade.

On Tuesday, MarketWatch.com announced it’s biggest no brainer decision of the decade by selecting Apple CEO Steve Jobs as CEO of the Decade. Few can dispute that Jobs, 55, has singlehandedly executed one of the most spectacular corporate turnarounds in American business and has once again established Apple as one of the most valued technology companies on the planet.

If you think about Apple’s present success, it’s not complete rocket science. Apple has always belonged to Steve Jobs. It is the company he co-built from the ground up with his own hands and ideas. At his core, Jobs is a brilliant visionary. He embraces product aesthetics while focusing on technology people fall in love with and consume with passion. He surrounds himself with talented engineers who can decode his visions and produce user-friendly products. In my opinion, the mistakes made by Apple over its 34 year history are very few under the leadership of Steve Jobs. Since his triumphant return in 1997, Apple has been on hitting on all financial cylinders.

Without a doubt, Steve Jobs has paid his corporate dues and has earned CEO of the Decade. Here is a brief look back at his historic career and his return to prominence as an industry leader.

Atari, Inc. 1974-1976

After dropping out of Reed College in 1972, Steve Jobs accepts a technician position at Atari, Inc. in 1974 where he is tasked with building a circuit board for the arcade video game Breakout. It is at Atari where Jobs becomes inspired by the legendary technologist Nolan Bushnell (the founder of Atari). During this time, Jobs begins attending meetings at the Homebrew Computer Club with best buddy and co-worker Steve Wozniak whom he met in 1971.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1974

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1974

Atari offers a $100 cash bonus for each chip eliminated from Breakout’s electronics. Jobs cuts a deal with Wozniak to split the total bonus if Wozniak can eliminate the chips. Wozniak astonishes Atari’s engineers by eliminating a total of 50 chips thus producing a board design so tight it becomes un-manufacturable in the factory.

Apple Computer-The Beginnings 1976-1985

After the Atari gig concludes for Wozniak, he accepts a position at Hewlett-Packard to work with other experienced engineers. During this time, Wozniak also experiments with building his own computers. Jobs is impressed with Wozniak’s technical efforts and the two begin envisioning a company of their own. Jobs (not much the engineer) assumes the role of visionary and salesman while Wozniak continues in the role of geek. The two continue to tinker at Jobs’ parent’s house and work on a business plan.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1977

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1977

The $1000 capital for building the first computer boards requires some personal sacrifice from Jobs and Wozniak. Jobs agrees to sell his VW van and Wozniak agrees to sell his prized HP model 65 calculator. The friends further agree they will need a third more experienced partner before they incorporate and invite former Atari co-worker Ronald Wayne to join them. On April 1, 1976, Apple Computer is born. In July of 1976, Apple introduces the Apple I, selling it for $666.66. On December 12, 1980, Apple becomes a publicly traded company.

Through the late 1970s and early 1980s, Apple grows into a premier technology company and eventually introduces a revolutionary personal computer named the Macintosh in 1984 with tremendous fanfare including a stunning Super Bowl ad.

Jobs with the Macintosh Computer in 1984

Jobs with the Macintosh Computer in 1984

In 1983, Jobs personally recruits John Scully from Pepsi to serve as Apple Computer’s next CEO by bluntly asking him: “Do you want to sell sugar-water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?” Over the next two years, the working relationship between Scully and Jobs rapidly deteriorates. In May of 1985 (with the complete backing of Apple’s board of directors), Scully officially relieves Jobs of his duties as head of the Macintosh Division marking one of the stupidest executive decisions in the history of American business.  After being completely marginalized from the company he co-founded, Steve Jobs resigns from Apple Computer on September 13, 1985.

NeXT Computer 1985-1996

After leaving Apple, Steve Jobs envisions a company that could produce and sell high-end workstations to serve the academic and business markets and starts NeXT Computer in 1985. Jobs recruits several former Apple employees and scores critical financial backing from Texas millionaire Ross Perot.

Jobs introduces the NeXT Computer in 1988

Jobs introduces the NeXT Computer in 1988

The company introduces two workstation products: the NeXT Computer in 1988 and the NeXT Station in 1990. In 1993, NeXT completely exits its failed hardware business becoming exclusively a software company. In 1996, Apple Computer acquires NeXT for $429 million.

Pixar Animation Studios 1986-2006

In 1986, Jobs purchases a small computer graphics division from filmmaker George Lucas’s Lucasfilm Company for $10 million. Jobs proceeds to build Pixar Animation Studios into a lucrative animation film company producing a series of full length Oscar nominated films including: “Toy Story”, “Toy Story 2”, “Monsters Inc”, “Finding Nemo”, “Cars”, and “Up”.

On January 24, 2006, The Walt Disney Company purchases Pixar for $7.4 billion making Jobs the largest Disney shareholder with a whopping 7% share of the company. Next to Apple present success, Pixar Animation remains one of Steve Jobs brightest business ventures.

Apple Computer-The Comeback 1997-Present

After the failed leadership of several CEOs in the 1990s, Apple Computer is on the verge of financial collapse. In 1997, Steve Jobs triumphantly returns to Apple as interim CEO and begins immediate damage control and company/product restructuring. On January 5, 2000 at the Macworld Expo, Steve Jobs drops the interim name from his title and once again becomes CEO of the company he co-founded.

Macworld Expo January 5, 2000

Macworld Expo January 5, 2000

The “i” Series of Products

Beginning in 1998, Apple introduces a series of revolutionary products that eventually turn the company’s fortunes around. Each of these products becomes an enormous success and continue to fuel Apple’s stunning profitability.

The iMac

First introduced in 1998, the iMac represents a complete revamp of the original Macintosh computer first introduced in 1984. This latest version, however, is completely redesigned and simplified by moving all the components into the back of the monitor thus eliminating the CPU box. The machine is marketed as an elegant and simplified computer and becomes a resounding success.

The iBook and MacBook

First introduced in 1999, the iBook represents a revamp of Apple’s antiquated line of laptop computers. In 2006, the iBook is discontinued and replaced with the sleeker MacBook line of computers.

The iPod and iTunes

First introduced in 2001, the iPod is a revolutionary portable music player that allows massive storage of music files downloaded from Apple’s iTunes music store. The iPod has a sleek sexy design with simplified controls setting it apart from other clunkier mp3 players. 

The iPhone

First introduced in 2007, the iPhone is Apple’s debut into the smartphone market. The iPhone becomes an instant success with people camping out in front of Apple Stores to receive the first ones. In 2008, Apple launches its App Store for the iPhone delivering over 300,000 apps that run on the iPhone.

The iPad

First introduced in 2010, the iPad is Apple’s first tablet computer device. Like the iPhone, the device is an instant success and can run the same type of apps as the iPhone. The iPad has similar functionality as a laptop computer and could one day cannibalize MacBook sales.

Today, Apple, Inc is a technology company with $65 billion in revenues and a stock trading at $320 a share.

Well done Steve.

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The ultimate convertible

So, you think your BMW convertible is cool?  You aint seen nothing yet.

Introducing the Terrafugia Transition, the world’s first “roadable aircraft”. Designed and developed by a team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) graduates from the aeronautical engineering department and MIT Sloan School of Management, the Transition is a transportation vehicle that quickly converts from an automobile into an airplane within 30 seconds.

The Transition is beyond just a concept and prototype. It is a commercially viable street legal and airworthy vehicle, certified by both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It can accommodate two passengers and flies at a range of approximately 500 miles. It is powered by a simple 1.3-liter 4-cylinder aircraft engine with a top speed of 115 miles per hour. The Transition only requires a 1,700 foot runway for takeoff and can be parked in an average sized garage.

Operating as a car, the Transition has front wheel drive and a continuous variable transmission. It consumes unleaded fuel like a regular automobile and achieves approximately 27 mpg on the road. When in the air, the Transition achieves slightly better mileage at 30 mpg.

Not everyone can own a Transition immediately, however. It requires a sport pilot certificate to operate (earned after 20 hours of observed flying time) and comes with a hefty price tag of $194,000.

The initial idea behind the development of the Transition was to give private pilots alternatives when faced with rapidly changing weather conditions. Rather than risk an accident flying into bad weather, a pilot could land at a nearby airport and drive the remaining distance to the destination.

The Transition is developed and manufactured by Terrafugia Corporation, a privately held company founded in 2006 and based in Woburn Massachusetts. All founders of the company are MIT engineering and management graduates and are passionate private pilots. More information on Terrafugia Corporation can be found here.

Terrafungia plans to introduce the Transition vehicle to the public sometime in 2011.

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Money doesn’t grow on trees

It came as no surprise when I read this morning that the US House of Representatives rejected another extension on jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.  Come December 1st, an estimated 2 million Americans will be cut off from receiving this critical income. In my opinion, there will be no more extensions. It’s over my friends.

My day of reckoning also lies on the horizon. Failing to secure employment in the next six months will kick away the government legs beneath me and leave me hanging by a thick rope called survival job and savings. That’s just the way it rolls. From the moment I hit the send button on my unemployment benefits application, I silently repeated this truth: some day this will end.

I fondly remember one of the simple lessons all our parents taught us when we were younger: “money doesn’t grow on trees you know, you have to earn it.” It’s not rocket science. At some point our nation’s unemployed will need to procure meaningful employment and earn money again.

I recently watched an interview with President Obama. One of the questions asked was this: “Mr. President, what keeps you up at night about the economy?”. The President responded with what he called a “new normal” where companies, after profit stabilization, become so content with current workforce efficiency and productivity conclude that it’s unnecessary to hire additional employees. It was a sobering moment. Could it become a reality? If the answer is yes, we might come to witness a heightened level of personal financial ruin never seen before. 

It’s not up to the government anymore, it’s up to the rest of us. Companies need to hire qualified, motivated, and educated people. People need to start businesses, flip burgers, make expressos, etc.  Whatever it takes to earn the money “that doesn’t grow on trees.”

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The kick heard ’round the Big Easy

It appeared to be another loss for the dismal New Orleans Saints. With two seconds left on the clock, they were down 17-16 after the Detroit Lions had kicked an 18-yard field goal to take the lead. The date was Sunday, November 8, 1970.  The place was Tulane Stadium in New Orleans Louisiana.

“Tell Stumpy to get ready to go in and kick a long one” ordered special teams coach Don Heinrich. The Saints were on their own 45 yard line. Looking forward, the goal posts seemed miles away.  Enter Tom Dempsey, a 22-year-old placekicker for the Saints.  He would only have two seconds to do his job.  His objectives were daunting: nail a 63 yard field goal, win the game, and make NFL history.

Saints holder Joe Scarpatl crouched down, took a knee, and awaited the snap.  The second the ball was ejected between the legs of center Jackie Burkett, the Detroit defensive line exploded into action. However, the Saints line did their job even better.  No one came close to approaching Dempsey and Scarpatl.  A humorous photo given to Dempsey days after the kick showed Saints lineman “Wild” Bill Cody taking out Lions legendary linebacker Alex Karras with a foot to the groin.  Sometimes you do what you have to do to make history.

When the nose of the ball slammed into the turf and rotated laces north, it was at the Saints 37 yard line.  Dempsey calmly approached the ball and kicked it straight on versus soccer style (a style all NFL placekickers use today). It sailed straight and cleared the uprights with two feet to spare.  The clock zeroed out, the Saints won, and NFL history was made.

Tom Dempsey's famous kick November 8, 1970

Tom Dempsey's famous kick November 8, 1970

What makes Dempsey’s field goal so extraordinary is that he kicked the football with half a right foot.  Tom Dempsey was born with a club right foot that required a custom-made shoe (equipment approved by the NFL in 1969) with a flattened toe surface for kicking. The shoe became controversial as some claimed it gave Dempsey an unfair advantage over other placekickers, likening the contact surface of the shoe to a golf club striking a golf ball with a sledgehammer like force. The NFL eventually settled the matter in 1977 by enacting the “Tom Dempsey Rule” which states the following: “Any shoe that is worn by a player with an artificial limb on his kicking leg must have a kicking surface that conforms to that of a normal kicking shoe.”  

In 1998, Denver Broncos placekicker Jason Elam eventually tied Dempsey’s record. To this day, however, no one has broken it.  Dempsey, now 63, fondly remembers the historic day: “I was more concerned about kicking it straight because I felt I could handle the distance, whatever it was,  I knew I was going to get a perfect snap from Jackie Burkett and a perfect hold from Joe Scarpati. It was all up to me. I had to hit it sweet.”

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Elvis has left the building

The phrase “Elvis has left the building” was first spoken over a PA system following an Elvis Presley concert in Shreveport, Louisiana on October 16, 1954.  This famous phrase continued to be used at the end of all Presley performances to assure concertgoers that the show had concluded and to encourage fans to exit the venue. In short, it declared the following: Elvis is gone and no encores will be performed at this time.

At some point, I figured I would have to write about Elvis Presley.  Partly because I am fascinated with his life and untimely death at age 42, and partly because there are some folks who still believe Elvis Presley is alive today. 

Based on my limited research from the facts as I understand them, I believe I can confidently state the following: on August 16, 1977, Elvis Presley “left the building” for the final time.  He is gone and there will be no encores.

In my opinion, between the years 1970 through 1977, Elvis Presley’s body had become a medical train wreck.  He was grossly overweight, had an enlarged heart with irregular heartbeat, suffered high blood pressure, and was addicted to prescription medications.  Based on the position of his body discovered inside his Graceland bathroom, “The King” was literally on his “throne” when he expired.  My cause of death theory concludes Presley was engaged in a stressful bowel movement that eventually stopped his weakened heart from beating.  I further believe that prior to visiting the toilet, Presley consumed an unimaginable variety of incompatible medications.  It was the perfect storm and a disaster waiting to happen. 

One of the items on my “bucket list” is to visit Presley’s beloved home Graceland in Memphis Tennessee.  Before I depart the property, I will pay my respects to the shrine that marks Elvis’s final resting place.  As I slowly take in the elaborate gravesite, I will know with certainty that six feet beneath the slab of iron and granite lies the remains of Elvis Aaron Presley, one of the most influential and celebrated entertainers that ever walked the face of the earth.

Ladies and gentleman, Elvis has left the building.  There will be no encores.

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Walking off into the sunset

In my opinion, any gadget that makes it to its 31st birthday before dying should be declared a resounding success.  This is especially true if it launches a revolution in portable music.  In this particular case, the gadget I am referring to is the Sony Cassette Walkman

You’ve had a great life my friend and we’re going to miss you.

On October 25, 2010, Sony Corporation officially ended production of the Sony Cassette Walkman player after a 31 year run.  First developed and produced in 1978 by Sony audio engineer Nobutoshi Kihara for Sony co-chairman Akio Morita, the portable battery operated device allowed the ability to play cassette tapes and listen to them anywhere through portable lightweight stereo headphones. 

Debut of the TPS-L2 Walkman on July 1, 1979

Debut of the TPS-L2 Walkman on July 1, 1979

The first Walkman model (the TPS-L2) made its debut on July 1, 1979 in Tokyo Japan and retailed for $200.  The device features included: stereo headphones, play/rewind/fast forward/eject buttons, and volume controls.  Since the TPS-L2 introduction, Sony has sold over 220 million Cassette Walkmans.

The introduction of the Cassette Walkman became a revolutionary device that forever changed the way we enjoy our music and is arguably one of the most important consumer electronic devices ever invented.  All portable music devices that followed in its footsteps (from the Sony Discman to the  Apple iPod) owe their very existence to the Sony TPS-L2 Cassette Walkman.

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Hum Baby!

After completing a marathon 162 game season, clinching the National League Western Division on the last game of the regular season, and surviving torturous playoff battles against both the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies,  The San Francisco Giants have earned another trip to the World Series.

Since moving west to San Francisco in 1958 from New York, the Giants have appeared in three previous World Series contests.  Their last World Series championship was back in 1954 as the New York Giants.  Here is a look back at the three previous World Series since 1958.

The 1962 World Series: San Francisco Giants vs New York Yankees

The 1962 series featured Giants greats Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, and Orlando Cepeda.  The series went the full seven games with the Yankees eventually winning the series 4 games to 3.  In game seven, the Giants were down 1-0 with runners in scoring position.  Willie McCovey hit a line drive that was caught by Yankee Bobby Richardson for the final out.

The 1989 World Series: San Francisco Giants vs Oakland Athletics

Best known as the Bay Bridge Series or the Earthquake Series.  The dominant Oakland Athletics offense featuring power hitting “Bash Brothers” duo Jose Canseco and Mark McGuire proved to be too much for the Giants and swept the series 4 games to 0.  Before the start of game three on October 17, 1989, a powerful 6.9 manitude earthquake struck the Bay Area suspending the series for 10 days while seismic inspections were conducted at both Bay Area stadiums.

The 2002 World Series: San Francisco Giants vs Anaheim Angels

The 2002 series was perhaps the most frustrating series ever for Giants fans.  This was the first series that featured power slugger Barry Bonds who joined the Giants organization in 1993.  In game six, the Giants held a 5-0 lead and were eight outs away from a Series Championship.  Giants manager Dusty Baker prematurely pulled starting pitcher Russ Ortiz replacing him with Felix Rodriguez.  Angels slugger Scott Spiezio then crushed a three run homer off Rodriguez setting the tone and momentum for the rest of game six.  The Angels ended up winning game six 6-5 in a stunning comeback.  The momentum carried into game seven where the Angels eventually clinched the series by winning 4-1.

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Flying high and in the black

I have always enjoyed Southwest Airline’s television ads.  The latest campaign entitled Good Cop Bag Cop features a Southwest ground crew driving baggage loading vehicles in pursuit of an airliner taxiing for takeoff.  The tail of the aircraft is digitally camouflaged to conceal the identity of the guilty airline charging passengers for extra luggage.  “Pull over, we know you’ve been charging for bags” shouts one of the crew members as the team tries to force the large jet off the taxiway. The ad concludes with another great line: “you can fly, but you can’t hide”.  Below is the ad posted on YouTube.

The reason Southwest Airlines doesn’t charge for baggage is simple; they don’t have to.   Since its first flight on June 18, 1971, the Dallas based airline has consistently been one of the most profitable airlines in commercial aviation history.   In 2010, Southwest celebrated its 37th consecutive year of profitability.  Southwest is also the largest airline in the world in terms of passengers carried per year and has the worlds third largest fleet of passenger aircraft.  Southwest’s business model has been duplicated by several newer airlines while older and more established carriers continue to nickel and dime their passengers to death.  In my opinion, the following are the major reasons behind Southwest’s financial success.

Low Maintenance Costs

 

Southwest Airlines only flies one type of aircraft: the Boeing 737.  This means that maintenance crews only need training for maintaining one aircraft.  This reduces training costs and allows maintenance crews to become unified Boeing 737 specialists that can quickly maintain and repair any Southwest jet anywhere in the country.  Procurement of replacement parts and equipment don’t require different aircraft considerations and are simpler and more cost-effective to purchase and manage.   Southwest also replaces aircraft in its fleet every 7 years thus keeping its fleet state of the art and low maintenance.

Fuel Cost Containment

One of the major reasons many airlines are flying in the red these days is high fuel costs.  Southwest anticipated this early on and uses an aggressive energy trading strategy called “fuel hedging” to protect itself from fluctuating fuel costs by locking in a predetermined price for jet fuel.  Southwest also uses a proprietary water pressure washing system to clean turbine blades on its engines.  This procedure improves fuel efficiency by about 1.9% per flight.

No Frills

 

Instead of serving meals on its flights, Southwest only serves light snacks and beverages.  There are also no in-flight movies or special entertainment options offered. This lowers food costs per flight, lightens planes for better fuel efficiency, and allows flights to depart from the gates sooner.

Point to Point Routes

Southwest uses a point to point travel model while other major airlines use a hub and spoke travel model.  Flying point to point instead of using large hub airports lowers gate costs, involves less ground congestion, eliminates luggage transfers for connecting flights, and offers faster turnaround times at the gate.

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Too many hamburgers

Recently, I read a great Thomas L. Friedman opinion column in the newspaper discussing how China views the United States.  Friedman began his column by describing a television skit he watched while attending the World Economic Forum in the Chinese city of Tianjin.  In the skit were four children about to run a race.  The first child is wearing the Chinese flag, the second one is wearing the US flag, the third one is wearing the Indian flag, and the fourth one is wearing the Brazilian flag.  Before they race, the American child named Anthony boasts that he will be victorious and declares: “because I always win”.  As the race begins, Anthony immediately takes the lead but later doubles over from cramps.  “Now is our chance to overtake him for the first time” exclaims the Chinese child.  “What’s wrong with Anthony?” asks another.  “He is overweight and flabby” explains another, “he ate too many hamburgers”

This is how China views the United States.  Flabby.  Arrogant.  Tired.  Doubled over.

OK, I will now own up to the flabby accusation: guilty as charged.  Agreed, the United States has a weight problem and I myself have become a newly minted member of this club.  Over the last 15 months of grinding unemployment, I have managed to pack on a staggering 20 pounds.  Yikes, how did that happen?

I love my country and proud to be an American, but I’m not arrogant about it.  The US has accomplished some amazing milestones including putting human beings on the Moon and inventing the automobile.  We have done a ton of stuff as a country and deserve an occasional slap on the back for doing it.  Sure, we’re a bit winded.  Wouldn’t you be if you accomplished great things?  We are not perfect either.  Our poop stinks just like everyone else, including China.  And yes, we eat lots of hamburgers because, well, we’re Americans.

It is clear that we are engaged in an economic race with other nations, most notably India and China.  Before we begin our sprint like our fictitious friend Anthony from the skit, we must ask ourselves one important question: are we as a nation prepared and willing to do what is necessary to compete and win this race?

Thinking back, I remember how disturbed and disgusted I was upon reading about the Foxconn Technology employee suicides that occurred in China.  Once again, the world pulled back the curtain and exposed another human rights tragedy.  Human beings killing themselves as a result of severe corporate repercussions for dishonoring their employer by not assembling products fast enough.  Imagine someone taking their life because he or she was shamed and humiliated for only slapping together 687 iPhones an hour instead of 692.  What an unbelievable tragedy.  Equally disturbing was the company’s massive rally and PR stunt to showcase its commitment to its employees and customers.  We are one.  We care about our employees.  Really?  Then please explain to the world why your employees are killing themselves.  Shame on any demanding customer of Foxconn’s manufacturing services that looks the other way.

The pressure and heightened expectations to excel and succeed in our educational system has already begun.  We are passing the baton off to the next generation to continue this race and we are counting on this generation to run hard.  The second important question that must be asked is: will our kids be prepared and willing to do what it takes to compete and win this race?  Will they rise to the challenge as we shove more math and science down their throats?  Based on my personal observations at my Son’s school, the more challenging curriculum starts earlier.  Before you know it, we’ll be teaching calculus in kindergarten and explaining to little Johnny why he shouldn’t be a Fireman or Policeman.

Let’s not kid ourselves, victory in this race will come at a price.  Success and winning always does.  The Chinese have shown they are up for the challenge with some of their citizens paying the ultimate price.  They are out of the blocks and running like thoroughbreds.  Are we prepared for this?  Are we prepared and willing to win?

Oh, and as for those hamburgers, I’ll be downsizing to the Whopper Jr. without cheese.  Hold the fries please.

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A voice that could not be silenced

This past weekend, my wife and I took a personal retreat down the California coast to a little town called San Simeon.  While driving down Highway 1, we were listening to the inspiring music of vocalist Renee Bondi, a contemporary Christian recording artist from Southern California.  Renee Bondi has a gorgeous and powerful voice.  Beyond her singing voice, however, is an amazing and miraculous story.      

In 1988, two months shy of her wedding, Renee fell head first from the foot of her bed in the middle of the night.  The impact from the fall shattered her cervical vertebrae 4 disk and paralyzed her from the neck down.  After undergoing a CAT Scan, Her neurosurgeon delivered the grim diagnosis: “You are a quadriplegic.  You’re paralyzed from the neck down.  You’ll never walk again.  You’ll never sing again.  And you’ll need help with about every function of your life”.       

He was right about everything but the singing.      

Had Renee crushed the top 3 vertebrae disks she would probably never speak again and would require a ventilator to breathe.  However, because she only broke the vertebrae 4 disk, nerve signals to the diaphragm (a respiratory muscle necessary to manage air flow for singing) were only severely compromised but not severed.  While it would take a tremendous amount of therapy, singing was still possible.      

While in the hospital, a vocal coach friend devised an unconventional respiratory therapy technique to strengthen her diaphragm.  This involved placing ankle weights across her chest to build up diaphragm muscle strength.  Within five months, Renee was lifting 55 pounds of weight with each breath.      

Renee Bondi

Renee Bondi

By 1992, Renee was beginning to sing again with the help and encouragement of a friend who would pull her wheelchair over to her piano.  She recorded her first album Inner Voice that same year and recorded five albums after that.  In 1995, Renee gave birth to her Son Daniel becoming one of the only quadriplegic females ever recorded to deliver a child in the United States.  Throughout this entire journey, Renee’s faithful husband Mike has never left her side since the day they were married.      

I have seen Renee Bondi several times in concert and have heard her powerful testimony.  Her face is radiant when she sings.  Her smile and energy are infectious.  Her voice is unbelievable.  Her faith in God is beyond inspiring.  If you were to listen to her CDs or see her in concert and close your eyes, you would never know she is paralyzed.     

While her physical body became still and dependant from paralysis, her amazing voice was not lost.  A voice that could not be silenced.      

More information about Renee Bondi can be found on her website.      

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