This Year was the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 13. As it happens, one of my favorite movies is Apollo 13. And YES, for you conspiracy theorist out there, the Apollo Missions DID happen, and we DID, in fact, land on the Moon.
But not Apollo 13.
So, let's go back to 1970. The writing was on the wall, Lucky Number 13. They were supposed to take off on April 11th, at 13:13, and land on the Moon on April 13th. At that time, the American Public had grown bored with the Apollo Missions and considered space flight routine. We were in the middle of the Vietnam War. There were questions on whether the Apollo program would continue after Apollo 13.
Apollo 13 was piloted by Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, Jack Wigert. But that was not the original crew. See the Apollo 13 NASA Astronauts, like most astronauts training as a crew for their mission for two years. Unfortunately, as luck would have it, Astronaut Ken Mattingly was removed from the crew three days before the launch due to exposure to the German Measles.
Apollo 13 Launched from Kennedy Space Center on April 11th, 1970. Unfortunately, NASA had to abort the lunar landing after an oxygen tank in the service module exploded and failed two days into the mission. The famous yet calm words were uttered: "Houston, we have a problem!"
As a software engineer and a business owner, I will steal a quote from Star Trek and say: "Genius Doesn't Work On An Assembly Line Basis."
The mission that was routine and not covered by the news media had suddenly become an exercise in problem-solving, innovation, creativity, and genius. The problem happened because of an explosion that occurred while stirring the oxygen tanks; the crew of Apollo 13 had vented a majority of their oxygen out into space. A moon landing was out of the question. The astronauts and NASA were fighting to survive and return home to earth in the crippled spacecraft back to earth safely.
While the reality of the condition of Apollo 13 permeated through mission control, Flight Director Gene Kranz overhears two NASA directors discussing the low survival chances for the crippled spacecraft. One of them says: "I know what the problems are Henry, This could be the worst disaster NASA has ever experienced."
Gene Kranz immediately intervenes and says: With all due respect, sir, I believe this is gonna be our finest Hour.
This was a defining moment of positivity and leadership. Gene Kranz focused on something positive. This was the chance for NASA to demonstrate their collective genius by pulling off an unprecedented rescue.
Everyone collectively rose to the seemingly impossible challenge, and Apollo 13 Made it Home safely. We went on to the Moon 4 more times. It was NASA's finest Hour.
This Christmas, some enterprising entrepreneurs created a dumpster fire ornament that lights up with 2020 emblazoned on it. While this is funny, contrary to the widespread group think, 2020 was not a Dumpster Fire.
This Year, 2020, was your finest hour.
As you know, I love Star Trek. I love it not just because of science and engineering, but because of its positive message and willingness to confront the problems of society while celebrating the triumphs of humanity.
As a result, I would like to sum up our Year with a few quotes:
When we started this Year, we were all bright-eyed and optimistic. But as you know, things changed in March. We had no idea what was ahead, and a lot of the fear of the unknown set in.
Captain James T. Kirk reminds us in the Episode the Corbomite Maneuver: "You know the greatest danger facing us is ourselves, irrational fear of the unknown. There is no such thing as the unknown. Only things temporarily hidden, temporarily not understood."
At Bit-Wizards, we overcame our fears; we did not overreact. We were sensible and banded together to service our customers, ensured everyone was safe, accommodated our teams and our customers' unique needs. With TalkingParents, we focused on making our product the very best with the new features. We worked hard to acquire new customers. We concentrated on the things we could do and the things we could control. We did not let fear paralyze us.
2020 Was Your Finest Hour!
See Kirk also points out in the Episode Metamorphosis, "Our species can only survive if we have obstacles to overcome. You remove those obstacles. Without them to strengthen us, we will weaken and die."
All of you, in your work this Year and in your lives, were strengthened. You pivoted, looked for new ways to get things done, and you came together as a team. You came out stronger and better.
2020 Was Your Finest Hour!
Dr. Boyce was the First Star Trek Doctor for Captain Pike in the Episode Where No Man has Gone Before. Dr. Boyce was the doctor before Doctor McCoy.
Dr. Boyce said: "A man either lives life as it happens to him, meets it head-on and licks it, or he turns his back on it and starts to wither away."
Like Apollo 13, we confronted each problem head-on. We worked to ensure our company stayed strong and that the impact of the Pandemic was minimal.
2020 Was Your Finest Hour!
We helped many of our customers who were impacted during 2020. You banded together to support others in our community with your generosity, your talents, and your service. You worked together to help 36 children have a wonderful Christmas. You brought in food to help people in our community have a Thanksgiving Dinner. Our company was instrumental in elevating our schools to securing our community's future, with the passing of the ½ cents sales tax.
Many of you went above and beyond.
Patrick Mead, for example, created a video on his own time to help our school cents makes sense campaign.
Many people put in extra hours.
Some like Brian Schlector, Bret, Anthony, Russ, and Sam, to name a few, came in on nights and weekends or while on vacation to ensure we took care of our customers.
Others like Ben Taylor volunteered to play Santa Claus for the sick kids at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center.
Still, others filled in the gaps when their fellow wizards were out sick, or had a sick child, or had surgeries.
You helped each other as individuals, as a business, and as a community.
There are so many I cannot name them all here. But I want you to know I am proud of all of you, and I thank you for everything you have done.
You asked More of Our Business. You asked More of Yourself.
As I learned in Star Trek and Life: "We Prefer To Help Ourselves. We Make Mistakes, But We're Human, And Maybe That's The Word That Best Explains Us.
But as Mr. Spock points out sometimes, "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or as Kirk adds or the One."
2020 Was Your Finest Hour!
As we close out the Year, I want to thank you for your service to our customers, our company, our community.
This Year was Bit-Wizards' highest-grossing Year and the best profitability ever in the 20-year history of our company. TalkingParents doubled its revenue growing 99%, and I know we are the very best parenting tool out there in the market.
Louis and I only set the conditions to allow you to be great. It is you who makes Bit-Wizards and TalkingParents Great. You make us a thriving organization that makes things happen and propels our business and our community forward.
I will leave you with some parting thoughts:
"You Either Believe in Yourself Or You Don't." If you want to persevere and have grit, you have to believe in yourself. Through the power of one, we can make a difference, and with a lot of ones who believe in themselves, acting together, we can move mountains.
You are the Author of your own story. Every day you have the opportunity to make it your finest Hour. Greatness comes by doing little things well, then building on them to make big things done well.
Despite anything that happens now or in the future, remember: "Live now; make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again."
Lastly: Always Remember: 2020 Was Your Finest Hour!