If you read this blog regularly you already know I’m passionate about electronics, product development, and entrepreneurship.
But those interests are no surprise for an engineer/entrepreneur. So I thought it might be fun to share some more surprising things about me. I’m not one to talk about myself but this seemed like a good way for you to get to know me better.
Here are 21 of the more interesting things you didn’t know about me.
Thing #1) I’m passionate about nature and wildlife. One of my long term dreams is to own a wildlife sanctuary primarily for large predators such as bears, tigers, lions, wolves, and hyenas.
Thing #2) I’ve been obsessed with electronics and computers pretty much my whole life. In my grade school yearbook under a section titled “Can you imagine…” for me they wrote “Can you image…John Teel not talking about computers?”.
Thing #3) I’m an introvert. Putting myself “out there” isn’t easy and takes work.
Thing #4) I’m a big science geek. I especially love theoretical physics and astronomy, but all of the natural sciences are fascinating to me.
Thing #5) I developed my own consumer lighting product called a Pop-up MicroLite. These tiny lights were designed to stick on and illuminate any surface. They were manufactured in China and sold in hundreds of retail outlets in three countries. Unfortunately, they didn’t sell as well as expected, but I learned a tremendous amount through the process.
Thing #6) I was hired as a circuit design engineer for Texas Instruments in Dallas, Texas in 1998 while earning my Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering. It was my dream job.
Thing #7) After about 5 years in Dallas I requested a transfer to a new TI design center in Tucson, Arizona. One of the main reasons I moved to Tucson was because I was passionate about astronomy and wanted to build my own observatory (which I did). Tucson’s clear, dry skies are a mecca for astronomers. I also was fascinated by the insane desert landscape.
Thing #8) My best friend is my wife who fortunately shares many of my same interests. We have an amazing 5 year old son, who coincidentally also shares many of these same interests.
Thing #9) My wife and I have had dozens of friendly close-up encounters with wild grizzly bears while camping in remote Katmai National Park, Alaska. This includes having a mother bear decide to nurse her two cubs about 20 feet away from us.
That’s me with a bear I learned to know quite well. Note that she chose to approach me.
Thing #10) My passion for entrepreneurship was reignited after my first trip to Alaska about 10 years ago. I was so moved by the grandeur of Alaska and its wildlife that I decided on the flight home to become an entrepreneur with the goal of one day being able to donate financial resources to help protect wildlife and the environment.
Thing #11) After another 5 years working for Texas Instruments in Tucson I got the itch to escape the cubicle lifestyle. So I quit my job, we moved to Alaska, and I became a remote consultant for TI. From our house in Alaska we had a clear view of snow covered mountains, the ocean, and three glaciers. The first year was amazing, and the first winter was an exciting experience. The second winter…not so exciting.
Thing #12) I was interested in entrepreneurship from an early age. I even had a company name picked out (Genesis Inc) and a company logo (an atom). That particular business never became a reality.
Thing #13) I’m a very optimistic person who gets really excited about learning new things. I also love sharing what I learn.
Thing #14) During our second Alaskan winter we went on a vacation to Kauai, Hawaii. We took a helicopter tour of the island and immediately upon landing I looked at my wife and said “I want to move here!”. Fortunately she replied “Me too!”. So a few months later we moved from Alaska to Kauai and lived there for about 5 years.
Thing #15) After that helicopter tour I became fascinated with helicopters, so I offered to redesign the helicopter tour operator’s website in exchange for free helicopter rides. Because of that I’ve been on more than a dozen helicopter tours, and have even landed at the base of the same remote waterfall in the first Jurassic Park movie.
Thing #16) I’m into all aspects of health including nutrition and exercise. My favorite exercise is high intensity interval training or more specifically hill sprinting. I also love hiking.
Thing #17) Material things don’t mean much to me, but I’m crazy for experiences!
Thing #18) I’m a huge fan of Albert Einstein. I think his theories of relativity are the most beautiful thing created by the human mind. I even have his picture in my son’s bedroom.
Thing #19) I’m not into watching sports. Although at various times in my life I have enjoyed watching tennis, surfing, mountain climbing, and the olympics.
Thing #20) I finished about halfway with getting my pilot’s license while living in Tucson. But mid-training we moved to Alaska and I decided Alaska was too dangerous of a place to learn to fly. While living and camping in Alaska we did charter many small planes and have landed on rivers, lakes, and beaches.
Thing #21) I’ve had a volcano erupt on me. During our second winter in Alaska a nearby volcano erupted covering the ground with black ash. We couldn’t go outside for a few days because of small particles in the air that were dangerous to breath.