Replaced by Rotating the Wheels Dinner, Trilogy Golf Club, Redmond 


More info on calendar.






Independence Day Holiday





Click here to view a slideshow of photos from this week's meeting.


BBRC Reveille
Acting President Steve Goldfarb

What is a Dad?

A dad is a person
who is loving and kind,
and often he knows
what you have on your mind. 

He’s proud of your triumphs,
but when things go wrong,
a dad can be patient
and helpful and strong. 

In all that you do,
a dad’s love plays a part.
There’s always a place for him
deep in your heart. 

And each year that passes,
You’re even more glad,
More grateful and proud
Just to call him your dad! 

Thank you, Dad ...
For listening and caring,
or giving and sharing,
but especially, just for being you.

In the absence of outgoing BBRC President Jenny Andrews, Steve Goldfarb served as emcee of this week’s meeting.  The invocation was given by Brian Evison, who, in preparation for Father’s Day. (Read the poem at right.)

After recognizing a number of guests and visiting Rotarians, a several announcements were shared.  Three members of the BBRC were recognized for their 20th anniversary in the Club, Kim Shrader, Norm Johnson, and Steve Goldfarb.

Final Comments from Sergeant At Arms

Sergeant at Arms (SAA) David Bolson, greeted with the customary affectionate boos, made his last official appearance — the announcement of which turned the boo-birds to generous applauders. 

Bolson eloquently delivered a prepared formal speech “to conclude [his] tenure as SAA for fiscal 2008-09.”  He said, “My term will be remembered.  My refusal to accept anything less than appropriate dress and timely attendance has greatly improved the BBRC experience for all our members and guests.” 

“Yes,” he acknowledged, “I have received criticism from those who do not like change, who won’t follow the rules, or who complain about everything.  Thick-skinned as I am, it was painful for me.” David concluded, however, that “angst is good.  It cuts through and captures the essence of revolutionary spirit.  Thank you and God bless you.” 

The much-appreciated speech was celebrated with a standing ovation and calls for “four more years.”

Community Grant Awarded

Fred Barkman announced a major community grant of $10,000 from the BBRC Foundation to The Sophia Way, the only women’s shelter for homeless women on the Eastside.  Executive Director Helen Leuzzi was present to receive the grant and thank the club, informing the members that The Sophia Way provides “shelter from the storms of life,” educational opportunities, and housing to single homeless women in our area.

Final RFH Work Party of the Year

BBRC Reveille
Morris Kremen

Morris Kremen surprised the club by pointing out that “we’re not exactly leading the District” in the competition for District 5030 Club of the Year. 

Next Saturday, June 27, is the last Rotary First Harvest work party of the year.  He said, “We’ve met our financial goal of $6,000, and we have blown away our participation goals.  Now, we need to win!  While we are in excess of 200 work days, the Kent Club is whatever we are plus one.  We must blow them away.  Rumors are that they will charter a bus.  We need to show up in big numbers at the Shoreline facility, from nine till noon.” 

Rotary members who are especially good at math are urged to look past these fuzzy statistics and show up in big numbers to increase our margin of victory.

Annual Rotating the Wheels Dinner

BBRC Reveille
Wendi Fischer

Wendi Fischer, with her characteristic charm and vivacity, acknowledged that she was supposed to have planned a skit.  Apologizing for failing to do so, she reminded the club of the Rotating the Wheels Dinner next week. 

In lieu of a skit, she offered a sheet of construction paper with the letters RTW on it.  Noting that a duplicate of that document was provided at all tables, she asked club members to please write their names on the sheets if they were planning to come or, alternatively, to indicate that they could not attend.

BBRC Charity Golf Classic

BBRC Annual Charity Golf Tournament, July 27, Willows Run Golf CourseKim Shrader reminded us of the golf tournament on July 27.  Several recently added sponsors were recognized, including Jane Kuechle, Troy Vicker, and Peter Powell.  Shrader mentioned that we need three things for the tournament to succeed:  “golfers, sunshine, and sponsorships."  He pointed out that sign-up sheets were on the tables for new sponsors and golfers.  “We’re behind and need golfers,” he urged.

Bob Bowen added that this is our last physical club meeting at the Glendale Country Club for a few weeks, so it was important to sign up for golf immediately.

The upcoming BBRC Charity Golf Classic begins with a shotgun start at 7:45 a.m., on Monday, July 27, at Eagle’s Talon course at Willows Run, Redmond. The $180 per player cost includes greens fee, power cart, range balls, lunch and a free shirt or vest. Click here for for more details and a registration form

Proposed Member: Joellen Monson

Joellen Monson is a manager and licensed mental health counselor at Therapeutic Health Services in Bellevue. She loves working with families and children. Her hobbies include writing, watching movies and reviewing them, and she lives in Fall City with her husband John.

Joellen has visited our club three times so far, and she has already jumped into our club fundraiser and is eager to get her hands on other club projects. Her sponsors are Jim Carney and Rourke O’Brien.

Foreign Make-Up

BBRC Reveille
Colleen Turner

Colleen Turner recently did a couple of overseas make-ups and brought home some exotic flags. In Stockholm, Sweden, she not only exchanged flags, but also won a bottle of wine. 

Colleen also attended a Rotary meeting aboard the Emerald Princess cruise ship, snagging a flag from the Chicago O’Hare Rotary Club on ship.  She encouraged all members to do make-ups when traveling.

New Member: Aisha Kabani 

BBRC Reveille
Aisha Kabani & Sadru Kabani

Sadru Kabani, with great joy and paternal pride, introduced his daughter Aisha to the Club as our newest member. 

Aisha has made an impressive start in her business career after earning degrees at Barnard College (Columbia University) and the University of Michigan.  She has already founded a dot-com company and currently serves as a Vice-President of the family-owned business.  In her official capacities Aisha has traveled to many countries developing the business. 

To the delight of the membership, Mr. Kabani noted that Aisha “just finished taking cooking classes in Paris at Le Cordon Bleu,” a world-famous culinary school.  “Passionate about what she believes in,” he said, “she will be a great member of the Club.”

Today’s Program

“Pioneering the Social Networking Revolution,” Randy Conrads, Co‑Founder of RedWeek.com

BBRC Reveille
Randy Conrads

The main speaker for the session was Randy Conrads, co-founder of RedWeek.com, an online marketplace connecting travelers to the timeshare community. Before starting RedWeek.com, Randy created Classmates.com, the world's largest online community.  

Conrads offered a remarkably humble, enlightening, and amusing presentation of how he left a success-filled 21-year career at Boeing Corporation to start Classmates.com at home in his basement.  Under his direction, Classmates grew from this basement start-up to become one of the top 15 most highly trafficked websites on the Internet, with 38 million members and 2 million visitors each day.  In the end, he was able to sell the company for more than $100 million.   

Conrads began his presentation by recalling the best speech he ever gave.  An alumnus of Oregon State University, he had been invited to be the keynote speaker at a meeting on entrepreneurship.  There were many speakers on the program before him, including the governor in an election year.  When he was given the podium, the meeting was already a half-hour over its time limit. It was homecoming, and the bands were already playing in anticipation of the football game.  He reduced the speech to a mere dismissal of the crowd, a speech that received great applause.  He said, “The governor jumps up, pumps my hands, and says, ‘That was the best speech I ever heard.’” 

Fifty-nine years old “and planning to stay there,” Conrads has been married to his wife, Sharon, for 39 years.  He was born in Hawaii, but lived mostly in California before moving to the Pacific Northwest.  He has lived in Renton and Kent and now lives most of the time in Maui, returning annually to the Seattle area to spend the summer.  His two grown children are married, and he and his wife became grandparents last year.   

BBRC Reveille
Rourke O'Brien makes the introduction.

Conrads suggested that the best title for his story is “The Road Less Travelled,” a line from the famous poem by Robert Frost.   “With Classmates.com we chose directions others hadn’t and actually benefitted from the dot-com bust.  In 2002 we were invited to participate in the Puget Sound Business Journal’s 100 Fastest Growing Companies awards.  I went to the free dinner, and they were naming all the companies.  When they got to the top ten companies and hadn’t mentioned us, I thought they’d forgotten us, until they announced we were number one.”  The company had grown 3800 per cent over the previous year.  As a reward, he mentioned, his wife made him clean out the cat box when they got home from the meeting.   

When he started Classmates in his basement, Conrads said he didn’t know what venture capital was.  “I was an operating guy [at Boeing].”  It took years to get the company out of his basement, and it took three years to make a profit.  The new venture made a mere $180.50 in its first year.  He quit his job in 1995, and the company made $3,700 after he went full time.  The first year he was able to draw a salary, it was half of what he had been earning at Boeing.  Sharon worked for free.  Then the venture capital came in, and the company began to grow.  In 1999 one million people signed up on the database.  “By the time we sold it, the company had 200 employees, and 40 million people were registered.  There were 20 million visitors per month. We had $80 million in annual sales, keeping most of it as profit.”  With satisfaction, he noted that “people were using Classmates to find their old friends.  Many people got married.  Over 100 got married to people they had dated in high school.”  Some people even found their birth parents through the site.   “I didn’t do it for the good stuff,” he noted, “but to make money.”  Conrads indeed achieved his primary objective.  “We sold out at a good time,” he said, “just as [the company] hit its peak.” 

“The company grew gradually,” he said, “and many didn’t believe it would work.”  His father called every two weeks and asked, “Did you make any money yet?”  He explained that his father didn’t know what a website was, and he wasn’t able to tell people what his son did.  Conrads seemed to enjoy pointing out that the guy who took his job at Boeing called every two weeks during the early years to say, “Randy, I got a paycheck today.”  “People can’t visualize that it is going to work,” he said. “You might be the only person who believes it will work.”   

BBRC Reveille
Steve Goldfarb & Randy Conrads

The second divergence was his business model.  The company started out charging $6.95 for a lifetime membership.  This was controversial, he said, because “in those days, the internet was supposed to be the freenet.” Yahoo refused to list them because they charged for their services, but in time, Classmates became Yahoo’s largest advertiser. 

An important part of a start-up company’s success usually involves venture capital.  Conrads quipped, “Venture capitalists are affectionately called VULTURE capitalists by entrepreneurs.” Still, venture capital was a crucial element in the success of Classmates.  “We were spending $1 million per month trying to grow.  You don’t become the fastest growing company in Washington by sitting around.”

After a while, the company began to run out of cash.  “The vultures start circling the board room when you tell them [you’re running out of money].  It’s scary.”   He explained, “One of the questions venture capitalists ask you is what keeps you up at night.” For Conrads the hardest thing was the fact that 100 people were working for him, and “their families were depending on that salary.”  “[Employees] think they work for you, but you work for them," he said.  “When you see it starting to collapse, it gets really scary.  Others were crashing.  We weren’t bringing anything in.” 

One night, he said, “I came to the conclusion that God ought to be part of my life at 3:00 am.  That decision was very important.  We doubled and became profitable very quickly.  It looked like an overnight success.  Things got better from there.”  The company grew to $7 million in sales the next year, then to $15 million, then to $28 million and then $40 million.  When he sold the company, he got 98% of its passive value in cash. 

Taking questions at the end of his presentation, he told an amusing anecdote about using his wife Sharon’s high school picture to publicize the company.  It had the virtue of being free, with little danger of bringing on a future lawsuit for royalties.  When they took the picture off the banner ad for Classmates, revenue went down.  When they put it back, revenue went back up.  They experimented over and over, and found that she was like “the Gerber baby.” Her picture seems to have been an important part of the success of the company. 

Web Fun

Courtesy of Phil Salvatori

Girl Potato and Boy Potato had eyes for each other, and finally they got  married, and had a little sweet potato, which they called  Yam. Of course, they wanted the best for Yam.

When it was time, they told her about the facts of life.

They warned her about going out and getting half-baked, so she wouldn't get accidentally mashed, and get a bad name for herself like "Hot Potato," and end up with a bunch of Tater Tots.

Yam  said not to worry, no Spud would get her into the sack and make a rotten potato out of her!

On the other hand, she wouldn't stay home and become a Couch Potato either. She would get plenty of exercise so as not to be skinny like her Shoestring cousins.

When she went off to Europe, Mr and Mrs. Potato told Yam to watch out for the hard-boiled guys from Ireland. Also the greasy guys from France called the French Fries. And, when she went out west, to watch out for Indians so she wouldn't get scalloped.

Yam said she would stay on the straight and narrow and wouldn't associate with those high class Yukon Golds, or the ones from the other side of the tracks who advertise their trade on all the trucks that say, "Frito Lay."

Mr. and Mrs. Potato sent Yam to Idaho P.U. (that's Potato University ) so that when she graduated she'd really be in the Chips.

But, in spite of all they did for her, one day Yam came home and announced she was going to marry Tom Brokaw.

Tom  Brokaw!

Mr. and Mrs. Potato were very upset. They told Yam she couldn't possibly marry Tom Brokaw because he's just ...




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