Capn's Blog

Friday, March 02, 2012


Everyone has their heroes, people who are deeply inspiring.  Some of mine are people I've worked for, and others are people whose blogs and books have moved and challenged me.

As strange as this sounds, one of my heroes, John Linton, founded the ISP I use, Exetel.  As a bet, John started writing a daily blog about his thoughts about running a company, and his observations about Australian politics and the telecommunications scene.  While I read his blog monthly rather than daily, I can say I've read and re-read all of his 1,649 blog entries.

Filled with anticipation, I went to read his blog last night, only to find an entry from his son, saying that John had passed away.  Shock!  I feel quite saddened, knowing I can now never tell him how much his counsel has meant.  Hard to imagine one would shed a tear for the big boss of one's ISP! 

My politics might be very different to John's, yet what he stands for transcends that: Unquestionable integrity, searing passion, undaunted bravery.  John's decency and intrinsic care for humanity and the environment was present in every line he wrote. 

Exetel was everything I wanted in an ISP: Reliable, affordable, and ethical.  And from the tributes on his blog John made the people at Exetel feel like family.

I'm now in China starting a business on my own.  It is very very hard work, and one of the things that keeps me going, keeps me seeing the big picture, is the example John set.  One day I will have staff of my own, and John, along with two other Australians I deeply respect and had the pleasure of working for, has shaped my views of managing people, especially in giving people a go, and investing in their development.  For me his approach is a benchmark I aspire to.  Thank you John.

John had big plans for expansion of Exetel, and I wonder how these plans will go without John to drive them.  The bad news is that John left an almighty set of boots to fill.  The good news is that the Exetel family had the good fortune to have been guided and trained by one of the very best.  I wish them every success in going out there and being decent, successful people.  It's everything John would have wanted.