Posted by Lilian Tsi-Stielstra on Jan 13, 2020
It was the first meeting of the calendar year, and as President Casey Blair (Financial Services: Private Trading | KCB Trading LLC) brightly reminded us, we still have six months of his regime.  

As a trader, President Casey was mystified when his wife said there were 36 cards in a deck at the 2019 Holiday Party. However, a holiday trip to Hamburg humbled him, and he learned that in his wife’s culture, there is a game where there are only 36 cards in the deck. He brought a set home to be a raffle prize for the day, which was won by Dr. Carla Walter (Arts Therapy | Dance in the Spirit) at the end of the meeting.
President Casey also pointed out that Scott Plakun (Management Consulting | The Plakun Group) and the Speakers Committee have a theme for the luncheon speakers from January to March 2020. The theme is “San Francisco STILL Knows How”.
For the first meeting of the year, we only had one visiting Rotarian: Karen Schmautz (That name is familiar.) from Florida. The mother of our Eric Schmautz (Banking Management | Wells Fargo), Karen is a longtime Rotarian. Flora Burke (Financial Services:  Advising | ETrade) brought her daughter to the luncheon. Otherwise, the room was packed with Club members, which is always a nice thing.  

President Casey made the usual announcements about previous events and upcoming events. Some notable items are as follows:

Stephanie Schmautz (Elder Care and Senior Services | The Carlisle) (There’s that name again.) was thanked with hearty applause for the fabulous 2019 Holiday Party. Photographic evidence of the fun was displayed at the meeting.  

Emily Borland-Wong (Engineering, Architecture, and Construction | Emily Borland Specifications) is Chair of Emergency Services Day, and the date of this favorite event is October 6, 2020. She is actively recruiting committee members. Please contact Emily if you are interested in serving on the ESD Committee.  

Mark Calender (Insurance Services | Calender-Robinson) announced that on Thursday, January 16, 2020, dictionaries for elementary school students will be “stamped” at Hoogasian Flowers warehouse on Seventh Street near Brannan. Please come by and lend a hand. It starts at 6:00 PM.
John Mathers (Management Consulting | eVo Associates) reminded members that the “Fund the Future” benefit is on January 15, 2020 and will be held at the Salesforce Tower. The last chance to register would be Friday, January 10, 2020.

On January 30, 2020, there is a backpack stuffing activity with Catholic Charities. Pat Gallagher (Development | Catholic Charities) provided more details in a postcard at our lunch table. You may also view the information here.
Dan Joraanstad (Financial Services: Advising | Retired) and Terry Pickering (Financial Services | Retired) then awarded Paul Harris Fellows certificates and pins to Flora Burke and her daughter, Savannah Sweet, both first-time Paul Harris Fellows. Multiple Paul Harris Fellows added to their collection of pins as follows: 
  • David Dye (Management Consulting | Retired), Paul Harris +5,  
  • Dora Dye (Education: Community College | City College of San Francisco), Paul Harris +2; 
  • and Bill Poppen (Banking: Management | MUFG Union Bank), Paul Harris +6.
Those not present at the luncheon would receive their pin at a later date.
Rotarian of the Month was awarded to Christopher Wiseman (Event Planning | Glaucoma Research Foundation). He has only been a member for nine months, but it feels like he has been with us forever, as he regularly and enthusiastically gets involved in Club projects.
Eric Schmautz (that name again) proceeded to explain how we raise funds through Paul Harris Fellowships for Rotary International and that polio still exists. While Africa will soon be declared polio free, in 2019, Pakistan saw an increase in the number of reported cases of polio from 33 in 2018 to 143 in 2019. Eric proceeded with our Annual Super Bowl Squares fundraiser where Rotarians and anyone who wants to participate can purchase squares on a board. A total of $14,600 was raised today. In the past, we have raised as much as $40,000; so, there’s still time for you to get your squares at $100 per square. Participate here.
President-Elect JT Forbus (Accounting | Bogdan & Frasco) was quoted again in The New York Times. President Casey tried to fine JT.
Today’s speaker was Paul Saffo, a friend of Bebo White (Education: University | Retired). Paul teaches at Stanford and is a technology forecaster. His talk entitled “Myth and the Success of Silicon Valley” sounded intriguing in the invite we all received where he “was to explain how myth is not only the force behind the success of Silicon Valley but also the factor that ensures the continued success of our region”.
As a non-historian, it was a fascinating quick history lesson ranging from Sir Francis Drake getting a spot named in a map in California when he didn’t really land here to how California got its name from a popular novel back in the day. The culture of creativity and entrepreneurship date back to the conquistadors. (By the way, this is my opinion, and as a scribe, you can have opinions and express them. This is a test to see who actually reads this stuff.)
We start with a map by Halley (the one with the comet named after him) where there is an error. California is depicted as an island. Next was the book entitled Las Sergas de Esplandián, 5th in a series of books by Castilian writer Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo, basically the Danielle Steele of the day according to Mr. Saffo. In this book, the island of California is described as a fantasy land occupied by women. Back in the day, it was difficult to fact check as it seems he might have been aiming for the Amazon fantasy. I digress.
Mr. Saffo then sped up the history lesson with many examples of entrepreneurs who basically are people who don’t take “no” for an answer, are not conventional followers, and have a tendency to disrespect authority. They are dreamers who leap forward fearlessly. From Columbus looking for the New World to dreamers who come to California to pursue the myth of the gold rush, today’s entrepreneurs have the same traits where they are leaping into new realms of technology, and they seek patronage from Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists crowded around Sand Hill Road. These new entrepreneurs have the same healthy disrespect for authority, believe that asking for forgiveness is easier than asking for permission, and out of all the rubble of failures, some will survive and become valuable, innovative businesses. 
After a fascinating perspective, he concluded his talk with a discussion on earthquakes, fault lines, and perhaps in 10 million years into the future, it’s possible that California might be an island. Halley was just a bit early in his map in 1704.  
Our speaker was thanked with our usual speaker’s gift: 100 children will be inoculated from polio in his name.
The meeting was adjourned on time.
Photos by Flora Burke (Financial Services:  Advising | ETrade
Edited by John Dean (Education:  Law | Dean Dispute Resolution) and Dora Dye (Education: Community College | City College of San Francisco)