1956 - 1975 | 1975 - 1981 | 1981 - 1987 | 1988 - 2003 | 2004 - 2011 | 2012 - 2017
Richard Hart: 1956 - 1975When it came to growing up in a great spot, at a terrific time - I think I was standing at the head of the line! I was born Richard Allen Hart, in the fabulous town of Tacoma, Washington, and I was very fortunate to have had two parents that loved me from the day I first appeared. I was also blessed to have had the privilege of growing up in a family that was proud of it's ethnic heritage. Si Siamo degli Italiani!
(Oh yeah... we are Italian!).
Both my parents were 1st generation Americans of Italian descent , and my Mother was born in Canada to boot (but that's a long story!). My Father's people... well they had some color too (and that's a longer story!).
Basically, good hard working, and honest people. They all loved music. My Mother played "Boogie - Woogie" piano, was a registered nurse, and was a wicked good dancer. My Father had two left feet, but was crazy about my Mother. He also loved electronics, and that plays a big part of my life too.
As I reflect on my parent's interests; it strikes me that my Father read "Scientific American" and my Mother read "Psychology Today". I think they both knew who they were, and what they believed. They also knew what they wanted from life. My own life has always been intertwined with these two realities: One from my Father - "Do you know how that works?" and one from my Mother - "Do you know why you care how that works?". Well, that's me in a nut shell...
So I went through school like most kids. I have a few great friends (and heroes) who have stuck with me through thick and thin. Not all are pictured here, but Mark Ceccarelli is because he is L'amico migliore alla fine (Best friend to the end). He has been there for so many "firsts" in my life - I am embarrassed to write the details. Suffice it to say this; we have each other's back.
I went to the best High School in America -
Stadium High School, Tacoma, Washington. That's not brag - just fact.
Stadium High School held a few other surprises for me too. We had a great Concert Band and a funky Jazz ensemble. It was the kind of experience that you look back on and say - "you know... that was fun". The music was fun. The people I went through school with were fun. Even the teachers were fun.! Stadium High School lit a fire in me to write music on my own. I have - and you can hear it in the Music section of my site. But that was just the beginning of the learning for me. So in 1975, I graduated along with the rest of the crew.
Richard Hart: 1975 - 1981The summer of 1975 was by all measure a great summer. For the first time in my life however, I seemed unable to avoid attempting to answer some questions about who I was; why was I here, and what really was the point of living a life? All life lead to death.
For lack of a better way to express it; I was going to die eventually regardless, so why not live it up? Hedonism and an attraction to narcissism all made sense in my world view. As rationale points of living however, they seemed to rub against the grain of what I sensed and perceived was (or could be) true.
I have had a perception as long as I could remember, that there was in fact a "Moral Law" intrinsic in the wiring of the universe. I could not reconcile my sense of "self" (It's all about me) with the conviction that the world as I saw it - must have a Creator (God) or Author. And if it had an Author, it may have a Script - or at least a bit part in it for me. Thus, a reason for living - or "Purpose".
But in that summer, God seemed very far away. Too removed to be real. If God were really God, why did He not reveal himself to me - and answer some of my questions? My reasoning took this form: If I was God - and I was good, I would come down from heaven and talk to people. Try to answer their questions. Give some explanations that help people realize that they are not alone. That they were precious - at least to Me. I would never leave them alone in a world that can be so dark and frightening. I would tell them about the way I made the universe reflect my desires and then, I would tell them what happens when they die.
Well, God did not materialize in the summer of 1975 - at least directly. He did, I believe, plant a "seed" in my brain to start asking pointed questions, and (for me) to begin reading the Bible and start looking for some answers.
To make a long story short; God began to reveal to me that He had in fact done the very things (and answered the very questions) I was requesting of Him already. He did it, in the form and person of Jesus Christ. And even more remarkably, He was still doing it!
As I studied the person and claims of Jesus Christ in the Bible, I arrived at some conclusions about what He was saying about Himself:
1) He was either a liar - or
2) He was a lunatic - or
3) He was in fact the embodiment of the very things He claimed.... which is
Make no mistake about it, Jesus (we are on a first name basis) claimed to be the
"Son of God". And He claimed that ""I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. (John 14:6-7). A mighty boast if ever there was one. It still rankles me that people can infer Jesus was a "good man" and a "fine teacher of noble human characteristics" - but are willing to discard the rest of His claims and assertions. This is intellectual dishonesty of the highest order in my view.
As the summer progressed, I had one last question that required an answer too:
Did Jesus rise from the dead on the third day -as He stated repeatedly He would do? The answer is well documented, and a matter of historical note in many different forms. My interpretation and response is "He did" - and I have accepted His invitation to be His friend, and to spend eternity in His presence. There is more information available here in the Faith section of my web site
Did I mention I went to a high faluting University? In the fall of 1975, I moved to Seattle and enrolled at the University of Washington (UW). I could not decide about a Major. Would it be... Chinese Language? Music? ... Maybe Business? Start up with my Dad in the family business? It was not clear.
I did have the distinct benefit of being in the company now with the One who designed the universe. I would on occasion remember to ask questions about my path, and the choices I should make. If I had asked more often, I am sure I could have helped avoid making many painful mistakes. But young men are.... young men, so it seems. Thankfully, God's grace abounds.
Also, I had God's people looking out for me. I lived in the Terry / Lander complex on the west side of the UW. To be specific, my dormitory was infested with radicals. These radicals were of the most dangerous extraction too. Christians! In fact, they were part of the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF.org) - and their outreach was comprehensive and compelling.
I joined, learned a ton, and made some life long friends.
I also forged some new thoughts about why people respond both positively and negatively to Christians. (It's the Love thing) . My predilection about Christians and Christianity was quite ill-founded and simply ignorant. How are your predilections fairing?
Well I did declare a major. I applied and was accepted into the School of Business at the UW.
This decision did not come easily. I was lobbying heavily to transfer to the Berklee College of Music, and my parents encouraged me to consider the financial consequences of a career in music. Their logic took the form: Get your business degree and go from there. Their logic prevailed. I was also able to join the UW Jazz lab as the keyboard jockey, and I met and interacted with several really fine musicians through that class and experience. Joe Brazil headed up the program at the UW, and Joe was a really fine Sax man himself. He had a young protégé student at that time by the name of Kenny Gorelick, who would play with us periodically. Kenny had some very interesting ideas about music, and was toying with the idea of forming a band (G-Force). Later in his career, he dropped the "G-Force" band concept, and changed his professional name to "Kenny G" - and made more money than General Electric. Ok, I am a name dropper.
Richard Hart: 1981 - 1987At that time in my parents lives, they had decided they wanted to expand their business interests, and so they opened a new outlet for our family business (PSI) Puget Sound Instrument Company, Inc. (now psicompany.com) in Seattle, Washington. This was a stretch for my parents to have two kids in college, and a new business venture in another city, but they gave it a go. It also provided me a place to work when I was not deep in my studies. I started learning about electronics in earnest, and why people buy things from one person and not another. This study has continued to fascinate me to this day.
As if that wasn't enough, I also decided to move in with my Sister to a rental house in Ballard (A suburb in Seattle) which left me closer to work, and allowed me to start acquiring electronic instruments (Fender Rhodes, Moog and Arp Synthesizers, Amplifiers, Audio Distribution etc.) My assumption was, that if I could acquire enough instruments, learn to make enough musical sounds simultaneously, I could be my own band. A one-man deal. I could play my own music, sing my own songs, and (in Frank Sinatra's words) - "do it my way". The further along I got, and even with the progress I was making, it became evident that there was too many elements missing in a live performance context. I needed something to help me "sequence" the disparate musical elements of the compositions I wanted play. I was out on the "bleeding edge" of the technology that had not quite been invented yet.
So to put the final piece in place, I decided along with school, work, a budding social life, and involvement with IVCF - that what I needed to do was join a band. I joined the working ensemble of the UW Jazz lab remnant that been incorporated with a local funk band. We were called "PerFunkquity". I may have a misspelling here, but the phonetic pronunciation is correct. We were a working band! It seemed we were at a Seattle High School every Friday night for a year or so. We did Commodores, Tower of Power, Graham Central Station, Rufus, Ohio Players, Rick James, and Sly Stone tunes. We also played clubs, weddings, bowling socials, and bar mitzvahs. We worked! The money was good (at least I thought so). We had seven people eating out of one pot (including management) - and we were making enough money to start buying more equipment as a band. It all came to a crashing halt one fated night in West Seattle. We were playing the "Embers" for the umpteenth time, and our lead singer (a beautiful lady) - had a boy friend who was jealous of something, mad at somebody, and stupid about everything. Well, he decided to pull a gun on the Manager of the "Embers". The police came, the club emptied, we got fired, and we did not get paid. That was enough. I decided it would be studio music work for me for a while - and that was the direction my music has followed until after Y2K.
I then poured my attentions into my other job at (PSI). I was learning to sell marine electronics to commercial fishermen, and it was one of those odd junctures in time when you could do no wrong. Alaskan commercial fishermen were making good money. They were building new boats in every backyard in Ballard, and if you pushed hard - you could make money fast. Very fast. I did. It started to consume my days, my nights, and my weekends too.
Finishing my studies got to be a distraction in those days, and I was lucky I had chosen a Major that was associated with what was becoming a consuming force in my life. I also used this time to get to know my Dad as a man. We became partners in the business. I made the money - and he spent it. We started investing in commercial real estate and we purchased and renovated sites in Tacoma, Seattle, and Dutch Harbor, Alaska. We also opened businesses in Petersburg and Sitka, Alaska. We joked - if we could keep developing commercial properties - we could afford to stay in the electronics business!
Richard Hart: 1988 - 2003
So my professional life was taking shape nicely. I was traveling, selling (having a fabulous time!) and generally learning as I went. All that said; you might be drawn to the conclusion that I had “life” figured out. Well, not so fast bucko…
In connection with my professional life and development, I was also attempting a private life. I have been both married and divorced. I think the best explanation of my own past private history is: (one) it would be fair to say, I neglected to fully bring with me the values I trust and had learned in my walk with Jesus (thank God for forgiveness), and (two) – that, as a young adult, I was emotionally much younger than my years. This is a bad combination boys and girls… don’t try this at home!
I played my part in causing pain in places it never needed to be felt. I have learned that God intended like minded souls (in faith and in values) to be coupled in marriage, and that God never intended marriage to be dissolved. When we humans attempt a dissolution, we are going to be left with broken pieces, and deep emotional wounds.
The good news is the wounds heal; the bad news is the scars remain. If you share scars like this, you already know what I am talking about. I have had the benefit of some wonderful help and vision in the reconstruction of my understanding and practices. In the process of learning my weaknesses, I have had the benefit of having to discover my strengths, my true friends, and the meaning of the word “freedom”. I live, love, and trust others as a “free” man today.
I also had the benefit of having two remarkable and wildly different sons in the process. My sons are Richard Tyler Hart (he likes to be called “Tyler”) and Nicholas Leidy Hart (“Nick” or “Nicky” is his preference).
It is true that children reflect our genes. Tyler Hart very closely physically resembles my late father Raymond Hart. And, Nick Hart is looking more like me every day. Tyler Hart is gregarious, outgoing, social, and studies Psychology and Communication. Nick Hart is a first class baseball player, athletic, student, and tends to concentrate on a small group of friends he has known all his life. So through this process of growing up, I married, divorced, and remarried. I had sons, and managed to attempt several different business models. I have been a horse breeder, distiller, photographer, rancher, videographer, systems analyst, writer, musician, artist’s manager, web designer, umpire, board member, producer, director, student, parent, coach, business owner, communications engineer, investor, landlord, CEO, landscaper, bridge builder, band member, fisherman, entrepreneur, recording engineer, and house boy. I have been down and up, and I have been to both sides. I have had the occasion to travel through Europe, the Mediterranean, Mexico, Central America, and Japan doing what I love. My appetite for life grows every day. As does my quest for real beauty, knowledge and truth.
Richard Hart: 2004 - 2012I fish… therefore I am…
I go fly fishing whenever I can. I have caught and released the famed Pacific Northwest Steelhead on a fly line, and battled with 120+lbs striped marlin with the love of my life cheering me on.
This is not a boast, but I have lost more money than most people will ever make in a lifetime.
I have also been blessed, and found that if you keep an open hand with God, he not only requires things from you – but also puts good things back in your hand for you to enjoy and use.
On balance, I must say my life is on the positive ledger, and I am well ahead if one were to count. Color me “Thankful!”
So here we are in the near present. I had the good fortune to marry into the iconic southern Breedlove-Doolittle family. I am convinced they are of Roman-Britain origin and most recently of American Carolinian-Georgian extraction. They are simply some of the finest people on the planet.
My beautiful wife’s name is Donna, and she is my treasure in more ways than I can estimate in writing. She is graciously sharing her son with me, and his name is Matthew Raske.
He is married to the lovely Erin
(also Italian!), and together they are living at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. Matthew is a Captain in the USMC and we are very proud of the dedication and resolve that both he and Erin are making in serving our Country. It is true that no soldier serves alone, and his/her family stands with them in the process. These two kids are the “good stuff” that helps make this Country great.
I work on the Internet so much my toes are webbing…
Okay perhaps that is an exaggeration. But I do like swimming, so explain that! Well I do work on the web every single day.
Previously in 1998, I had decided that the World Wide Web was positioned to have a powerful impact on our electronics business. I purchased a Unix based web server, and started learning the tedious task of learning HTML. My friends at www.ccscentral.com also had a nifty CGI-PERL script based e-cart system they were working with, so they installed that on my web server too. That was the start of the biggest change in my business life I have experienced to date. We went from zero products on the web, to over 6,000 just 10 years later. We have had millions of visitors and customers to our web business, and we now sell internationally on a 24 hours per day, 7 days per week basis. Needless to say we have had to continually upgrade both hardware, software, the user interface, and everything in-between in that time period.
By way of competitive information, I would urge anyone considering today’s web based e-commerce markets to do so advisedly. There are many expensive and well hidden traps, blinds, and mistakes that are easy to make and befall in the building of this type of business. If you want the real low down, and want to play hardball with the big boys – you are going to have to buy my book!
Richard Hart: 2012 - 2017
So bring on the music!
As you may have noticed, the reason I started www.richardhart.com was to help me market my music. I had just finished the CD “Hope after heartache” and was looking at the many ways to bring musical products to market.
Hope After Heartache – 2007© Blue Glass Music
Mediterranean Man - 2010© Blue Glass Music
Jazzman’s Tea - 2011© Blue Glass Music
American State of Mind - 2013© Blue Glass Music
Living Room Dancing - 2015© Blue Glass Music
808Zones - 2016© Blue Glass Music
808Stones - 2018© Blue Glass Music
808Bones - 2018© Blue Glass Music
House of H'art - 2018© Blue Glass Music
Rhythm to the World – Yet to be released
The web has been a very helpful resource for me, and I am working on web sites surrounding each of my musical offerings. I have had success with www.cdbaby.com, iTunes, Amazon, and Target.
So what else?
Both my parents now have gone to be with the Lord. I miss them every single day. I am completely confident I will see them again. If they were here they would tell you to “stop smoking if you ever started”. It caused them both to lose some good years on the back nine, and that’s a crying shame.
I am still investigating and attempting new business models in my professional life. The lesson I have learned is that this process never stops as long as you plan to stay in the game! I am also writing about a variety of topics including:
1) Relaxation and rest as a Christian.
2) How to succeed in e-Commerce without losing your shorts.
3) The origins, history, and future of the Chambers Creek Watershed, in Pierce County, Washington.
4) The Big Island of Hawaii economics "A roadmap to recovery".
5) CGI implications of .pdf to HD Web Video conversions.
I am also working on a project (under the Videoture.net banner) that I hope impacts how we as consumers use Google, Yahoo, and Bing as a practical matter. My thesis includes web video replacing text as a placement criterion in web search algorithms. It is one of the most fun ventures I have tried yet!
My sons and daughter-in-laws stay busy with their lives, and Donna and I stay in touch with them by Skype, text messaging, and an occasional dinner or two. I miss having them at home, but I am enjoying watching them become adults and parents. It has been a profound and wonderful experience becoming a grandfather to some beautiful children - and both Donna and I are hoping for many more... soon!
At this point, Donna and I share our home with a Rottweiler pup named Bella Lana Kai "Bella" and a kitty named “Dot”. We are animal and nature lovers, and we are surrounded by some of this world's most beautiful country.